Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas

All credit for these articles go to
Susie Sansom-Piper and
the Rockdale Reporter
Editor’s note: This is the first article in the sixth series of “On the Other Side of the Tracks, a Black History Month series by former Rockdale resident, and longtime teacher, Susie Sansom- Piper

Fraternal organizations played a big role in the community life in Rockdale’s “other side of the tracks.”

Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 23

The exact date for the founding and establishment of Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 23 in Rockdale is not known, but its headquarters still remain in the city of Fort Worth,

According to the records of the late O. E. Wilhite, who served as worshipful master for more than 56 years, it must have begun in the 1930s.

The original masonic hall, located on the corner of Second and Pecan Streets, once served as an early school for beginning Aycock, but is now converted into a residence.

A new masonic hall was built in 1978 on the corner of 3rd and Pecan Streets.

Ralph Shields and Freddie Gray served as secretaries of the Masonic Lodge No. 23 until their demise.

Others who served as officials were the late J. L. Banks, Leroy Tindle and Ernest Phillips.

Pride of Ledbetter Chapter No. 177, Order of Eastern Star

The Order of Eastern Star, Chapter No. 177, for Women, was named for the late business owner Ruby Lee Ledbetter.

The charter for this organization was issued February 7, 1947. This group also met in the original Masonic Hall.

Some of the members who served were Ruby Ledbetter, Marcella Wilhite, and Imogene Gray as Worthy Matrons; Evelyn Parker and Doris Phillips, secretaries; and members, Eva Morgan, Sarah E. Tucker, Mellie Johnson, Emma Clara Metcalf, Zenoble Alonzo, Janie Bennett, Myrtle M. Tindle, Johnnie Banks, Ruth M. Boney, Elizabeth Johnson and Susie S. Piper.

Many of these women are now deceased.

The organization was discontinued in Rockdale in 2011.

White Rose Order of Eastern Star

On the second right side of 2nd Street stood another two-story building.

This housed the White Rose Order of Eastern Star.

The late Clemmie Goins served as worthy matron of this organization. Ruthie Nell Kingsbury- Page served as secretary. The lodge no longer operates in Rockdale, but has headquarters in the city of Houston.

The American Woodmen

The American Woodmen Hall, also a two-story building”, stood directly in front of the two-story Masonic Hall, and faced the present Pecan Street.

This was the home of the American Woodmen, a lodge that was dedicated to the children and young adults.

The late Clemmie Goins, assisted by Selma Lee Turner and Eula Bell Moultry, gave directions to this group of children.

They wore special uniforms on certain days, participated in parades, and often had a display of talent at one of the local churches.

During the early integration years, this lodge was changed into a form of insurance, that still exists.

In addition to a meeting place for the American Woodmen, this hall was often used for parties, dances, and other forms of entertainment. To be continued.

Fraternal Organizations Played Big Role
By Susie Sansom-Piper
Rockdale Reporter - February 7, 2013