Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Masons and the Eastern Star

Among the many Rosenbalms buried at Zion United Methodist Church near Damascus, Virginia, are several markers with the Masonic emblem. I was immediately reminded of my grandmother Margaret Hopson Kitts' funeral, where two ladies from the Eastern Star recited some ritual and stuck carnations into the beautiful spray of roses on the casket, making the styrofoam floral base screech with each effort. At one point, a lady accidentally said something about "blessed immorality" instead of "blessed immortality," which turned my frustration into amusement. My grandmother would have found it funny!

I've often wondered how my Mamaw Kitts was tied to the Eastern Star, knowing that a woman can't join it without a male family member in the Masonic Lodge. Since she is a Rosenbalm descendant, it looks like it must have been in the family for a while. That would make another good research project!

Rosenbalms of Damascus

A few months ago, I stopped at Zion United Methodist Church near Damascus, Virginia, to locate Rosenbalm graves there. To my delight, a couple of ladies were in the church parking lot, so I just had to introduce myself and ask a few questions about the Rosenbalms. Fortunately for me, one of the ladies began to tell me about the old homeplace, which just happened to be over the hill from the church. Away we went!

She actually showed me two old houses, one of which has been identified as the oldest in the county, and possibly the oldest in the state. A descendant is about to combine the two old homes into a new one.

I love it when I'm blessed with a special encounter like that!