Grand Assembly of North Carolina
Biography of Rev. William Mark Sexson
Rev. William Mark Sexson, our founder, was born at Arnica Springs, Missouri, July 8, 1877. He was the son of Thomas and Hanna Sexson who came from Illinois as pioneers in the early settlement of southwest Missouri, located upon a farm near the village of Arnica Springs.
At twelve years of age he joined the church, and at fourteen began his ministry. At seventeen he was ordained a minister of the Christian (Disciples) Church by Elder John H. Breeze. He married Miss Edith Edwards of Windsor, Illinois, and as a young married couple they went to Bloomfield, Indiana, where he became pastor of the First Christian Church. After serving for two years as minister of this church, he moved to Indianapolis where he entered Butler College in further preparation of his ministry. He served as Evangelist in the Christian Church conducting revival meetings in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and a number of western states.
He came to Cleveland, Oklahoma in 1906 as minister of the Christian Church. He was made a Master Mason in Bloomfield, Indiana, during the time that he was minister of the First Christian Church of that city. He immediately became identified with the craft as a lecturer and contributor of fraternal literature. He spent practically all of his life in this field of research work and as a result of such research has been honored by the Fraternity on many occasions.
He was initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason by Bloomfield Lodge No. 80 at Bloomfield, Indiana, in 1902. He was made Master of the Royal Secret 32 degree in Oklahoma Consistory No. 1, at Guthrie, May 30, 1907. In October, 1911, he was crowned Knight Commander of the Court of Honor at Guthrie.
In 1912 he came to McAlester, Oklahoama as Secretary of the McAlester Scottish Rite Bodies, serving them as such until January 1, 1922. In 1913 while Secretary of the McAlester Scottish Rite Bodies, he was made a thirty-third degree Mason and coroneted as Inspector General Honorary by the Supreme Council at Washington. He was a Royal Arch Mason, a member of Indian Chapter No. 1, North McAlester; also, a Knight Templar, a member of McAlester Commandery No. 6; a Noble of the mystic Shrine holding active membership in Indian Temple at Oklahoma City, and honorary membership in Bedouin Temple at Muskogee, and Akdar Temple at Tulsa. He was a member of Amrita Grotto of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was Past Grand Patron, O.E.S., of Oklahoma.
He was Past Master of South McAlester Lodge No. 96 (1921) and served the Grand Lodge as Grand Chaplain in 1920 and 1921 and as Grand Orator in 1923 and 1924. At the meeting of Grand Lodge in Tulsa, 1925, he was elected Junior Grand Warden, in 1926 was elected Senior Grand Warden, and in 1927 was elected Deputy Grand Master. On February 15, 1928, he was elected to the highest office and given the highest rank attainable in Freemasonry, that of Most Worshipful Grand Master of a sovereign Masonic Grand Jurisdiction.
Rev. Sexson was initiated in South McAlester Chapter No. 149, Order of the Eastern Star, September 13, 1921; installed Worthy Patron, January 9, 1923; made a life member of South McAlester Chapter No. 149, in 1931; was elected Worthy Grand Patron of the O.E.S. Grand Chapter of Oklahoma in 1925-1926; served on the Ritual Committee of the General Grand Chapter, O.E.S., 1928 to 1931. In April, 1937, he was initiated in the White Shrine of Jerusalem at Muskogee, Oklahoma.
His greatest work was the organization of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. One evening in the spring of 1922, Rev. Sexson had been asked to make an address before South McAlester Chapter No. 149. As the DeMolay had come under his close study and observation during his Masonic activities, he became more and more conscious of the fact that an Order for girls setting forth some if the truths of Masonry would be necessary. He made a stirring appeal for such an organization in his address and the Worthy Matron, Mrs. Sarah Church, immediately replied, "We would start it if we had someone to write the ceremony of Initiation." Rev. Sexson said, " I will write the Ritual." The next day, he wrote the Ritual, giving it the name "Order of the Rainbow for Girls." He chose this name while he was looking at an old Masonic charter and saw a Rainbow in the background of the charter.
He dictated the Ritual to the Church stenographer, Mrs. Helen Ambrose, in the study of the first Christian Church of which he was then a minister. He asked the regular officers of South McAlester Chapter No. 149, O.E.S., to exemplify the work and furnished them with typewritten copies of the Ritual.
On April 6, 1922, the degree were exemplified for the first time on a class of one hundred seventy-one girls in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple, McAlester, Oklahoma.
The Supreme of governing Body was formed by Rev. Sexson in June, 1922. He wrote the law governing the Supreme Body was well as the law governing the Subordinate Assemblies. At the formation of this Supreme Body, Rev. Sexson was made the Supreme Recorder and later was given the title, Supreme Worthy Advisor Emeritus.
On December 20, 1953, Rev. Sexson died in a McAlester hospital, following a short illness. The funeral service was held at the First Christian Church where he served as minister for many years and where the Ritual of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls was written. Burial was in the Masonic Section of Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester, Oklahoma.
Copyright © 2004-2005 Grand Assembly of North Carolina
Please send your comments or feedback concerning this site to webmaster, Fred Wood