Twilight Chapter #66, Order of Eastern Star, was organized in 1897. Marceline was about twelve years old, primitive to say the least. Board walks, heavy lumber was laid for street crossings. There were just dirt streets and much mud when winter came. It was not uncommon for the grocery wagon to bog down and the driver would finally deliver on foot. Such was the setting when Bro. I. Jeff Buster, a dedicated Master Mason, began quietly to promote the idea of an Eastern Star, auxiliary to the Masonic Fraternity. This was a rather novel idea, a lodge for women, and not easy to promote. After some weeks of interviewing those eligible for membership, he had sufficient names on the petition to ask the Grand Chapter for a Charter which was granted in August, 1896. For some reason long forgotten, there was no organization of any kind attempted until 1897.
All arrangements having been made, the petitioners were called for the organization meeting February 25. By this time so many had become interested and signified a desire to become members that Brother Buster, as he was called, gave his place to another and he waited for the next meeting to be initiated. He became our first Sentinel and later Worthy Patron. He held an important place in the chapter and in the hearts of its members for 25 years. His council and advice were sought. He was most highly regarded. Deputy Kelley, Past Grand Patron of Moberly, was present to supervise generally. Sister Laura Greenhalgh, D. D. G. M. of the 11th and 12th Districts, and Laclede Chapter were present and exemplified the Ritual. The following officers were elected and installed:
CHARTER MEMBERS 1896
Minnie Maupin, Worthy Matron; George W. Rogers, Worthy Patron; May N. Johnson, Associate Matron; Rose Tuttle, Secretary; Ada Pendleton, Treasurer; Luella M. Fairchild, Conductress; Carrie A. Smith, Associate Conductress; Rebecca J. Wallar, Chap¬lain; Rose Haas, Adah; Elizabeth Wallar, Ruth; Sadie Fuller, Esther; Flora Haas, Martha; Eunice Hayden, Electa; Lola E. Morrison, Warder. Ella Grubbs, Emma Payne, Lena A. Foster, Daisy D. Rogers, Minnie A. Nickell, Catherina A. Tayler, Francis E. Roots, Martha E. Lyda, Sophia Shook, Flora M. Sloey, Edna G. Roots.
Following the meeting, the Masonic Fraternity banqueted and entertained the entire membership and visiting brothers and sisters at the Alhambra Hotel. At our first meeting a name was chosen, Twilight Chapter. Nine candidates were initiated. These had asked to be on the charter list so special arrangements had been made to admit them.
The new chapter moved slowly and interest lagged. In 1900 a disastrous fire destroyed the Masonic Hall and all O.E.S. equipment except the record books were lost. The next day the Worthy Matron rallied her officers and they purchased new equipment. They met in the Odd Fellows Hall until the Masons acquired a new hall. Growth of the Chapter was steady and by 1912 there were 171 members on the roll.
A new and greater responsibility came to the chapter in 1923-24 when the new temple was dedicated. The chapter furnished the dining room and kitchen, and in the depression years, was a stalwart support to the Masons. By 1924 there were 300 members. In 1904 they helped organize the Rothville chapter which subsequently surrendered its charter but reorganized in 1915. Twilight Chapter assisted them.
In 1905, Twilight Chapter assisted in organizing a chapter in Westville. As the town prospered, so did Twilight Chapter. As of June, 1946, 800 candidates had been admitted to membership.
In 1947, the first 50-year pins were awarded to Sister Catherine Taylor and Sister Elizabeth Hardaway, both charter members. In sequence came Mary Spencer, 1947; Carrie White, 1948; C.U. Murray, 1948; Maude Murray, 1949; Florence Buchanan, 1949; Hannah George, 1952; Ethna Smedley, 1957; Dora Jordon, 1958; Ida Lyle, 1962; Lucile Lancaster, 1962; Corabel Couch, 1962; Alta Hainds, 1962; and Lena Blair, 1962.
In 1912 Sister Jessie Taylor was appointed Grand Esther. Eight District Deputy Grand Matrons have served from this Chapter. They are as follows: Flora May Sloey, Jessie Taylor, Mary Lancaster, Edith Bealmear, Frances Mercer, Jo Gambill, and Helen McDonald.
A Past Matrons Club flourished through the years, sustaining a social interest.
Sister Maude Jewell wrote, arranged, and published the Eastern Star music which was widely used.
Thus has the Order of the Eastern Star lived and prospered in this, our town of Marceline, which this year is celebrating its 75th anniversary.