True Kindred, Order Of
Benjamin Franklin is credited in the literature of the Order with receiving the degrees in England and bringing the Ritual to America where we are also told it was conferred upon George Washington, he in turn communicating the ceremonies to his wife and that for years it therefore received the name of the Martha Washington Degree. The legend and instruction are taken from the Bible, particularly Genesis iv, 18-23; Ruth I-ii; First Kings vii, 21; Second Chronicles iii, 17, and Proverbs xxxi, 19. Members must be the own kin--hence the name--of Master Masons.
There are three Degrees, True Kindred, Heroine of Jericho, and Good Samaritan, the second obtained after six months probation, the third after one year of the second. A Royal Arch Mason, Prude Parsons of Whitewater, Wisconsin, conferred the Degree in 1853 upon his daughter and the daughter of a Masonic friend. Mrs. J. Mathews of Rockland, Wisconsin, received the Degree in the early fifties which then was known as the Lady Washington or Martha Washington Degree which during the first part of the Civil War period is credited with many members in Virginia. Several Freemasons in 1894 at San Francisco organized Conclaves.
Among the Californian members was Mrs. M. E. De Geer Gilmore who moved to Chicago and continued the work there until 1905. In the fall of that year the Order was reorganized at the request of several Conclaves. Rituals of 1847, 1851, and 1895 were reported, a Ritual Committee appointed, and a Supreme National Conclave established. The work of the Committee was adopted, but at a meeting of the National Body in Chicago, March 2-3, 1911, a Committee was again appointed which exemplified a Ritual and this, with amendments, was approved, April 10-17, 1911.
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