After the Greenville Chapter No. 337 O.E.S. was organized in September 1912, the Chapter began to grow and flourish in the several years ahead.
The Masons had erected a fine building in Greenville in 1903. The bottom portion was rented out on one side by the Wayne County State Bank. A drug store used the second portion of the lower level. The Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star met above the drug store. The second half of the top portion of the building was used by Attorney V.V. Ing.
Between the years after the organization and 1940 there were over 300 people who joined the Chapter. The towns listed as resident for the members included; Greenville, Williamsville, Arab, Coldwater, McGee, Lowndes, Hiram, Silva, Wappapello, Taskee, Chaonia, Patterson, Hendrickson, Clubb, Ellsinore, Shook and Grassy.
Any organization is only as good as its leaders and members. For the past 100 years the Greenville Chapter No. 337 has been blessed with dedicated and faithful members. Many of which have stepped into leadership rolls. Thus, making this 100th Anniversary Celebration possible today.
The past Worthy Matrons of Greenville Chapter No. 337 have included 74 prominent ladies of the community who have been the wife, daughter, sister, mother or widow of a Master Mason. Listed by decade they include (in order as they first served):
(1912-1919): Lora E. Wilson, Lucy A. Wilkinson, Margaret Bryar, Nettie Stivers, Daisy Hayes, Olivia Bryar and Anna Barrow;
(1920s): Belle Settle, Harriet A. Smith, Alice Strader, Pearl Biggerstaff, Lillie McLane, Osa E. Williamson, Laura Rhodes, Belle Hunter and Lena S. Powers;
(1930s): Lulu E. White, Maggie Wilkinson, Ella Shoemake, Thelma Marsh, Laura Graham, Golden Ellinghouse, Etta Wagner, Ava Harrison and Emma Aspley:
(1940s); Willa Mae Sheridan, Jewell Polk, Betty Ellinghouse, Grace Settle, Minnie Baldwin, Mary Shoemake, Norma Sisson, Verne McLane and Ella Graham:
(1950s), Gladys Kennedy, Gladys Marshall, Mary Ellen Graham Bennett, Zella Mince, Mattie Westmoreland, Blanche Evans, Reva Bollinger, Wilma Jean Mabrey, Myra Barrow and Genevieve Berry:
(1960s), Mary Frazier Clubb, Mary Pearce, Martha Ward, Madalyne Graham, Mary Jones, Judith L. Daves, Joyce F. Costephens, Audrey Davis, Mary Ellen McLane and Shirley Hollida:
(1970s), Barbara McLane, Gladys Barks, Patricia Russell, Carolyn Imogene Roach, Kathern M. Rhodes, Mary Hunter, Emma Lou Crites, Pauline Robinson and Audrey Deering:
(1980s), Mary Bollinger Glenn, Pamela Jones Hamlett, Joy Davis, Carolyn Robertson and Mary Lou McEwen:
(1990s), Rose M. Dildine, Mary Barks and Helen Preslar Stogsdill:
(2000s - present) - Dorothy Tibbs, Claudia White and Joan Jacobs.
Several of the ladies have served multiple terms, they include: Lucy A. Wilkinson, Ava Harrison, Jewell Polk, Zella Mince, Audrey Davis, Patricia Russell, Mary Bollinger Glenn and Joan Jacobs (two terms each), Joyce F. Costephens and Carolyn Robertson (three terms each), Mary Frazier Clubb (four terms), Judith L. Daves (five terms) and Helen Preslar Stogsdill (ten terms).
Many man have faithfully held membership in the Chapter and served in many capacities of leadership. The list of men who have been Worth Patron include; Dr. Jesse W. Hale, Dr. N. Grant Wilson, George T. Wilkinson, Voltaire V. Ing, Edward M. Smith, George W. Stivers, James L. Strader, Arthur G. Templeton, Robert R. White, James W. Frederick, Silas G. McLane, William T. Powers, William E. Shoemake, Frank Ellinghouse, Noah L. Brown, Edward T. Harrison, Charles L. Ellinghouse, Vergil H. Sisson, John M. Baldwin, Edward S. Graham, James L. McLane, Paul Mince, Amy F. Bollinger, Clecy U. Evans, Cleo Mabrey, Virgil M. Clubb, Archie Berry, Elva Davis, Paul Ray Costephens, Albert Crumb, Weldon E. “Wick” Crites, Cecil Robinson, Clyde Deering, Lynn Davis, Carl Brown, Allan Hawley, Richard Hanford, Jerry Tibbs and Larry Hornbuckle.
There are presently thirteen members who are still active on the membership roll of the Chapter that have achieved the prestigious Fifty year member statues: They are listed with the year the joined; Jewell Ives (1943), Virgil Clubb (1950), Wilma Jean Mabrey (1951), Evelyn (Westmoreland) Weehunt (1954), Judith L. Daves, Joan (Jones) Bridges, Shirley Hollida (1958), Gladys Barks, Truman Barks, Audrey Davis, J.P. McLane, Mary Ellen McLane (1959) and Lavern Daves (1960).
The Chapter has had its ups and downs in membership. During the last 100 years the Chapter has swayed in membership from over 150 at times to as low as nearly 50 today. In 1940 the membership dropped considerably as several families left the Greenville community to make way for the Wappapello Dam project. After the town was moved, like the Masons, the Eastern Star met in the Christian Church in the new town until 1947 when the present Lodge Hall was erected. A steady membership followed throughout the decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
A major highlight of the last 100 years came in 1978, when the Chapter was honored to have its own member, Paul Ray Costephens (1934-2000), serve as the Grand Patron of the State of Missouri. No other member (male or female) to date, has served in such a capacity at state level.
Over the years many changes have been made to the Order of The Eastern Star; particularly in who is eligible to join the Order. Since the organization of the Greenville Chapter 100 years ago, eligibility to join has been extended from the wife, mother, daughter, sister or widow of Master Masons to what today include the following:
Affiliated Master Masons in good standing and their wives, daughters, legally adopted daughters, mothers, widows, sisters, half sisters, granddaughters, stepmothers, stepdaughters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, grandmothers, great granddaughters, nieces, great nieces, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and aunts.
With such a broad spectrum of categories the membership rolls should be overflowing with an initiation at every meeting. Sadly, this is not the case. As with many other organizations the Order of The Eastern Star has seen a decline in membership.
As the Greenville Chapter No. 337 O.E.S. celebrates its centennial celebration in 2012, its members encourage the citizens around Wayne County to review the list of eligible criteria for potential members. There may be some that have never known they could be eligible to join this time honored organization.
The faithful few who keep the Chapter together today are passionate in doing so. On many occasions much self sacrifice is put forth to attend. In doing this the members are holding forth the banner of those who have gone before them, promoting the principals of the Order, (Charity, Truth, Love and Kindness), with the same vigor and integrity of the Chapters founding members. The last 100 years has surely brought change. But the principals on which the Chapter was organized on never will change.
Happy 100th Anniversary to the Greenville Chapter No. 337 O.E.S.