Fraternal organizations played big role
Fraternal organizations played a big role in the community life in Rockdale’s “other side of the tracks.”
Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 23
The exact date for the founding and establishment of Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 23 in Rockdale is not known, but its headquarters still remain in the city of Fort Worth,
According to the records of the late O. E. Wilhite, who served as worshipful master for more than 56 years, it must have begun in the 1930s.
The original masonic hall, located on the corner of Second and Pecan Streets, once served as an early school for beginning Aycock, but is now converted into a residence.
A new masonic hall was built in 1978 on the corner of 3rd and Pecan Streets.
Ralph Shields and Freddie Gray served as secretaries of the Masonic Lodge No. 23 until their demise.
Others who served as officials were the late J. L. Banks, Leroy Tindle and Ernest Phillips.
Pride of Ledbetter Chapter No. 177, Order of Eastern Star
The Order of Eastern Star, Chapter No. 177, for Women, was named for the late business owner
Ruby Lee Ledbetter.
The charter for this organization was issued February 7, 1947.
This group also met in the original Masonic Hall.
Some of the members who served were Ruby Ledbetter, Marcella Wilhite, and Imogene Gray as Worthy Matrons; Evelyn Parker and Doris Phillips, secretaries; and members, Eva Morgan, Sarah E. Tucker, Mellie Johnson, Emma Clara Metcalf, Zenoble Alonzo, Janie Bennett, Myrtle M. Tindle, Johnnie Banks, Ruth M. Boney, Elizabeth Johnson and Susie S. Piper.
Many of these women are now deceased,
The organization was discontinued in Rockdale in 2011.
White Rose Order of Eastern Star
On the second right side of 2nd Street stood another two-story building.
This housed the White Rose Order of Eastern Star.
The late Clemmie Goins served as worthy matron of this organization. Ruthie Nell Kingsbury Page served as secretary.
The lodge no longer operates in Rockdale, but has headquarters in the city of Houston.
The American Woodmen
The American Woodmen Hall, also a two-story building”, stood directly in front of the two-story Masonic Hall, and faced the present Pecan Street.
This was the home of the American
Woodmen, a lodge that was dedicated to the children and young adults.
The late Clemmie Goins, assisted by Selma Lee Turner and Eula Bell Moultry, gave directions to this group of children.
They wore special uniforms on certain days, participated in parades, and often had a display of talent at one of the local churches.
During the early integration years, this lodge was changed into a form of insurance, that still exists.
In addition to a meeting place for the American Woodmen, this hall was often used for parties, dances, and other forms of entertainment.
To be continued.