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History of Montana DeMolay

The founding of the Montana State Chapter, Order of DeMolay

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Part 1

     The first Montana State Conclave was called to order at 4:00 P.M., Saturday, January 26, 1924 in Livingston, Montana. There were sixty-five delegates registered representing thirteen chapters out of nineteen in Montana. Dad R. V. Brown of Livingston presided at the meeting until the State Master Councilor was elected. The Yellowstone Chapter of Livingston hosted this first Conclave. Brother Edgar MacLoud of Bozeman was elected as the first president (State Master Councilor) of Montana. A motion was made that the State Conclave be given some name. It was moved, seconded, and the motion passed that the name shall be the DEMOLAY ASSOCIATION OF MONTANA!!! The next conclave was to be held in Butte, and so the First Conclave of Montana came to a close.

     On January 24, 1925, a temporary set of by-laws was drawn up for the Association. The following qualifications were cited as necessary to be elected President: No DeMolay shall be considered eligible for the Office of President who shall have passed his twentieth birthday. No DeMolay shall be eligible for the Office of President who is not in attendance at the session of the Association at which he is elected. No DeMolay shall be considered eligible for the Office of President who is unable to five assurances that he will be able to attend the annual meeting over which he is elected to preside. The President shall be chosen by a secret caucus of the delegates over which the Vice-President shall preside. Many of the by-laws which were drawn up and approved at the 2nd Conclave are still existent in our Constitution today. Another item of interest which was discussed at the 2nd Conclave was that of admitting chapters of Northern Wyoming to join the DeMolay Association of Montana. It was resolved that the name of “The DeMolay Association of Montana” be changed to “The DeMolay Association of Montana and Northern Wyoming.” This resolution to take effect when, if, and as approved by the Deputies of the Grand Council for the States of Montana and Wyoming. The resolution was soon to be adopted and the new Association organized. The new Association was in existence until 1927 when the DeMolays of Wyoming realized their own strength and organized their own state structure.

     The Montana DeMolays were privileged to have the honor of having Brother Louis G. Lower attend their Conclave in Great Falls, in 1928. Louis G. Lower spoke on behalf of the Grand Council, expressing fraternal greetings from its members, and expressing the regrets of Dad Frank S. Land, Grand Scribe at being unable to attend the Conclave. A plaque of the Founder of the Order, made by the Mrs. Lincoln, mother of the Association Vice-President Carl Patterson, was then placed in the care of Louis Lower by State Deputy Chandler C. Cohagen who strictly charged him to take good care of it and on his return to Kansas City, to present it to Dad Frank S. Land in behalf of the food DeMolay Mother from Montana.

     A few minutes after the opening of the 6th Conclave on February 1, 1929, the whole assembly arose in one tremendous burst of applause as down the center aisle, escorted by Honorable Edward C. Day of Helena, walked the Founder of the Order of DeMolay, Honorable Brother and Dad to millions of DeMolays across the country, Frank Sherman Land of Kansas City, Missouri. After being introduced, Dad Land gave a very inspirational talk on the possibilities of the Order and about his dream for this organization.

     Brother Louis G. Lower continued to attend Montana DeMolay Conclaves as did Dad Frank S. Land. Brother Louis was, in 1931, presented with a ten-gallon cowboy hat by Van DeMark of Miles City. In 1932, William Moser, Vice-President, introduced Louis G. Lower, the first DeMolay, who promptly found himself “adopted and made a full-fledged Montanan by virtue of being presented on behalf of the Frank B. Lewis. Chapter of Bozeman, with a large print of citizenship papers for the state of Montana.” Louis responded by saying that the honor was indeed a great one, and that he was proud of the money friends that he has made at the past four Conclaves and complimented them on their continued interest in the Order of DeMolay.

     By the year 1935, the Montana Association had grown to 29 chapters with a total of 1309 members. The Association was fortunate to have outstanding Presidents and Advisors throughout the past 11 years and the Association was finally outgrowing its early signs of weakness and disorganizations in the world!!!

     Dad Land attended the 13th Conclave in Billings on April 23, 1937 and gave a brief address in which he commented on Chandler C. Cohagen’s splendid leadership and work in DeMolay in Montana and across the nation. He made special mention of Dad R. V. Brown of Livingston who organized the first Montana State Conclave. The main theme of Dad Land’s speech was, “A MAN’S SUCCESS IS TO BE MEASURED BY WHAT LIVES AFTER… THE BEST A MAN CAN DO IS THAT BASIS ON WHICH WE SHOULD JUDGE HIM.” The Legion was conferred upon Keith Sime, County Agent of Yellowstone County, by Frank S. Land and Chandler C Cohagen. Following the investiture, Dad Land left the assembly with the thought “Success is a journey, not a Destination.” This address by our Founder was carried on the air by KGHL radio of Billings. At the conclusion of the 13th Conclave, a resolution was passed and read as follows: “To’Dad’ Frank S. Land: Just here your committee seeks in vain for the right word and the appropriate sentiment. Because of its pure and unselfish nature, that seed which you planted in the hearts of nine true specimens of American boyhood a dozen and half years ago, has grown and continued to grow until thousands of the cream of America’s young manhood have passed the portals and knelt at the Altar of DeMolay. Great as DeMolay is and great as it may become, it can never exceed in greatness the man who gave it being – its Creator whose heart is large enough to embrace all – forever! We are delighted again to welcome you to the Treasure State, and each one of us will return to our home glowing with the abiding thrill of having seen you; herd you; met you and loved you! Montana welcomes you, Dad Land. Montana loves you and hopes you will come back to see us again and again.”

-TO BE CONTINUED-