Early History of the Knights of Pythias
This history appears in Chapter XCI of "History of South
Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. I (1904), pages 526-533 and was
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PYTHIANISM IN SOUTH DAKOTA.
BY CHARLES N. HERREID, P. G. C.
The order of Knights of Pythias was organized in Washington, D. C., on the
19th day of February, 1864, by some eight or ten gentlemen who met by previous
agreement. A ritual, previously prepared, largely by J. H. Rathbone, who is
recognized as the founder of the order, was reported and adopted and Mr.
Rathbone was duly elected worthy chancellor, the first chancellor of the order
in the world.
More than twenty centuries ago, in ancient Syracuse, were enacted the
thrilling historical incidents which form the basis of the magnificent and
impressive ritualistic ceremonies which once seen can never be forgotten. The
sublime exemplification of true friendship on the plains of Sicily by Damon and
Pythias,-two illustrious disciples of Pythagoras,-is the cornerstone of the
splendid and colossal temple of Pythianism. The lofty principles, tenets and
usages of this great organization tend to make men better, more friendly,
charitable, benevolent and patriotic and promote the highest and best interest
"While the operations of the Pythian pioneers in the territory of Dakota,"
says William D. Kennedy, the distinguished Pythian and historian of the order,
"extended to both the northern and southern portions, yet the initial sod was
turned in what is now South Dakota. First official mention is made by Supreme
Chancellor Davis in 1875, when he intimates that members of the order that had
strayed into that then comparatively unknown country we re pressing the
appointment of a deputy, and that he had made none, but, Diogenes-like, awaiting
the finding, as he says, 'of some worthy member' whom he could appoint." In
1876 Jervis W. Carter, of Nebraska Lodge, No. 1, of Omaha, was appointed deputy
supreme chancellor for Dakota. Under date of July 14, 1876, Mr. Carter reported,
writing from Canton, Dakota territory, that he instituted a lodge at Yankton
"about February 20, 1876, with sixteen members." It appears several of the
members migrated to the Black Hills, weakening the lodge, and a second meeting
of this lodge was never held. All efforts to revive this lodge having proved
futile, the remnants of the lodge properties were secured by Arthur C. Phillips,
grand keeper of records and seal, and on October 30, 1889, he instituted Phoenix
Lodge, No.34, turning over to it the relics of the first Pythian lodge in Dakota
Yankton's loss appears to have been Deadwood's gain. On April 13 1879,
the second lodge of the Order of Knights of Pythias in Dakota territory was
instituted in Deadwood by L. B. Schoenfield and named Marco Bozzaris, No.3, with
a membership of sixty. On September 26, 1879, the lodge room, with all records
and property, was destroyed by fire, but meetings were resumed on November 24,
1879. A member of this lodge, writing to W. D. Kennedy, under date of November
5, 1897, thus describes these pioneer days: "The deputy lived many hundred
miles away and we were a hundred miles from the railroad. For several years the
only way we received the password was by getting it while I was in the east on
business." Commenting on this situation, Brother Kennedy says : "Such was its
isolation-but it fought the good fight and is one of the best in the domain."
During the following years seven other lodges were instituted in that
portion of the territory which now constitutes the grand domain of South Dakota,
before the organization of the grand lodge of Dakota territory, to-wit:
General Custer Lodge, No. 4, Central City, instituted by Deputy Supreme
Chancellor A. S. Stewart, of Deadwood, July 2, 1880, with fourteen members.
This lodge had the misfortune to lose all its records by fire on April 25, 1888.
Dakota Lodge, No. 6, of Lead, instituted October 22, 1880, by Deputy
Supreme Chancellor Stewart, of Deadwood, with nineteen members.
Gate City Lodge, No. 8, of Rapid City, was instituted by Hon. John R.
Brennan, deputy supreme chancellor, on January 10, 1883, with thirteen members.
On December 4, 1883. Ivanhoe Lodge. No. 9, of Huron, was also instituted
by Deputy Supreme Chancellor Brennan, with twenty- four members. This lodge
was, on April 14, 1886, declared defunct, and the name Ivanhoe given to Lodge
No.41, at Dell Rapids.
Castle Lodge. No. 10, of Chamberlain, was instituted December 28, 1883.
This lodge also became defunct, but in January, 1886, a new lodge was instituted
by Deputy Supreme Chancellor A. H. Daniels, who reported as follows: "It was
really a new lodge, as I declared the lodge defunct, and proceeded to institute
the new one."
Damascus Lodge. No. 11, of Mitchell, was instituted March 31, 1884, by
Deputy Supreme Chancellor A. H. Daniels, with twelve members.
Dauntless Lodge, No. 13, of Brookings, was instituted February 6, 1885,
but on record of its membership is available. The only relic among the archives
is an old ledger, and on the fly-leaf, in the handwriting of Arthur C. Phillips,
then grand keeper of records and seal, is the following legend: "This lodge was
declared defunct by Grand Chancellor J. F. Edmonds, on July 26, 1889." On May
22, 1894, an effort was made to organize as a successor to Dauntless Lodge.
Peerless Lodge, No. 61, but, like its predecessor, it soon became defunct, and
was so declared on December 24, 1900.
These were the lodges.-nine in number,-together with four lodges existing
in that portion of Dakota territory which now constitutes the state of North
Dakota, which through their representatives, in the city of Huron, on April 30,
1885, met and organized the grand lodge Order of Knights of Pythias for the
domain of Dakota territory. While Dakota was under the direct supervision of
the supreme lodge the deputy supreme chancellors in charge of that territory
were as follows, in the order named Jervis W. Carter, a past grand chancellor
from Nebraska Lodge, No. 1, of Omaha; D. J. Tallant, a member of Grand Forks
Lodge, No. 2 John R. Brenman, who by historian W. D. Kennedy is described as
follows : "John R. Brenman, who came from Colorado, was a faithful, earnest and
efficient officer. To him was due the salvation of the order in Dakota at that
time." Continuing, Mr. Kennedy says : "Brother John Westdahl, of Huron, was the
last deputy, and he also did good service.
The convention was called to order in Castle Hall of Ivanhoe Lodge in
Huron, at three o'clock P. M., by Deputy Supreme Chancellor John Westdahl, who
introduced Hon. John Van Valkenberg, of Iowa, supreme chancellor of the world,
to preside. (Souvenir History of the Knights of Pythias, by Arthur C. Phillips,
grand keeper of records and seal.) The organization was completed by the
appointment of the following officers of the Lodge of Emergency: J. E. Elson,
past supreme chancellor; John Van Valkenberg, supreme chancellor; John
Westdahl, supreme vice-chancellor ; W. T. Collins, supreme prelate; C. B.
Ambrose, supreme master of exchequer; D. H. Metcalf, supreme keeper of records
and seal; J. W. McDonald, supreme master-at-arms; R. Sturgeon, supreme inner
guard; R. W. Cutts, supreme outer guard.
The committee on credentials reported the following representatives
entitled to seats in the grand lodge:
Grand Forks Lodge, No.2, W. T. Collins, R. W. Cutts;
Marco Bozzaris, No. 3, J. F. Edmonds, L. Council ;
General Custer, No. 4, J. W. McDonald, C. H. Kamman;
Dakota, No.6, P. Cohen, L. May (by proxy) ;
Gate City, No.8, J. S. Gantz, W. T. Coad;
Ivanhoe, No. 9, George J. Love, A. W. Wilmarth;
Castle, No. 10, K. Sturgeon, A. Ingliss;
Damascus, No. 11, A. H. Daniels, C. W. Emerson;
Myrtle, No. 12, A. G. Clark, J. W. Carroll;
Dauntless, No. 13, H. P. Finigan, George W. Hopp;
St. Elmo, No. 15, W. L. Black.
They also reported the past chancellor certificates of C. L. Davis and George A.
Mathews, of No. 13, as being correct.
After conferring the grand lodge rank, the following officers were elected
and duly installed : Past grand chancellor, Russell W. Cutts, of Grand Forks;
grand chancellor, George J. Love, Huron; grand vice-chancellor, J. F. Fdmonds,
of Deadwood; grand prelate, W. T. Collins, of Grand Forks; grand master of
exchequer, A. H. Daniels, of Mitchell ; grand keeper records and seal, C. L.
Davis, of Brookings; grand master-at-arms, W. Laird Black, of Bismarck ; grand
inside guard, R. Sturgeon, of Chamberlain ; grand outside guard, J. S. Gantz, of
Rapid City; supreme representatives, John Westdahl, of Huron; Albert G. Clark,
Constitutions for the grand and subordinate lodges were adopted at this
meeting. The secret work of the order was exemplified by the supreme
chancellor, after which the first grand lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Dakota
territory, duly adjourned.
The second grand lodge convened June 15, 1886, in Rapid City. Six new
lodges had been instituted during the year, viz : Kimball, No. 14, at Kimball
(charter surrendered February 10, 1892); Tristocotyn, No. 17, Watertown;
Granite, No. 18, Sioux Falls; Wahpeton, No. 20, Wahpeton; Fidelity, No. 21,
Woonsocket; Calanthe, No. 22, Miller. During the year the lodges at Casselton,
Fargo and Huron became defunct. The following officers were elected for the
ensuing year: Grand chancellor, Lawrence Connell, Deadwood; grand vice-
chancellor, A. H. Daniels, Mitchell; grand prelate, Frank E. Ketchum, Huron;
grand keeper of records and seal. C. L. Davis, Brookings; grand master of
exchequer, Jay Wellman, Chamberlain; grand master-at-arms, W. R. Arnold,
Watertown; grand inner guard, J. A. Ebel, Wahpeton; grand outer guard, J. S.
Gantz, Rapid City.
The third meeting of the grand lodge was held in Watertown, commencing
Juhe 21, 1887. The grand chancellor reported continuing interest and activity
within the order and four new lodges: Ivy, No. 23, Redfield; Cyprus, No. 24,
Alexandria; Armour, No. 25, Armour; and Malta, No. 26, Faulkton. The officers
elected at this session were: Grand chancellor, H. E. Gates, Kimball; grand
vice-chancellor, W. R. Arnold, Watertown; grand prelate, E. W. Murray, Redfield;
grand keeper records and seal, J. B. Wineman, Grand Forks; grand master of
exchequer, Arthur C. Phillips, Sioux Falls; grand master-at-arms, W. S. Arnold,
Alexandria : grand inner guard, J. P. Cutting, Miller grand outer guard, J. H.
The fourth grand lodge, being an adjourned meeting, was held at Wahpeton
(now North Dakota), August 21, 1888. During the year Damon Lodge, No. 5, at
Fargo, had been reorganized and two new lodges instituted, Gettysburg, No. 27,
at Gettysburg, and Harmony, No. 28, at Plankinton. The election of officers
resulted as follows: Grand chancellor, W. R. Arnold, Watertown; grand vice-
chancellor, George D. Swaine, Wahpeton; grand prelate, R. D. Martin, Mitchell;
grand keeper of records and seal, Arthur C. Phillips, Sioux Falls; grand master
of exchequer, Frank H. Bean, Huron; grand master-at-arms, M. P. Springer,
Faulkton; grand inner guard, George A. Knight, Grand Forks; grand outer guard,
D. O. Root, Woonsocket.
The fifth convention of the grand lodge was held in Sioux Falls July 16,
1889. The grand chancellor reported having instituted two lodges, viz: Crystal,
No. 29, at Valley Springs, March 27, 1889, and Minot, No.30, at Minot (N. D.),
June 7, 1889. With approaching statehood for South and North Dakota,
preliminary steps were taken towards the organization of separate grand lodges
for the new states. The grand officers elected and installed were: Grand
chancellor, J. F. Edmonds, Deadwood; grand vice-chancellor, F. R. Bangs, Grand
Forks; grand prelate, Alexander Jacobson, Huron; grand keeper of records and
seal, Arthur C. Phillips, Sioux Falls; grand master of exchequer, F. H. Bean,
Huron ; grand master-at-arms, D. O. Root, Woonsocket; grand inner guard, W. E.
Tipton, Armour grand outer guard, W. J. Hall, Alexandria.
The sixth and last convention of the grand lodge of Dakota was held in
Mitchell June 17, 1890. Grand Chancellor Edmonds reported an era of unusual
activity during the past year, having traveled over seven thousand miles on
Pythian work," having personally "conferred over five hundred ranks." In this
work he was ably supported by Grand Keeper Records and Seal A. C. Phillips.
Eleven new lodges had been instituted during the year, being "about seventy per
cent." increase in the membership of the order.
In this brief account it is neither necessary nor proper to dwell upon the
controversy relating to the legality of the dissolution of the grand lodge of
Dakota and the formation of the two new grand lodges. On June 18th, "after a
progressive career of five years, one month and twelve days, the grand lodge of
Dakota was formally declared dissolved by the grand chancellor."
At 4 :30 o'clock P. M., on June 18, 1890, "in accordance with the
directions and by the authority of the supreme chancellor, Knights of Pythias of
the World," a provisional supreme lodge was called to order by A. C. Phillips,
past grand keeper records and seal, and Past Grand Chancellor John R. Brenman
was requested to preside. The following lodges in South Dakota were represented
by past chancellors:
Marco Fozzaris, No.3, Deadwood;
General Custer; No. 4, Central City;
Dakota, No.6, Lead City;
Gate City, No.8, Rapid City;
Castle, No. 10, Chamberlain ;
Damascus, No. 11, Mitchell ;
Syracuse, No. 16, Huron;
Trishocotyn, No. 17, Watertown;
Granite, No. 18, Sioux Falls ;
Fidelity, No. 21, Woonsocket;
Calanthe, No. 22, Miller;,
Armour, No. 25, Armour;
Harmony, No. 28, Plankinton;
Crystal, No. 29, Valley Springs;
Minnekahta, No. 32, Hot Springs;
Vermillion, No. 33, Vermillion;
Phoenix, No. 34, Yankton;
Mystic, No.40, Madison;
Ivanhoe, No.41, Dell Rapids;
Hesperian, No. 42, Elk Point.
On June i9th the following officers, having been duly elected, were
installed by acting Supreme Chancellor Brenman : Grand past chancellor, W. C.
Graybill ; grand chancellor, Arthur C. Phillips ; grand vice-chancellor, Frank
Abt; grand prelate, C. A. Maxon ; grand keeper of records and seal, W. E.
Tipton; grand master of exchequer, F. H. West ; grand master-arms, A. D. Keller;
grand inner guard, W. H. Munroe ; grand outer guard, George A. Silsby; supreme
representatives, John R. Brenman and B. R. Howell; grand trustees, C. M. Runkle,
Julian Bennett and D. O. Root. Whereupon the grand lodge of South Dakota was
declared legally instituted. According to the official reports for the term
ending December 31, 1889, the membership of the order was : South Dakota, 783;
North Dakota, 213; total, 996.
The second annual convention was held at Madison, commencing June 2, 1891.
During the year a vast amount of work for the good of the order had been
performed by the grand chancellor. Two new lodges were instituted: Myrtle
Lodge, No.43, at Clark, with a charter list of twenty, and Tin Center, No. 44,
with twenty charter members. The Uniform Rank of the order was reported in a
flourishing condition. During the preceding thirteen months, six divisions were
organized, while preliminary steps were taken for many others. The number of
lodges in good standing at this time was thirty-one. The following officers were
installed for the ensuing term: Grand chancellor, W. E. Tipton; grand vice-
chancellor, A. D. Kellar; grand prelate, C. A. Maxon; grand keeper of records
and seal, U. S. G. Cherry; grand master of exchequer, J. A. Trow; grand master-
at-arms, W. H. Timerhoff; grand inner guard, J. C. Calder; grand outer guard, A.
The third annual convention opened in Pierre June 7, 1892, at the
capitol building, in the hall of representatives. Like his predecessor, Grand
Chancellor Tipton had been called upon to render a large number of decisions on
points raised under the new constitution. The order was fortunate in having
during the early days of its existence, in the most prominent positions, men who
were so pre-eminently qualified to discharge their duties with enthusiasm,
fidelity and great ability. During the year lodges had been established as
follows : Danion, No. 45, Bryant; Apollo, No. 46, Springfield; Tyndall, No. 47,
Tyndall; Security. No. 48, Scotland; Triangle, No. 49, Howard; Monte
Christo, No. 50, Beresford; Malta, No. 26, Faulkton; Ivy, No. 23, Redfield, -
the last two named being reorganization of lodges that had practically become
defunct. For the ensuing year the following officers were elected and installed:
Grand chancellor, U. S. G. Cherry; grand vice-chancellor, W. H. Timmerhoff;
grand prelate, J. C. Calder; grand master of the exchequer, J. A. Trow; grand
keeper of records and seal, A. E. Witting grand master-at-arms, D. P. Cree;
grand inner guard, J. W. McDonald; grand outer guard, C. E. Warner.
The fourth aunual convention was held in Chamberlain June 6, 1893. Grand
Chancellor Cherry reported the following additions to the roster during the
year: Fanner, No. 51 ; Canton, No. 52: Menno, No. 53; Centerville, No. 54;
Aberdeen, No. 55; Gettysburg, No. 27 reinstated; Columbia, No. 56; Monitor,
No. 57; Fureka, No. 58. Never had the grand lodge of this state, or its
predecessor, the grand lodge of Dakota, met under such favorable financial
conditions. The receipts of the past year were reported largely in excess of
the receipts of any previous year in the history of the order. The total
membership of the order, December 31, 1892, was 1,763, and a gain of 411 during
the year. For the ensuing year the following officers were elected and
installed: Grand chancellor, A. E. Witting; grand vice-chancellor, F. C. Walton;
grand prelate, J. W. Riley; grand master of exchequer, J. A. Trow; grand keeper
of records and seal, J. C. Calder, grand master-at-arms, J. W. McDonald; grand
inner guard, F. E. Davol, grand outer guard, S. Winter.
In the city of Aberdeen, on June 21, 1894, the officers and
representatives of the order convened for the fifth annual session of the grand
lodge. The postponement from June 5th, the day fixed by the constitution, was
for the purpose of enabling Supreme Chancellor Blackwell to attend the grand
lodge in this domain. Since the last meeting of the grand lodge the following
lodges had been organized: Star Lodge, No. 59, Wakonda; Pythias, No. 60, at
Salem; Peerless, No. 6i, at Brookings (reorganized). For the ensuing term the
following officers were installed: Grand chancellor, Charles T. Howard; grand
vice-chancellor, William M. Lyon; grand prelate. Rev. Henry Wilson; grand keeper
of records and seal, C. E. Warner; grand master of exchequer. J. A. Trow; grand
master-at-arms, F. E. Davol; grand inner guard, F. L. Jackson; grand outer
guard, William S. Mitchell.
The sixth annual session convened in Chamberlain June 4, 1895. The grand
chancellor, among other things. reported as follows : "At the commencement of
my term the discouraging financial conditions of the state were such that it
seemed almost impossible to add to the roster of lodges in this domain. * * *
Much time and labor has been expended." The grand keeper of records and seal
says: "The year just closed has been a remarkable one. The general financial
depression of the country, together with the almost total failure of crops
throughout our state, has been a clog upon the wheels of Pythian enthusiasm that
has much retarded the rapid pace we have been making for the past few years."
However, two new lodges bad been instituted, Hudson Lodge, No. 62, at Hudson,
and Edgemont, No. 63, at Edgemont. The condition of the Endowment Rank of the
domain was reported as follows : Number of sections, 20; number of members,
144; amount of endowment, $240,000, being an increase during the year of 84
members. Shortly after the close of the grand lodge session of 1894, Major
General James R. Caruahan, of Indianapolis, Indiana, visited the state and
organized the First Regiment, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias. The increase in
membership was reported "very fair during the year, hut we have lost heavily
from suspensions from non-payment of dues. This is but natural in a year like
this." The following officers were installed: Grand chancellor, A. D. Keller;
grand vice-chancellor, F. E. Davol: grand prelate, J. Carl Southwick; grand
keeper of records and seal, C. E. Warner; grand master of exchequer, J. E.
Platt; grand master-at-arms, William Mitchell grand inner guard, E. H.
Benedict; grand outer guard, G. B. Enos.
The seventh annual session was held in Yankton, commencing June 3, 1896.
During the year Cotean Lodge, No. 64, at Wilmot, was instituted. Speaking of
the prevailing conditions throughout the country, the grand chancellor said :
"The state of the order in this domain is as good as it could possibly be
expected. The past year has been one of the hardest years financially that this
county has ever experienced, or as it probably will ever experience again. It
seemed that it was all many of us could do to keep soul and body together, and
that every dollar that could he secured in any manner was necessary for our
families. * * The order has at least held its own. That is to say, we have
gained as many, if not more, in membership than we have lost." The report of
the grand keeper of records and seal for the year ending December 31, 1895,
showed total number of members 1,898: loss during the year 95. During the year
the following lodges surrendered their charters: Star, No.59, at Wakonda; Menno,
No. 53. at Menno; Apollo, No. 46. at Springfield; Tyndall, No. 47, at Tyndall.
For the ensuing year the following officers were elected and installed by Past
Grand Chancellor C. T. Howard: Grand chancellor, Charles N. Herreid; grand vice-
chancellor, F. E. Davol; grand prelate, E. H. Benedict; grand keeper of records
and seal, C. E. Warner; grand master of exchequer, J. E. Platt; grand master-
at-arms, William S. Mitchell; grand inner guard, G. B. Enos; grand outer guard,
Charles M. Caton.
The eighth annual session convened in Sioux Falls June 2, 1897. The
official record notes the fact that before the formal opening of the grand lodge
"prayer was offered by Rev. W. H. Jordan, pastor of the First Methodist church
of Sioux Falls,"-the first instance of the kind of which a record had been made
in the history of the order in this domain. The report of the committee on
credentials showed an unusually large attendance. The grand chancellor, among
other things. reported : "In view of the terrible financial depression the
growth of the order in new membership during the year has been remarkable.
There are several places ripe for the institution of new lodges.'' During the
session the grand chancellor presented to Malta Lodge, No. 26, at Faulkton, a
beautiful large silk banner in token of excellence manifested by this lodge
during his term. The new grand lodge officers were installed by Past Grand
Chancellor Keller: Grand chancellor, F. E. Davol; grand vice-chaucellor, E. H.
Benedict; grand prelate, C. H. Cassill ; grand keeper of records and seal, C. E.
Warner; grand master of exchequer, J. E. Platt ; grand master-at-arms, Charles
M. Caton ; grand inner guard, G. B. Enos; grand outer guard, F. S. Emerson.
On the first day of June, 1898, the ninth annual session convened in
Watertown. During the year two new lodges had been organized: Webster, No. 65.
at Webster, and Reservation, No.66, at Sisseton. The grand keeper of records and
seal reported : "We have sustained a net loss during the year of ninety
members, but included in this loss is the membership of Rathbone Lodge, No. 39,
whose charter was suspended." Past Grand Chancellor Herreid presented the
following resolution : "Whereas, the Order of Knights of Pythias is of all
orders the most thoroughly American ; it represents 'one country, one language,
one flag' ; its principles are most thoroughly in touch with the spirit of our
free institutions ; it is most appropriate that as an order we should
conspicuously honor the flag of our country. Therefore, resolved, that every
subordinate lodge in this grand domain is hereby directed to display the
American flag at every regular meeting of the lodge." The resolution was
unanimously adopted. The following officers were installed by Past Supreme
Representative W. E. Tipton: Grand chancellor, F. S. Emerson; grand vice-
chancellor, E. H. Benedict; grand prelate, C. M. Caton; grand keeper of
records and seal, C. E. Warner; grand master of exchequer, J. E. Platt; grand
master-at-arms, H. C. Burch; grand inner guard, G. B. Enos; grand outer guard,
H. F. Cutting.
The tenth annual session of the grand lodge was held at Sioux Falls,
commencing June 7, 1899. The grand chancellor reported: "As a rule the lodges
under your jurisdiction are in a healthy condition. I have had correspondence
in relation to organizing new lodges, but in each case, the failure to organize
could be attributed to hard times." The grand chancellor reported the following
new lodges: General Terry, No. 67, at Terry; Gold Center, No.68, at Keystone;
Spearfish Lodge, No. 69, at Spearfish, and that a warrant had been issued for
the institution of a lodge at Hazel. During the year ending December 31, 1898.
there was a net gain of 169 members. During the year considerable interest had
been manifested in the Uniform Rank. The following officers were installed :
Grand chancellor, J. E. Platt; grand vice-chancellor, C. M. Caton; grand
prelate, H. C. Burch; grand keeper of records and seal, J. Carl Southwick;
grand master of exchequer, C. H. Cassill; grand master-at-arms, J. A. Beck;
grand inner guard, W. J. Markham; grand outer guard, J. E. Patten.
The eleventh annual session was held in Huron, commencing June 6, 1900.
The grand chancellor reported an increase to January 1, 1900, of about sixteen
per cent. Also the following new lodges: De Morris Lodge, No. 71, Belle
Fourche; White Rock, No. 72, at White Rock; Bowdle, No.73, at Bowdle; Century,
No. 74, at Vienna. "Their membership," says the grand chancellor, "is composed
of the best citizens of the towns in which they are located," - a statement
which applies to every lodge of the Order of Knights of Pythias in this domain.
During the year Cypress Lodge, No. 24, at Alexandria, experienced a revival.
Edgemont, No. 63, voluntarily surrendered its charter. This lodge, in 1898, lost
all of its property by fire and it never revived from the shock. The followiug
is a list of the officers for the ensuing year: Grand chancellor, Charles M.
Caton; grand vice-chancellor, H. C. Burch; grand prelate, J. C. Kuney; grand
keeper of records and seal, J. Carl Southwick; grand master of exchequer, C. H.
Cassill; grand master-at-arms, W. J. Markham; grand inner guard. J. E. Patten;
grand outer guard, C. C. Bras.
The twelfth annual session was held at Lead, commencing June 5, 1901. The
grand chancellor reported that he had found it necessarv "to suspend the
charters of six lodges who had not met for from three to five years, viz:
Fidelity, No. 21, Woonsocket; Calanthe, No.22, Miller; Gettysburg, No. 27,
Gettysburg; Security, No. 48, Scotland; Peerless, No. 61, Brookings and
Edgemont, No. 63. Edgemont." The number of members in good standing December 31,
1900, was 2,305, being a net gain during the year 1900 of eighty-five members.
The following officers were installed for the next year : Grand chancellor, H.
C. Burch; grand vice-chancellor, C. E. Warner; grand prelate, W. J. Markham;
grand keeper of records and seal, J. Carl. Southwick; grand master of exchequer,
C. H. Cassill; grand master-at-arms, W. H. Disney; grand inner guard, George D.
Adamson; grand outer guard, J. F. Barry.
The thirteenth convention of the grand lodge convened in Canton June 4,
1902. The grand chancellor reported that while there had been "no gains in
lodges and no great gains in membership, on the whole the subordinate lodges had
made a good healthy growth." In strong contrast with the reports of the former
officers, the grand keeper of records and seal, J. Carl Southwick, in his report
for this year. makes the following cheerful statement: "It is a matter for
congratulation that our members are enjoying material prosperity to an almost
unprecedented extent." The officers for the ensuing year are as follows: Grand
chancellor, C. H. Cassill; grand vice-chancellor, W. J. Markham; grand prelate,
W. H. Disney; grand keeper of records and seal, J. Carl Southwick: grand master
of exchequer, C. A. Fountain; grand master-at-arms, George D. Adamson ; grand
inner guard, F. S. Randolph; grand outer guard. W. A. Roberts.
The fourteenth and last annual convention of the grand lodge convencd in
Yankton June 3. 1903. The grand chancellor reported the local lodges as a rule
in flourishing condition and Pythianism is looking upward. The plan of holding
district meetings has resulted in much good to the order." Two new lodges were
added to thc order during the year, Charles Mix Lodge, No. 75, at Geddes, and
Blunt, No. 76. at Blunt, while Damon Lodge, No. 45, surrendered its charter. In
the Endowment Rank there were, on the 1st of April, 1903, nineteen sections in
this domain, with one hundred and one members, and insurance in force, $158,000.
For the ensuing year the following officers were duly elected and installed:
Grand chancellor, J. Carl Southwick; grand vice-chancellor, Einer Johnson; grand
prelate, W. H. Disney; grand keeper of records and seal, F. S. Randolph; grand
master of exchequer, C. A. Fountain; grand master-at-arms, A. Ericson; grand
inner guard, W. H. Schellinger; grand outer guard, J. J. Urquhart.
The following statement from Major General James R. Carnahan shows the
following condition in the Uniform Rank in good standing in this domain:
Diamond, No. 2, Lead City, Captain H. L. Howard; Deadwood, No. 5, Deadwood,
Captain C. L. Chiniquy ; General Custer, No. 6, Central City, Captain Thomas
O'Connor; Apollo, No. 13, Terry, Captain F. J. Robinson. These compose the First
Battalion, Second Regiment.
The following statement shows the number of lodges and their aggregate
membership on December 31st of each year in the history of the grand lodge of
South Dakota: 1890, 30 lodges, 1,168 members; 1891, 31 lodges, 1,352 members;
1892, 39 lodges, 1,762 members; 1893, 44 lodges, 2,020 members; 1894, 47 lodges,
1,993 members: 1895, 49 lodges, 1,899 members; 1896, 45 lodges, 1,770 members;
1897, 45 lodges, 1,751 members; 1898, 46 lodges, 1,920 members; 1899, 51 lodges,
2,220 members; 1900, 47 lodges, 2,305 members: 1901, 45 lodges, 2,207 members;
1902, 46 lodges, 2,209 members.
This, in brief, brings the story of Pythianism in this grand domain down
to date. The fifteenth annual convention will be held in Mitchell, commencing
June 1, 1904. This order contains among its membership a large number of the
most active and influential men in the state. In closing. I will quote the
language which I used officially in communications to the subordinate lodges and
the grand lodge, while an officer of the order:
The Order of Knights of Pythias has a glorious history and a splendid
literature. I am profoundly impressed with the idea that the principles of
our order should become living realities in the daily life of its membership.
The Order of Knights of Pythias is the most distinctively American
fraternal organization and as such entitled to our greatest adoration. We admit
men upon the broad platform of good morals and right living. It aims to make
every Knight a true man, a good citizen. It is one of the great factors tending
to the successful perpetuity of our glorious republic. In noble deeds and
practical work Pythianism is today helping to make a better history for our
nation, for the world, for humanity. As it seeks to instruct the mind in regard
to the solemn obligations of life, to develop the moral and social virtues, it
is one of the great human institutions of the age, one of the grand forces
arrayed against evil, seeking the present and future good of the human race.
'As long as there are tears to wipe away, sufferings to alleviate, orphans to
educate, widows to care for, and the weak to protect, our noble order will
exist, moving onward and upward in its high and holy mission, with noiseless
step. like the rush of an angel's wing. Its foundations are laid in God's
eternal truth and love.' "