Grand Chapter
of Wyoming
Footprints Through Time

Upton #32, Upton
September 7, 1920

Izelle Sterling
Albert C Harding
     Our charter was granted September 7, 1920, during the Grand Chapter Session at Buffalo, Wyoming.
     We were awarded a flag for the greatest increase of membership. Twenty new members had been added during the first seven months.
     In November 1920, the High School burned to the ground. This affected all the Star members. It was rebuilt and dedicated April 8, 1927. The chapter was asked to help with the celebration of the laying of the corner stone along with the Masons.
     The year of 1921 was a very busy year. We had twenty-four petitions, twenty-three initiations, seven affiliations, four rejections, and five special meetings.
     In the early years, the entertainment after the meetings was dancing or playing cards.
     The year 1924 was a hard year to keep the books balanced. The bank of Upton had closed its doors and the chapter couldn't write checks. Of course, there were bills to be paid. Some checks came back for bills thought to be paid. We were in debt $112.52 and had only $1.00 in cash. The bank reopened in December under the name of Union State Bank. We worked our way out of debt.
     The Masons moved into the Modern Woodsman of America's Hall, in May of 1925, so the Star moved with them. The hall was on the second floor. The first floor was rented by Mr. Danny Rodabaugh for his Harness Shop. The Woodsman building burned down in January of 1929. The chapter had to move again, and this time we would have our own hall. We rented the second floor of the Foster building. The lower part rented for a grocery store. This was located across from the Woodsman Hall, and on Pine Street. At that time, it was called Main Street. Wood had to be carried upstairs to the heating stove, the ashes carried down stairs to trash cans. If mother nature called, you had to go down the stairs to the little house behind the hall. It seems our members had trouble in keeping their sheaf all in tack. The mice liked the grain and would sneak in and help themselves. It was a problem.
     Eastern Star grave markers were purchased in 1927 and placed on the members graves. In 1934 the chapter purchased eight wooden chairs for the center of the chapter room. White covers were made to put over them. A heavy cotton fabric was used and it was the duty of the Conductress and Associate Conductress to wash and iron these, if need be, before each meeting. These chairs had arms on them.
     The first record of what color and make of formals the officers were to wear was in 1938. This is still a tradition.
     On February 23, 1938, we initiated the oldest member ever to be taken into our chapter. Sister Mary Anderson was 83 years old at the time. Two months later she gave a perfect proficiency.
     The third move for the chapter came in November 1940. We moved from the Foster Building to the Messersmith Building on Pine and Second Street, again on the second floor. The lower floor was rented by Mr. Bill Foltz for his grocery store. This time we had furnace heat and inside plumbing.
     When Sister Izelle Stirling, a member of Upton Chapter, was Worthy Grand Matron in 1942, her project was to buy two ambulances for war service. The members of all the chapters were assessed 50 cents each. There were many other donations and money-making projects as well, and on March 30, 1942, a bank draft was sent to the Red Cross for $2,000.00 for which a Clubmobile was purchased.
     On July 12, 1943, the chapter received a letter from Janet Chatten. She served the soldiers doughnuts and coffee, along with other life necessities for the boys in the service. She worked out of the back door of the Clubmobile, along with other volunteers. She wrote how surprised the boys were to see the side of the Clubmobile, painted with the words, "Gifts of the Order of Eastern Star of Wyoming". The letter was sent from somewhere in North Africa.
The chapter voted to pay all member’s dues who were 70 years old and over, starting in January 1951. In 1980 we had to change this rule. Members who were already getting their dues paid were to continue, but we could not pay for any new ones.
     Our all male choir, one of two in the state, was invited to sing at Grand Chapter in 1950. Our Birthday Bank was started in 1956, with proceeds to go for new furniture for the new hall. Now we use it for donations.
     The year 1958 was the first year our all male choir sang clever parodies to distinguished guests as they were introduced at the Official visit. This is a tradition even today, though it is a mixed choir.
     A new piano was purchased in February 1963 and we had a small problem about how to get the old piano down the narrow, boxed-in stairway, and then get the new one up. They carried the old piano up to the hall in 1940 when they moved in, but a light handrail was installed in 1960. One thought was to move both pianos through the windows, but it was decided to remove the handrail instead. This was done successfully without any major catastrophes.
     Upton Chapter No. 32 was honored to have Past Grand Matron Izelle Stirling serve as a Chairman of the Personal Pages of the General Grand Chapter in Washington, D.C., in 1967.The signing of our Altar Bible by the Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron was started in 1971. This is a tradition we still have.
     Brother William Lake presented the chapter with beautiful diamond pins for the four top line officers and five quartz flower pins, the color of the star points, in 1971. They are worn at all special occasions.
     The chapter first made money corsages for the Worthy Grand Matron and Worthy Grand Patron to use for their projects in 1974 and we continue this tradition as well.
     Brother Albert C. Harding was Worthy Grand Patron in 1955. He served the Grand Chapter with Sister Irene Kerr as Worthy Grand Matron.
     Our Brother Donald Gose was elected Grand Sentinel in 1979 and served the Grand Chapter as Worthy Grand Patron in 1982. He presided over the Grand Chapter with Sister Virginia Porter.
     Sister Virginia is a dual member of Newcastle Chapter No. 30, and Upton Chapter No. 32.
     We have a five generation membership, starting with charter members Sister Ella Douglas, mother of Sister Sarah Jenkins, who is mother of Sister Elsie Briggs. They are great grandmother, grandmother and mother to Brother Gene Briggs, present member, along with his daughter Lora (Briggs) Claar.
     Sister Mae Meek and Sister Ida Jones, charter members, are Brother Gene's aunts. Sister Bertha L. Douglas, charter member, is also a great aunt by marriage.
     A new Masonic Hall construction was started in 1966, on the comer of Highway 16 and 2nd Street. The lot was donated by Brother Bob Martens. We had many fund raisers and donations to pay for the new hall. Our first meeting in the hall was September 13, 1967. In February 1969 the chapter celebrated a debt free hall with a pot luck dinner and fun night.
     We have now been in our own hall for nearly 30 years.