ORDER OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLES
The Order of the Golden Circle is the women’s auxiliary of the United Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc. The organization was founded in 1907 by then-Lt. Grand Commander and Ill. Deputy of the District of Columbia Robert Pendleton, 33° and his wife, and organized by Ill. Andrew Laster, 33°, as the official auxiliary of the United Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc.
While the organization serves as a quasi-social organization and outlet for the mothers, wives, widows, daughters and sisters, it is essentially the community service oriented sisterhood of the United Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc.
The Order of the Golden Circle meets annually during the Annual Meeting of the United Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc. While gathered, the Loyal Ladies participate in community, health, social and support related functions that are deemed charitable to the order and the public at-large.
The Order of the Golden Circle is also organized with Orient (State) organizations that are led by State Loyal Lady Rulers. The leadership positions are elected by the Loyal Ladies (members) within their respected Orients. Within each Orient the Loyal Ladies participate in local functions correlating to the aspects of service and charity.
Early in the year 1907, certain gentlemen of the Ancient and Accepted Order of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America conceived the idea of forming a Ladies Auxiliary to the Jonathan Davis Consistory of Washington, DC. They felt that, as in other branches of Masonry, their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters could be of great assistance to them and furthermore could partake of such courtesies as these Sublime Princes could offer their feminine relatives.
To Ill. Andrew Laster, 33°, whose untiring zeal was known to these brethren, was given the task of organizing the Auxiliary. Furnishing with the names of certain ladies, prominent in Eastern Star Chapters, he proceeded to organizing the auxiliary, hereafter to be known as the Ladies Auxiliary to Jonathan Davis Consistory. The growth at first was discouragingly slow, but Mr. Laster was of the stuff that pioneers are made, so he visited the ladies urging them to attend and sought out new members.
At many times, only two sometimes one attended the meetings, but he never lost courage. The first president, Mrs. Sarah P. Alexander, labored assiduously until called from the city, when the vice- president, Mrs. Mary Alice Parker, assumed the reins of the government. In October 1907, the Auxiliary received a new impetus, new members were added the old ones took on new zeal, and the auxiliary started on it present course of success.
About this time the now Sov. Gr. Commander, Robert L. Pendleton, 33°, who was then the Illustrious Deputy for the District of Columbia, conceived the idea of conferring degrees upon the Ladies of the Auxiliaries in existence at that time, thus brining them into closer relationship with the Brethren of the Scottish Rite. The title of " Order of the Golden Circle, Auxiliary to the Scottish Rite Freemasonry" having been selected and the ritual prepared by I11. Pendleton, the matter was presented to the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction and adopted by the Body. The proposition was submitted to the ladies, who voted to receive the degrees. All ladies, who at that time were members of the Auxiliary, were to be eligible, but thereafter the membership to be limited to those only possessing Scottish Rite relationship.
May 6, 1908, Ill R.L. Pendleton, assisted by Ills. James 0. Bampfield, Richard Gates, W.H. Severson and Andrew Laster conferred the degrees upon the above named officers. The obligations, signs, and motto were given. The ladies named their assembly, The Richard Howell Gleaves Assembly, No. 2, Order of the Golden Circle. This Assembly was named after the late Richard Howell Gleaves, one of the most prominent Masons in the United States. Born in the early part of the 19th century in that grand old commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in his early manhood, he went to the State of South Carolina.
During the stirring days of reconstruction, he played a prominent part, at one time being the Lieutenant Governor of the State. He was a typical gentleman, courtly and of the Old World type of courtesy. He played a prominent part in the history of Negro Masonry, and the very prosperous condition of Negro Masons of the District of Columbia today is largely due to his tireless efforts. The Ladies felt that no better or fitting memorial could be given him from them than to have his name on their banner under the motto "Peace and Unity." After the officers had received their degrees, notices were sent to the remaining members of the former Auxiliary, and on Tuesday, May 12, 1908, the Auxiliary was now known as The Order of the Golden Circle.
A more beautiful sight cannot be imagined robed in white, blind folded, fifteen ladies were led into the room by the Loyal Lady Guide. After passing through the ordeal of fire and water, the beautiful and sacred obligation was assumed by them, we trust to be kept in all its significance. 111, Deputy Pendleton explained the password and sign. This Assembly was a plant of slow but sturdy growth; it comprised a number of ladies who seemed to be of one family circle. A code of by-laws was adopted in June, 1908, making the Assembly beneficial after years' membership and limiting the benefits to sick dues. They agreed, too, to do charity work in hospitals and to relieve suffering humanity as best they could in a simple way-such as carrying fruit, flowers, magazines, etc.., to the sick who had no friends to provide them.
The symbol, pass and motto of this degree are significant. The Dove within the golden circle signifies the hope that peace shall reign always within our precincts; the Circle, endless union we shall have. Peace be with you!" Can there be a more beautiful sentiment? May it ever abide with us. May strife or dissension never sully the snowy pinions of the Dove!
The Bible upon the altar tells us that- "We need from day to day
A guiding hand for all the way; May our hearts be ever lifted upward; may our Golden Circle be endless as the circle by which it is represented, may peace and unity abide with us forever more!