magnolia chapter


Magnolia Chapter's History


Gilroy's Magnolia Chapter #45 has had the honor of adopting a new birthdate since it consolidated with Ceanothus Chapter in 1990 - Ceanothus Chapter was established May 22, 1880, in San Juan Bautista, California.

Ceanothus Chapter reveals in its history that "Thomas Flint Jr. was not a charter member, as he was graduating from Dartmouth in 1880. However, he did join Ceanothus in 1881. He was elected Worthy Patron in 1883, so was present when his mother, Mary Ann Flint, the Worthy Grand Matron, along with members of Ceanothus, went to form a new chapter in Gilroy. The Chapter voted to engage Mark Regan's stagecoach to take the members and paraphernalia to the July 5th institution of Magnolia #73. One of these coaches carried 16 passengers, even was known to have had 28 passengers crowded on at one time."

When a group of Masons and their wives met with the Worthy Grand Matron in June, 1883, in their hall on the northwest corner of 4th and Monterey Streets, to establish this chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, one of the matters to consider was a name for the Chapter. When one considers the beautiful surroundings of Gilroy with its abundance of shade trees, it seems very fitting that a group of ladies, gathered at the home of Belle Farmer at 6th and Forest Streets, should glance out a window and see a magnolia tree in full bloom, thus providing the solution for the problem that had "caused a great deal of worry" - and the name of Magnolia Chapter was instituted!!

It seems that in the early years of Magnolia, all members were required to wear badges and 50 badges were ordered on June 12, 1884. Just when this practice was discontinued is not recorded. We urge you to browse through the display cases in the dining room and note one of these old-time mementoes.

Many gifts have been recorded, some of the most recent being the Eastern Star flag and the altar cushions, given by Sisters Esther Pate and Gertrude Bacher, in memory of their husbands. The double eagle carried atop our flag is a gift from the former Job's Daughters of this district. In addition to the Bibles, both the small ones, used during initiation, and the altar Bible, a silver-mounted pointer was donated by Sister Libbie Scholten and Brother George Lawton, and on September 24, 1925, "Sister Fowler presented the Chapter with a fine, large dishpan!"

There is one occasion of an OV that was doubtless remembered for many years by the early-day members of Magnolia Chapter. The morning following the Official Visit was the date of "The Earthquake" - April 18, 1906. Sister Annie Cameron, who was on the committee, states that "after repeated attempts to clean up the hall after the meeting the next moring, they were forced to give it up for the day. They would go upstairs and begin clearing the dishes, when suddenly another shock swayed the building, and the members of the committee would each seize a handful of silver and scurry downstairs. As soon as they could muster up courage, they mounted the stairs again, only to be sent pell-mell down again, clutching another handful of precious silver which they were determined to save at all costs." The upshot of it all was that the dishes did not get washed for a week.

In the early days, Children's Night was an annual event. The programs were for the entertainment of the children, but often they were the entertainers. The Temple on Monterey Street had a beautiful, curtained stage, a delight for children of all ages. Highlighting children in our history would not be complete without including with pride the Rainbow Girls, sponsored by our chapter. These are dedicated, hard-working and fun-loving young ladies. Their service extends a helping hand to us from time to time. They've entertained us with special parts of their work, which is always a delight. We have great praise for our young people!

Members of Magnolia Chapter really believe in the old saying - "all work and no play ....."; thus, the social halls of Magnolia Chapter echo over a century of laughter and enjoyment from various parties and gatherings of members, families and friends. For many years, card parties were the most popular activity. In the middle years of the Chapter, we find at least half of the meetings were preceded by dinners. Back then, potlucks were known as "covered dish" dinners and were very popular. Dances were also numerous, not only after our own meetings, but in conjunction with the Masons and other Chapters in the area.

Today, 125 years later, the members of Magnolia Chapter truly exemplify the precepts that Dr. Rob Morris set forth. It was he who felt that the female relatives of the Masons "should share, in a measure, the benefits from knowledge of this great fraternal Order". In 1850, he developed the fundamental principles of the Order of the Eastern Star, which have remained unchanged. That was the seed that was to blossom into this tremendous organization.

  Remember, Ginger Rodgers

did everything Fred Astaire

did, but she did it backwards

and in high heels.

--Faith Whittlesey

I am woman above

everything else.

--Jacqueline Kenndy Onassis
Magnolia Chapter