Order of DeMolay was founded in 1919, in Kansas City,
Missouri, by a young man named Frank S. Land. Land was a
community leader who, at the age of 28, already had a
successful business career as a restaurateur behind him.
The main event that lead to the founding of the DeMolay
movement was World War I. This was a time when the nation
was caught up with a passion and desire to bring democracy
to the world.
When the United States joined in the fight against German
power, every resource of men and materials was poured into
the war effort. America suffered not only the loss of its
men who had fallen in battle, but on the home front as well.
A positive response to this critical situation came about
with the development of many charitable organizations. Frank
S. Land was selected to act as the director of the Masonic
Relief and Employment Bureau of the Scottish Rite of
Freemasonry. This charity would come to help hundreds and
hundreds of families. Near the end of the war, Land became
concerned with the problems of boys who had lost their
fathers. He thought "how lonely it must be for a boy not to
have a man to talk with, or a man to provide some type of
inspiration and direction."
Frank decided there was a need for an organization where
boys would have the opportunity to associate with other
boys, a place they could share common interests, learn
responsibility and other skills that would benefit them
throughout their lives. His ideal model for this
organization included having business or professional men,
Masons, taking interest in the young people, being a friend
to them, advising them, and perhaps even providing them with
In March, 1919,
Land met with young Louis Lower. Louis' father had died,
leaving the young man without a father figure in his life.
Land took the time to listen to Louis, learn about his
dreams, and to help him. He learned that others, like Louis,
sought companionship, leadership, inspiration and
competition. He asked Louis to invite some friends to a
meeting, the original group of nine DeMolays: Louis G.
Lower, Ivan M. Bentley, Edmund Marshall, Gorman A. McBride,
Jerome Jacobson, William W. Steinhilber, Elmer Dorsey, Clyde
C. Stream, and Ralph Sewell. At the second meeting, there
was a total of 31 young men present. They were excited about
their new club!
The group needed its own identity and its own name. After
Dad Land related the story of Jacques DeMolay, the group
decided to name itself for this historical figure connected
Dad Land, as he came to be called, provided the philosophy
and principles to be embodied. As interest in DeMolay
spread, Land answered many requests for information and
authority to start chapters. Initiations and ceremonies took
place in all locations. By the fall of 1920, Mother Chapter
had developed activities for its members as well. These
included an outstanding baseball team, a DeMolay marching
unit, and even a 100-piece band!
By the end of
1921, Dad Land realized he had to devote full time to this
new organization and become a full time DeMolay employee. As
DeMolay chapters grew in numbers and strength, the
organization as a whole grew in prestige. With this greater
prestige, interest developed in the Masonic fraternity.
Official recognition and approval by Masonic groups began
giving their seal of approval to foster DeMolay in their
states. Many distinguished organizations endorsed DeMolay
including the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons,
Grand Lodges, Knights Templar, etc.
champion of Freemasonry and of its teachings, Land would
become a figure of international prominence within Masonry,
eventually becoming Imperial Potentate of the Shrine of
North America. He counted among his friends U.S.
Congressmen, state governors, movie and radio stars,
military leaders, leaders of industry, Presidents of the
U.S. and a veritable legion of young men in their teens.
Dad Land worked
tirelessly for the Order of DeMolay until his death on
November 8, 1959. Hundreds of other devoted workers aided in
the creation and extension of the Order of DeMolay, but
looked to one man for guidance. Frank S. Land was the
charismatic leader of the Order. Frank S. Land was truly a
great man, a proud American, and a person who came to be
known by millions, simply as "Dad". Frank Land's life
touched, and continues to impact generation after generation
of young people, young men looking to better themselves by
emulating the lessons and examples by which he himself
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