History of the Valley of Danville



The Scottish Rite, Valley of Danville, took its first step in July 1904, when Amos Pettibone and Gilbert W. Barnard held a meeting in Danville to discuss establishing a Lodge of Perfection there. A few days later the names of 75 area Masons were presented as willing to take the degrees. On July 28, 1904, the formal petition for dispensation was presented. The dispensation was issued on August 2, 1904, and Amos Pettibone, Deputy for Illinois, instituted the Danville Lodge of Perfection on August 17.

On July 8, 1908, dispensations were granted for Walter A. Stevens Council Princes of Jerusalem and Gil W. Barnard Chapter of Rose Croix. Both Charters were issued to these bodies on September 22, 1909, and they were duly instituted in a joint ceremony on the sixth floor of the Temple Building, 106 N. Vermilion Street, Danville, Illinois.

At a Lodge of Perfection meeting on September 16, 1911, a check for $100 was drawn for the fee to the Supreme Council for a Consistory dispensation. This dispensation was issued October 2, 1911, and was presented to Wilbur Fisk Heath. Sixteen petitions had been accepted for the Consistorial degrees at that time.

The Charter for Vermilion Consistory was issued on October 3, 1912, and the Consistory was constituted January 10, 1913. Sylvester Omer Spring served as Special Deputy for the Supreme Council. Officers were elected at once. Clinton Leroy Sandusky was elected Commander-in-Chief; Charles Edwin Olmsted, First Lt. Commander; Elmer Burt Cooley, Second Lt. Commander; William Edward Adams, Orator; Edwin Ruben Partlow, Chancellor; Fred John Lovell, Treasurer; and James Peter Sutton, Secretary. Appointments were as follows: J. Edward Headley, Master of Ceremonies; Henry W. Berks, Hospitaler; Thomas C. Duncan, Engineer and Architect; John N. Beers, Standard Bearer; Henry P. Blose, Guard; and August Quade, Sentinel.

In August 1918, a resolution was adopted to change the name to Danville Consistory. Approval was granted on September 25, 1918. On December 2, 1914, it was voted “to buy our present site”. Since the year 1917 marked the 50th anniversary of the Union of 1867, the Supreme Council formulated plans for observance throughout the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Each Valley was to present a special program that year. The Valley of Danville’s celebration was held on April 18 and 19. On the evening of the 18th the new Masonic Temple was consecrated for Scottish Rite purposes. The distinguished visitors included Fredric B. Stevens, Active Member from Michigan; Robinson Locke, Grand Marshal of the Camp from Toledo, Ohio; and William C. Geake, Grand Marshal of the Camp from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

It should be noted the Valley of Danville has produced seven Grand Masters, Fred I. Mills and Vance C. Van Tassell, both from Robinson; G. Haven Stephens, from Danville; Willie B. Elliott from Lovington; Robert E. Ford from Alma; J. Garrie Burr from Champaign and Noel C. Dicks from Arthur. From our membership have come three Active Members of the Supreme Council, Carey B. Hall, George E. Burow, and our current Active, James L. Tungate. Illustrious Brother Burow also served as Grand Minister of State for Supreme Council and as Deputy for Illinois. Illustrious Brother James L. Tungate has served as Grand Treasurer General and Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council.

Following the death of Illustrious Brother George E. Burow, the Rose Croix Officers requested the Executive Committee of the Valley to honor the memory of this Past Most Wise Master and his contributions to the Fraternity by renaming the Chapter the George E. Burow Chapter. Appropriate action was taken by the Valley and by the Illinois Council of Deliberation and final approval of the Supreme Council was obtained on September 24, 1985.

The Valley has had thirteen Secretaries in its history. They are: Charles M. Karns, 1911-13; James P. Sutton, 1913-27; Royal T. Barton, 1927-31; G. Haven Stevens, 1931-56; George E. Burow, 1956-64; George B. Satterwhite, 1964-81; Robert C. Booth, 1981-88, 1990-96; Adam L. Dunlap, 1988-90; Joseph W. Eaton, 1996-2002; David L. Copas, 2003-04; Jon A. Cole, 2004-2009 and John E. Larsen, 2009 – 2018 and Robert A. Gill, 2018 – Present. Illustrious Brother Satterwhite served the Supreme Council as Grand Marshal of the Camp and as a special aide to the Sovereign Grand Commander. Illustrious Brother Booth served the Supreme Council as an Assistant Master of Ceremonies.

For over 100 years, the Valley of Danville has been a consistent promoter of new ideas for membership promotion and excellent degree work, which has gained us many invitations throughout the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, as well as, several invitations to Canada to present the Danville way of serving Scottish Rite. A detailed history of the Valley is included in Illustrious Alphonse Cerza’s book, “A History of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Illinois”. The book covers the history through 1966, and is recommended reading for all. We rejoice in our accomplishments during the past 100 years and look forward to the challenge the future holds.