NJ Court of Chevaliers
NJ Court of Chevaliers
|Commander in the West||Vacant|
|Commander in the South||Vacant|
Tri-Co Court of Chevaliers
How It All Began
The following is extracted from Herbert Ewing Duncan's Hi, Dad!, subtitled "Frank S. Land...A Biography'.
For those who have not read the book, here is the story it tells of the origion of the "Degree of Chevalier", much more detailed that the information given on the DI Web Page concerning "Chevalier Courts" under Appendant Bodies.
Mother Preceptory of the Legion of Honor had just completed the Service of Investiture in 1935 when Clarence Barnickel approached Dad Land with a question that had puzzled him for some time.
‘You know. Dad.” he said, “I have taken part in each Investiture of the Mother group of the Legion since it was- formed. At that time I was about 25 as were the others. Five years later the candidates were all my age of 30, then five years later the cast and those receiving the award were all 35. “How about the younger men? There must be some who have just become Senator DeMolays that are eligible. Or, if the Legion of Honor is for those who are older, why not form a similar honor for those who are younger?'
“You are right, Clarence. The age level of those receiving the Legion of Honor has risen as we recognize those who were DeMolay-and during the years have shown promise of reaching success in their vocations. The age level will probably get older as you grow older; I realize that. I have talked with several of our men and we feel that there should be another award – perhaps a degree – to recognize out-standing leadership in DeMolay "
“It is odd.” he continued, "that you should bring this up at this particular time. Do you remember in the early days, about 1920, some of you fellows were selected to help with the classes of new members and to assist me. To identify you as leaders, you wore yellow caps at all the meetings ’”
“Of course I remember. Gorman McBride and all the rest were proud of those caps . They were like the caps worn by the Scottish Rite members, only different in color ’
Dad smiled. “And what did we call you” Do you remember the name that went with the cap? '
“Yes. It was 'Chevalier'!”
The Degree of Chevalier was approved on April 11, 1936. The honor was conferred upon members of the Order of DeMolay who had performed unusual and meritorious service in behalf of the Order, who had attained the age of 18 years (later changed to 17 years) and who had been members of a Chapter for at least two years. No one was to apply for this distinction. The unanimous vote of the Grand Council, in regular session, was required to elect a nominee to receive the “Degree of Chevalier.’
This was the first ritual written without Frank Marshall. Frank Land had given help and advice in all ritual services that had been composed before. Now he accepted the challenge of writing a ritual for the presentation of this new Degree that be referred to as, "the highest award for distinguished DeMolay service within the gift of the Grand Council. Only one other award, the Legion of Honor, for outstanding leadership and service to humanity,’ he wrote, “outranks this distinction.”
The ritual, much shorter than the Legion of Honor ceremony, contains a deeper religious tone. For the first time in DeMolay ritual a major portion of Scripture was included. Land was a master of the Bible, he lived by it, and read it again and again during his morning period of contemplation and prayer. He included the “inspiring words of David who sang of the security of the Godly in the ninety-first chapter of the Psalms" To this belief in God, he added, “that sacred thing called Home ' and "that patriotism which, while making known to every man his rights, still makes him mindful of the rights of every other man. It was a dramatic presentation of the threefold purpose he had always associated with DeMolay – Love of God, love of home, and love of country. The obligation, short, brief, and full of meaning for the years that were to come, concluded with a line that contained the theme of the degree ---“I furthermore promise and vow that I will, each day hereafter, strive to be a better man than I have ever been before. So help me God.”