Joseph J. (Joseph James) Thompson.

A history of the Knights of Columbus in Illinois online

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[Aftei- the Silver Statue wrought and exhilnted by the Gorham Company
at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago. Coloring as per H. A. Ogden,
considered the greatest living authority on questions of costume, and adopted
by Yale University in the picturization of •■Columbus" in TJic Chronicles of
America series. The authority of Irvine Berdine Riehman is cited, where in
his The Spanish Conquerors ' (Chronicles of America series) he says that
Columbus came ashore at San Salvador "clad in armour over which * * *
he had thrown the crimson robe of an admiral of Castile." Courtesies of Yale
University, of the Gorham Company and of Spaulding Jewelry Company are
gratefully acknowledged.]

Knights of Columbus in Illinois
First Twenty-Five Years



Knights of Columbus





Past State Deputy of Illinois





Regan Printing House


Right Reverend Peter J. Muldoon, D.D., State Chaplain

Edward Houlihan, State Deputy

Henry J. Lynch, State Secretary

Sidney W. Ring, State Treasurer

Phillip A. Gibbons, State Advocate

James A. Coen, State Warden


Edward Houlihan
Patrick L. McArdle LeRoy Hackett

Louis E. Sauter William N. Brown


Rt. Rev. Peter J. Muldoon, D.D., State Chaplain

Thomas S. Keirnan, Past State Deputy

Henry J. Lynch, State Secretary

John T. Lillis, President Home Finding Association

Jeremiah A. Kennelly, President Chicago Chapter

Jerome J. Crowley, Master LaSalle Assembly. Fourth Degree

2 (^ >^




Inscription :

To Castile and Leon Columbus gave a new world.



Foreword 7

I. The Chureh and the Order 11

II. Origin, Character and Development of the Order 28

III. The Insurance System 51

IV. Historic Knighthood 71

V, Columbus the Protonym 91

VI. Establishment of the Order in Illinois — Pioneer
Councils — Thomas 8. Keirnan and Patrick L.

McArdle, State Deputies 110

VII. Councils Instituted Under the Direction of
State Deputies — Joseph J. Thompson and

Lewis Edward 8auter 211

VIII. Councils Instituted Under the Direction of
State Deputies — James Maker, LeBoy Hack-
ett, William N. Brown and Edward Houlihan 299

IX. The Illinois State Council 375

X. The Chicago Chapter 427

XI. The Fourth Degree 472

XII. The Ceremonials of the Knights of Columbus

and Some Able Exponents Thereof 500

XIII. Occasional, Incidental and Related Activitias. . 527

XIV. War— Responding to the Call— The Roll of

Honor 574

XV. Twentieth Century Heroism 661

XVI. War Work ] 716

XVII. War Workers 767

XVIII. Post War Activities 859


It is barely possible that had there been no world war this
attempt to write the history of the Knights of Columbus in
Illinois would not have been made. The part taken by the
Knights of Columbus in the war made it imperative, however,
that some permanent record be compiled.

A study of the contents of this volume will induce the con-
viction that it would have been a great misfortune to leave
untold that part of the story which has no relation to the war,
since, although the war story is concededly pretty fully told,
yet it covers but four chapters, while fourteen chapters are
required to detail the general record of the Order.

It is believed that readers, including members of the Order,
will be surprised with reference to the volume of activities
mentioned in the various chapters, the aggregate of which
would hardly be anticipated by the most enthusiastic.

Another occasion of surprise, especially to non-members,
will be the discovery that the endeavors of the Order have
almost exclusively been directed to the benefit of non-members,
the public, the state, and the nation. If anyone had hoped to
convict the Order, or its members, of selfishness or exclusive-
ness, he will find nothing in this unembellished record of facts
to sustain any such charge. Throughout its history the Order
has translated the old familiar word ''fraternity," once em-
ployed as the chief inspiration of co-operative societies to
mean "service," and has measured all its activities by that

Again, if anyone hoped to find evidence of the existence of
a cult, secret or exclusive, in any sense, teaching fixed doctrines
or holding isms, such an one is doomed to even greater disap-
pointment. There is no such thing as Columbianism or Co-



lumbianology. There are no Columbian doctrines, and no
Order of Knighthood, sacred or profane, and all expressions
indicating anything of the sort are loose and meaningless,
and find no place in this volume. Likewise, the "Brother
Knight," "Sir Knight," "Beloved Brethren" and similar
expressions are excluded from the volume, on the ground that
they represent no feature of the Order or its endeavors. The
two outstanding characteristics of a Knight of Columbus are
dutiful membership in the Catholic Church, and loyal citi-
zenship. The first covers all spiritual considerations, and the
second all civil requirements. The Knights of Columbus hold
no other principles, and differ from other Christians and citi-
zens only in acting in concert with reference to certain under-
takings, for and within the scope of Christian endeavor and
civic progress.

An intimate association of nearly a quarter of a century,
not alone with the body of the membership, but with the most
prominent and effective proponents of the Order has served
but to increase my admiration for the men who have co-
operated in the great undertakings described in this volume.
I have been eye witness to practically everything that has
been accomplished by the Order, and in some of the under-
takings, an inconspicuous but actual actor. From the begin-
ning I took the Order and its endeavors seriously, and as age
approaches my good opinion of its results and possibilities has
not waned, I am pleased that there are many men, like my^
self, approaching the age of greater maturity, that are not
ashamed to be detected in maintaining a live interest in the
Order's work. This continuity of interest means more, I be-
lieve, than individual constancy. To my mind it is a proof
of the solidity of the purposes and attainments of the Order,

The preparation of this volume was, of course, a joint
undertaking. It is well understood that no one member could
possibly possess all of the required information to make up
an approximately complete record; and officers and members


were expected to, and in reality did, furnish the information
in their possession. To all those my gratitude and that of
the Order is due ; to the State Officers, the District Deputies
and Grand Knights especially should thanks be rendered. The
Supreme Officers also assisted, and with respect to war work
the chaplains and secretaries, and the parents and friends of
the service men, as well as many of the service men themselves,
are entitled to our gratitude. The Columbian, the official paper
of the Knights of Columbus in Illinois, was a veritable mine
of information, without which it would have been impossible
to prepare the record with anything approaching the accuracy

The writer realizes that there are many shortcomings,
some serious defects, and, no doubt, numerous errors in the
volume, but these are not the result of the want of earnest ef-
forts to avoid them. Perhaps no book was ever prepared under
the eyes of as many people as was this. As was provided by
the resolutions adopted by the State Convention, all of the
matter was submitted to a committee, consisting of the present
State Deputy and four Past State Deputies. Everything that
concerned the Church was submitted to the archdiocesan cen-
sor ; everything that concerned the Chicago Chapter was sub-
mitted to the President of the Chapter; everything that con-
cerned the Fourth Degree was submitted to the Masters of the
Fourth Degree. In like manner, everything that was written
about the councils was submitted to the councils. If, there-
fore, errors still appear they are as much the result of indiffer-
ence as of ignorance. It is believed, however, that no matter
how defective the book may be, readers will recognize it as a
plain attempt to set down the record of the order without bias
or favor, and if it may be said of the book that it is in all
respects fair, then the author will be content.

Several artists, members of the Order, have contributed
of their time and talents to add to the attractiveness of this
volume. Mr. Thomas A. 'Shaughnessy and Mr. Louis

10 1^X)REW0R1)

IMiili|)|), fh'., iiijidc llii- (lriiwiii|jjs I'or llic cdvcr (h'sifjfii. Mi".
rhili|)|» .•il.s(( iii,'i(l(> Hh- (lr;i\viii^s Tor llic cnildcnis of llui State
(ioimcil ;iii(l ol" llir ( 'liicjij^o ( Iliiiplcr, the ( loliiiiihiis sphere,
till! I*'()iiilli I )e}4i'ee (lecor.H ion ;iii(l 1 luit of I lie ( 'iitliolic l*\)iiii(|ji-
tioii. Mr. rioliii W. I'uekley (lesij;iie<l llie deeofiil ive lieiidiiifjjs
for the (Johl Stiirs niid Ihe I )e('()r;iled mid (^iled. Mr. b'red
W. Winklei" iiiiuh' tlie (h-eorat ions lor Ihe poi'lrails of Ihe
I'opes jiiid Ai"ehl)ishops. Mr. li. -1. liiriiiiiif^hiiiii iiiJide Ihe
(irawiiif^s tor Ihe Calholie Nome P^'mdiiif^ Associjil ion and for
the Chaplains' cross. To all these are dne thanks and appi'e-

The rollovvin<;' pholo^i-apiiers have extended valuable
eonrlesi(>s: MotTelt, Matzene, \Vallin<;('r, Melvin II. Sykes aiul
La v(M'.elia,.

The enj^i'avin^s thi()n<;hoid. Ihe volnnn^ are I'l-oni IIh; studio
ol! (jenr}^e A. hidieau, (li'and l\ni«j:ht of Tonii (!()Uiicil.

J. J. T.

CllAl'TEU i

TT[Kririnir:ir and tftk order

To H«jrv() witliiii our pl.'ici; :iii<l in (iod'a i^'mhi,
To keep our liv'ci'. iiimt.'iiiKil ;iii'l without- ll;iw,
'I'o vviilk in liiiinhlfni'HH nnij Jioly )iwn

Im to l)rt clotlir-d willi I'rfcdord nn with lifjlit,.

.John Lancjahtkh Hi-aijuno.

TIm^ (|iicslion ol" l;iy societies of orj-Miiiizat ions li;iH ])('.('.it one
of tiiiicli ('(xicet'ii, imkI no lillle (lifficully 1o the riinrcli. l""ol
lowiiij^ liisiory <lown lliroii^.'!) Wic ecntiirifis and dwellin*.^ upon
th(! Horc triulH lliai have heen broiijj^hl upon Ihc^Miiirc^h tlu-oiij^h
I he ni('(liu(ti of Hoei(!t,i<!H, wholly <>v |); of I Im; hiily, it. is Jiot,
h.'icd to understntMJ th<! euut.ion exctrc'iKcd, or cvcu the kus-
picions entertained with v('H\h'.('\, t,o Jiiiy n(!w lay or}_^ini/at ion.

The Knij^'his TeKijiljirs ;ind the I los|)if,aN!rH of l,lie Tweinii
Ceidnry, hoth |j(!^,'nn so hiitnbly and with sueh laudahh; i)ur-
f)OHeH, dev(!loped Kueh ol)j(!e,t ion;d)!(; l'ealiir(;K as l,o hritif^ dow»i
upon llicrnsel ves ih<! eondr^rnnat jrin of I Ik; Ctiureh, and siipi)reK-
sion. I<]ver' sine(t this cxpi'tience ehiirvh fi,ut,horit,ieK have been
w;iry ol" nioverneids (»!' a siriiihir ;i|ip<';if;in(!(!.'

As, however, soeifMieH properly eonsi il-nt(;d ;ind rriaiiat^c^d
were r(!(;ot!;ni/,(!d to h<! of valiie, the (',\\\iv<;\\, always praelieal,
nevei- ef)nderrm(;d nil soeieiieK, wlietliei" lay, el(!ri(tal, or mixed,
hut, in keeping': with her office ;is icj^^islator, from titrie to t,im(r,
as occjision arose, m;id<- delifiit,(; r<!j<ulalionK with n'i'crc.ucc to
HiJ(!h or!L!^nni/at,ionK JUid, indec^d, en(!Oiiraf^(!H ami promotcH hoc'h',-
l,i()S witJi proper airriH and disi)OKitioriK.

Ijayinen h;id rained (!Xi)(;rienee (jf what, is known in this
connfry ;is tint fr;il''rn;d li<ri<fil, soc,iet,i<!H, Um; lirsl, of wlii(;h, tlu;
Anci(!nt, Order of IJnilcid Workmen, her^'ati op(!rat,ion in IHtJH,
and which rrnill iplifd rapidly I lier<';iflcr. In these frat,(!rrjit,i(;H

I. 'riii- lilKlory III' llic iMrly Morlclli-M ol' ii irilxi-d ri\\y,\iii];i iiml inllltiiry
clinraclcr In w<')l (old In tin- Ciitliollc lOncydoiX'ill/i un<l<T lln! niiiiio of cacli.




there were pass-words, signs, grips, ceremonials, and pledges,
but the secrets were not grave, the ceremonials were simple, and
the pledges were only such as might be taken by anyone.
Nevertheless these fraternities were looked upon with suspicion
by some bishops and pastors, and, in many cases, the faithful
were forbidden to affiliate with them.

Largely because of the growing popularity of these non-
sectarian fraternities, the progressive clergy was in a mood
to welcome a Catholic society that would meet the desire of
Catholic men for organization and association, and render it
unnecessary for them to seek such association in the non-sec-
tarian fraternities.

The problem, therefore, which the founders of the Knights
of Columbus, comprising both laymen and clergymen, under-
took to solve was the creation of a society that would incorpo-
rate the most useful features of the popular societies, both
secret and fraternal, existing all about, and at the same time
meet with the approval of the Church.

It was no small task that these men set themselves, but as
appears from available records they were able to satisfy the
Bishop of their diocese, Right Rev. Lawrence S. McMahon,
who, after careful examination said, amongst other things :

"1 have followed the wording and explanation of this ritual closely.
I cannot detect anything amiss or improper. You need no further ruling
than this. I am of the opinion that it will be a valuable medium for
carrying sound, moral principles to your members, that it will be the
means of attracting many to your organization. I do not see Avhy you
should not go on without let or hindrance from anyone. "2

This pronouncement of the Ordinary of the Diocese re-
moved all obstructions to the launching of the Order, and,
accordingly, the promoters sent it forth upon its career.

It should be said, however, that there were dioceses in which
the Order was not admitted as readily as in that of its origin.
It was habitual for each diocese to investigate the claims of the

2. Knights of Columbus in Peace and War, Vol. I, pp. 57-58.


Order before admitting it, which occasioned delays and diffi-
culties. To expedite organization, the entire plan of organiza-
tion, the constitution, laws and ritual were laid before Arch-
bishop Francis Satolli, Apostolic Delegate from the Holy See
to the Catholic Church in the United States, who, after a care-
ful examination of the matter submitted to him, gave his bless-
ing to the Knights of Columbus, and thus publicly approved
the Order's existence.^

In a short time the Order became well known to Eome and
especially its work for the Catholic University at Washington,
D, C, and when in 1910 a party of prominent members of the
Order making a pilgrimage to Genoa, the birthplace of Colum-
bus, secured the privilege of visiting His Holiness Piux X, that
beloved Pontiff thus addressed them :

' ' We welcome you, dearly beloved children, who have come from dis-
tant America to pay homage to and profess your love and fidelity for
the Vicar of Jesus Christ. May this journey to Rome strengthen more
and more in you the feelings which urged you to undertake it.

"We greet, then, with the greatest pleasure the representatives of
the association which bears the name of Christopher Columbus, the second
which has come to us during the present month. Spread far and wide over
the United States, in Canada and Mexico, at Cuba and Porto Eico and
"n the Philippine Islands, it has by its action contributed to the diffusion
and preservation of the faith by all those works of which the religion of
Christ is a fruitful source. We rejoice with you and your fellow-associates
in the good which you have wrought, and our wisli is that under the
guidance of your esteemed and loved Bishops you may further promote
the progress and prosperity of the Catholic faith in your countries.

"Do not wonder at our recommendation of union ■with and dependence
on the Bishops, for they are the masters in the Church established by
Jesus Christ, and in all works of religion the supreme direction belongs
to them. Your united work is holy, but to effect the good which the Lord
desires there is need of the guidance established by God to rule you in
every matter of discipline. Otherwise, there is the danger which was en-
countered by the two captains mentioned in the Holy Book of the Mac
cabees, Joseph and Azarias. Wishing to emulate the deeds of Judas,
who gained victory after victory, they said, 'Let us also make ourselves a
name, and let us go and fight against the nations.' But they had not

3. Ih.j p. 03.


the mission of the Supreme Chief, and, instead of victory, met with
shameful defeat.

"But this will not be for you, dearly beloved children, because, obedi-
ent to the high direction of your venerable pastors, you will multiply your
good deeds, and it will be said of you that you are in truth of that race
of heroes who have carried health, well-being and prosperity wherever
you have worked.

"On your return you will assure your brother associates and all your
other dear ones that we have been well pleased with the assurance they
have given us through you, and that we tenderly love them as our chil-
dren, and may the Apostolic Benediction which we impart from our heart
to you here present, to your brother associates far off and to all the other
persons who are dear to you be a token of the earthly and heavenly happi
ness which we warmly desire for them and all the people of America,
and may it be to each one a source of the greatest consolation. ' '*

In the following year an incident for which the Order waf>
not directly responsible brought an approval from the sacred
congregation of the Holy Office.

In 1908 Dr. Santiago Kelly, a prominent citizen of the
Argentine Republic, by authority of the Knights of Columbus
instituted a council of the Order in Buenos Aires with 119
charter members. After the council was instituted some ob-
jection was raised, and the Archbishop, Most Rev. Mariano
A. Espinosa, appealed to Rome to learn if there were any ob-
jections to the Knights of Columbus. On September 3, 1911,
the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office approved the Order
as established in the United States of North America. The
decision was transmitted to Msgr. Locatelli, Internuncio in
Argentina, and a copy forwarded by Cardinal Rampolla to
the Apostolic Delegate, Msgr. Diomede Falconio in the United
States. Thereupon Msgr. Falconio wrote Supreme Knight,
James A. Flaherty, stating that the Sacred Congregation had
had the matter under consideration and had advised the Arch-
bishop of Buenos Aires that the decision left the matter of
establishing councils in the South American Republics to the
conscience and prudence of the local bishops. Msgr. Falconio

4. Columbian, October 14, 1910, p. 2.


added: "By this decision it is clearly seen that the Sacred
Congregation finds nothing objectionable in the rules of the
Society of the Knights of Columbus."''

On the occasion of the visit of the Metz pilgrims to the
Vatican on August 28, 1920, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV,
extended a warm welcome and in the course of His allocution

' ' Eeason of sweet comfort and occasion of great hope is Our lot today
in receiving into Our presence so numerous and so select a representa-
tion of the Association of the Knights of Columbus of the United States
of America, come here to pay homage, through Our humble person, to the
glorious dignity with which We are clothed, as the Vicar of Christ on
earth. It is always indeed a pleasure to see Our children around Us,
but it is a very special source of happiness to have before Us today the
representatives of that noble society which We know has already acquired
such merit in the Catholic Church, and its great country, America.

"We are well aware of all that the Knights of Columbus have done
for many years past in the different fields of human activity. Who is
there who does not know of the great help they gave to the Catholic
University of Washington, founding there numerous courses of study for
Catholic young men? And certainly we cannot but repeat the well-de-
served praise which our predecessor of venerated memory bestowed on that
initiative as being both in appearance and in fact well deserving of re-
ligion and of true culture. Further, we remember the unfailing help that
the Knights of Columbus gave both to Bishops and parish priests for the
carrying out of their pastoral ministry. It is this valuable help which
often makes possible works of beneficence, and surely it can be said
that the names of the efficacious helpers should be written in the book of
eternal life by the side of the founders of the works of beneficence they
supported. Nor can we possibly pass over in silence the provident and
charitable activity of the Knights of Columbus during the recent war,
not only in the United States, but in aU the countries afflicted by the
terrible calamity, the memory of which is still vivid. That activity
gained the praise and admiration not only of Catholics, but of all of good
heart, without distinction of faith or nationality, and not only from simple
citizens, but from governments. And shall not what they have said find
echo from us, who, while we could not arrest the awful scourge, set before
Ourself the noble purpose of at least mitigating its consequences?

5. Hiberno — ArgctUine Revivio, Buenos Aires, Jan. 27, 1911, quoted in
Columhian, April 21, 1911. p. 1.


"These abundantly consoling fruits of the work of the Association
of the Knights of Columbus are to be attributed above all, in our opinion,
to the intensely religious spirit which inspires the beloved association
itself and causes in each and every one of its members that clear cut, open
and entire profession and practice of the Catholic religion which does
so much to make the individual morally honorable, and socially useful.
And that is why the Knights of Columbus, besides being a magnificent
example to their brethren in the faith, are also the best citizens. Truly
they deserve to be honored with the name of knight — a name which, in
the Middle Ages, was the hallmark of an institution among whose aims
were respect for and the defense of the Church, and care and love for the
weak and poor. Specially significant and honorable for you, too, beloved
children, is the name of that great pioneer of civilization and apostle of
faith, our fellow citizen, Christopher Columbus, who loved to call himself
and write himself down as "Columbus, Bearer of Christ," Columbus
Christum Ferens.

"Eeadily we recognize that a field as vast as it is fertile, is open
for your work in the great American Eepublic, whose boast it is to have
based its public order on the fullest liberty and mutual respect. Such
conditions must necessarily favor the life of your institution, but it is
through your spirit of initiative and fruitful activity that it has devel-
oped, and therefore we have all reason to hope that the Knights of Co-
lumbus will extend and intensify to even greater good their work, main-
taining it — as there is no reason to doubt — in due reverence and sincere
attachment towards the Episcopate, which on its side has always shown
its sympathy for every undertaking fruitful of good. We are sure, too,
that the Knights of Columbus will never depart from that wise course of
conduct which they have always followed hitherto, of not identifying their
programme with any other programme of a political character. Indeed,
we believe that therein lies the secret of the sympathy that they have
gained on all sides and which has assured their magnificent success in
every field of action. An old principle teaches that good spreads itself,
and it is not surprising, therefore, that while still doing so much fruit-

Online LibraryJoseph J. (Joseph James) ThompsonA history of the Knights of Columbus in Illinois → online text (page 1 of 67)