Stella Chapter, No. 16

Having completed preparation necessary to request a petition, it was submitted allowing Stella Chapter No. 7, O.E.S. to be instituted on April 1, 1895; the Charter was received on April 21st of that same year. Following several years of struggling for existence, that Chapter was relinquished. We found no records to substantiate the ten years (10) of activities for Stella Chapter No. 7 following that period until 1905. Past Matron Sis. Emma Ceaser was elected Grand Worthy Matron working out of the North Carolina Jurisdiction. When the Grand Chapter was incorporated in New England in 1910 Sis. Ceaser was elected Gand Worthy Matron for the second time … she became Stella Chapter’s First Grand Worthy Matron.

November 7, 1920 found twenty-eight (28) dedicated members of Stella Chapter No. 7, O.E.S. continuing to work toward reorganization: their successful venture in a Charter being secured for Stella No. 16, O.E.S. issued November 21, 1921. The petition was presented by Sisters: Lula Monroe, Marion Hill, Ella Riggs, Emma Ceaser, Mary E. Bell, Martha Francis, Henrietta Chalmers. Brothers: William Chalmers and Frank Hamilton. Chapter Officers at the time of presentation were: Sis. Henrietta Chalmers, Worthy Matron; Bro. John R. Moore, Worthy Patron; Sis. Rella Mitchell, Associate Matron.

The Chapter was issued by Bro. Theron Lew, Grand Worthy Patron, Adah Chapter No. 3, Worchester, MA; Sis. Lina H. Mitchel, Grand Worthy Matron, Oriental Chapter No. 8, Bridgeport, CT; Sis. Ada Bell Griffin, Grand Secretary, Adah Chatper No. 3, Worchester, MA.

In 1950 the members of Stella Chapter, No. 16 was approached by Mrs. Mary E. Barnes with information about a spectacular Cotillion which she had attended in New York City. Immediately a committee of the Starlight Club of Stella Chapter formed its first Cotillion and presented eighteen young black high school age girls as debutantes for that year. These young ladies were sponsored by local individuals or business groups. The primary aim of the committee, along with Mrs. Barnes was "To teach our younger group the educational, spiritual and moral values as they learned to work and play." Each year the Cotillion grew in numbers and additional features such as a souvenir booklet, as a fundraising device, was added and has continued throughout the years. The focus on individual awards to the girls included scholarships to help further their education. Another feature added was sub debs, flower girls, rosebuds and pages. This Cotillion existed for almost 50 years which eventually saw the children of previous debutantes participating in the event. In lieu of the Cotillion Ball, Stella has an annual luncheon where one of our own members are honored. Stella also has an annual five point tea which focuses on the heroines of our Order. Stella strives to be a chapter where peace and harmony prevails and the goals are to promote the spirit, ideals and principals of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Members of Stella Chapter No. 16, O.E.S. motivated to achieve aspirations of being leaders of the Grand Chapter were: Past Grand Worthy Matrons Mae G. Morgan, Annie Belle Goode, Annie M. Bolden, Hyacinth D. Ledbetter, Lucy M. Scruse & Karen E. Dowdell; Past Grand Worthy Patrons Fred Majors, Andrew J. Morgan, Ellsworth E. Tanner, Floyd Davis, Madison Bolden, William Randolph & William R. Clark