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  GRAND COMMANDERY OF KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

   OF   NEBRASKA

 2008 - 2009

S.K. Theodore J. Johnson R.E. Grand Commander
S.K. Mervin W. Titchen V.E. Deputy Grand Commander
S.K. Roger W. Miner E. Grand Generalissmo
S.K. John T. Parsons E. Grand Captain General
S.K. Donald E. Rife E. Grand Senior Warden
S.K. James F. Brown, Jr. E. Grand Junior Warden
S.K. Gail L. Twining E. Grand Prelate
S.K. Lawrence J. Zwart E. Grand Treasurer
S.K. Bruce T. Anderson E. Grand Recorder
S.K. James A. Clark E. Grand Standard Bearer
S.K. Michael E. Jones E. Grand Sword Bearer
S.K. Jeffrey S. Wunder E. Grand Warder
S.K. Thomas D. Morrissey E. Grand Sentinel
S.K. Donald R. Monnette E. Grand Tactics Supervisor
S.K. Ronald L. Ellsworth E. Grand Musician

S.K. Gail L. Twining

Editor, Ne. Sup. K. T. Magazine
S.K. Bob C. Franklin, KCT, PREGC E. Grand Treasurer, Emeritus

   

The Ladies of the Nebraska Grand Commandery

Installing Officers of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska
with the Grand Commander

 

IN MEMORIAL

In Memory of

Gerald D. Sorensen

Right Eminent Grand Commander - 1998

Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Nebraska

Born:

December 22nd 1926

Died:

December 15th, 2007

Minden, Nebraska

Services will be held December, 19th, 2007 at the Methodist Church in Minden, Nebraska.

Masonic and Military Services will be conducted.

Interment will be in Upland, Nebraska

Condolences to Margaret Sorensen, at 647 West Lexington, Minden, Nebraska

Memorials to Donors Choice

"I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."  John 11:25-26

 

 

 

IN  MEMORIAL

In memory of
 
Donald O. Bickham

Right Eminent Grand Commander - 1995
Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Nebraska

Grand Chapter Representative
Virginia

Grand Council Representative
Oklahoma

Grand Commandery Representative
Kentucky

Born:
November 20th, 1920    
         

 Died:
                December 20th, 2006                  

Memorial Services:
December 23, 2006

Plattsmouth Masonic Home, 1300 Avenue D, Plattsmouth, Nebraska at 10:00 a.m. Burial at Lancaster, Kansas.

Condolences to June Bickham at the Plattsmouth Masonic Home, 1300 Avenue D, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 68048.  

Memorials: McCook Methodist Church or Plattsmouth Masonic Home.

Don was instrumental in establishing the Nebraska York Rite Foundation.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life, he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die. The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God and there no evil shall touch them. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: Praise ye the Lord."

Bruce T. Anderson, PGHP
Grand Secretary/Recorder
Grand York Rite of Nebraska

 

 

IN MEMORIAL

In Memory of

Fred R. Prell

Right Eminent Grand Commander - 1989

Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Nebraska

 Born November 21st, 1918

Died: July 19th, 2006

 McCook, Nebraska

Services Monday, July 24th, 2006 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church on Norris Avenue in McCook.

Burial will be at the McPherson Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.

(Obituary on Grand York Rite Page)

 

RECEPTION OF GRAND OFFICERS FOR 2006

You are cordially invited to attend the Reception of Grand Officers of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Nebraska, and the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Nebraska on Sunday, April 23rd, 2006 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the York Masonic Temple, 112 1/2 East 5th Street, York, Nebraska. All Masons and non-Masons are welcome.

GRAND COMMANDERY COMMUNICATION

THE APARTMENTS OF THE GRAND PRELATE and THE RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE

Year of our Lord 2007

To all Valiant and Magnanimous Knights of the Temple, wheresoever dispersed throughout Christendom Salutations and Knightly Greetings:
A TOAST TO OUR MOST EMINENT GRAND MASTER
The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when Jesus was born Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem asking "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When their search led to the Christ Child, Matthew states that they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And then, after they presented gifts to Him they departed for their own country by another way.
There is always a change of direction in life for all who encounter Christ and accept Him in faith. The goal of the Church down through the ages has been to point people toward Jesus Christ so that they may have that life changing experience. Following the lead of the Church it has been the hallmark of Templary to remind its candidates to wear its badge as a constant memorial to stimulate them to imitate the virtues of the Immaculate Jesus, who died so that they may live. In other words the goal of Templary has been to lead the perspective Knights to Christ so that they may thereafter walk in a new way.
Grand Master, we know that you have encountered the Living Christ and that it has resulted in that life changing experience for you and so we salute you and are proud to follow your leading in this Valiant and Magnanimous Order as we not only resolve to be defenders of the faith but as we also seek to carry out the mandate of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations.
Most Eminent Grand Master we offer you this toast and pray that God will bless, protect and embrace you with His love as you lead us into what we know will be a glorious and victorious future for Templary.
In His name,
The Committee on Religious Activities
Rev. William Hartman, P.C.C., Chairman
Rev, Robert J. Cave, P.C.C., Grand Prelate
(This toast was prepared by Reverend and Sir Knight Robert J. Cave, R.E. Grand Prelate)
  
 
GRAND MASTER'S RESPONSE

To the Grand Prelate, the Committee on Religious Activities and to all Sir Knights, wheresoever dispersed:
Greetings!
My thanks to the Right Eminent Grand Prelate and Committee on Religious Activities for a most meaningful toast.
As Knights Templar we celebrate the Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ. For Christians in general and Knights Templar in particular, the Christmas Season marks the beginning of the Greatest Story ever told. While we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we are moved by the gleam of excitement in the eyes of the children, a twinkle that occurs most often at this season. That gleam reminds us of our own childhood, and our hopes for a better tomorrow. While faith in our Savior will lead us to peace and happiness, let us not forget, the hope for future generations rests with those who follow us. The future is vested in those children whose eyes shine brightly with hope and enthusiasm. Hope and enthusiasm for a better tomorrow. Let us pray we set an example worthy of their emulation.
The officers and membership of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America join me in expressing our best wishes to you and your family this Christmas Season.
As we celebrate this holiday season, let us again celebrate what's right with Templary!
In His Service,
William H. Koon, II, GCT Grand Master
The foregoing Toast to the Most Eminent Grand Master and his response thereto are transmitted to you with the request that you extend an invitation through the proper offices to all Sir Knights within your jurisdiction to join in the sentiments thus conveyed at some convenient hour, on or near the birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Day, December twenty-fifth, in the Year of Grace 2007.


Apartment of the Grand Prelate of Nebraska

Christmas greetings to our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Sir
Knight Steven C. Smith I, Grand Officers, Past Grand Commanders and
all Sir Knights of Nebraska.

Have you ever tried to imagine yourself in the place of one of those shepherds
that glorious night of the birth of our Savior? Scripture tells us the initial
reaction to the appearance of the angel was one of shock and fear.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon
them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore
afraid.
(Luke 2:8-9)

That's not surprising. This apparition was obviously something super natural.
That alone would be frightening. Furthermore, these were shepherds. Humble
folk. Who were they that a messenger of God should visit them? What
fearsome message might he be carrying?
But the message, far from being fearsome, is one of great joy!

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this
day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:10-11)

Imagine the magnitude of the change in emotions! Their ancestors had long
since been promised that God would send them a Messiah. (That's the
anglicized version of the Hebrew word. The Greek word transliterates into
"Christ".) After generations of being under the thumb of the Assyrians, and
later the Romans, the entire nation was praying for God to send "the Promised
One". And now, right here in front of them is a messenger from God telling
them He's here - HE WAS BORN TODAY!! What joy! WHAT
UNSPEAKABLE JOY!! But the angel doesn't stop. He has more to say.
YOU CAN GO SEE HIM!!

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
(Luke 2:12)

Then comes the great celebration.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.
(Luke 2:13-14)

Well, what else to do, but go and see this wonderful gift of God?
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and
see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying
in a manger.
(Luke 2:15-16)

They knew God would do it. They just didn't know when. Nor would they
have had any reason to even dream that God's plan would include them. The
joy is far too great to keep within themselves. They absolutely must tell
somebody - anybody. They go out fairly dancing - bursting with the good
news - and they tell everyone who will listen. "Unto you is born this day in
the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was
told them concerning this child.
(Luke 2:17)

May our God fill you this Christmas season with the glory and the joy in our
Lord experienced by those shepherds that wonderful night.
Fraternally, and in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Grand Prelate

Gail L. Twining,


Bruce T. Anderson, PGHP
Grand Secretary/Recorder
Grand York Rite of Nebraska
 

This from Bruce Anderson on Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Companions and Sir Knights:

I have sad news. Companion and Sir Knight Don Bickham died in the Plattsmouth Masonic Home last night at 11:00 pm. He was a Past Grand Commander in 1995. He was also very active in all Masonic organizations. I do not have any further information at this time, but it looks like Saturday will be the Funeral. I will let you more as soon as I know.

Bruce T. Anderson
Grand Secretary/Recorder

Bruce T. Anderson, PGHP
Grand Secretary/Recorder
Grand York Rite of Nebraska

This from Bruce Anderson on Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Companions and Sir Knights:
>
> I got word last night that Don Bickham was admitted to BryanLGH West here in Lincoln for complications from a stroke. I visited with him today and he knew me. He is on oxygen and a heart monitor, but is not by any means unresponsive. He is in Room 609 at BryanLGH Medical Center West, 2300 So. 16th St. Lincoln, NE 68502. As this is where I work I will keep tabs on him and let you know of any updates.
>
>
> Bruce T. Anderson
> Past Grand High Priest
> Grand Secretary/Recorder
> Grand York Rite of Nebraska
> Vice President - Bulletin Editors - PROBE
> PROBE Hall of Honor
> Past President - PROBE
> COTS - Instructor
> Lincoln Continentals Barbershop Chorus
> job60@ix.netcom.com

 
 NEBRASKA YORK RITE ANNUAL SESSION 2006

Nebraska Grand York Rite Annual Session will be held on April 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th, 2006, at the New World Inn, Columbus, Nebraska. On Wednesday, April 5th, 2006, All Past Grand High Priests plan on attending the Grand High Priests' Dinner at 6:30 P.M. In the evening, a meeting of Sir Galahad Priory K.Y.C.H. will also be held.

On Thursday, April 6th, 2006, the "Nails" Breakfast will begin at 7:00 A.M. and Grand Council will open at 8:00 A.M. Grand Chapter, Grand Council, And Grand Commandery Officers Elect dinner will commence at 6:30 P.M.

On Friday, April 7th, 2006, Grand Chapter will open at 8:00 A.M. and the Formal Grand York Rite Banquet will begin at 6:30 P.M.

On Saturday, April 8th, 2006, the Red Cross of Constantine Breakfast will begin at 7:00 A.M. The Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Nebraska will open at 8:00 A.M. and at 6:30 P.M. the Past Commanders' Banquet will commence at 6:30 P.M.

 Contact the New World Inn in Columbus, Nebraska, (402-564-1492) for reservations.

YORK RITE DEGREE CONFERRAL FALL 2007

On Saturday, October 6th, 2007, The York Rite Degrees will be given on a One-Day Conferral at the Masonic Temple, 1635 L Street in Lincoln, Nebraska commencing at 7:30 A.M. Be there at 7:15 for rolls & coffee. (Further Information to follow).

 

 YORK RITE DEGREE CONFERRAL 2006

On Saturday, March 11th, 2006, The York Rite Degrees will be given on a One-Day Conferral at the Masonic Temple at York, Nebraska commencing at 8:00 A.M. Be there at 7:30 for rolls & coffee. 

YORK RITE DEGREE CONFERRAL FALL 2006

On Saturday, October 7th, 2006, The York Rite Degrees will be given on a One-Day Conferral at the Masonic Temple, 1635 L Street in Lincoln, Nebraska commencing at 7:30 A.M. Be there at 7:15 for rolls & coffee. 

NORTH CENTRAL DEPARTMENT CONFERENCE FOR 2005

The North Central Department Conference for 2005 will be held Friday and Saturday, October 28th and 29th, 2005, at the Kahler Grand Hotel , 20 Second Avenue Southwest, Rochester, Minnesota, 55902, Tel. 1-800-533-1655, www.kahler.com. This Conference is a cooperative effort of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, the General Grand Council and the General Grand Chapter.  Room reservations must be made directly with the Kahler Hotel.

The statutes of the Grand Encampment requires the attendance of the Grand Commander, Deputy G. Comander, G. Generalissimo, G. Captain General, G. Recorder of each Grand Commandery. Sir Knights are also cordially invited. The dress for the Conference is coat and tie.

Ladies are specially invited and will have brunch and a special program (casual dress).  

For further Information and Conference Reservations must be made through James N. Karnegis, 20975 Bonanza Blvd., Elkhorn, Ne. 68022-1838. Ph. 402-289-2295 E-mail elkbits@access4less.net  

 

The Nebraska Grand Commandery

NEBRASKA GRAND COMMANDERY

The first twelve years (1871 – 1883)*

A summary of the printed proceedings by Fred O. Wyant, PGC, KCT

 

On December 28, 1871, four Nebraska Commanderies met in Convention in the Asylum of Mount Calvary Commandery No. 1 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the stated purpose of forming a Grand Commandery for the State of Nebraska. The Convention call had been approved by the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America. The four Commanderies were Mount Calvary No. 1, Omaha; Mount Olivet No. 2, Nebraska City; Mount Carmel No. 3, Brownville; and Mount Moriah No. 4, Lincoln. The Grand Master of the Grand Encampment, J. Q. A. Fellows, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was unable to attend, but his designated representative, Sir Theodore S. Parvin, Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment was there.

The first Right Eminent Grand Commander elect was Sir Harry Porter Deuel, Omaha. Instead of a Tactics Officer, a Grand Captain of the Guard was appointed (Grand Sentinel) with the additional duty of seeing that tactics were properly followed. We also note that instead of the title Sir Knight, which is now used throughout the Grand Commanderies, only "Sir" was prefixed to their names. Sir Parvin constituted the Grand Commandery with a charter date of December 28, 1871.

Nebraska had been a State four years. Total membership of the chartering Commanderies was 176, with Mt. Calvary No. 1 having the most at 101. There was no law, as now exists, stating that one could not be on the dais of his home Commandery and of the Grand Commandery simultaneously. For example, Sir William E. Hill was the Eminent Commander of Mt. Olivet Commandery when he was installed Deputy Grand Commander, and Sir James M. Hurty was the Eminent Commander of Mt. Moriah Commandery.

The representatives of the four Commanderies donated $20 each to help defray the expenses of the new Grand Commandery. Per capita was set at $1.00 per year; initiation fees paid the Grand Commandery for each new Sir Knight were $2.00; and the Grand Encampment per capita was $.05. Minimum fee to a Commandery for initiation was set at $40.00, a substantial sum then. No salary was granted to the Grand Recorder. The Grand Commander assessed a fee of $1 on each member to provide additional funds.

All new Commanderies were required to select for name one of the sacred mountains. A sister Grand Commandery, in reviewing this decision commented that we should soon run out of mountains to use and that indeed, the name "Mt. Calvary" is not found in the Bible.

The group also adopted a set of Statutes and Regulations based on those of Illinois modified to suit this jurisdiction.

The first annual conclave of the Grand Commandery met in Lincoln, in the Senate Chamber of the Statehouse on June 19, 1872. The annual conclaves then alternated between Lincoln and Omaha for the next ten years with one exception. In 1882 the meeting was held in Hastings only a few months after Mt. Nebo Commandery No. 11 had received its Charter. A number of Sir Knights apparently could not find the place, as five of the Grand Officers and three of the Subordinate Commanderies did not show up. There were only twenty-six official representatives in attendance. In 1883, they went back to Omaha.

Also in their first annual conclave, they began a tradition, which continues to this day; the minutes of the December 1871 Conclave having been printed and distributed, they dispensed with their reading.

The order in which Commandery degrees were portrayed was also different then. They were: Knight of the Red Cross (now Illustrious Order of the Red Cross), Knight of the Temple (now Order of the Temple), and lastly, Knights of Malta (now Order of Malta and the Mediterranean Pass.)

Twenty-one Knightings had taken place in the six months since the Charter was issued.

The Treasurer's report showed that in addition to the $20 given to start the fund at the Charter Conclave, the special assessment brought in a total of $160. It is apparent that not all paid the assessment and not everyone paid their dues. After expenses, the Treasurer had $169.60 in his accounts.

One other item of business in 1872 was a vote to support the articles of incorporation of the Masonic Temple Guild of Omaha whose stated purpose was the erection and maintenance of a building in Omaha for Masonic and other purposes.

Appended to the minutes of the 1872 meeting was General Order 3 of the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment deploring the proliferation of "innovation and change" in different areas and reminding the Sir Knights that the "Black Frock Coat" is the uniform coat and, "This can mean nothing else than the frock coat of society, cut in the usual style, of the ordinary length, with such buttons as are usually worn, and those placed in the usual manner."

The Chartering Conclave had been in late December. The First annual conclave was in June 1872. In 1873, the annual conclave was in November. It was the first week of January in 1875 when the next annual conclave was held. Finally, in 1876, and for many years thereafter, the annual conclave was held on the second Tuesday following Easter. It is now held on the first Saturday after the first Tuesday in April, unless that is Easter weekend, in which case, it is held the following Saturday. These early Grand Conclaves were held over a period of two and sometimes three days, or parts of days.

Also in 1872 the Grand Standard Bearer had been expelled by his Blue Lodge for "gross unmasonic (sic) conduct," so the Grand Commander declared the post vacant and appointed another in his place.

In 1873 a coat of arms was presented by Grand Recorder Bowen and approved as presented. The shield contained a cross with arms centered and the words, Lex, Lux, Rex, and Dux (law, light, king [or government], and leader or leadership) on the arms, the X being centered and common to all. The motto (vert), "Dominus in Omnibus." (The Lord in all things, or The Lord over all) Also approved were the purchase of a robe for the Grand Prelate, jewels of office for the Grand Officers. (Through 1883, funds were not available for these purchases.) Letters of thanks were voted to several railroads for "acknowledged courtesies" (lower fares for use in attending the Grand session).

In 1875, the question was raised as to voting privileges for Past Commander Sir George Lininger of Commandery No. 17, Council Bluffs, now a member of Mt. Calvary No. 1, Omaha (but not a Past Commander there). His right to Grand Commandery membership was denied at this Conclave, but was again raised (twice) in the 1876 Grand Conclave where it was again denied. A second motion for reconsideration that year was laid over until 1877 where it was approved as one of the first items of business. That same year and the next, he was elected Grand Captain General, and in 1880 was elected Grand Generalissimo. He then toured Europe for some time in 1881 and 1882, and was again elected Grand Captain General in 1883. It was not until 1899 that he was finally elected as the 28th Grand Commander!

In his 1875 address, the Grand Commander called for, "care in our deliberations. Now that we are assembled and all at our posts, let us so remain until our work is done…,and afterwards to the social enjoyments…" (Were the Sir Knights slipping from the Asylum to the cookies and coffee pots as the sessions lingered?)

In 1877, the Grand Recorder reported that an office had been offered for his use on the second floor of Freemason's Hall in Omaha and which he was to occupy by the end of the month. The office was to stay there until the building was sold in the 1980s.

He then recommended for consideration, "whether it would not be to the best interests of the Order to require of each one hereafter knighted, the deposit of a sum, the interest of which, at seven or eight per cent, will pay the annual dues assessed to each Knight; this sum, with any surplus interest accrued, to be returned when the Knight honorably leaves the Commandery." (This would appear to be an idea nearly a century ahead of the adoption of a perpetual membership program by the Nebraska Grand Commandery.)

In 1877, upon considering the Grand Commander's address, it was moved and adopted that a field camp be held commencing the third day of July under the direction of the Grand Commander and his staff. This was done in 1877 and 1878 and does not appear again through 1883. Also adopted was the suggestion that at each Annual Conclave, one-half day be set aside for Templar drill and discipline. (This was done for two years and was not noted again through the period covered by this summary.)

Uniforms for the Sir Knights were also a continuing source of controversy. In 1877, they went so far as to vote a $50 increase in the fees for initiation to cover the cost of providing a uniform. This lasted one year and was rescinded. The next Grand Commander issued a General Order that each Sir Knight must have a uniform within 90 days of his dubbing, but this appears to have been un-enforced as well.

Mt. Calvary Commandery No 1 lost their charter in a fire 1n 1877, and it had to be reissued at the 1878 Grand Conclave.

The report of the Grand Recorder included the information that his new office in Freemason's Hall, Omaha, had been open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. six days a week since April 1877.

In 1879, the Grand Master of Knights Templar, M. E. Sir Vincent Lumbard Hurlbut and the Grand Recorder, Sir Theodore Sutton Parvin, attended our Grand Conclave in Lincoln, and were received with full honors. This is the first instance of the Grand Master attending a conclave in Nebraska.

We now find the first report of a cornerstone laying, where on May 26, 1879, Mt. Sinai was granted dispensation to assist with such project for a soldiers' monument in Steele Cemetery, Falls City. In subsequent years there were at least three other dispensations noted for Sir Knights to assist with Cornerstone ceremonies.

The death of Major Sir Thomas T. Thomburgh, member of DeMolay Mounted Commandery No. 4, Washington D. C. was announced in 1879. He had died in a battle with hostile Utes at the head of his command while on his march to relieve agent Meeker. He had sojourned in Nebraska , had attended Mt. Calvary No. 1 while here, and he was buried from the Asylum of Mt. Calvary No. 1, which was, "handsomely and richly draped, and the services very impressive."

Grand Commander Marlay, 1881, must have been a night owl. His crew arrived at Tecumseh at 10 a.m. one morning, set up the Asylum, and conferred all the Templar degrees, completing those at 6 a. m. the following morning! The Grand Commander reported, "The banquet at one o'clock in the morning was as pleasant to the taste as it was agreeable to the eye." He then pulled similar shifts at Fremont and at Hastings that same year.

A large contingent of Sir Knights attended the Triennial Conclave in Chicago, traveling by train. From the reports given by the Grand Commander and Grand Recorder, it must have been quite a trip.

From 1871 to 1883, a little more than eleven years, the Grand Commandery of Nebraska had made considerable progress. At its founding, it had 176 members in four Commanderies; now there were 546 members in thirteen Commanderies. That the membership was active there is no question. An example of that is seen in the "more than 120 members in the Triennial parade in Chicago in 1880 out of a reported membership of 385 at that year's annual conclave. This is fully 31% of the membership!

There had been growing pains, as with any organization. It was not until 1877 that the Deputy Grand Commander was advanced to the honored position of Grand Commander. Sir Knight George Lininiger, who came into the grand line as Grand Captain General had served three years in that position and one year as Grand Generalissimo as of the 1883 report of proceedings. It was not until 1899 that he was finally elected Grand Commander!

It was a continuing source of discontent that the Grand Encampment, while expressing its firm jurisdiction over all Grand Commanderies, had not determined either a standard ritual, or a common Tactics manual for use. There appears to have been during that period at least two rituals and at least six Tactics / drill manuals. Yet, they apparently practiced what they had available for use, as shown in the annual reports of the Grand Commanders in Grand Conclave.

Travel between Commanderies was slow by today's standards, with railroads being used almost exclusively. An example is seen in the Chicago excursion in 1880 when it took approximately nineteen hours to travel from Council Bluffs, IA to Chicago. Regardless of the time involved, the Sir Knights seemed to find it possible to visit other Commanderies as a group for degree work and fellowship.

There are a number of things seen in the condensation of the eleven annual proceedings that are worthy of consideration for us today, not the least of which would be the attention they paid to drill and uniforms.

Many more items of interest are covered in the more expansive summary that you have in hand. You will, I am sure, enjoy reading them.

*Source: "PROCEEDINGS of the GRAND COMMANDERY Knights Templar of Nebraska, 1871 – 1883, Vol I., Printed from the original electrotype plates by order of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska, 1891.

The webmaster of Masonry Nebraska wishes to thank S. K. Fred Wyant for this fine editorial on the first 20 years of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Nebraska.

The following report is the complete summary of the printed proceedings of the first twelve years for those who wish to read further.

NEBRASKA GRAND COMMANDERY

The first twelve years (1871 – 1883)*

A summary of the printed proceedings by Fred O. Wyant, PGC, KCT

On December 28, 1871, four Nebraska Commanderies met in Convention in the Asylum of Mount Calvary Commandery No. 1 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the stated purpose of forming a Grand Commandery for the State of Nebraska. The Convention call had been approved by the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America upon application to him by the four Commanderies. They were Mount Calvary No. 1, Omaha (Sep 1865); Mount Olivet No. 2, Nebraska City (Sep 1868); Mount Carmel No. 3, Brownville (Sep 10, 1871); and Mount Moriah No. 4, Lincoln (Sep 10, 1871). The Grand Master of the Grand Encampment, J. Q. A. Fellows, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was unable to attend, but his designated representative, Sir T. S. Parvin, Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment was there.

The first Right Eminent Grand Commander elect was Sir Harry Porter Deuel, Omaha. (See the attached listing of Grand Officers, 1871 – 1883 for the remaining officers elected and appointed.) Instead of a Tactics Officer, a Grand Captain of the Guard was appointed (Grand Sentinel) with the additional duty of seeing that tactics were properly followed. We also note that instead of the title Sir Knight, which is now used throughout the Grand Commanderies, only "Sir" was prefixed to their names. Sir Parvin constituted the Grand Commandery with a charter date of December 28, 1871.

Nebraska had been a State four years. Membership of the chartering Commanderies was: Mt. Calvary – 101; Mt. Olivet – 38; Mt. Carmel – 15; and Mt. Moriah – 22, a total of 176. There was no law, as now exists, stating that one could not be on the dais of his home Commandery and of the Grand Commandery simultaneously. For example, Sir William E. Hill was the Eminent Commander of Mt. Olivet Commandery when he was installed Deputy Grand Commander, and Sir James M. Hurty was the Eminent Commander of Mt. Moriah Commandery.

The representatives of the four Commanderies donated $20 each to help defray the expenses of the new Grand Commandery. Per capita was set at $1.00 per year; initiation fees paid the Grand Commandery for each new Sir Knight were $2.00; and the Grand Encampment per capita was $.05. Minimum fee to a Commandery for initiation was set at $40.00, a substantial sum then. No salary was granted to the Grand Recorder. The Grand Commander assessed a fee of $1 on each member to provide additional funds.

All new Commanderies were required to select for name one of the sacred mountains. (One sister Grand Commandery noted that we should soon run out of mountains to use, and that indeed, Mt. Calvary is not one of the sacred mountains – the name not appearing in the Bible.)

The group also adopted a set of Statutes and Regulations based on those of Illinois modified to suit this jurisdiction, and a committee on work was appointed to report at the next Grand Conclave on what ritual and tactics should be used. This committee and those that followed it through at least 1883 could not settle, other than on a year-to-year basis, on a ritual and tactics to be used. The Grand Encampment had not decided on a ritual or tactics; indeed, there were two or three rituals in use in the country, and at least six differing tactics (drill) manuals. These two items were a continuing subject for discussion during annual Grand Conclaves.

The first annual conclave of the Grand Commandery met in Lincoln, in the Senate Chamber of the Statehouse on June 19, 1872. All of the Grand Officers were present and all Commanderies were represented. Beginning a tradition, which continues to this day, the minutes of the December 1871 Conclave having been printed and distributed, they dispensed with their reading. R. E. Grand Commander, Deuel, then presented a rather full review of the history of Nebraska's Commanderies, and reported that on January 5, 1872, he had granted a dispensation to the Knights of Plattsmouth, NE to form Mt. Zion Commandery, U.D., (They became No. 5.)

Sir Deuel impressed upon the assembled Knights the necessity for great care in the selection for election of Companions to the Orders. The Commandery degrees, in the order given, were Knight of the Red Cross (now Illustrious Order of the Red Cross), Knight of the Temple (now Order of the Temple), and lastly, Knights of Malta (now Order of Malta and the Mediterranean Pass). This order of conferral of degrees continued for the period covered by this review. He further impressed on the assembled Knights, "…the hope that carefulness and thoroughness will mark all our deliberations. Few things are more to be deplored than hasty legislation, or too much of it. Frequent changes in the laws of any body must breed contempt, and I am sure that this you will avoid by well-considered and mature action." (We can only surmise the conditions he was aware of which prompted those words.)

Twenty-one Knightings had taken place in the six months since the Charter was issued.

The Treasurer's report showed that in addition to the $20 given to start the fund at the Charter Conclave, the special assessment brought in a total of $160. It is apparent that not all paid the assessment and not everyone paid their dues. After expenses, the Treasurer had $169.60 in his accounts. A motion appropriating $50 for the expenses of the Grand Secretary's office for the following year was approved.

One other item of business in 1872 was a vote to support the articles of incorporation of the Masonic Temple Guild of Omaha whose stated purpose was the erection and maintenance of a building in Omaha for Masonic and other purposes.

Appended to the minutes of the 1872 meeting was General Order 3 of the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment deploring the proliferation of "innovation and change" in different areas and reminding the Sir Knights that the "Black Frock Coat" is the uniform coat and, "This can mean nothing else than the frock coat of society, cut in the usual style, of the ordinary length, with such buttons as are usually worn, and those placed in the usual manner."

In 1873, the Annual Conclave was in November. In his address the Grand Commander reported he had granted dispensation to Mount Lebanon Commandery (to become no. 6) to form in Grand Island, NE. He also stated that as the Grand Standard Bearer had been expelled by his Blue Lodge for "gross unmasonic (sic) conduct" he declared the post vacant and appointed another in his place.

The Grand Recorder in his report stated the records of Mt. Olivet Commandery had been destroyed in a fire.

Both Mount Zion Commandery No. 5 and Mt. Lebanon Commandery No. 6 received their charters in 1873.

The Treasurer's report showed a balance after expenses of $472.22. They had spent $190.60 in the sixteen months since the last Grand Conclave, including $95.45 for printing Proceedings. No salaries were paid.

As of this date, neither Grand Commander had visited any but their home Commanderies. Now, it was moved and approved that the Grand Commander, the Grand Prelate and the Grand Lecturer visit the several Commanderies, and "therein confer the Orders of Knighthood in accordance with the work as received by the R. E. Grand Commander from B. B. French, the father of Knighthood in America."

A coat of arms was presented by Grand Recorder Bowen and approved as presented. The shield contained a cross with arms centered and the words, Lex, Lux, Rex, and Dux (law, light, king [or government], and leader or leadership) on the arms, the X being centered and common to all. The motto (vert), "Dominus in Omnibus." (The Lord in all things, or The Lord over all) Also approved were the purchase of a robe for the Grand Prelate, jewels of office for the Grand Officers. (Through 1883, funds were not available for these purchases.) Letters of thanks were voted to several railroads for "acknowledged courtesies" (lower fares for use in attending the Grand session).

The Eminent Commander at the chartering of Mt. Lebanon No 6, Grand Island, was Sir Robert C. Jordan, for whom our Blue Lodge's Jordan medal is named. He had been the Charter Eminent Commander for Mt. Olivet Commandery at Nebraska City in 1868 and had since moved to Grand Island.

There was no Grand Conclave in 1874, with the third annual conclave held January 6, 1875. All conclaves during these twelve years took two days, beginning around 5 p. m. the first day and going as long as needed the second day.

This year a question was raised as to voting privileges for a Past Commander Sir George Lininger of Commandery No. 17, Council Bluffs, now a member of Mt. Calvary No. 1, Omaha (but not a Past Commander there). The committee appointed recommended that he not be entitled to vote, having been in a foreign jurisdiction when Commander, but that he was entitled to attend the proceedings. His right to Grand Commandery membership was denied at this Conclave, but was again raised (twice) in the 1876 Grand Conclave where it was again denied. The second motion for reconsideration was laid over until 1877 where it was approved as one of the first items of business. That same year and the next, he was elected Grand Captain General, and in 1880 was elected Grand Generalissimo. He then toured Europe for some time in 1881 and 1882, and was again elected Grand Captain General in 1883. It was not until 1899 that he was finally elected as the 28th Grand Commander!

Dispensation had been given by the Grand Commander for the forming of Mt. Lebanon Commandery U.D. at Beatrice, he apparently forgetting there was already a Mt. Lebanon Commandery No. 6 at Grand Island. The Charters and Dispensations committee later recommended chartering this new Beatrice Commandery as Mt. Hermon No. 7, which action was approved.

In his address, the Grand Commander called for, "care in our deliberations. Now that we are assembled and all at our posts, let us so remain until our work is done…,and afterwards to the social enjoyments…" (We can read between the lines, having seen our Sir Knights drift from the Asylum to the cookies and coffee pots as the sessions linger.) R. E. Grand Commander Irish continued at some length to deplore the "modern" propensity to "make Masonry and its appendant orders too familiar to the profane, forgetting that our masonic work and labor should be in secret…" (And this was 125 years ago.)

Also at the 1875 conclave, all Past Commanders were made permanent members of the Grand Commandery. There had been 39 knightings, and 30 admissions in the interim, with a net membership of 261 members reported.

The question of proxy votes was raised, it being asked if an officer present could give his proxy to another; can one who is an officer and a past officer cast two votes; and can an officer who is present and also a representative for a subordinate Commandery give his proxy for one of those positions. Those three questions were answered in the negative.

It might be noted at this point that the Grand Commander at each Annual Grand Conclave appointed a number of committees to function during that session. Some years there was a Jurisprudence Committee appointed, consisting of three Sir Knights and some years not. When appointed, this committee did not always consist of all Past Grand Commanders. In 1875, for example, only the Chairman, Robert Furnas was a Past Grand Commander.

The financial reports of the Grand Treasurer and Grand Recorder were received and approved, but no expenditures or balances were printed in the proceedings for this year.

A communication from the Washington National Monument Society soliciting contributions to complete the unfinished obelisk to George Washington was referred to the committee on Finance and Accounts. (And was ignored by them.)

April 25, 1876 was the date of the fourth annual conclave, with five of the Grand Officers absent. (The Grand Senior Warden arrived that evening.) No reason was given for the absences. For the first time, one Commandery was not represented – Mt. Carmel No 3, Brownville.

During the Grand Commander's address, he reported that good intentions aside, he had been unable to visit and inspect the Subordinate Commanderies. One of his recommendations was that the Grand Representatives each submit an annual report of the important actions of the Grand Commandery they represented, thus eliminating the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations. His reasoning was to, "…avoid very much useless matter now contained in the lengthy, and in many cases uninteresting, reviews of (that committee) which, in many cases, I am forced to say, is maintaining the puns and witticisms of a mutual admiration society at great expense."

The Grand Commander further reported that although $250 had been appropriated for the use of the Grand Recorder's office, the funds had not been available. Consequently, the Grand Recorder, Grand Treasurer and the Grand Commander severally signed a note for the amount needed. He requested the note be honored by the Grand Commandery and payment provided for at this time.

Toward the end of his address, he invited their careful consideration to adopting a suitable ritual and drill for (Nebraska); the adoption of a code for the government of trials in a Commandery of Knights Templar; and lastly, he urged, "that this body pronounce and commit itself upon the subjects of profanity and intemperance."

The year saw the first death of a Grand Officer while in line. Sir John Blake, Grand Captain of the Guard and Past Grand Warder (1871-1872) died. He had also been the first Thrice Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council in Nebraska.

The Grand Recorder in his report renewed his recommendation of the 1875 session regarding a record case—"the Grand Commandery has not even a packing box…" The last portion of his report commented on the amount of money he had spent from his own pocket during the year and then stated, "…for which no bills will be presented to the Grand Commandery."

Sir Bowen, Grand Recorder, introduced a resolution to discontinue the allowing of, in an emergency, dispensation to elect applicants without regard to time. This too was referred to the Committee on Statutes and Regulations for their consideration. This committee, not having functioned since its appointment in 1871 appears to have been a convenient "black hole" that swallowed up resolutions a majority didn't care for.

Returns for the year ending October 31, 1875 showed 35 knighted, 4 admitted, and 23 gained by charter (of which 3 were also knighted and thus duplicates.) - a gain of 59, and a net gain of 47 after suspensions, demits and deaths. There was now a total membership of 308. Income was $334.00

Referring to the Grand Commander's address, the special committee appointed to consider it (no jurisprudence committee was appointed this year) presented a resolution regarding intemperance, gambling, and profanity requiring that charges be preferred and Sir Knights who persist in such actions be tried for unknightly (sic) conduct. Any Commandery failing to carry out that order was to be subject to the discipline of the Grand Commander or the Grand Commandery. This was adopted.

Regarding the Grand Recorders recommendations, the same special committee recommended $30 be authorized for the Grand Recorder to purchase a records case. (file cabinet)

On motion, the question of requiring a candidate to also be a Royal and Select Master Mason was postponed indefinitely. (It was not until the 1960s that this finally became a prerequisite.)

On motion, the Grand Commandery of Colorado was accorded recognition.

A motion was made to refund to the Grand Recorder the $100 he had spent of his own funds, which being declined by him, he was voted the thanks of the Grand Commandery. It was further approved that a sum of not more than $60 be spent to obtain a suitable testimonial for Past Grand Commander Oakley.

Nearing the end of business, a resolution was presented to strike the requirement that the first four officers had been Commanders of their Subordinate Commanderies. This was laid over to the next Grand Conclave.

The fifth annual conclave of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska met in Lincoln at 2 p.m. 3 April 1877, with all Grand Officers, excepting the Grand Sword Bearer, present. All seven Subordinate Commanderies were represented and a total of 41 Sir Knights were there.

Two provisions of Grand Encampment law not previously accepted by Nebraska were adopted. To wit: Past Commanders of other jurisdictions affiliating with a Nebraska Commandery could be considered for membership in the Grand Commandery on an individual basis, and candidates for the first four offices must be Past Commanders of a Subordinate Commandery.

The address of the Grand Commander was particularly extended and covers a full eleven and one-half pages in the printed report. Three of the recommendations were:

  • That a camp for drill be held each year under the command of the Grand Commander with strict military discipline being observed.
  • As a method of seeing new members in uniform, he recommended the Statutes and Regulations be amended to require each new member to obtain a complete uniform within ninety days of his knighting.
  • That the Grand Captain General be removed from the advancing line, and that he be elected by qualification and not by "promotion." (This recommendation appears to have been ignored, as it is not seen again.)

The Grand Recorder reported that an office had been offered for his use on the second floor of Freemason's Hall in Omaha and which he was to occupy by the end of the month. (April 1877)

He then recommended for consideration, "whether it would not be to the best interests of the Order to require of each one hereafter knighted, the deposit of a sum, the interest of which, at seven or eight per cent, will pay the annual dues assessed to each Knight; this sum, with any surplus interest accrued, to be returned when the Knight honorably leaves the Commandery." (This would appear to be an idea nearly a century ahead of the adoption of a perpetual membership program by the Nebraska Grand Commandery.)

The annual returns for the year ending October 31, 1876 showed 30 knightings, 4 admissions, 6 demits, and one death, with a net membership of 332.

Upon considering the Grand Commander's address, it was moved and adopted that a field camp be held commencing the third day of July under the direction of the Grand Commander and his staff.

The Jurisprudence committee then moved the following, which were adopted:

  • At each Annual Conclave, one-half day be set aside for Templar drill and discipline. (This was done for two years and was not noted again through the period covered by this summary.)
  • With the object of seeing every Sir Knight in uniform, the fee for initiation was raised $50.00 (to $90.00) and each Subordinate Commandery was directed to furnish each new Sir Knight with a uniform costing not less than that amount.

Once again, $150.00 was appropriated for the Grand Recorder salary, and once again it was declined. The sum of $5.00 was voted for the Grand Captain of the Guard. (Who presumably accepted it.)

The sixth annual conclave of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska met on April 30, 1878 at Freemason's Hall, Omaha. The Grand Commandery was opened at 5:20 p.m. Grand Commander James W. Moore being absent, Deputy Grand Commander, Sir D. H. Wheeler presided. There were 36 officers and Sir Knights present.

Mt. Calvary Commandery No 1 having lost their charter in a destructive fire, Grand Commander Moore, on 30 April 1877, issued them a Special Dispensation to form and open a Commandery of Knights Templars and the appendant orders, and to properly discharge the various duties thereof, according to ancient usage. He recommended their charter be reissued at this Conclave. This was subsequently done.

Dispensation was given on November 5, 1877 to open Mt. Sinai Commandery, U.D., at Falls City.

The field encampment took place at Bellevue, Sarpy County. Numbers in attendance were not stated other than that 18 Sir Knights came from Lincoln. They assembled on 3 July and departed on 5 July. On the 4th, the usual orations and festivities of the National holiday of our Country's birth took place and a "mazy" (intricately winding; bewildering) dance was held that evening which many citizens of Bellevue attended. Grand Commander Moore recommended that field camps be continued annually.

The trip to the Triennial commenced on 25 August with thirty-one Sir Knights traveling as a group (by rail). At a change of trains in St. Joseph, MO, the group was met by members of the Commandery of that city, and were their guests at the Pacific Hotel, "of the many good things that were set before us."

At Cleveland, they found the city crowded with Sir Knights and reported that it was said that nearly eight thousand Sir Knights took place in the Tuesday parade, with seventy Commanderies and sixty-four bands in the procession. It was said of the city, "…its Euclid Avenue was the subject of great praise for its rare beauty and magnificence…"

The report of the Grand Recorder included the information that his new office in Freemason's Hall, Omaha, had been open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. six days a week since April 1877. He commended on the failure of the Grand Representatives to report in writing on the doings of the Commanderies they represent. He suggested, "surely it is not from incompetence but rather from inertness that the Knights fail, and if spurred by an injunction from the Grand Commandery, I think we may hope for results that will benefit the Order here and abroad and distinguish this Grand Body."

Grand Recorder Bowen completed his report by requesting directions on storing the electrotype plates of the proceedings and asking authority to print six hundred copies of this year's proceedings.

The next morning, Wednesday, Deputy Grand Commander Wheeler presiding, he presented a communication suggesting the $50 increase in fees (for use in the purchase of a uniform for each new Knight) be suspended for one year. A resolution was promptly submitted to repeal the increase. Both were referred to the Jurisprudence Committee, which returned the next day with a majority and a minority report on the subject. The majority report would require a Commandery to have a full uniform in its possession for a candidate prior to his receiving the Templar Orders, and would repeal the 1877 law adding $50 to the initiation fee.

The minority report (one Sir Knight) recommended that Subordinate Commanderies be ordered to amend their by-laws to require a new Sir Knight to uniform himself within ninety days of his dubbing, and that a paragraph be added to the petition for the Orders stating this requirement and pledging the applicant to comply. The Grand Recorder would be required to provide such petition with the requisite wording to the Subordinate Commanderies. After discussion the minority report was adopted and the majority report rejected. (The Country was in a recession and the money was just not available for new Knights to purchase uniforms.)

The Charters and Dispensations Committee recommended the chartering of Mt. Sinai Commandery No. 8, Falls City, which was adopted.

The Committee on Returns reported that since the Statutes were changed in 1877 to made Subordinate returns due as of the last day of February (rather than October 31) it was their recommendation that that the per capita returns to the Grand Commandery for that period be $1.331/3 per Sir Knight. This was approved. This sixteen-month period saw the knighting of 37, the admission of 2, addition by error of 3, (Nebraska City). There were 18 demits, 1 death and 9 suspensions for a net gain of 14. There were now 342 members in the State.

A resolution to obtain a suitable banner to be awarded to the winner of the drill competition at the annual encampment was adopted, and to pay for it, twenty dollars was appropriated.

The Grand Recorder was commended for his good work and the Grand Commander was authorized to spend $125.00 to procure a suitable testimonial of the Grand Recorder's services. (In the Grand Recorder's report in the 1882 proceedings this was said to be a "presentation uniform.")

A bill of $31.15 to pay the costs of the field encampment of 1877 was presented and ordered paid.

The Grand Recorder was authorized to spend not more than $60.00 for a suitable testimonial for the soon to be Past Grand Commander.

The seventh annual conclave convened in the Asylum of Mt. Moriah Commandery No. 4, Lincoln on Tuesday, April 22, 1879 at 3 p. m. There were thirty officers and Sir Knights present from Nebraska. In addition to these, the Grand Master of Knights Templar, M. E. Sir Vincent Lumbard Hurlbut and the Grand Recorder, Sir Theodore Sutton Parvin, were received with full honors. The Grand Master and Grand Recorder inspected the lines, and the Knights passed in review.

No one was present from Mt. Carmel Commandery No. 3, Brownville.

In his address, Grand Commander Wheeler reported he had issued no dispensations for new Commanderies. He did issue an order in June of 1878 requiring all new Knights be uniformed within ninety days of their knighting and remarked that he had received only two reports from Subordinate Commanderies regarding this order. He further stated that because of the depressed business situation in the state, he had taken no further action to enforce the order, expressing his belief that with the return of better times, the knights would be glad to comply.

September 3 through 5 1878 were the dates for the annual field encampment which took place at Hanscom Park, "near Omaha." (Now bounded by I-480 on the east and Martha Street on the south – almost inner city now.) Every Sir Knight in the state was invited to attend, whether or not he was a member of a Nebraska Commandery. Cost for the encampment was assessed at $2.00 on each attendant Knight. Meals were served in the "Park House" on the grounds, "at the lowest possible cost." Some tents were to be provided by the Quartermaster, but Sir Knights were encouraged to bring their own tents if they could. They were also to provide their own bedding, eating utensils, etc. The prime objective of the field encampment was to be, "recreation and enjoyment, and to this end all necessary modifications of the programme (sic) will be made."

At the encampment, Mt. Calvary Commandery No. 1 and Mt. Moriah Commandery No. 4 competed for the new drill banner authorized at the last Grand Conclave. This was won by Mt. Moriah Commandery No. 4. (They presumably kept it for some time, as there is no recorder of another drill contest through 1883.)

Feeling that the Grand Commandery needed a banner for use in its Conclaves and at Grand Encampments, Grand Commander Wheeler proposed that one be authorized. He also proposed that a special assessment be levied now and secure sufficient funds to defray those expenses. (An assessment of $1.00 per Knight of record on February 28, 1879 was ordered by vote of the Conclave, to be paid within 90 days.)

Grand Commander Wheeler read a communication from the Grand Commander of Mississippi asking for assistance, "because of the terrible affliction that was visited upon the South during last summer and autumn." (Probably the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878.) A letter was sent to each Commandery requesting any assistance they could provide; however, no report was recorded as to the results of that request.

Nebraska was also reported to now be in the tenth district with Sir Knight Parvin as inspector.

The last recommendation in the Grand Commander's address was to make provision for an annual field encampment for the Grand Commandery and its Subordinates. This was subsequently addressed by voting for a field encampment the next fall, but did not address a permanent requirement for the body. (The 1879 field encampment was not held, nor were any others through the 1883 Grand Conclave report.)

The report of the Grand Recorder was fairly brief. He alluded to a lack of funds to carry out his duties and stated, "The difficulties and embarrassments that attend the early growth of any organization, have not held aloof from us."

The Grand Recorder also invited the attention, "to an effort which I made to secure for our Commanderies the benefit of dual existence as militia companies under our State laws." He asked the members to determine if there was any merit in the idea. (Subsequently laid over for consideration at the next Grand Conclave, but never acted upon thereafter.)

It might be noted here that the Grand Recorder and the Grand Treasurer submitted financial reports at each Grand Conclave, which were reviewed and approved. However, other than as indicated, no listing of funds received and disbursed was printed in the annual proceedings.

The Committee on Unfinished Business recommended that the resolution presented in 1878 and laid over requiring all Commanderies to assemble on Good Friday be amended to add Easter and Ascension day as alternative dates. They further recommended that the option to repair to a church or place of public worship be postponed indefinitely. These were adopted. The requirement to elect officers on Good Friday was referred back to the Grand Commandery without recommendation. The Grand Commandery then adopted the requirement to elect officers of Subordinate Commanderies on the first Friday following Easter, with installation of officers-elect to be held on Ascension Day.

Attention was called to the status of Mt. Hermon Commandery No. 7, referring to the law of the Grand Encampment that, "A Commandery failing to meet for twelve consecutive months forfeits all of its rights as a Commandery, and its charter should be arrested." There was a subsequent order to the Grand Recorder to contact Mt. Hermon Commandery and acquaint them with this requirement.

The Committee on returns made their report, which showed Mt. Carmel, Bownville, and Mt. Hermon, Beatrice failing to submit an annual return. Otherwise, there were 16 knightings, 5 admitted, and 18 additions by Charter (Mt. Sinai) for a net gain for the year of 22 members. Mt Calvary No. 1, Omaha, now had 147 members with Mt. Moriah, Lincoln the next largest with 64 members.

One hundred dollars (declined) was voted for the Grand Recorder.

Expenses for the year were allotted as follows: Grand Commander - $9.05; Grand Captain General - $59.90; Grand Recorder - $128.56. The Grand Captain of the Guard was voted $5.00 and the Grand Commander and Grand Recorder were directed to procure a standard and set of jewels for the Grand Commandery at a maximum cost of $300.00.

The eighth annual conclave of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar of Nebraska was held in the Asylum of Mt. Calvary Commandery No. 1, Freemasons Hall, Omaha, commencing at 5 p. m. Tuesday April 6, 1880. There were thirty-three officers and Sir Knights present. Mt. Carmel No. 3, Brownville, was not represented (making two consecutive years) nor was Mt. Sinai, No. 8. Falls City.

In his address, the Grand Commander spent some time commenting on the return of prosperity to the region, saying in part, "The iron bands of civilization are connecting points hitherto remote, and are making all parts of our state accessible by rail." He further stated, "Science has annihilated space, and we talk as it were face to face." (Telephones).

In this address we find the first report of a cornerstone laying, where on May 26, 1879, Mt. Sinai was granted dispensation to assist with such project for a soldiers' monument in Steele Cemetery, Falls City.

October 16, 1879, he issued a dispensation to form Mt. Tabor Commandery, U. D. at Fremont, NE. (Their application for a Charter was made at this Grand Conclave and was issued as No. 9.)

Sir Knights at Tecumseh were issued a dispensation on 12 March, 1880 to open Mt. Horeb Commandery, who being formed less than a month before this Grand Conclave asked that their dispensation be continued until the following year, which was granted.

The death of Major Sir Thomas T. Thomburgh, member of DeMolay Mounted Commandery No. 4, Washington D. C. was announced. He had died in a battle with hostile Utes at the head of his command while on his march to relieve agent Meeker. He had sojourned in Nebraska , had attended Mt. Calvary No. 1 while here, and he was buried from the Asylum of Mt. Calvary No. 1, which was, "handsomely and richly draped, and the services very impressive."

As to finances, Grand Commander Thummel said, "Our finances are in bad condition, and to this I invite your attention. We need money; we are in debt. At our last annual conclave an assessment was ordered; the Grand Recorder will, in his report make mention of the several Commands which have not paid the special assessment. Mt. Carmel No. 3 paid their assessment under protest." (Claiming it violated the constitution of the Grand Encampment.) He added, "it is not right that your grand officers should be compelled to pledge their individual names for the support and maintenance of the Grand Commandery."

The Committee on Credentials presented a proxy to the Grand Conclave from Sir Edgar S. Dudley, 1st Lt., U.S. Army to Sir Thomas Sewell for consideration. Lt. Dudley was the Commander of Mt. Moriah No. 4, Lincoln who had been transferred to Maryland sometime after his installation. The proxy was denied and the denial was subsequently appealed to the Grand Master of Templars.

The Committee on Returns reported 16 Knights under suspension (a new category this year) with 32 knightings, 6 admissions, and one gained by other causes (?). There were 7 demits, 4 deaths, 8 suspensions, 1 expulsion, and 1 by other causes. This was a net gain of 18 members, with 385 on the rolls on 28 February 1880. Income for the year was projected at $835.53.

The Grand Recorder and Grand Treasurer presented their financial reports. There was a balance on hand April 7, 1880 of $962.57 ($300 or which, plus interest, were still owed to First National Bank, Lincoln.) It was further revealed that the cost of printing the 1879 proceedings had not been paid, and $175 was appropriated to pay for printing both the 1879 and 1880 proceedings. The Finance Committee also recommended paying off the note at First National Bank when matured, incidental expenses of $38.56 and salary of $100 to Grand Recorder Bowen, and $190 or as much thereof as needed for a Grand Commandery banner. They also recommended the repeal of the funds for Grand Officer jewels, deeming such expenditure "at this time inexpedient." This was approved.

The Triennial Committee reported these arrangements for the Chicago Triennial had been competed:

  • Rooms at the Gardner House hotel, corner of Jackson Street and Michigan Avenue - $3.00 per night.
  • Tentage, (sic) including board, at Lake Front Park, site of the Triennial sessions - $2.25 per night.
  • Fare by rail from Omaha, round-trip was expected to be $15.00 per person.

The afternoon of the second day began with the report of the Grand Recorder. First, he explained the delay in printing the prior year proceedings as being due to lack of funds. He ordered them printed just before this annual conclave so the printer could receive his money within thirty days. He also reported that all but one Commandery had paid the special assessment of the previous year, but that the funds had been slow in coming in. Another unanticipated problem was the loss of the testimonial voted to Past Grand Commander Wheeler in a fire at a Boston warehouse. Apparently the money for it had been advanced and the maker was not insured. He requested another appropriation to provide the testimonial.

Grand Recorder Bowen had received estimates of costs for a banner as follows: of silk, $190, of cashmere, with silk designs, $150, and of entirely cashmere for $125. (They bought the silk banner.) He further stated, "In this matter, if intrusted (sic) to me, I shall (as is my invariable custom) give the Society the benefit of all commissions."

A communication from the Generalissimo and Recorder of Mt. Hermon Commandery No. 7 stating the past difficulties and present prospects of that Command was read and ordered placed on file.

Testimonials were ordered for Past Grand Commanders Wheeler and Thummel at $60 each and the Grand Captain of the Guard was awarded $5 for his labors. (Recall he also served as Tactics officer.)

The action of the Grand Commander relative to assessments paid under protest was sustained on motion of the Jurisprudence Committee.

Further considering the cost of testimonials for Past Grand Commanders, it was moved and adopted that no further testimonials be appropriated. (Finances having improved in 1881, this vote was rescinded.)

It was moved to amend the Statutes and Regulations to increase the fee paid to the Grand Commandery for a new initiate to $5.00 (from $2.00) This was laid over for consideration the following year.

Sir George Lininger (immediate past Grand Generalissimo) being about to visit the old world "for the health and pleasure of himself and family," it was directed by a rising vote that the Grand Recorder and the Grand Commander prepare a certificate "commending him to the knightly courtesy and attention of all courteous Sir Knights and commands with who he may meet during his sojourn abroad."

Commencing at 5 p. m. on April 26, 1881, the ninth annual convocation of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska met in Masonic Hall, Lincoln, NE with twenty-two officers and members present. Sir Joseph K. Marlay, Grand Commander, presided. Sir Eben K. Long, Grand Generalissimo was not in attendance due to the death of his wife.

The Grand Commander's address included the following dispensations:

  • May 24, 1880 to Mt. Calvary No. 1 to assist with the cornerstone laying of the Episcopal cathedral at Omaha the following day.
  • For Mt. Nebo Commandery, U. D., Hastings, on February 21, 1881, with further dispensation on March 18, 1881 to ballot on petitions on the night of their organization.

On May 13, 1880, Mt Tabor Commandery, No 9, Fremont, was constituted with V. E. Sir E. A. Allen, Deputy Grand Commander, as proxy for the Grand Commander.

May 10, 1881, Grand Commander Marlay, together with Sir other Sir Knights journeyed to Tecumseh to superintend the organization of Mt. Horeb Commandery, arriving at 10 a. m. After setting up the asylum for the conferring of the degrees, they adjourned for dinner. At 1 p.m. they opened, and conferred the Order of the Red Cross on thirteen candidates, finishing at 7 p.m. They then paused for supper, meeting again at 8 p.m. to confer the Knight Templar and Order of Malta degrees, completing those at 6 a. m. the following morning! The Grand Commander reported, "The banquet at one o'clock in the morning was as pleasant to the taste as it was agreeable to the eye." (This Commandery received their charter as Mt. Horeb Commandery No. 10 at this Grand Conclave.)

Mt. Tabor Commandery No 9, on 15 July 1880 invited the Grand Commander and others to assist with degree work on seven candidates. They commenced the Order of the Red Cross at 2 p. m. and completed at 7 p. m., apparently breaking for a banquet during that time. They took a break and were shown points of interest in the city. At 8 p. m. they began work on six candidates for the Knights Templar and Knights of Malta degrees. Time of closing was not stated, but all met again the following morning for breakfast and a further tour of the city and surrounding country. (It is apparent that the Sir Knights were not reluctant to keep long days and late hours.)

March 29, 1881 he visited Mt. Nebo Commandery, U.D., Hastings. The train was late, arriving at 11 p.m. Not withstanding the lateness of the hour, all three orders were conferred on two candidates. (No mention was made of the time they finished.) The officers of Mt. Nebo were commended for their equipment and excellent work, and were recommended for a charter at this session. It was granted as Mt. Nebo No. 11.

Grand Commander Marlay reported the Grand Commandery is debt free, "and after paying the expenses for this session, including the appropriations and printing of the proceedings will still have a surplus in the Treasury."

The Grand Commander now reported at length on the difficulties of coordinating the Triennial trip to Chicago. A special train was secured from the Union Pacific to carry Sir Knights from Lincoln to Council Bluffs, then transferring to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific for the ride to Chicago. A fare of $15 per person, round trip, was required. The train left Lincoln July 14, at 11 p.m. and the travelers had sleeper cars, arriving in Council Bluffs and with the travelers transferring to the second train at 5 a. m. After breakfast, the train departed, arriving in Davenport at 2 p. m. where arrangements had been made for dinner. They then continued to Chicago, arriving July 16, at 1 a. m. (About twenty-six hours en route.) After suitable transportation had been secured for the ladies, the Sir Knights formed ranks and marched to their hotel, only to find upon arriving that the rooms they had reserved had been given to others! As the Grand Commander put it, "They were somewhat 'tore up' in mind." Eventually, other rooms were substituted and peace restored. Further consultation with the Chicago Commandery coordinator of housing revealed that what had been intended as rooms for 30,000 grew to be 100,000, and the plans for the camp were revised nine times!

The Grand Parade took place on July 17, and "passed for hours in review." Nebraska was represented by about 120 Knights, who elicited many favorable comments for their drill proficiency. The Grand Commander then briefly reviewed the many receptions and attractions available to those attending, as well as comments on the types of speakers holding forth during the meetings of the Grand Encampment.

He continued with a report on the article printed in the Chicago "Tribune" of 24 August, 1880, accusing the Nebraska battalion of having some fifty members who, having accommodations in the camp (tents) had failed to pay their fees. Grand Commander Marlay, learning of this, ordered the Grand Recorder to send a letter to every Nebraska Commandery ordering a report in writing from each individual Knight attending, along with their receipt for the fees paid. This report was appended to the Grand Recorder's report. The committee appointed to address this matter reported, "…that but twenty-nine members of the Nebraska Battalion had camp accommodations; that twenty-one fully paid therefor; that the remaining eight are in no wise censurable for their failure to pay, being willing so to do but unable to find the proper parties to receive payment. We find the charge untrue both in letter and spirit, and we appreciate (the Triennial Chairman's) refusal to furnish matter for an attack on the reputation of Nebraska Templars."

As to the direction received at the Grand Conclave in 1880 to try and obtain a ritual for the orders from the Grand Encampment Conclave, he reported that none is available from that source.

The Grand Recorder's report indicates that he was also the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, of the Grand Chapter, and of other bodies and that it was, "now too much for one, but not enough for two." He had, therefore removed himself from some of his "minor secretaryships, (sic) this being enabled to devote more time to the Grand Bodies."

The question of the proxy of Sir Dudley being rejected in 1880, as reported above, was on appeal to the Grand Encampment, sustained. (He had been transferred out of state while Commander of Mt. Moriah No 4 and had issued a proxy to a Sir Knight otherwise qualified to carry a proxy.)

The Committee on Returns reported a net gain of 54 during the year, with a total number in Good Standing as of 28 February 1881 of 438 Sir Knights. (They also reported errors in the reports from two Commanderies and requested their recorders be admonished to do a better job in the future.)

The Financial Reports of the Grand Recorder and Grand Treasurer revealed that the Grand Recorder had this year accepted his salary of $100.00, and that a balance of $500.45 was now in the Treasury.

It was moved to change the Grand Conclave from an annual meeting to a Tri-annual meeting. This was, on motion, laid over for consideration in the next Grand Conclave. (This motion was not addressed in the 1882 proceedings.)

The motion of the previous year to change the fees to the Grand Commandery for each new candidate from two dollars to five dollars was approved.

It was moved that the annual dues be decreased from one dollar to seventy-five cents and was laid over for consideration at the next Grand Conclave.

The tenth annual conclave of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska was held beginning 18 April 1882 in the Asylum of Mt. Nebo Commandery No. 11, Masonic Hall, Hastings, with five Grand Officers and three Subordinate Commanderies absent. Twenty-six Officers and Sir Knights attended.

Grand Commander Long, in his address, recounted that when the Grand Commandery was formed there were but thirty-two lodges of Master Masons in Nebraska and now, ten years later, "this number nearly two hundred and fifty percent." (About 80 Lodges).

He continued, "In consequence of a grievous family affliction – the severest trial a man is called upon to endure during our weary journey upon earth – I have refrained from visiting the different commands of the State, unless called thereto by imperative duty…." (Referring to the death of his wife the previous spring.) However, upon the invitation of Mt. Moriah Commandery No 4 through its Commander (Past Grand Commander Marlay) he and forty Sir Knights of Mt. Calvary Commandery No. 1, visited them on the evening of 19 December 1881. The trip was by special train. Upon arrival at the Lincoln Depot, "we found that the rain and mud were severe obstacles to our further progress, but these were soon surmounted by the gallant Knights of Lincoln, who, with omnibuses, herdics (a low hung public carriage with rear entrance and seats along the sides) and private carriages, came to the rescue. Upon arrival at the Asylum they assisted in conferring the Red Cross and Temple Orders, "and then – well, we were entertained until the breaking day warned us that our 'special' was ready for our return."

January 14, 1882, Grand Commander Long issued his dispensation to the Sir Knights of Kearney, Buffalo County, to open and hold a Commandery of Knights Templar, and the appendant orders under the title of Mt. Hebron Commandery, U. D.

General Order No. 2 by the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment appointed Past Grand Commander Wheeler as the inspector of the Iowa – Nebraska district. (These are now part of the North Central Department.)

Following the assassination of President Garfield, a Knight Templar, the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment issued his General Order No. 4 directing that all Asylum banners and swords be draped in mourning for a period of forty days as an expression of our bereavement. Grand Commander Long issued a similar order, a copy of which was sent to the White House and acknowledged by Secretary of State James G. Blaine. Mt. Moriah Commandery No. 4 attended a public memorial service for President Garfield in full uniform, and Mt. Calvary Commandery No. 1 held a memorial service in their asylum on the same date and time as he was laid to rest in Ohio.

Now came the recommendation to rescind the first resolution offered in this Grand Commandery that new Commanderies be required to select the name of a sacred mountain for their Commandery. The names were used up, as prophesied by a sister Grand Commandery the year it was adopted. This recommendation was adopted after being amended to, require that Scriptural names and places be used.

He further recommended that the resolution requiring installation of Commandery officers on Ascension Day be changed to read, "on or before Ascension Day." This recommendation was adopted.

As his last recommendation, he asked that the Committee on Foreign Correspondence be resuscitated. While not saying it in so many words, the inference was that the Grand Representatives did not give a clear picture of the nature of the Nebraska Grand Commandery to their correspondents. (Done during the 1883 Grand Conclave.)

The report of the Grand Recorder began by stating, "As promised in my last annual report, I have relinquished all occupation but that of the Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, Grand Commandery and my farm; and I find these quite sufficient to fully absorb my time."

Early in his report, Grand Recorder Bowen called attention to the various items approved over the years by the Grand Commandery, but not yet provided. None of these had been purchased because of a lack of funds.

The Grand Recorder also presented, "the warrant, statement of work, proposed by-laws, petition for charter, and eight (8) demits of Mount Hebron Commandery, U. D." (Chartered as Mt. Hebron, No. 12, Kearney, at this session.)

The Committee on Returns reported that all but one return (report of subordinate Commandery) were accurate and recommended the referral of that return to the Grand Recorder for correction. They found a net gain of 47 Sir Knights for the year, with 485 members in good standing on 28 February 1882. Mt. Hermon, No. 7 led the Commands with 12 Knightings. Mt. Calvary, No 1, had 143 members, and Mt. Moriah, No 4 had 82.

The Committee on unfinished business recommended the proposal to reduce the dues to $.75 be defeated. The report of the committee was adopted.

The financial report found a balance on hand, 17 April 1882, of $148.75, with three Commanderies not having paid their 1881 dues as of that date. (The balance was $500.45 at the 1881 Grand Conclave.) The sum of $100.00 was voted to the Grand Recorder for his services during the past year.

It was voted to have the Grand Recorder secure a steel plate engraving (picture) of the Grand Commander for printing with the proceedings with the cost being paid by the Grand Commandery.

The Committee on Finance and Accounts referred the recommendations of the Grand Recorder to the Grand Commandery as a whole, with the following actions ordered:

  • Action regarding jewels, robes for the Grand Prelate, diplomas, etc. was postponed.
  • The Grand Recorder was to furnish each Subordinate Commandery with a compendium (listing of members, etc.) to be paid for by the Commanderies.
  • The uniform voted for the Grand Recorder in 1878 be procured this year.

One hundred dollars was appropriated for office expenses for the incoming year.

The eleventh Grand Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska met in Omaha, NE on Tuesday afternoon, 3 April 1883 with three Grand Officers absent. Nine of the twelve Subordinate Commanderies were represented. There were 31 Officers and Sir Knights in attendance. A question on proxies was referred to a special committee for resolution.

After commenting on the continued prosperity in Nebraska, Grand Commander White, in his address, mentioned the high quality of the petitioners for Knighthood seen in the State, expressing his satisfaction thereof.

Once again we find an example of Sir Knights appearing in uniform as escorts for the Grand Lodge Officers during the laying of a cornerstone, in this instance the Waterman Opera House in Plattsmouth, NE. A dispensation was issued for that occasion, as was another to the Knights of Mt Calvary, No 1, to assist in the laying of the cornerstone for the Douglas County Courthouse, 20 October 1882.

A dispensation was issued to the Sir Knights of North Platte, NE for the establishment of Palestine Commandery, U. D., the first instance of a Nebraska Commandery using a scriptural name rather than the name of a sacred mountain.

In an instance of fraternal cooperation between jurisdictions, Sir White gave permission for Ivanhoe Commandery, No. 17 of Council Bluffs, IA, Mt. Calvary Commandery, No. 1, Omaha, and Mt. Moriah Commandery, No 4, Lincoln to join in the celebration of Ascension Day in Omaha. He reported that he, "was deeply impressed with the beautiful ceremonies as rendered, and not withstanding the inclement weather, the ceremonies throughout were an entire success."

Regarding the upcoming Triennial Conclave, Grand Commander White reported railroad fares had been secured of $75 round trip, going and returning on the same railroad and $100 if different railroads are used. He recommended that Nebraska Sir Knights journey as a body. He also called attention to the request of the Triennial Committee that all accommodations be secured through that body for the San Francisco stay.

June 1, 1882, Sir White visited and together with the Officers and Sir Knights of Mt. Nebo Commandery, No. 11, constituted Mt. Hebron Commandery, No 12, Kearney. He reported that the Sir Knights of the new Commandery were in full uniformed, and in display of their Drill and Tactics, "performed evolutions that would surprise some of our older Commanderies. Crosses, stars and triangles were formed in a very creditable manner." The evening banquet provided by the ladies of Kearney, "was a source of wonder to me that in the heart of what a few years ago was considered the great American desert, all the luxuries of an eastern city could be obtained."

Grand Commander White also answered several questions presented to him during the year as follows:

  • Is a dispensation needed to elect any officer of a subordinate Commandery if below the rank of Commander? Answer: No election for any officer of a subordinate Commandery can be held at any time other than that fixed by our constitution and by-laws, unless by dispensation of the Grand Commander.
  • Can a Commandery accept the resignation of a Junior Warden, who has been regularly installed? Answer: Any officer of a subordinate Commandery can offer his resignation except the Commander, Generalissimo and Captain General.
  • At election of officers, is a Sir Knight who has just taken the orders eligible to any office except Commander? Answer: There is no law to prevent a newly created Knight from filling any office in a Commandery.
  • Is a Sir Knight who has not held the office of Generalissimo or Captain General, eligible to the office of Commander? Answer: Any Sir Knight in good standing, and member of a Commandery is eligible to the office of Commander.
  • Is the annual meeting on the first Friday following Easter a stated conclave so that business other than the election of officers may be conducted? Answer: …You can, therefore, transact any business that may regularly come before your Commandery, providing due notice be given to the members thereof, and the nature of the business be included in the call. (See Jurisprudence Committee report on last page, below.)
  • In determining territorial jurisdiction, is it based on the most accessible route or by a straight line? (A companion was required to join the closest Commandery to his residence.) Answer: …straight lines only can govern.
  • Can a Knight Templar who has been suspended from a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons be considered in good standing? If not, what is the proper course to pursue? Answer: (No) A certificate is to be obtained from his Chapter stating the date of suspension, the cause thereof, and showing jurisdiction, then read in conclave, recorded in the minutes, and the Knight declared divested of his Knightly rank and privileges.

Reference was made to General Order No. 5 of the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment. Since the Grand Commander determined that none of its provisions were being violated by Nebraska Commanderies, he did not forward it to them, but stated it would be read in this conclave, as directed. (This General Order makes very interesting reading, but is too lengthy to be covered here. It did not directly affect the Sir Knights of Nebraska.)

The address was referred to a committee of three so that the work of the evening could be attended. (The Jurisprudence Committee these days reviews the Grand Commander's address ahead of time and is ready to report on it immediately.)

The next morning the Grand Recorder gave his report. In it, he presented the petition of Palestine Commandery, U.D., for a charter, which was subsequently approved as No.13.

Grand Recorder Bowen continued with comments about his reasons for not having supplied the compendiums ordered at the last Grand Conclave, saying they were certainly needed. "In this connection, your Grand Recorder asks for a decision whether, by virtue of his office, he has the right to visit Subordinate Commanderies, and the right to require corrections or errors in the rosters of members of Nebraska Commanderies." (Referred to Jurisprudence)

The special committee on proxies appointed the previous day made its report. "A member can have but one vote in his own right, in a Grand Commandery; nor can he vote personally in one capacity and by proxy in another. Hence an officer of a subordinate Commandery, although the others are absent, cannot [in the Grand Commandery] cast more than one vote, unless he holds the duly authenticated proxies of the absent officers." On motion, this was adopted. Then another motion was offered and adopted to submit the question of proxies to the Grand Encampment. (Some Sir Knights were not happy with the first decision.)

A resolution, adopted by two-thirds vote, empowered the Grand Commander and his staff to make all of the necessary arrangements for the Triennial Conclave and appropriated $150.00 or as much thereof that might be necessary to defray the legitimate expenses of such arrangements.

The Jurisprudence Committee reported their approval of all the decisions and answers to the questions asked of the Grand Commander with the exception that the meeting to elect officers on the first Friday after Easter is a regular conclave and no special notice is required to the membership to conduct any business at that meeting. They also recommended that these decisions become a part of Nebraska Grand Commandery law.

They further recommended that the Grand Recorder does have the power and authority to visit subordinate Commanderies, to inspect their records, and to require correction thereof.

The recommendations of the Jurisprudence Committee were approved.

The report of the Grand Treasurer, and Grand Recorder showed a balance on hand, 16 February of $4.87, to which was added on 3 April 1883 the sum of $854.50 giving a balance that date of $859.37, which was affirmed by the Finance and Accounts Committee.

This same committee recommended the compendiums approved previously be furnished as quickly as possible. Both reports were adopted.

The Committee on Returns reported a membership on 28 February 1883 of 546, a net increase of 61 from the previous report. Mt. Moriah, No. 4, Lincoln, again claimed the most Knightings with 16, with three admissions and no deaths or demits, for a net gain of 19, nearly a third of the total gained for the year!

The Committee on the Fraternal Dead reported the first death of a Past Grand Commander of Nebraska, that of Sir Knight O. H. Irish (1873) who had removed to Washington City. (District of Columbia)

Before closing, it was resolved that a special committee be appointed to consider the advisability of purchasing jewels for the Grand Officers, and to report at the next Grand Conclave a plan for providing the funds necessary to procure same. The Grand Recorder and two others were appointed.

As a last act of the 1883 Grand Conclave, a rising vote of thanks was given to M.E. Francis E. White for his courteous and efficient discharge of duty as Grand Commander, and $60 was appropriated for a suitable testimonial.

*Source: "PROCEEDINGS of the GRAND COMMANDERY Knights Templar of Nebraska, 1871 – 1883, Vol I., Printed from the original electrotype plates by order of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska, 1891.

    The Cross Before the Crown

One of the finest and most meaningful songs you will ever hear comes from our Senator from Utah, United States Senator Orrin Hatch. He wrote the words to this beautiful song and the music was written by Janice Kapp Perry. If you have not previously downloaded RealPlayer 8 Free Basic, visit Senator Hatch's website at www.hatchmusic.com. Please click on the following address cross(1).ra after downloading RealPlayer. Thank you for this fine music Senator Hatch. To return to the theme music go back or ahead of this page.   

 

Thoughts on Easter and Always

At this time of Easter and always, These are thoughts that we should never forget. As we are Knights Templar and dedicated to our obligations to Christ, may we always remember on what principals our Nation was founded and the History which has come after it. The following article was written by a Noble Shriner, Abel Quinones, from the National Sojourners and I Quote:    

   This is worth remembering, because it is true. It's familiar territory, but those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this.  Our courts have seen to that!

      Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed, Christians?   That they all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention.  It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.

     Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death"; but in current textbooks, the context of these words is omitted.  Here is what he actually said: "An appeal to  arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone.  There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations.  The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone.  Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price  of chains and slavery?  Forbid it Almighty God.  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

     These sentences have been erased from our textbooks.  Was Patrick Henry a Christian?  The following year, 1776, he wrote this:  "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."

     Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the front of his well-worn Bible:  "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a  disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.  I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator."  He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

     On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this:  "It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

     Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."

     In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution:  "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."

     William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963.  President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation."  Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey:  "The Christian religion is the religion of our country.  From it are derived our nation, on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe.  On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free Institutions.  From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures.  From all these extracts from the Bible, I make no apology."

     Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636.  In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures:  "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies, is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and   therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."

     James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."

     Today, we are asking God to bless America. But, how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him?  Prior to September 11, He was not welcome in America.  Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks.  Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.

     You are encouraged to share with others, so that the truth of our nation's history will be told.  John 3:16.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life!

     This information shared is only a drop of cement to help secure a foundation that is crumbling daily in a losing war that most of the country doesn't even know is raging on, in, and around them...

     Please do your bit and share this with as many as possible and make the ill-informed aware of what they once had.


Abel Quinones
National Sojouners
Monterey Bay Chapter
"As Masonic Brothers of the Armed Forces past and present
We shall stand together protect our American Masonic Colonial Heritage."

                

 RECEPTION OF GRAND OFFICERS FOR 2005

You are cordially invited to attend the Reception of Grand Officers of the Grand York Rite of Nebraska on Saturday, April 30th, 2005 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Hastings Masonic Temple, 411 North Hastings Ave, Hastings, Nebraska. All Masons and non-Masons are welcome.

THE 2005 TRIENNIAL SESSIONS  OF THE GENERAL GRAND CHAPTER & COUNCIL

The 66th Triennial Session of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International, and The 42nd Triennial Session of the General Grand Council Cryptic Masons International are to be held Sunday, October 2nd through Tuesday October 4th, 2005, at Rapid City, South Dakota. Reservations must be made by calling Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center 1-800-528-1234. For Sessions Registration Contact Carl Pengra, 22745 151st Ave., Box Elder, S.D. Ph. 605-923-5551 or E-Mail: cpengra@msn.com    

 

SESOSTRIS SHRINE SPRING CEREMONIAL

On Saturday, May 14th, 2005, Sesostris Shrine will  hold its Spring Ceremonial. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

                                                            Genesis

                                      An Historical Memorial

                                    Tecumseh, Nebraska , December 1st, 1919  

To the Officers and Members of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar of Nebraska; To the Officers and Members of Subordinate Commanderies of this Grand Jurisdiction: and to all to whom these presents may come, Greetings:

It is with profound  sorrow that I announce the death of R. E. Sir James Tyler, Past Grand Commander; Born at Husk, Mommouthshire, England, September 26th, 1844 Died at Lincoln, Nebraska , November 1st, 1919

R.E.Sir James Tyler received the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry in St. Johns Lodge #25 A.F.&A.M. Omaha, Nebraska in 1871-1872; he demitted December 4th, 1890 and affiliated with Lincoln Lodge #19, Lincoln, Nebraska, February 3rd 1891. He served as Master for the years 1895 and 1896. He received the degrees of Royal Arch Masonry in Omaha Chapter #1, R.A.M. in 1871-1872 and demitted therefrom December 5th 1876, affiliating with Lincoln Chapter #6 in  February 1877. He served as High Priest of the Chapter from 1886 to 1889, and was elected Secretary in Dec. 1910, serving continuously until his death. He was installed as Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter R.A.M. of Nebraska on December 11th, 1913, serving until December 17th, 1914. The degrees of Royal & Select Master were confered on our Illustrious Sir Knight in 1874 by Omaha Council #1, R.& S.M. He demitted from this Council February 5th, 1887, and affiliated with Lincoln Council #4, and was Master thereof for 1893 and 1894. He was elected Recorder December 14th, 1910, and served in that position until his death. He was installed as Grand Master of the Grand Council, R. & S.M. of Nebraska December 15th, 1897, filling that position until December 14th, 1898. He received the orders of Knighthood in Mt Moriah Commandery #4, Lincoln, Nebraska April 16, 1877, and was installed as Commander in 1882. He was installed as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Nebraska on April 18, 1912, and served until April 3rd, 1913. The record of service given above is only a small part of the Masonic Labors of our distinguished frater. For nearly 40 years he was a faithful officer, prompt and zealous in discharging the duties of the serveral stations he was called upon to fill. His fidelity in minor positions won him the respect and confidence of his brethren, who bestowed upon him the highest honors at their disposal, and he was worthy of all of them. In the position of commanding officer of Knights Templar, our R.E. frater was at his best. He enjoyed this part of the work, and had made himself proficient in Knights Templar Tactics. In recognition of his marked ability in this line, he served as Captain General of Mount Moriah #4 for 19 years, and was occupying that station at his death. R.E.Sir James Tyler came to the United States in 1870, locating in N.Y. City; from there he went to St. Louis, Missouri, where he received the appointment of Superintendent of Construction of the Postoffice at Omaha. In this position his services were so satisfactory that he was assigned as Superintendent of Construction  of the postoffice in Lincoln, which is now city hall. He then decided to make Lincoln his home, and opened an office as practicing architect, and he designed and superintended a number of important buildings. For 16 years he served his home city as Water Commissioner. He was a citizen of upright and regular conduct, highly regarded by all who knew him. He was firm in his convictions of right, decisive in business affairs, genial,warmhearted, and good natured, and loyal and stanch to his many friends who will always remember him with pleasure and sincere regard. The place he made for himself in the hearts of the Masonic Fraternity in our Grand Jurisdiction, and especially in the city of Lincoln, where nearly forty-five years of his life was spent, will not be soon filled. Others of course will fill the gap in our ranks, but the memory of R.E. Sir James Tyler, Past Grand Commander, will remain fresh and green for many, many years. The funeral obsequies of our Right Eminent Brother Knight were in charge of Mount Moriah Commandery #4, Knights Templar, of which Sir Knight Tyler had been for many years an honored member. I was present and rendered what assistance was possible. Past Grand Commanders Francis E. White and William J. Turner were also present, the former, assisted by Past Commander John H. Moore, one of Sir Knight Tyler's oldest and best friends, (He was Prelate for Mount Moriah for many years), who acted as Prelate, conducting the ceremonies. Before giving the burial services, Past Commander Moore, in accordance with a request previously made, paid an eloquent and loving tribute of respect to the memory of our deceased frater. The services were conducted in Trinity Episcopal Church, where for a number of years Frater Tyler had been a regular and devoted worshipper, and his remains were laid to rest in the beautiful Wyuka Cemetery, where we left him until the day dawns. As a tribute of respect to our distinguished Sir Knight, it is hereby ordered that this memorial be read in each of our commanderies at the first regular conclave after it has been received, that it be spread in ful on the records thereof, and that for a period of ninety days thereafter the emblems of mourning be displayed in each asylum in this Grand Jurisdiction.  Witness my hand and the seal of the Grand Commandery at Tecumseh, Nebraska, the day and year first written above.   Signed,  John S. Harman, Grand Commander. Attested to by Francis E. White, Grand Recorder. 

Beatrice, Nebraska, February 1st, 1911; To all Knights wheresoever dispersed throughout the world, Sir Knights: With profound sorrow I announce the death of Past Grand Commander R. E. Sir Edgar S. Dudley, Born at Oppenheim, New York, June 14th, 1845, Died at Johnstown, N. Y., January 9th, 1911. Our distinguished frater received the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry in St. Patricks Lodge #4 of Johnstown, N.Y., from which he demitted to join Hancock Lodge #311, of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, serving that lodge as Senior Warden and demitting therefrom to join Lincoln Lodge #19, at Lincoln, Nebraska on January 2nd, 1894. Sir Knight Dudley was also a member fo Johnstown Chapter #78 of Johnstown, N.Y., and of Lincoln Council #4 R.&S.M. of Lincoln, Nebraska. Sir Knight Dudley received his Orders of Knighthood in Holy Cross Commandery #51, of Gloversville, N. Y., in October, 1874, and affiliated with Mount Moriah Commandery #4, Knights Templar of Nebraska, on March 7th, 1887. He served as Commander of the Commandery for the years 1879 and 1880, and as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of K. T. of Nebraska, from April 19th, 1887 to April 10th, 1888. Sir Knight Dudley was appointed Marshal of the First Division of the Templar Parade, at the 31st Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment, K.T. of the United States, held in Chicago, on August 10th, 1910, his military training being of great service to him in this position. The Nebraska Knights Templar attending the conclave greatly enjoyed renewing their aquaintance with this distinguished Sir Knight, his Military duties having taken him away from the State for a number of years. Past Grand Commander Dudley had a long and honorable record as an army officer. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. June 15th, 1870, was advanced through the ranks of 1st Leiutenant, Captain, Major, Lieut. Colonel, Colonel, and retiring as Brigadier General in 1909. He was the first commandant of cadets at the University of Nebraska, and placed the military department of that institution on a firm and lasting foundation. He was Judge Advocate and legal advisor to the military  governors of Cuba from 1898 to 1901, and professor of law and history at the U.S. Military Academy from 1901 to 1909. He was also prominent in Social and Church affairs, and was a vestryman and member of St. John's Episcopal Church of Johnstown. Of a charitable nature, since the founding of the Nebraska Masonic Home, he has always furnished a bountiful Christmas dinner for the residence there. Of General Dudley it could be truly said that he was an ideal soldier, a conscientious Christian gentleman, with all the attributes that make for good citizenship, and a loyal friend and companion. A large circle of friends and aquaintances mourn his death, feeling sincerely the loss of one of natures noblemen, whose place among them will be forever vacant. A public memorial in honor of this distingushed Sir Knight was held in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 20th, 1911, attended by the Governor of the State, the legislature then in session, the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, the cadets of the state university, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Loyal Legion, the Nebraska National Guard, representitives of several Masonic Bodies, and a large number of citizens. Addressed were made and universal sorrow expressed at the loss of this greatly beloved and highly distinguished Past Grand Commander. As a token of respect to the memory of Right Eminent Sir Edgar S. Dudley, it is hereby ordered that this memorial be read at the head of the lines in each commandery in this jurisdiction at the first stated conclave after its receipt, the commandery standing and uncovered, and that for 90 days thereafter the emblems of mourning be displayed therein. Truly and courteously, Noah M. Ryan, Grand Commander Attested to by Francis E. White, Grand Recorder        

Purpose and Activities of the Knights Templar Organization   

Integrity, Obedience, Courage

The Knights Templar is a christian-oriented fraternal organization that was founded in the 11th century. Originally, the Knights Templar were laymen who protected and defended Christians traveling to Jerusalem. These men took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and were renouned for their fierceness and courage in battle.

Today, the Knights Templar display their courage and goodwill in other ways. They organize fund-raising activities such as breakfasts, dinners, dances, and flea markets. They support Masonic-related youth groups, and they raise millions of dollars for medical research and educational assistance.

Templary membership consists of people from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers, clergy, businessmen and entertainment personalities, all of whom profess a belief in the Christian religion.

(This from the Grand Encampment website.)

Masonic Connection

All Knights Templar are members of the world's oldest fraternal organization known as "The Ancient Free And Accepted Masons" or more commonly known as "masons". However, not all masons are Templars. Templary is but a part of the Masonic structure known as the "York Rite Of Freemasonry".

Three Levels Of The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar operate on a local, state and national level. But their religious activities extend across international borders as well. Nationally, there is The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. This unit defines the 11 rituals and laws governing state and local level organizations. The state level is called A Grand Commandery of Knights Templar. This organization represents members of a state or an area of equivalent size. Finally, the local level unit is called a Commandery of Knights Templar. There are almost 1,600 Commanderies in communities across the United States, Germany, Italy and Mexico, with over 260,000 members. Similar bodies exist in other countries as well.

To petition a Commandery of Knights Templar for membership, you must first be a member of a Masonic Lodge and other pre-requisite bodies, and must profess a belief In the Christian Religion. Commanderies organize many social activities, including Ladies Auxiliaries, Drill Competitions, Public Divine Services, Family Picnics, Organized Trips, Dinner Parties and Entertainments, Christmas Observances, Easter Sunrise Services, and Memorial Services.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation

As a Knight Templar, one has many opportunities to help others who are less fortunate. One way is through the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. The Eye Foundation is a Great Humanitarian Charity whose purpose is to provide research, surgical treatment and hospitalization to those who suffer from diseases or injury to the eyes. Cross-eyes, which occurs in children under 16, is one affliction that can lead to blindness if not treated properly.

Concern For Others

Since its inception, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation has spent more than $35 million dollars to help provide medical treatment for those unable to afford it. Today, over 44,000 people have directly benefitted from this financial assistance. And as always, treatments are provided regardless of race, color, creed, age, or national origin.

Research grants, totalling over $2.5 million dollars, have been made to institutions working in the field of Eye Research. Informative films are also available through local commanderies for presentation to churches, PTA meetings and other interested organizations. To its end, the Knights Templar, through the efforts of all its members, is committed to "Helping Others To See."

The Main Mission of the Eye Foundation is"That Others May See." The objectives of the foundation are to provide Research, Surgical Treatment, and Hospitalization for those who suffer from disease, injuries to the eye that if untreated may cause blindness. This also includes cross-eye in children to the age of sixteen years.Persons are provided treatment,surgery, hospitalization in a place of their choosing regardless of Race, creed, color, sex, or origin if they are a resident of the U.S. for one year. Funds are obtained from an assesment from each Knight Templar, from Masonic organizations, fund raising, wills & bequests, donations, and endowment funds.

You can apply for help from any Knight Templar, from the Grand Commandery Office, or the Recorder or Commander, or Webmaster located at the bottom of this page.

 

The Knights Templar Educational Foundation

The Knights Templar Educational Foundation, the first program of its kind, was organized in 1922. Since then, more than $32 million dollars has been loaned to students to complete their last two years of college. This financial assistance is given without regard to race, color, creed, age or Masonic affiliation.

In recent years, some Grand Commanderies have also been offering Scholarship Grants to students who are members of Masonic-related Youth Groups.You can apply for help from any Knight Templar, from the Grand Commandery Office, or the Recorder or Commander, or Webmaster located at the bottom of this page.

               The Knights Templar Holy Land Pilgrimage

In addition to the many religious observances throughout the year, The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar sponsors an annual "Holy Land Pilgrimage". The purpose of the pilgrimage is to send a Christian Minister to The Holy Land. Masonic membership is not required and the Minister can be male or female.

As always, You can apply for help from any Knight Templar, from the Grand Commandery Office, or the Recorder or Commander, or Webmaster located at the bottom of this page.

From the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Kansas comes this composition: DESIDERATA by Max Ehrmann... Go Placidly amid the Noise and Haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly.and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourselves to others, you may become vain and bitter. For always, there will be greater and lessor persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievments as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble. It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be Yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.Take kindly the council of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. Do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with GOD, whatever you conceive HIM to be. Whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all it's sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it still is a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. end.  

 

       Laying of the Cornerstone & Open House of Stromsburg Public Library

The Grand Lodge of Nebraska, The Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Nebraska Honor Guard, and Stromsburg Lodge #126 met at the Stromsburg High Gymnasium on Sunday, March 25th, 2001, at 2:00 p.m. having before opened Lodge for the purpose of laying the cornerstone for the New Stromsburg Public Library. With app. 150 citizens in attendance, the Stromsburg American Legion presented the colors. The invocation was given by Pastor Kerry Relihan and afterward the Mayor of Stromsburg, Elaine Westring, gave her welcome address. Troy Lindsley, Library Board Chairman then gave his introductions and special recognition of the members who helped make the library possible.

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Phillip Lorenzen, of the Grand Lodge A.F.&A.M. of Nebraska was introduced by Troy Lindsley and after his opening remarks, proceeded to lay the Cornerstone with the help of his Grand Lodge officers. As the day was somewhat disagreeable, the ceremony took place inside the gymnasium. The oration was given by W. B. John Parsons, Grand Historian, as the Grand Orator, W. B. Dale Anderson, could not be present. Closing remarks were made by Grand Master Phillip Lorenzen. The benediction was given by Rev. Lester Anderson and afterward everyone was invited to tour the Library and enjoy cookies and coffee.

IN MEMORIAL

In Memory of

Omar L. Gottula

Right Eminent Grand Commander - 1975

Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Nebraska

Born: July 17th, 1914

 Steinauer, Nebraska

Died: November 14th, 2004

 Fremont, Nebraska

Visit the Nebraska Grand Commandery Home page at:

http://yorkrite.com/ne/gckt 

(paste this into your browser) 

  

Right Eminent Sir Knight Rev. John F. Dale, Grand Commander of Nebraska

S.K. Bruce T. Anderson, E. Grand Recorder E-Mail: neyorkrite@alltel.net

Nebraska Grand Commandery Website - http://yorkrite.com/ne