Evergreen State Priory #41 was chartered on August 14, 1948 with eight (8) charter members. The below listed Knights traveled to North Carolina to receive the degree and the charter:
James Roy Marr
William H. Searing
Clifford L. Evans
Edward W. Hartley
Charles E. Boughner
These Knights returned to Washington and went to work to organize and build a premier Masonic organization of which todays membership can justifiably be proud. One of the most important actions they took was to initiate a fraternal relationship with the newly chartered Oregon Priory #37. This close relationship has continued over the fifty-five year existence of Evergreen State Priory. There have been numerous joint meetings, social gatherings and an exchange of degree work as well as the strong fraternal relations which exist between the two Priories.
The Priory has exhibited a steady pattern of growth from its initial charter membership of eight (8) members to its present membership of approximately one hundred thirty-three. This growth is representative of the interest and dedication to the York Rite existing in the York Rite Bodies of Washington. Membership in the Knights of the York Cross of Honor and in Evergreen State Priory is a personal goal aspired to by most of the active York Rite Masons in Washington. Evergreen State Priory has attempted to maintain the image that membership in the Priory is an honor and not an automatic step after completing the basic requirements for membership.
Evergreen State Priory #41 is the only Knights of the York Cross of Honor Priory in the state of Washington and our By-Laws and Charter indicate the Priory is located in Seattle but the membership is drawn from the entire state. The Masonic membership of Washington is split along the Cascade Mountains with approximately two thirds of the members living on the west side of the mountains and the remaining one third living east of the mountains. This division of membership is also reflected in the membership of Evergreen State Priory. The Priory has attempted over the years to share the honors of elected office proportionately between the two geographical areas of the state. For many years this was accomplished through use of a nominating committee, but in 2003 the By-Laws were changed to allow members to submit Statements of Availability for offices. One positive aspect of doing this is that the meetings of the Priory are moved around the state. Since the Eminent Prior selects the location for meetings the meetings of Evergreen State Priory have been held in almost every area within the state. Traditionally the Priory has held two meetings each year with one being held east of the mountains and the other held on the west side. In the early years of its existence Evergreen Priory always held the meetings in an hotel or other public facility. In recent years this practice has been changed and now most of the meetings are conducted in various Masonic Halls around the state.
Many of the items and furnishings of Evergreen State Priory, currently in use, have been donated by members of the Priory and most were presented to the Priory in appreciation of the honor the donors received from serving as Eminent Prior. The altar candleholders and snuffers were given by Eminent Knight Frank Wilson and his wife Lucy. Frank served as Eminent Prior in 1983 during his 60th year in masonry and after he had served as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Washington. These items were replaced by the Priory in 1989 with battery powered candles and these were subsequently replaced in 2002 with electric candles. The ballot box was made and given to the Priory by Eminent Knight Ceil M. Ward who served as Prior in 1965. Em. Knight Ward also served as Grand High Priest, Grand Illustrious Master and Grand Commander of the Washington York Rite. The Volume of the Sacred Law which is in use was donated by Knight Evans. The Square and Compasses were donated by Eminent Knight John Delano who was Eminent Prior in 1972. The Altar Cloth which is currently in use was given to the Priory by Most Eminent Knight Robert P. Monroe and Most Eminent Knight Vernon Parks both of whom also served as Grand High Priest, Grand Illustrious Master and Grand Commander of the Washington York Rite Bodies as well as offices in the Convent General. The KYCH Crown was made and given to the Priory by Eminent Knight Guy B. Sligar who was Eminent Prior in 1970, a year after he served as Grand Illustrious Master of Washington. The aprons which are used when presenting the lectures during the degree were presented to the Priory as follows:
Lodge Apron given by Em. Knight Robert Johnston (Em Prior 1982)
Chapter Apron given by Em. Knight Hiram Coburn (Em Prior 1988)
Council Apron given by Em. Knight Harry B Warnick (Em Prior 1979)
The honor of presiding over Evergreen Priory as Eminent Prior has been bestowed upon some of the most devoted and ardent members of the fraternity in Washington State. That it is considered a singular honor is illustrated by the Masonic accomplishments of those who have been accorded the honor. Of the fifty-six men who have presided over the Priory more than two thirds of them have been members of the Knights of the York Grand Cross of Honor and the others have serve the Grand York Rite Bodies of Washington in many different capacities. Of those who are members of the Knights of the York Grand Cross of Honor almost half have presided over two or more of the Grand York Rite Bodies of Washington and four have presided over three. These members have a total of fifty-one years serving as presiding officer of the Grand York Rite Bodies of Washington with half of those years as presiding over the Grand Council. Two members of Evergreen State Priory have served the Convent General as Grand Master General and one served as Grand Registrar General. Many Eminent Knights of Evergreen Priory have served as members of various Convent General Committees including Eminent Knight Victor C. Slough, Eminent Prior in 1990 and Past Grand Illustrious Master of Washington, who served on the By-Laws Committee.
Most Eminent Knight Robert P. Monroe served as Eminent Prior of Evergreen State Priory in 1963 and then after going through the progressive line presided over the annual sessions of the Convent General in Spokane, Washington in 1975 as Grand Master General. Most Eminent Knight Vernon R. Parks was Eminent Prior of Evergreen State Priory in 1976 and then progressed through the elected line and presided over the annual sessions of the Convent General as Grand Master General in Seattle, Washington in 1984. Right Eminent Knight Harry B. Warnick Past Grand Illustrious Master and Past Grand High Priest of Washington was Eminent Prior of Evergreen State Priory in 1979 and then served several years, beginning in 1986, as Grand Registrar General of the Convent General. Three Eminent Knights have served as Personal Representative of The Grand Master General of the Convent General for the Northwest District.? Most Eminent Knights Robert P. Monroe and Vernon R. Parks served in this capacity prior to their election in the Convent General line and Very Eminent Knight Norman F. Campo, Past Grand Illustrious Master and Right Eminent Past Grand Commander of Washington was Personal Representative for the years 2000 through 2003.
As Evergreen State Priory moves forward into the twenty-first century the membership and leaders stand ready to perpetuate the ideals and traditions established by those who have brought the Priory to this point in its existence. The dedication and foresight exhibited by those eight Knights, who were instrumental in chartering the Priory, continue to guide us as we carry on to the future.
J. Rex Hartsfield
Eminent Prior 2003-2004