Knights of Pythias

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The history of the Knights of Pythias (KOP)...Call or e-mail us for more information

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Our purpose is to help preserve the rich and colorful history of The Order of Knights of Pythias.
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information and web links about past events, former members and related historical subjects.

Justus H. Rathbone

The Order of Knights of Pythias is an international, non-sectarian fraternal order, established in 1864 in Washington, DC, by Justus H. Rathbone and was the first fraternal order to be chartered by an Act of Congress.

With four friends, school teacher and federal government employee,
Justus Henry Rathbone founded the Order of Pythias on 15 February 1864,
based on "Damon and Pythias", a dramatic play by Irish poet John Banim
(1798-1842 ). Rathbone instituted Washington Lodge No. 1 with thirteen
charter members on 19 February 1864

"Many new organizations grew directly out of the divisiveness of the Civil War experience. The Knights of Pythias was organized in 1864 by a group of federal
clerks in Washington, D.C., who felt that the nation urgently needed to rekindle
a brotherly spirit. Justus Rathbone designed the ritual, which is based on the
4th century, B.C., story of the friendship of Damon and Pythias.

Justus Rathbone died on December 9, 1889 at the age of fifty.

Five Original Members:
Justus H. Rathbone, Robert A. Champion, William H. Burnett, David L. Burnett, and Edward S. Kimball - About

Lucetta Stewart Sanger Rathbone
Daughter of Founder
Sara Dwight Rathbone
Daughter of Founder

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