Knights of the York Cross of Honour
           Indiana Priory #8
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Meetings at 216 E. Washington St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802
3rd Saturday of March - Annual Business Meeting - 10 a.m.
2nd Saturday of May - Annual Conclave - 12 Noon

History of the Formation of the Order

The formation of the Order, Knights of the York Cross of Honour (KYCH), was in Monroe, North Carolina on March 13,1930.  The idea of this organization was conceived by John Raymond Shute II, of Monroe, NC.  On March 13, 1930, he called together in his home town, four qualified brethren, namely, Walter E. Crowell Jr., Edward Allen, Lee Griffin and S. Henry Green.  They discussed an idea presented to them by Brother Shute – that a group of past presiding officers of the four York Rite bodies be formed.  Another meeting was held on May 20, 1930, attended by additional qualified brethren, and Lily of the Valley Priory No. 1, Knights of the York Cross of Honour was formed.

On June 6, 1930, again at Monroe, NC, the Convent General KYCH was formed.  Since starting in 1930 with one Priory, KYCH has grown to eighty-four Priories in 2013.  The total number of Knights admitted to the Order since its founding is over 36,000 with some 12,000 still members of the Order today.

History of Indiana Priory No. 8

Fred H. Pocock returned from the 1938 session of the General Grand Chapter of York Rite Masons of which he was an officer, bringing with him information regarding the Convent General KYCH on a National basis, including five petitions from the Grand Registrar - of membership into the (New Jersey) Shrewsberry Priory No. 4.  These petitions were signed by Fred H. Pocock, Wm. J. Adams, W.E. Neuenschwander, R.L. Larimore, and Brown Cooper, all of whom were duly created Knights on September 15, 1939.  These same Knights petitioned the Grand Master General to grand a Warrant to open a Priory in Fort Wayne to be named Indiana Priory, said Warrant being approved, this Priory was given the number "8".

A special Conclave of Convent General was held in Charleston, South Carolina on October 24, 1939 when Deputy Grand Master General George O. Linkletter, assisted by the Registrar-General Harold V.B. Voorhis and Past Grand Master General J. Raymond Shute II, Indiana Priory No. 8, KYCH was consecrated.

The Priory was chartered on October 10, 1939 with Fred H. Pocock as the first Eminent Prior, William J. Adams as Deputy Prior and W.E. Neuenschwander as Treasurer, as named in the Warrant.

Fred H. Pocock being duly Commissioned, called a conclave and constituted the Priory with Brown Cooper elected as Warder.  Officers appointed and installed on January 12, 1940 were as follows:  H.A. Graham as Knight Prelate, A.J. Smith and Knight Orator and E.E. Miles and Knight Herald.

Over 1,200 Knights have been elected members of this Priory since 1939, of which over 200 are still current members, making this on of the largest Priories in the Convent General. Priory No. 8 has been the mother of six other Priories and has been fortunate in having not only a very conscientious and hard working list of Officers, but a very loyal and sincere group of Freemasons for its membership.

The Priory has had two Most Eminent Grand Master Generals. The first, Marvin L. Isley, was elected and installed at a meeting of the Convent General held at Reno, NV on September 22, 1979.  He was a member of Indiana Priory No. 8 and former administrator of the Indiana Masonic Home.  The second, Knight Donald E. Friend, was elected and installed in 1995.  In addition, Fred H. Pocock was Deputy Grand Master General at his passing on January 21, 1945.

The objects of this Order shall be to further and encourage friendship, helpfulness, friendly social intercourse, and loyalty among its members with zeal and fidelity, to promote the welfare of the York Rite, and the whole system of Freemasonry.

The York Cross of Honour is a fitting climax to the Honors of the York Rite bodies, after having been bestowed the recognition of faithful service given to the Craft, and is one of the few Masonic groups in which membership must be earned, and even then there is no guarantee of election.  Entrance to the Order is by invitation only and mere possession of the minimum qualifications as a past Presiding Officer of the Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commandery does not automatically entitle a man to the rank and dignity of Knight of the York Cross of Honour.  Some of the other important requirements are congeniality, Masonic Conduct, and willingness to work for the advancement of our Fraternity in all the branches of York Rite Masonry.  

In our opinion, it is not proper to elect a man to that of Presiding Officer and have him server a 'token' one year position in any of the York Rite bodies solely that he might be eligible for the honor of KYCH.  Nor is it proper for anyone to go 'through the chairs' basically for the same purpose.  We welcome into our ranks those who are entitled to this honor, and urge those who lack some of the requisites to renew their devotion to the Craft.  Such devotion should not be for the sake of the honor, for it is only by devotion to the Craft that this honor can be attained.  A member who has made little contribution to the York Rite and has used the various bodies only as a 'stepping stone' will find little comfort in the Order, should he attain it.

     The common hope that makes us men,
     Were His in Galilee;

     The task He gives are those He gave,

     Beside the restless sea,

     Our Brotherhood still rests in Him,

     The Brother of us all;

     And O'er the centuries we hear,

     The Master's winsome call.

"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." - 1st John, 3:11 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Indiana Priory No. 8 and the following Knights for their assembling of this History.  Em. Knight Charles X. McCalla II who was Eminent Prior when the roster was printed in 1968.  Em. Knight Brown Cooper and Em. Knight J. Herbert Nichols who assisted in getting the information for the 1968 printing.  Em. Knight M. Curtis Kennedy, Em. Knight Kenneth Renz and Knight Francis Hale for their updating the information for the 1974 printing.  Em. Knight Ehrmal Odom, P.P., Em. Knight Thomas L. Hale for updating the information for the 1980 printing. Em. Knight Kurt A. Begue, P.P. for updating the information and making this history available on our website in 2013. 

As we rapidly approach the 75th Anniversary of the Indiana Priory No. 8, we feel it is fitting and proper that all those Knights during the past 75 years who have contributed a lot of their time and energy throughout the years to make the Priory what it is today, deserve a vote of confidence for their loyal dedication to the Order.  And may the Order 75 years from now be as strong and prosperous as it is today.

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