Pioneers’ Life Association
During all sessions of the Homestead the President should preserve good order. All loud and boisterous talking, profane and obscene language and all ungentlemanly conduct should be strictly prohibited. No intoxicated person should be allowed in the Homestead, and the use of intoxicating liquors in the Homestead are prohibited.
Political and religious questions must not be discussed in the Homestead, and all conduct tending to cause disorder and ill feeling should be carefully avoided, as it is the purpose of this fraternity to promote and encourage brotherly love and harmony among its members.
The Homestead shall he arranged, as nearly as practicable, as shown by the foregoing diagram and the officers stations and the position of the alter and camp fire shall be as therein indicated.
One rap seats the Homestead.
Two raps call up the officers.
Three raps call up the entire Homestead.
The officers of each Homestead shall be a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Guide, Guard, Sentry, Medical Examiner and Three Trustees.
On the election of a new President, the out-going President shall occupy the station at the left of the President and opposite the camp fire, and he shall be known as Worthy Past President.
As this officer has a part to perform during the initiation ceremony and in closing the Homestead, it will be necessary for the President of newly organized Homesteads to appoint a member to fill that position.
In no case, however, should this station be occupied by a member who has never held the office of President when there is a Past President in attendance at the meeting. When the Past President is absent, the President shall appoint some other Past President to perform the duties of this position during the session, and if none are present, he may appoint any Pioneer
During the sessions of the Homestead the officers shall be addressed as follows: Worthy President, Worthy Vice-President, Worthy Past President, Bro. Guide, Bro. Guard, Bro. Sentry; and all members shall be addressed as Brothers.
As the success of a Homestead depends in a great measure on the manner and efficiency of the officers in conferring degrees and in giving the secret work, each officer should commit to memory his part of the ritual, more especially those parts that are given when the candidate is not hoodwinked.
In the absence of an officer the President may appoint a member to fill his position during the session. In the absence of the President the Vice-President will occupy the station of President and perform all the duties of that office. In case of the absence of both President and Vice-President, any Past President or other member may, at the proper time of opening the Homestead, call the Homestead to order, appoint members to fill vacancies, and the Homestead will proceed to the regular order of business in the same manner as if the regular officers ware present.
PRESIDENT, gives one rap: The appointed hour has now arrived. Let all assume their proper stations.
When all are seated and order obtained: Brother Guide you will proceed to satisfy yourself that all present are Pioneers in good standing,
The Guide will then approach the President and receive from him the regular and annual words he shall then proceed around the hail starting at the right of the President, receiving from each Pioneer present the regular and annual words. If any member present is without either word the Guide shall audibly so report to the President, Upon the call of the President such member shall advance to the President, and receive from him the word, if entitled thereto. When giving the words the same shall be accompanied by the handshake and grip of the fraternity. If a Pioneer of another Homestead be present and without the word, he may be vouched for by a Pioneer present in good standing but neither word shall be given him except on the written order of the President of his Homestead. If no Pioneer present can vouch for him the President shall appoint a committee of two members who will retire with the stranger to the ante room and examine him as to his right to sit in the Homestead. If the committee are satisfied that he is a Pioneer they may admit him to the Homestead. If otherwise, he shall not he admitted. When the Guide has completed his examination of the members he shall approach the altar, salute the President and say:
GUIDE: Worthy President, I have made due examination, and I find that all present are Pioneers in good standing. Guide resumes his station.
PRESIDENT: Brother Guard, are the approaches properly guarded?
The Guard examines the outer door, finds the sentry at his post and informs him that the Homestead is in session, after which he will salute the President and will say:
GUARD: Worthy President, they are duly guarded by the Sentry at the outer door.
VICE PRESIDENT, gives three raps: Worthy President, the Pioneers of … Homestead No. … salute you with the sign of the fraternity.
Here all members salute the President with the salutation sign.
We have assembled in obedience to that fraternal and charitable spirit that prompted the formation of this association, the purpose of which is to promote good will among men, and the better to protect and provide for our loved ones.
PRESIDENT, giving the salutation sign: I return your salutation in the same fraternal spirit in which it was given. It signifies a clear vision that perceives the wants and troubles of others; and the open hand of charity that will always be extended to the relief of a distressed worthy brother Pioneer and his family; that scatters the seeds of plenty and good will and brotherly love, and that greatest of all virtues Charity. Let us all strive to make that salutation, when given, a true expression of the sentiments of Pioneers as we toil along the rugged highway of life.
Brother Secretary, what are your duties?
SECRETARY: To keep a true and impartial record of all the proceedings of this Homestead, make such reports as may be required, keep a true and impartial account with each member of this Homestead, receive all moneys from the members, and pay the same over to the Treasurer, and take his receipt therefor.
PRESIDENT: Brother Treasurer, what are your duties?
TREASURER: To receive all moneys from the Secretary, disburse the same upon orders properly drawn and make such reports as may be required.
PRESIDENT: I now proclaim … Homestead, No. … is in session, and I direct that the camp fire be lighted and around its cheerful glow let warm hearts and brotherly love prevail.
The Guide will here light the camp fire while the opening ode is being sung.
Tune The Old Kentuks Hime
By the flickering light of the camp fire bright,
The Pioneers gather around,
And they sing the lays of the Pioneer days,
Till the Homestead walls resound;
We’ll think no more my brothers,
Of the cares, and the toils, and the strife;
But we’ll all join hand, a firm united band,
As we march down the hill-side of life.
On the banks of a stream they have often been seen.
Searching a place of rest;
In sunshine and shade and in forest and glade,
They have reared happy homes in the West;
Then we’ll bid farewell to trouble,
To the duties of life we’ll be true;
We’ll re-sing the old song of the Pioneers so strong,
And all of our pledges renew.
President seats the Homestead.
PRESIDENT: Brother Guide are there any candidates in waiting?
GUIDE, standing and saluting the President: Worthy President, we have in waiting Mr. … who desires to make the journey of a Pioneer and become one of us.
PRESIDENT: Brother Guide, you will retire to the ante-room, properly prepare the candidate, and accompany him on his journey as a Pioneer.
The Guide will retire to the ante room, blindfold the candidate and direct him to give one distinct rap at the door of the Homestead. When done and before the door is opened the following takes place.
GUARD: Worthy President, there is a strange alarm at the Homestead gate, apparently a stranger seeks admission.
PRESIDENT: You may investigate the alarm, and ascertain the cause of the stranger’s intrusion. Here the Guard opens the door and in a severe tone asks.
GUARD: Who comes here and why this intrusion?
GUIDE: A man journeying among strangers, and, desiring to join our fraternal community, asks admission to our Homestead.
GUARD: Is this stranger honest in his intentions, lawabiding, charitable and industrious?
GUIDE: He is so reported to be and he comes recommended by two brother Pioneers.
GUARD, the door remaining open: Worthy President, a stranger seeks admission to our Homestead. He is reported to be worthy of our confidence, and he comes duly recommended.
PRESIDENT: Has he paid the required entry fee, and is he physically capable of performing the duties and enduring the hardships of a real pioneer?
GUARD: He has paid the fee, but his powers of endurance are yet to be tested.
PRESIDENT: The Guide will conduct the stranger to the altar where he will prove himself worthy to begin the journey of a Pioneer.
When done the President will say: Stranger, is it your purpose, in good faith to become a pioneer of this Homestead?
CANDIDATE: It is.
PRESIDENT: Stranger, if your purpose in coming here is merely to gratify an idle curiosity, or if your motives are hi any way unworthy, I now advise you to retire from this Homestead while you can honorably do so. All who join this community of Pioneers should be actuated by pure and sincere motives, and be truly desirous of bettering their own condition and that of their loved ones in the days of sickness, death or misfortune.
Knowing this, do you still desire to remain and become a pioneer?
CANDIDATE: I do.
PRESIDENT: Before you set out upon the journey of a Pioneer, and acquire Homestead rights in this community, it will be necessary for you to re-bind yourself by re-affirming in the presence of all these witnesses, a solemn obligation similar to the one which you have heretofore taken, and which must never, under any circumstances be violated by you.
Are you willing to re-take that obligation?
CANDIDATE: I am.
PRESIDENT: Stranger, you will raise your right band, your left hand resting on the altar before you, and repeat after me the following obligation. President calls up the Homestead.
I (your name) in the presence of these witnesses, do, of my own free will and accord, most solemnly promise that I will comply with and obey, all the laws, rules nod usages of this fraternity; that I will keep forever secret all that may transpire during my initiation, or that of any other person into this fraternity; that I will never communicate to any person in any manner whatever any of the words, signs or tokens of this fraternity except to those entitled to receive the same.
I hereby renew and re-affirm all my obligation which I gave when applying for membership in this Fraternity, and promise forever to keep it sacred. And, should I violate this, my obligation, may I become an outcast in society and an object of contempt and dishonor, to be shunned by all good men.
PRESIDENT, seats the Homestead: You may now follow your guide, obey his commands on the journey that lies before you, and, we trust, all will be well.
The journey you are about to take is a long and difficult one, beset on either hand by dangers. This Journey is symbolic and is intended to illustrate the trials and dangers that our brave and hardy ancestors who peopled the western wilderness endured. We hope you will prove yourself a brave man, and a worthy descendant of brave ancestors.
The guide will now reconduct you to the place from whence you came, after which, you will begin your Journey as a Pioneer.
Here the Guide will conduct the candidate to the anteroom.
After the candidate has retired and the Homestead is in readiness, the President shall make known the fact to the Guard and he in turn to the Guide. The door will then be opened, and the candidate, blindfolded, will be conducted into the lodge room by the Guide, The candidate will be conducted around the room from right to left. While passing around the room the Guide will repeat the following lecture to the candidate, the room being kept as quite as possible.
GUIDE: You are now beginning a journey in a strange land and among strangers. You know not the many dangers that beset your pathway. The friends of your youth no longer accompany you to give you aid, advice and encouragement. Only the cold unsympathetic world is before you. It has in store for you some of joy, much of care, struggle and disappointment. Upon yourself alone mast you rely. You will need a clear head and a stout heart. It is well "to hitch your wagon to a star," but remember that you will never in this world attain the best to which you may aspire. Life is indeed a pilgrimage, and no man can count the days thereof until the journey’s end is reached. What joys are in store for you, or what dangers may threaten, you cannot now know. We only know that the dark shadows will alternate with the sunshine.
The journey you are now commencing is intended to symbolize the journey of life and the experience of a real Pioneer. May you heed the lessons it is intended to teach.
We will not tarry in the great and opulent cities along whose busy crowded streets stand gorgeous palaces of commerce which, like fortresses of war, frown upon the misery and poverty below.
In the great cities we find life a merciless struggle for existence, place or power; a war without quarter, and there, familiarity with misery and crime, has largely dried the fountains of human sympathy and kindness. Rather let us seek the quiet borne of the husbandman where generous nature smiles upon his honest efforts and lulls him to peaceful repose. In such a place will we seek a homestead.
We now approach a well stocked farm. It is autumn, the golden season of the year; the barns are filled with grain; the orchards are laden with ripe fruit; plenty may be seen on every hand, and happiness and contentment must dwell in that spacious farmhouse. We are now weary. Surely, here we will receive aid, refreshments, and encouragement on our journey.
Guide and candidate stop in front of the Vice President.
Mr. Farmer, we are strangers out of money and are journeying to the westward in search of a place to build a home. We are tired and hungry and want rest and food. Will you assist us?
VICE PRESIDENT: Years ago I came to this spot, far from the abodes of civilized man. Here have I since toiled upon this land given me by bounteous nature. Many years have I toiled and labored to build this home. I have not asked the help of others but have always relied upon myself, for it is said "God helps those who help themselves." I pay my debts and my taxes, support my family, my church, and obey the laws. I have no money to squander on vagrants. Pay your way as I have done. If you cannot do that, I remind you that there is a poor house for such as you. I know you not. You may be "wolves in sheep’s clothing." I will have nothing to do with you, and will give you nothing to encourage you in vagrancy. Move on and be quick about it.
GUIDE, resuming the journey: Yes we will move on though weary, thirsty and hungry. Avenge, greed and selfishness are the same, whether found in the city millionaire or in the farmer who prospers on nature’s generosity. Who is the greater enemy of mankind, the one with abundance who refuses aid to honest want, or the criminal who stands by the wayside to rob his unsuspecting victim? Yonder I see a church whose spire points to heaven, a perpetual reminder of man’s duty to man and to his Creator. Listen and you may hear the music of the congregation.
Here the Pioneers who can sing will sing very softly the first stanza of "Nearer my God, to Thee," and while the singing is going on the Guide will stop remaining silent a brief time, and then move on continuing his journey.
I see the good pastor standing at the door kindly welcoming all who come seeking spiritual aid and comfort. Here none are turned away, so we will appeal to this good man for help.
Guide and candidate stop in front of time Past President’s station.
GUIDE, addressing the Past President: Good pastor, we are stranger pilgrims in search of a home. We are tired, hungry and thirsty and have no money. We have applied to the wealthy for aid and have been refused We now appeal to you and trust that it will not be in vain.
PAST PRESIDENT: I, too, am poor in material things, but I trust, I am rich in spiritual blessings. I can neither give you meat nor money, but I can feed you on the bread of eternal life. The body is temporal, the soul is eternal. My friends, I beseech you to forsake your sins; think less on the things of time, that only satisfy the temporal needs, and place your trust and hope in the goodness of your heavenly Father. With these admonitions I kindly dismiss you.
Guide and candidate move on.
GUIDE: Again are we disappointed. How few realize how much of true piety there may be in the giving of a loaf of bread or cup of cold water. This good man of the church would doubtless help us if he could. The busy selfish world often forgets his needs and withholds from him the means of doing much good for suffering humanity. While we will try to heed his spiritual admonitions, we are again reminded of the necessity of self reliance. Life is indeed a warfare and every man must fight his own battles, but while he is fighting the battle of life as a self reliant soldier, he should not forget the great virtue of charity.
My brother, here is a beautiful stream whose wooded banks offer an inviting spot for rest. As we are weary, we will sit upon its banks and rest.
Here the candidate will be seated and will be suddenly raised to his feet, the Guide exclaiming: Arise, my brother! The banks of the river are damp!
Guide and candidate wild then resume their journey, the Guide continuing his lecture.
In yonder wood we may find a place of rest. Thither will we go. Nature will there be kind to us if man will not.
Here let it be as still as possible.
How still and dark it seems. Let us seek some well sheltered and secluded spot where we may lie down and rest.
Two of the members will impersonate robbers and will make some little noise when the Guide will continue: Hark! What sound was that! I fear we are in danger! Out of the darkness come two men in masks. They are robbers! Let us separate and fly for our lives! It is our only chance to escape! Upon yourself alone must you now rely.
Guide lets go the arm of the candidate.
It is too late! We are overtaken! Save yourself if you can.
Here the first robber seizes die Guide and says:
FIRST ROBBER: Your money or your life!
GUIDE: We have no money. We are strangers in a strange land.
FIRST ROBBER: You cannot decieve us or escape. Again I say, your money or your life.
GUIDE: Neither of us have any money.
FIRST ROBBER: Then we will have your lives!
Here the first Robber and Guide will engage in a struggle, the robber dealing the Guide a blow with an inflated paper bag so as to make a loud report as of a gun, and the latter falls to the ground, exclaiming Murder! Help! And utters a few groans in a low tone. At the instant of the report the second robber will seize the candidate, threatening his life and demanding his money. At this point the Poor Pioneer will appear.
POOR PIONEER: Robbers! Murder! Help! Help!
FIRST ROBBER: We are discovered! Let us escape under cover of the darkness of this forest!
Here they release their hold on the candidate and take rapid steps away as if running and will resume their seats, while the Poor Pioneer will approach the candidate exclaiming:
POOR PIONEER: What a foul deed is this! One of these men is dead! the innocent victim of robbers and assassins! His companion lives, and I will rescue him by the strong fraternal grip of a Pioneer. By it, I will restore him to his friends and conduct him to a place of safety, where the Pioneers will minister to his wants. May this stranger remember this grip and use it to rescue others from danger.
Here the Poor Pioneer gives the fraternal grip, in such way as to confuse the candidate as to the proper method of giving it. The prostrate Guide will be covered with a sheet and while the Poor Pioneer is leading the candidate away, the Pioneers or at least ten or twelve of them, will assemble about the Guide kneeling on their right knee, resting their heads on their left hands, the left elbow resting on the left knee.
The lights should be turned off or very low, leaving the principal light in the room that furnished by the camp fire. The Guide shall be lying with his feet toward the camp fire and his head toward the altar and the kneeling Pioneers arranged on either side. The President should be in his chair clothed in a white robe. While all this is being arranged the Poor Pioneer will lead the candidate about the room on the side of the camp fire opposite the President continuing his lecture:
POOR PIONEER: I will assist you to a place of safety, where you my find rest and refreshments, and where true friends will ever be ready to lend a helping hand in the days of distress or adversity. Such a place is a community of Pioneers near by. Thither will we go. On yonder hill I see their camp fire. They now have assembled about the remains of your late friend and guide, a Pioneer of this community.
Here they stop in front of the camp fire, facing the President and the kneeling Pioneers. Hoodwink is removed. The Poor Pioneer continues his lecture: This sad and solemn scene should remind yon of the great uncertainty of life and the certainty of death that awaits as all. That grim angel is ever passing through each community, and no one can tell at whose threshold he will next make his unwelcome visit. In the full vigor of life and in the prime of his usefulness, your late friend and guide was cut down. The dread summons came without a warning, and no loved ones were present to soothe and comfort him in his last earthly struggle, his labors and cares are over, and we who remain have lost the kind sympathy of a loving friend, and the advice of a wise counsellor. No more shall the widow and orphan receive his kind acts of mercy which came like the "gentle rains from heaven." Can you look upon this scene without being reminded of the duties the living owe the dead? He was wise and thoughtful, as well as kind and loving, and so his widow and orphans will receive the care and protection of this Homestead, for he was one of us. Sadly and solemnly on the morrow will they bear him to his last earthly resting place, while we will again take up the burden of life, and try to do unto his loved ones as we would that he would do unto ours.
The end of your journey as a Pioneer has now been reached. We will now retire, after which you will receive further instruction and be taught how to conduct yourself as a Pioneer, and prove that you are entitled to dwell among Pioneers of this fraternity.The candidate will be conducted to the ante room by the Poor Pioneer, where the Guide will join him and give one distinct rap at the inner door, when the Guard will open the door. GUARD, speaking to the Guide, the candidate at this time not being hoodwinked: You are commanded to conduct the candidate to the Worthy President for instruction.
The Guide will conduct the candidate to a place immediately in front of the President, between his station and the altar.
PRESIDENT: My brother, I will now give you the working signs of the Pioneers. You have already learned die fraternal grip, which was given you by the Poor Pioneer when he rescued you from danger of robbery and death, so that it is unnecessary for me to repeat it. I will first give you the annual and regular words. Gives the annual word. This word is changed once each year. The regular word, which is never changed, is Here gives it. These words should never be given by you to any one except the Sentry, Guard, and Guide, except you should be acting as President of a Homestead, when you may communicate them as provided by law. I will now explain the method of gaining admission to the Homestead. You will alarm the Sentry at the outer door and give to him the annual word and he will admit you to the ante room. You will then give one rap at the inner door when the Guard will answer from within by one rap. You will then give through the wicket the regular word and the Guard will admit you to the Homestead.
Upon entering the Homestead door, if the Guide demands it, you should give to him the fraternal grip before referred to. Under the rules of this fraternity, you cannot advance until you have given it to the Guide, if he demands it.
You will then advance down the side of the room to opposite the camp fire, then step in front of the camp fire, face the President and salute him by the salutation sign, which is made as follows: Here sign is given.
The open hand shading the eyes calls to mind the journeying of the early Pioneers as they advanced to the westward, gazing toward the setting sun, looking for the coveted place to build a home. It also signifies that watchfulness which all Pioneers should exercise in guarding the rights, supplying the needs, and going to the rescue of needy and worthy brother Pioneers, their widows and orphans.
The open hand dropped to the side signifies generosity, that quality of mind and heart that enobles every character, and which all Pioneers ought always try to cultivate.
By the rules of this fraternity, this Homestead, in obedience to a time honored custom, will demand from you an article of fabric from your person, as a sort of memento that you were here first made a Pioneer. This piece of fabric may be used upon which to stamp your name for deposit in the archives of this Homestead. Being taken from your person, it will become to your posterity a relic of great value and of interest to future Pioneers. In view of these facts I am sure you will be ready to submit to the slight inconvenience it will temporarily cause you.
Brother Pioneer, you will now advance and receive the memento.
The Poor Pioneer will advance to the candidate and receive the memnto.
POOR PIONEER: Worthy President, I have obtained the memento and delivered the same to the Secretary.
If the candidate gives the sign the following takes place:
PRESIDENT: My brother, there remains one other sign, which is the Pioneer’s recognition sign and which is suggested by the foregoing incident, and I congratulate you on discovering and giving this sign. You have now demonstrated your ability to become a Pioneer.
♠ The sign is given by Here gives it. It has no special signification, it being used by Pioneers for purposes of recognition and, when given by one Pioneer it should be answered by the Pioneer addressed. It is accompanied by this dialogue. Teaches the dialogue.
Should the candidate fail to discover the sign at the taking of the memento, the following is given:
PRESIDENT: My brother, there remains one other sign which is the Pioneer’s recognition sign and which is suggested by the foregoing incident. As it is usually given by a candidate of ordinary mental perception, at the time of taking the memento, I am sorry to note that you did not discover and give it. Here go back and give the part following the ♠.
PRESIDENT: You may now retire to the ante room, after which you will be expected to make you own way into the Homestead. You will first give one distinct rap at the door.
The Guide will conduct the candidate to the ante room, when the candidate will give one rap at the door, the Guard answering from within by one rap. The candidate then gives through the wicket the regular word, when the Guard will open the door allowing the candidate to enter the Homestead. Immediately on entering the Guide will demand of the candidate the fraternal grip before allowing him to proceed further. After some little hesitation the Guide will address the Vice President as follows:
GUIDE: Worthy Vice President, the candidate fails to give the fraternal grip. What shall I do?
The Vice President shall make known the fact to the President and he to the Homestead and ask for information of what to do in such a case. There may follow a general discussion on the candidates failure to give the grip, the members being careful to conduct the discussion in a decorus manner so as to impress on him the seriousness of the mistake he has made. After some discussion the Secretary who has been pretending to hook up something in the by-laws in regard to the subject will announce to the President that the by-laws have provided for such an emergency. The President will request the Secretary to read the Section of the by-laws to which he refers, the Homestead being kept quiet while the Secretary is reading. The Secretary will then pretend to read from the by-laws something as follows:
Section No. 47.—Should any Pioneer who has been regularly and carefully instructed in the secret of this order, become so careless and forgetful of his duties that he is unable to give the signs, pass words and grip of this fraternity when demanded of him by the proper officers, thereby showing his unfitness to remain a member of this order, he shall pay a fine of not more than $10 nor less than $1, said fine to be paid the Secretary and by him to be deposited with the Treasurer for the local sick benefit fund of the Homestead of which said Pioneer shall be a member. Should such member fail or refuse to pay said fine he shall be at once expelled from the Homestead and from all rights and benefits of this association.
After some discussion as to the amount of fine to be imposed on the candidate, the Past President will make a motion that the candidate be allowed to speak on himself as to whether he is willing to pay a fine and to make any explanation on his conduct he may see fit. After the candidate has spoken the Vice President will make a motion that the candidate be again instructed in the method of giving the grip. When carried, the President wilt say:
PRESIDENT: As the candidate is unable to give the fraternal grip and therefore not entitled to the light of this Homestead, I direct that he be re-hoodwinked, after which he will be reconducted to his brother, the Poor Pioneer, of whom he will again receive the fraternal grip.
Guide hoodwinks the candidate and stand starts on a journey in search of the Poor Pioneer.
GUIDE: We will now go in search of the home of the Poor Pioneer, of whom you will again receive the fraternal grip, but where his homestead is we do not know. We will inquire the way. Stops in front of the Vice President. We are in search of the homestead of the Poor Pioneer of whom we seek to again learn the fraternal grip. Will you show us the way?
VICE PRESIDENT: My friends, I know the brother of whom you speak. To reach his homestead it will be necessary for you to re-pass through the dark and dismal forest where you were assailed by robbers, and to recross the stream on whose banks you once sat down to rest. The road through the forest is rough and dangerous and the storm has thrown many obstacles across the pathway. The raging current off the river has carried away the bridge, and you will have to cross it in a boat. If happily you succeed in crossing, you will find the home of the Poor Pioneer and he will again give yon the fraternal grip. Of no other person can you receive it,
I wish you a successful journey.
The Guide will lead the candidate on, resuming the journey and when he reaches the forest he will say:
GUIDE: We have now reached the dismal forest and how rough the pathway seems. Step high my brother as we are now walking over the fallen trees. After going through the forest the Guide continues: We have at last reached the banks of the river. How dark and dangerous appear its waters and the bridge is washed away. Ah! Here is the boat. We will enter it and cross the stream that we may reach the home of the Poor Pioneer which lies beyond the other shore.
The candidate is placed on the boat and while he is crossing to the opposite shore the Pioneers sing the following:
Sail on the river, brother, shore is at hand,
See o’er the foaming waves the Pioneer’s land,
Drear is the journey, brother, now almost o’er,
Safe within the flat boat, brother, pull for the shore.
Pull for the shore, brother, pull for the shore,
Heed not the rolling waves, but bend to the oar,
Safe in the flat boat, brother, cling to it no more,
Leave the poor old busted wreck, and swim to the shore
As the last line is sung the Pioneers who are in charge of the boat will give it a short jerk so as to slide the candidate off on the floor, being very careful not in time least to injure him. The Guide will raise him to his feet and say:
GUIDE: Again has fortune favored us on this perilous journey for we have now arrived at the homestead of the Poor Pioneer and I see him standing in his gateway ready to receive us. We will go to him that we may receive the fraternal grip of a Pioneer.
Leads the candidate to the masked Pioneer.
I now present you to your brother for further instruction in giving the fraternal grip. You will first greet him with the fraternal salutation.
The candidate here gives the salutation sign.
MASKED PIONEER: My brother, I am commanded by the Worthy President to re-give you the fraternal grip, but before doing so I must ask you the following questions:
Do you without mental reservation or qualification acknowledge my right as a brother to communicate to you the fraternal grip?
CANDIDATE: I do.
MASKED PIONEER: Will you before the world and in all public places, freely acknowledge me as a brother and come to my relief when you hear my cry of distress?
CANDIDATE: I will.
MASKED PIONEER: Having faith in your promises, I now accept you as a brother, and as such will re-give you the fraternal grip, which is given as follows:
Here same is given accompanied by explanatory words.
GUIDE: That you may hereafter recognize your brother I will remove the hoodwink.
Here Guide removes the hoodwink.
Behold your brother.
PRESIDENT: My brother, before becoming a Pioneer of this Homestead you took a solemn obligation in which you pledged your sacred honor that you would strictly comply with, and obey all the laws, rules, and usages of this fraternity. Relying upon that obligation and trusting in your honor, this Homestead elected to receive you as a brother. You then began and successfully completed a symbolic journey calculated to teach some of the virtues required of Pioneers.
You first stopped at the home of a wealthy farmer of whom you asked food and shelter for the night and were refused. In imagination you experienced the pangs of hunger, thirst and exhaustion, and the unkind refusal of aid, to you in your distress, was "sharper than a serpent’s tooth." In this you learned a lesson in charity, teaching you never to turn away the worthy brother in distress, for, it was said by the great Teacher that "inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these, ye did it unto me." You were then conducted to the door of the chapel where you appealed to the good man of the church for material aid. This he was unable to give, but imparted to you valuable spiritual precepts and admonitions, leaving your hunger and thirst unsatisfied. In this you were taught a lesson in self reliance. While no person should ever forget the duty of charity to others, no one should become a mere willing suppliant of charity. The virtue and beauty of charity is in the giving, not in the receiving. This incident also teaches you that kind and noble acts are more important to your fellow men, than mere precepts and sentiment. Precepts are the unborn children of the mind; generous, noble acts are the living children of the soul.
When a poor distressed brother Pioneer applies to you for bread, give him bread first, and your good advice afterwards.
At last, on your journey, you reached a forest, where, amidst its solitudes, you hoped to find repose. There, too, "amid God’s first temples lurked another danger unforseen. There you were assailed by robbers. Thus, you see, amid all the strange vicissitudes of life, man is never entirely safe.
Averice, greed and crime; winds, fire and floods; are some of the enemies of man. What wonder is it that the ancients regarded him as the mere plaything of capricious fates? We, of a better age, are fast learning the lesson that all men are, and should be brothers, and that each man is his brother’s keeper. In co-operation and mutual helpfulness there is strength and safety, and so this fraternity of Pioneers was formed. The part taken by the Poor Pioneer in rescuing you from danger furnishes an example for you and all Pioneers to emulate.
My brother, I hope you will ever strive to exemplify the precepts of this order, "and this above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night, the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."
My brother, I congratulate you on becoming a Pioneer of this Homestead, and oil behalf of the Homestead, I wish you a long life of usefulness and happiness. Gives three raps, facing the candidate to the audience. Brother Pioneers greet your newly acquired brother with the salutation sign of the order.
PRESIDENT: Brother Pioneers, do any of you know of work undone, or business unfinished, that should receive attention this night?
PAST PRESIDENT, if none is suggested. Gives three raps: Worthy President, the work of this night has been finished, arid peace and harmony prevail. The hour is late and we desire to close the labors of the day.
Vice PRESIDENT: Worthy President, the labors of the ancient pioneers have long since been finished The land which they found, was once the wilderness home of the savage red man. Bravely the Pioneers of old journeyed to the westward, faced dangers and difficulties and overcame and conquered them, and thus left us as an inheritance, a free country, happy homes, and fertile fields, generously yeilding bountiful harvests to the husbandman. Many of these pioneers have long since journeyed onward to flint "undiscovered country from which no mortal ever returns," but where, we trust, they have found a reward for all their labors, eternal peace and rest. The morrow has for us its duties and cares, and we are now weary and desire to seek repose that we may be well prepared to meet them by well doing, and thus eventually join the great homestead of our ancestors.
Long may these brothers stand,
A firm united band,
Of love and power;
Let hatred ne’er be seen,
Let peace of mind serene,
Let kindness reign supreme,
This closing hour.
Faith. Love, and Harmony,
Always the motto be,
Of this our baud;
Let hearts and hands unite,
Let all obey the light,
Let truth assert her might,
In all our land.
PRESIDENT: Brother Pioneers, assemble about the camp fire, all joint hands facing the center. The President steps to the altar and continues. Around this camp fire, hand in hand, we renew our pledges of devotion to the precepts and principles of this order and promise forever to keep inviolate all its secrets. We will again go out into the busy world with all its strifes, toils and troubles, but we will remain faithful co-workers and co-helpers. As the pioneers of old bravely faced dangers for their loved ones and laid the foundation of a mighty republic, so let us try to emulate their example of devotion and bravely face all life’s duties, always dealing justly, doing mercy, walking humbly, and living honestly as brothers. And when life’s work is finished may the Pioneers all meet in that other home "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
I now declare … Homestead No. … closed in form until the next meeting.