Then & Now

In 1925, while serving as most Worthy Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, Mrs. Rose E. Scherer often heard members say how nice it would be if we had an organization for our young people who could be trained toward becoming Eastern Star members. Her own little girl had been playing “Chapter” almost all her life because she was practically born into it and pleaded with her to start an Eastern Star for little girls so that they too could have meetings like their mothers.

She talked about it with her line officers and the Grand Secretary of the Eastern Star, all of whom were very enthusiastic about the idea. They decided that Mrs. Scherer should present the thought to the Grand Chapter at the Annual Session and she did so, including a suggestion for the name to be “Daughters of the Eastern Star”. It was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted and in addition voted to instruct the next following Grand Matron to appoint a committee to further develop the idea, make up a Constitution and a ritual, all of which to be presented at the following Grand Chapter session. This was done and Mrs. Scherer was appointed chairman of this committee. They made up the Constitution, but could not seem to come through with a satisfactory idea for a ritual until Mrs. Starkweather from Rochester sent Mrs. Scherer a manuscript containing the idea of three points of a triangle with duties for each roughly outlined adaptation to a fraternal order. When she read it, she felt that here was what they had been looking for and accepted this to be accepted for approval. This was easily achieved.

In the interim, the Grand Matron had instructed her District Deputy Grand Matrons to organize groups in their districts which were to be named Junior Eastern Stars. About 35 of these were organized and after the Grand Chapter had accepted and approved the report of the Committee, Mrs. Abbie Murray of Utica, NY was appointed to constitute the groups into Triangles. It seems that in choosing the numbers which were allotted, Queens was the first group organized as a Club in April 1926, so the number 8 was allotted to them instead of number 1 as it should have been. Number 1 was given to Irondequoit Triangle in Rochester where Mrs. Starkweather, the lady who gave us triangle idea for the ritual lived. The Triangle was organized in June 1927.

In 1928, it was voted that the Triangle work become part of the Grand Chapter business and Mrs. Scherer was elected to the body to be permanent State Director and to make an annual report to Grand Chapter on the work and progress of the Daughters of the Eastern Star which reports were published along with their support and interest in procuring members. When the Great Depression in 1929 cam upon us, many of our lovely Triangles were handicapped by pressure in the homes of the members and finally had to discontinue. We lost about half our Triangles during those sad years and only one later reorganized.

In 1934, when Mrs. Scherer took over all the clerical work of the Triangle, a large supply of printed matter was delivered to her home. She began to sift out records, etc., none of which seems to have been kept. To this day, there is nothing at all in the way of records from 1926-1934.

In 1938, the committee on Constitution reported that they found that Grand Chapter, according to the Acts of Incorporations, had been violating its dictates by sponsoring any organization other than Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star and that they never had the authority to legislate or govern the Daughters of the Eastern Star. They recommended that all charters be recalled and that we immediately erase all reference to Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, from our rituals and literature up to that time. They voted a check for $500 to be given to the State Director in trust toward this change over.

For 11 years all was well with Triangle, although we lost some of our groups who were convinced that we could never continue to exist without the sponsorship of the Eastern Star. Immediately following the Recanting of the Sponsorship by Grand Chapter, a number of Grand Matrons and Patrons came to Mrs. Scherer and offered their help. A few weeks later, she finally thought of a way in which they and others could be of service and with their consent, organized an Advisory Council consisting of six Past Grand Matrons and one Past Grand Patron. New charters were printed and engraved and started from there. Annual meetings were held by the council at the time of Grand Chapter sessions since we could not afford to finance any meetings between sessions. New systems were set up and all was fine until tragedy struck again by the untimely death of several of our council members. Their places had to be filled and it was decided that future members be selected from the ranks of the Order of Eastern Star and Masons.

We have had many wonderful experiences. In 1939, we were invited by the Worlds Fair Committee to organize a Triangle-DeMolay day at the fair. We had delegations from all over the state and even had a Drill exhibition by Betsy Ross Triangle of the Bronx with a dinner and a dance following later.

Many notable services were rendered during WWII by our individual Triangles. The gasoline shortage and subsequent curtailing of driving privileges once again made its inroads upon our Triangle roster, many of whom are unable to hold meetings for months due to the necessity for driving to their destinations from far distant areas. However, with the end of the war, we once again took heart and resumed our visits and general activities.

Our Triangles have been given invaluable service to hospitals, homes for handicapped children, blind and infirm, individual homes of needy and countless charitable enterprises aside from the moral and ideal influence exercised upon the heart and mind of our impressionable youth, which can not be measured in terms of material contributions. In 1931, the Triangle donated more than $600 for a memorial window in the Chapel in Oriskany. This is where the home for the aged Eastern Star members is located.

All Triangles have led an active existence in the last few years. At our annual State Convention held in Syracuse, NY on July 3, 1961, it was unanimously voted to change our name from Daughters of the Eastern Star to Organization of Triangles, Inc. We had 75 Triangles throughout New York State with approximately a membership of 5,500 girls. The purpose of this organization is to create in the heart and mind of young girls, a devotion to high ideals, a more perfect understanding of duty to God, Home and Country, and the importance of education in the development of intellect and character. All tending to a finer American Womanhood. This is an organization which I am sure will continue to grow and prosper, and one which any girl can be proud to belong to.