The Order of the Eastern Star is an organization conceived in 1850 by Mr. Robert Mc Coy which provides social, charitable and fraternal fellowship. In New York State, there are approximately 48,000 members today.
Our local chapter, Fort Ticonderoga Chapter, was constituted in 1909 with 30 members. This is not a secret organization or religion. However, they do enjoy a distinctive means of identifying each other. Though they are religious in character, the members come from all denominations. The order does not pretend to take the place of a religion or serve as a substitute for a religious belief. However, a member must believe in a supreme being.
A basic teaching of The Order of the Eastern Star is charity. The tradition of its members, helping one another and humankind in general, is practiced extensively. There is an emergency relief and general welfare fund which helps members who have faced disaster, trauma or sudden financial problems; a social service fund which provides financial assistance to members; a cheer fund to send cards and monetary gifts to members, volunteer services to veterans hospitals; an educational assistance fund providing grants to qualified members and their relatives; and a nursing scholarship fund provides money for those pursuing a nursing degree for one, two or three year courses.
In Oriskany the organization supports a home for seniors, assisted living for those who are semi-independent, a day care center and an after school latch-key program.
Over the years many local and regional charities and programs have benefited from OES donations: high school scholarships, cancer fund, toys for children, regional food banks, alzheimer's, arthritis and women's heart health among others. The order sponsors Rainbow, Constellation and Triangle youth groups for young women. In the past there was a Constellation Chapter in Ticonderoga, but at present it is not active.
The local chapter, Fort Ticonderoga #442, was constituted Nov. 23, 1909, with a total of 30 members. Elizabeth Wiley and Eben Woodruff were the Matron and Patron. On Nov.1, 2003, the chapter consolidated with Laetitia Chapter #263 of Mineville and became Fort Ticonderoga Chapter # 263.
This series of articles is compliments of Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, located in the 1888 building at the entrance of Bicentennial Park.