Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

  Iota Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity
Georgetown, Texas


1003 McKenzie Drive

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Iota Chapter of Kappa Sigma

at Georgetown, Texas

 

Scott Clearman, 429 Towne Park Trail, Austin, Texas 78751

On October 12, 1886, the Iota Chapter was chartered by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Southwestern University. With the completed initiation of Iverson Benjamin Lane, Jesse Cross Baker, Jasper Benjamin Gibbs and John Stanley Moss, Iota became a permanent part of the University on October 15, 1886. [2]

 

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity traces its traditions to 15th century Bologna, Italy. Its founder, Manuel Chrysoloras created the order for the protection of students of the University of Bologna. The Students banded together to protect themselves from the unscrupulous governor of the city, Baldassarre Cossa. [3]

 

The traditions were brought to America by the five founders of Kappa Sigma in the "new world" William Grigsby McCormick, Frank Courtney Nicodemus, Edmund Law Rogers, Jr., George Miles Arnold and John Covert Boyd at the University of Virginia on December 12, 1867. The fraternity in the following years spread to universities throughout the nation. [4] The Star and Crescent of Kappa Sigma is now a part of 226 universities across the nation and in Canada. [5]

 

Iota is the 27th Chapter to be founded in the United States, the second in Texas. [6] Iota begin its life at Southwestern as a sub rosa organization until its recognition by the University on June 20, 1887. [7]

 

Iota has initiated some 900 men during its first 100 years at Southwestern. [8] Among these men, the Chapter has many distinguished alumni. Most notable, although certainly not alone, is the Honorable John G. Tower, former United States Senator from Texas. Tower has served the fraternity as Worthy Grand Master and was honored by the fraternity as Kappa Sigma's Man of the Year in 1961. [9] Also notable is Mr. Edward A. Clark, former U.S. Ambassador to Australia and Secretary of State (Texas).

The beliefs and highest ambitions of a Kappa Sigma are to be found in the Star and Crescent: The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, but only by him who is worthy to wear it. He must be a gentleman . . . a man of honor and courage . . . a man of zeal, yet humble . . . an intelligent man . . . a man of truth . . . one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, one who walks in the light of God. [9] This chapter has been a special part of the lives of the men who have been members, of Southwestern University, of Texas and indeed of the Nation.

 

1. NA

2 Although the Charter was granted on October 12, 1886, the chapter was not recognized by Kappa Sigma Headquarters until October 15, 1886. This is the date when the chapter had the required four members. (Lane was initiated on September 10, 1886; Baker, Gibbs, and Moss were each initiated on October 15, 1886). The chapter has always recognized the October 12 as its founding.

Lane was born on January 18, 1863, his profession was law. Gibbs was in the lumber business and was born on December 13, 1868. Baker was also in the lumber business and was born of November 6, 1887. Moss was born on April 9, 1867. This information is from the minuets book of the chapter which dates back to 1897. The book is stored in the Chapter House. Item 7.

3 See attachment 1, Bononia Docet, pp.18-22.

4 See attachment, Bononia Docet, pp31-35. Item 2.

5 Bononia Docet, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Richmond - - 1979.

6 The Tau Chapter at the University of Texas was the first, founded on September 18, 1884.

7 See attachment, S.U.,p. 199. Item 3.

8 See attachment, Centennial, p. xxiii. Item 4.

9 Bononia Docet, Item 6.

 

 

Bibliography

Jones, Ralph Wood, Southwestern University, 1840-1961, Jenkins Publishing Co., Austin -- 1973.

 

Kappa Sigma, Bononia Docet, William Byrd Press, Richmond -­1975.

 

Bononia Docet, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Richmond - - 1979.

 

Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Centennial History of Kappa Sigma ,  1869-1969, Bradford-Robinson Co., Denver -- 1970.