History of the Queen Adah Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star (1943-2013)
To everything there is a beginning. Before Queen Adah was born we must began with the Most Worshipful Sons of Light Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of which Queen Adah is adopted under.
The Most Worshipful Sons of Light Grand Lodge, A. F. & A.M., Inc. was organized in the year of 1942, at the Washington Hotel, 652 Fourth Street, on the 2nd floor - room 12, at the corner of Bluxome Street in San Francisco, California. They were set up with three Subordinate Lodges under warrant. They were Rising Star #412, Orange Grove #138 and Sons of Light #444. The Honorable Joseph Samuel Nathaniel Pough 33° was the first Grand Master. Rev. F. B. Banks was elected as the Deputy Grand Master. He was also the first Grand Patron of Queen Adah Grand Chapter.
Queen Adah Grand Chapter was organized July 10, 1943 with three Chapters. They were: Queen Ethiopia #20; Lily of the Valley #12 (both of San Francisco) and Pride of Oakland #17 (Oakland) working under Most Worshipful Sons of Light Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Inc. Honored Joseph S. Pough, 33°, Grand Master. Sister Grace Pough was the 1ST Grand Matron.
The first headquarters office was located at 2031 Bush Street, San Francisco, California. The Grand Lodge moved from Bush Street to 1433 Divisadero Street. They relocated to 1726 Fillmore Street in the old Temple Theater, which was the first building that the Grand Lodge purchased, both located in San Francisco, California. Once again the Grand Lodge office moved to 848 Cole Street, after which they moved to 1837 Alcatraz Ave. in the city of Berkeley. In the year 2006, the Grand headquarters, sold the Berkeley Hall and moved to the Richmond Hall, 1701 Truman St., Richmond, California. The Eastern Stars also held their meetings in these buildings.
Sister Pough made many accomplishments during her reign as Grand Matron. She purchased property for Queen Adah on Sutter Street; an apartment building at Scott and Page Streets; a Youth Center on Post Street and the California Scottish Rite Temple on Geary Street in San Francisco. She also set up the Affiliated Degrees of the Grand Nurses Unit; Grand Queen of the South Palace; Grand Matron's Council, etc. Grand Matron Pough was instrumental in having Queen Adah Grand Chapter incorporated with the State of California, June 29, 1951. She organized a Youth Field in 1958 that grew to 400 youth. She organized the Queen Adah Choir. She also established a scholarship fund.
At the time of her death in 1965, Queen Adah had grown to 125 Chapters in California and Nevada with a membership of 4000. Sister Pough served for twenty-two years.
The leadership continued under the 2nd Grand Matron, Sister Thelma Scott, who came into office in 1965. She served most of her term under Grand Master Frank J. Bobo, who was elected Grand Master in the year 1966 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after the death of Grand Master Pough. That same year Grand Master, Bobo appointed Bro. James Burks as the Grand Patron of Queen Adah Grand Chapter Grand Matron Scott laid the groundwork for the Queen Adah Grand Chapter now housed at 1390 Turk Street. Queen Adah is the sponsoring body for Royal Adah Arms, which consist of 142 subsidized housing units for low-income seniors in the same building, on the opposite side of the building at 1240 Turk Street. This building is under HUD (Housing and Urban Development). This building was dedicated June 9, 1974. Sister Thelma Scott passed away in 1979. She served 14 years.
After the death of Sister Thelma Scott, Sister Grace L. Harvey served out the term. She was elected Grand Matron in October 1980 3rd Grand Matron. Sister Harvey served under three Grand Masters; Hon. Frank J. Bobo 33º, who passed December 15, 1991 (not in office); Hon. Nuland Byrd 33°, who passed December 1, 1990 (while in office). She served until October 1994. Sister Harvey passed at our 55th Grand Session, October 31, 1997 at the Double Tree Hotel in Bakersfield, California. She served 14 years. Our present Grand Master, Hon. Barney E. Watkins 33° was elected October 1992.
Our 4th Grand Matron was Sister Ruby Brewer; she served for one year, from 1994-1995. She served under Hon. Barney E. Watkins 33°.
Our 5th Grand Matron was Sister Shirley Williams. She was elected October 1995. She served under Hon. Barney E. Watkins 33º. She stepped down in October 2004 at Grand Session. She was given the honored title of Grand Matron Emeritus. She was the first Grand Matron in the history of Queen Adah to step down and to receive the Emeritus title. She served nine years.
Our 6th Grand Matron was Sister Dorothy Simmons who was elected in October 2004. She served from October 2004-October 2006, under Hon. Barney E. Watkins 33°. She served two years.
Our 7th Grand Matron Sis. Shirley Williams was re-elected October 2006 under Hon. Barney E. Watkins 33°. She served from 2006-2010 (4 years)
On October 2010, Grand Master Barney E. Watkins 33° stepped down and became the first Grand Master Emeritus in our jurisdiction.
On October 18, 2010, Hon. Floyd McMillan 33° was elected Grand Master and serves as Grand Patron of Queen Adah Grand Chapter
October 2010, Sis. Shirley Williams stepped down and nominated Sis. Brenda Ratcliffe-Graham.
Our 8th Grand Matron, Sis. Brenda Ratcliffe-Graham was elected Grand Worthy Matron October 18, 2010 and is still serving.