20 July 2013

Society Saturday: Knights of the Golden Eagle

My great great great grandfather Chrispin Pierson Van Horn (Chrispin - Sarah - Pierson George Still - Lloyd Pierson Still - mom - me) belonged to the Kenilworth Castle #12 of the Knights of the Golden Eagle, according to his personal records. Aside from being a fraternal organization, I have been able to find little on this organization.

From his correspondence, I found that Castle (similar to a Masonic Lodge) #12 was in Philadelphia, which makes sense since he had lived there a while before settling in Mortonville, Chester County. There was a Castle (#9) in Coatesville but he opted not to transfer his membership. I learned from the Chester County Historical Society that the fraternal organization was founded in Baltimore, Maryland 6 February 1873. It was introduced in Pennsylvania on 1 October 1875. Chrispin incidentally lived 1839 to 1902.

A recent search led me to a family historian who wrote of the KGE on her blog "My Ancestors and Me." She linked to a reference from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, titled "Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection of lodge records 1731-1936." The general purpose of the organization was, according to the HSP, to provide moral and intellectual guidance, to provide relief to the sick or unemployed members and give survivor benefits to widows and orphans.

References:
HSP - http://hsp.org/sites/default/files/legacy_files/migrated/findingaid0905lodges.pdf
Phoenix Masonry - http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/kge.htm
 

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