Another indication of the growth of Muskogee and of Masonry therein is the fact that two new Masonic lodges have been created, now making three in all. Oriental Lodge No. 430 was chartered February 15, 1912, and now has nearly five hundred members. It is very prosperous and is growing rapidly. Trinity Lodge, the baby lodge, was granted a dispensation December 14, 1921, and was granted a charter at the last meeting of the Grand Lodge held at Guthrie in March, 1922. This lodge gives promise of a rapid and healthy Masonic growth.
Muskogee Chapter No. 14, Order Of The Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star began its career in Muskogee under the name of Astra Chapter No. 14, on June 7, 1891. The name “Astra” was afterward changed to “Muskogee.” The first officers of this chapter were : Mrs. Z. T. Walrond, worthy matron ; Patrick J. Byrne, worthy patron ; Mrs. Leo E. Bennett, associate matron; Mrs. Sallie M.. Scott, conductress, and Zachary T. Walrond, secretary. The Star has been and is an auxiliary to all Masonic bodies. It has been especially active and helpful in all charity work. It has contributed much to the Grand Chapter. Mrs. Z. T. Walrond and Mrs. Sallie M. Scott have been grand matrons. Patrick J. Byrne, Zachary T. Walrond, Leo E. Bennett and William M. Crawford have been grand patrons. At this time it has an active and influential membership of over four hundred and is fully equipped with all the necessary paraphernalia to do its work effectively.
Much of the data of this sketch has been obtained from Mr. James A. Scott, who has been actively connected with the various branches of the Masonic fraternity in Muskogee ever since their beginning.
The Knights Of Pythias
Phoenix Lodge, Knights of Pythias No. 3, was instituted in its new castle hall on South Main Street, on the 8th day of March, 1888, by District Deputy Charles Hokey of Hartshorne, with twenty charter members. At midnight of that day a sumptuous banquet was served at the Katy Hotel. The first officers of the lodge were:
Dr. Leo E. Bennett, chancellor commander
William A. Maddin, vice chancellor
E. R. Rulison, master at arms
The lodge grew rapidly from the time of its institution, and it took an active part in the social and civic affairs of the city. When the United States District Court was first opened in Muskogee, its first sessions were held in the castle hall of Phoenix Lodge. When statehood arrived, the Grand lodges of the two territories united into one organization. In the reorganization, Phoenix was permitted to retain its name, but its number was changed from 3 to 103. The lodge is still in a flourishing condition and has a membership of about three hundred.
Independent Order Of Odd Fellows
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a flourishing fraternity in Muskogee County, being represented by eight subordinate lodges in the county. In Muskogee City there are two subordinate lodges, with a combined membership of more than six hundred. There is also one encampment (or Patriarchal branch) numbering in excess of two hundred, and one Canton (or Patriarchs Militant), which is the uniformed branch and highest degree of the Order. Besides these there are two Rebekah orders, being Muskogee Lodge No. 17, and Queen City Lodge No. 310, and one juvenile branch, the Loyal Sons, in process of organization.
Muskogee Lodge No. 38 is the oldest of all the branches of Odd Fellowship in the city and county, being chartered by the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma April 13, 1911, with 198 members. The charter was a re-issue at that time, when the two jurisdictions of Indian Territory and Oklahoma were united. The original charter was issued to Muskogee Lodge No. 25, on September 3, 1894. This lodge now has a membership exceeding three hundred.
Excelsior Lodge No. 612 was instituted in Muskogee October 7, 1913, with a charter membership of twenty-five. This lodge has had a remarkable growth and now numbers 300. Dr. W. W. Osgood, who fostered its organization, will be grand master of Oklahoma in October, 1922.
Muskogee Encampment No. 11 was instituted April 15, 1896, with thirty-six members. It has now over two hundred members. One of its members, R. H. Schofield, is a past grand chief patriarch of Oklahoma.
Wagoner Canton No. 1, Patriarchs Militant, was chartered March 27, 1897, with twenty-three members. A new charter will soon be issued changing the name to Muskogee Canton No. 1.
Muskogee and Muskogee County have been factors that count in the growth of the Order in this state. The Grand Lodge has been entertained by them a number of times, with the usual well-known hospitality of the city. Here was formed, fostered and nursed the great Eastern Oklahoma District Association of Odd Fellows, which comprises twenty-two counties and which has been a power for the Order in the state. And very few years have passed in the history of the Grand Lodge in which Muskogee has not been represented in an official capacity.
It would be difficult to find another city of thirty odd thousand inhabitants that is so well provided with as many different clubs, all working in harmony for the upbuilding of the city, as are now found in Muskogee. No petty jealousies exist among them, but a generous rivalry in all undertakings which tend toward making a better city and a better citizenship.
The Muskogee Chamber Of Commerce
Ever since Muskogee began to aspire to be a city it has maintained an active civic club. Theodore Gulick was for many years the secretary &f the old Commercial Club which-was in existence as far back as 1903, and he filled that office very satisfactorily. He believed in the future of Muskogee and he never missed an opportunity of sounding its praises loud and long, both at home and abroad. Following him, the versatile Col. Clarence Douglas served the city for several years as its Commercial Club secretary. He, also, was a genuine Muskogee booster, and his excellent command of the English language, coupled with a vivid imagination, enabled him to present, at each weekly meeting of the club, such glowing accounts of Muskogee’s future prospects that the club members would immediately increase the selling price of their town lots, feeling sure that Tulsa, McAlester and the other towns of the Territory would soon be suburbs of Muskogee.
A few years ago the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce was organized as the successor of the Commercial Club and the membership was fixed at $25.
Mr. C. C. Lydick, a bright, young Muskogee lawyer, is now the active secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and is filling that position very satisfactorily.
The Rotary Club
The Rotary Club is one of the most active of the civic clubs of the city at this time. At this writing it has taken possession of the city in its attempt to entertain the annual Rotary convention of the district composed of the Rotarians of the states of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago in 1905 and the order has grown very rapidly in numbers and in popularity. The Rotary Club of Muskogee was organized on September 20, 1912, with 156 members, Mr. Stanley Shelor being its first president. Its motto is: “He profits most who serves best,” and its members seem to be striving hard to make its motto a verity.
The Kiwanis Club
The Kiwanis Club of Muskogee sprang into existence on the 28th day of October, 1919. It now has 121 members, most of whom are active business men of the city. The Kiwanians have demonstrated their desire to promote the best interests of the city, first, by advocating the managerial form of government for the city and by heartily supporting the managerial system since its adoption. This club has also taken an active interest in securing the three bridges which will soon span the Arkansas River, thereby adding materially to Muskogee’s trade territory. During the past year the Kiwanis Club has succeeded in getting the names of the streets of the city marked with neat placards at the street intersections and has assisted in building an auto tourists’ camp in the southeastern section of the city which campers have pronounced the most complete in its furnishings of any along the tourists’ highways.
The Lions Club of Muskogee was instituted on October 24, 1916, with forty charter members. The present membership numbers 112. Of the original forty, the following are still active members : T. 0. Bass, F. E. Coss, Dr. A. E. Bonnell, Dr. C. M. Fullenwider, A. D. Peabody, W. L. Lindhard, W. B. Butz and Tams Bixby.
The successive presidents of the club have been Judge H. C. Thurman, J. W. Cosgrove, E. S. Emmert, 0. H. P. Brewer and A. D. Peabody.
The Lions’ code of ethics includes loyalty to country, home, city, business and customers. Its loyalty along these lines has been exemplifiedFirst : By its active cooperation with the Government during the recent World war in selling Liberty Bonds and supporting the Red Cross. Second : By its support of the United Charities of the city, its agitation for good roads and clean streets, and its support of a free soup kitchen for the down-and-outers. Third : By its support and encouragement given to the Boy Scouts of the city in promoting their activities.
The Civitan Club
One of the youngest clubs in the city is the Civitan Club. The local club was organized in June, 1921, and now has a membership of sixty. This club is a Muskogee branch of the International league of Civitans which was established only a few years ago, having for its main object the inculcation of the principles of good citizenship. This club has also interested its members in encouraging the building of good roads in Muskogee County, especially those extending in a southeasterly direction from Muskogee.
The Women’s Clubs Of Muskogee
Muskogee is well supplied with active Women’s Clubs of every kindcivic, literary, musical and patriotic. Of the civic clubs, the Noonday Luncheon club f is the largest. Although it is but three years old, it has a membership of 400. It sponsored community service for the city and raised $5,000 for the first year’s work. The special work to which this club is devoted ‘is the welfare of the girls of the city, and to aid in this task they have established a beautiful camp for the purpose of giving the girls a place to recreate and spend their vacations. The Noonday has been fortunate in being able to secure several prominent lecturers, the latest being Judge Ben Lindsey of Denver, Colo.
The Muskogee Community Service is only two years old but it has accomplished much good work in that time. The Girl Scouts number several hundred, are organized into several different groups and each group is given an occasional outing at one of the Community Service Camps. A large hall, reception room and. kitchen are placed at their service, which are used not only by the scouts but by other groups of girls and women. Public tennis courts and playgrounds have also been established by the Community Service.
The Civic League of Women Voters has a thriving branch in Muskogee, as have also the Women’s Democratic and Republican Clubs.
Women’s Literary Clubs in Muskogee are numerous, the oldest being the New Century Club, founded in 1902, it having been in existence longer than any other club of its kind in the state. The women also have a Shakespeare Club, a History Club, a Delphian Club, a Halcyon Club, a Fortnightly Club and other smaller ones.
The Musical Arts Club is the only large club which devotes its time solely to music. The Saturday Music Club flourished for many years’ but it was abandoned about 1918.
The Muskogee Indian Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is an enthusiastic, hard-working group of patriotic women. It secured the enactment of a state law prohibiting the desecration of the American flag, and it has rendered valuable service to the city and state in various ways. About eighty-five women are enrolled as members of this club.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Women’s Relief Corps are also represented in Muskogee by active Chapters.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union has a large membership in the city and their activity is shown by the fact that they entertained the state convention in 1921.
Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.