Clara Barton, U.S. Nurse, O.E.S.

Masonic First Day Cover

Clara Barton - American Philanthropist.  Born at Oxford, Massachusetts, December 25, 1821; died at Glen Echo, Maryland, April 12, 1912.  During the Civil War she distributed large quantities of supplies for the relief of wounded soldiers and later organized at Washington a Bureau of Records to aid in the search of missing men.  She identified and marked the graves of more than twelve thousand soldiers at Andersonville, Georgia.  She took part in the International Committee on the Red Cross in the Franco-Prussian War, and was the first president of the American Red Cross until 1904.  She was the author of the American Amendment providing that the Red Cross shall distribute relief not only in war but in times of other calamities.  She later incorporated and became president of the National First Aid of America for rendering first aid to the injured.  There is a reference to her in Masonic Tidings, Milwaukee, December 1927, page 19, entitled Son of founder of Eastern Star tells of the beginning of the Order, in the course of which he says:  "Yes, it is true that my father gave the beloved Clara Barton the degree.  He was making a tour of Massachusetts, lecturing.  When he reached Oxford he received a message from Clara Barton, expressing a desire to receive the degree.  In the parlor of her home, father communicated to her the Order of the Eastern Star.  From this Clara Barton created the great American Red Cross, and cheerfully gave her services to the heroes of the Civil War."  There is also another reference in the New Age (March, 1924, page 178), where Clara Barton s said to have observed when becoming a member of the Order of Eastern Star, "My father was a Mason; to him it was a religion, and for the love and honor I bear him, I am glad to be connected with anything like this."  However, Mrs. Minnie E. Keyes, Grand Secretary, Order of Eastern Star, letter of May 29, 1928, informs us that "The Chapter in Oxford, Massachusetts, was named for her and with her permission in 1898, but she herself did not join until June, 1906.  The Secretary tells me the Minutes of the meeting of June 29, show:  "After a short intermission this Chapter received the great honor of being allowed to confer the degrees of this Order upon our illustrious namesake, Miss Clara Barton.  It was an occasion long to be remembered as with feelings of pride and pleasure we witnessed the work so impressively and gracefully rendered and received.  It was with quite reverential feeling that at this close we were privileged to take her by the hand as our sister."

 

         

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