Delta Chi History

Delta Chi Basics

  • Since at least 1929, Delta Chi has recognized the following eleven men as the Founders of The Delta Chi Fraternity: Albert Sullard Barnes, Myron McKee Crandall, John Milton Gorham,Peter Schermerhorn Johnson, Edward Richard O’Malley, Owen Lincoln Potter, Alphonse Derwin Stillman, Thomas A. J. Sullivan, Monroe Marsh Sweetland, Thomas David Watkins, Frederick Moore Whitney.

    This list has not always been the accepted one. Even those on the list had differing opinions as to who deserved such recognition. To more fully understand the confusion, let us go back to the school year of 1889-90 and “set the stage” for the inception of the second law fraternity at Cornell. The school year of 1889-90 began with conversations of starting a new law fraternity, but, as school work increased, the idea was put off until the spring semester. Two incidents have been credited with providing the impetus for renewed interest in the founding of what was to become Delta Chi. One was the election of a Phi Delta Phi as the Law School Editor of the Cornell Daily Sun (the student newspaper) and the second was the election of the law school junior class president. in the case of the class presidency, Alphonse Derwin Stillman had done some campaigning for a student named Irving G. Hubbard and was unaware of any effort being made in anyone else’s behalf. When the voting results were in, Charles Frenkel, a Phi Delta Phi, was declared the winner. That caused Stillman to start “asking around.” It appears that what he found was a law school which was dominated by one small, closely knit group — Phi Delta Phi.

    The question of who first conceived the idea of a new fraternity will probably never be answered. According to Frederick Moore Whitney there were probably two or three groups working on the idea that spring.

    Monroe Marsh Sweetland (who was also a member of Delta Tau Delta from Cornell) claimed the idea was his alone; Myron McKee Crandall claimed the fraternity was started in his and Frank Edward Thomas’ apartment at 126 E. Seneca Street; Stillman remembered being approached by “one of the boys” after the class election but couldn’t remember who.

    In any case, there were meetings held in Crandall’s apartment as well as in Sweetland’s law office on Wilgus Street. It is not clear how these two groups came together, or even in which month, though there seems to have been some individuals who had attended both groups. Crandall did remember approaching Sweetland about the concept of the new fraternity and how excited he was, and how he had joined right in. Sweetland said he always had considered the founding of Delta Chi to date back to when he had unfolded the whole idea to Crandall.

    While the class officer elections and the Law School Editorship incidents may have provided the initial incentives for organization, it soon became clear that those involved were looking for much more. Realizing a common desire for fellowship and intellectual association, they sought to enrich their college experiences by creating among themselves a common bond; a bond that would materially assist each in the acquisition of a sound education; a bond that would provide each enduring value. As with any important commitment, there must be time for contemplation and planning.

    Over the summer, many of the details of the organization were worked out by Crandall, who had stayed in Ithaca until after school opened. There was additional work accomplished by Sweetland, John Milton Gorham and Stillman.

    In regards to the adoption of the constitution, Albert Sullard Barnes wrote the following in his 1907 Quarterly article:

    “As I recall it, after refreshing my recollection from the original minutes now in my possession, on the evening of October 13, 1890, six students in the Law School, brothers John M. Gorham, Thomas J. Sullivan, F. K. Stephens, A.D. Stillman and the writer, together with Myron Crandall and O. L. Potter, graduate students, and Monroe Sweetland, a former student in the Law School, met in a brother’s room and adopted the constitution and by-laws, and organized the Delta Chi Fraternity.”

    The minutes from that meeting state “Charter granted to Cornell Chapter” (Note: While it is only supposition, it is believed that the Founders chose to name their chapter and, therefore, all chapters to follow, after the school in which they had so much pride in hopes that some of the prestige of the school would “rub off” on their fraternity. The naming of chapters varies from fraternity to fraternity with school names, Greek alphabet, Greek alphabet within state and Greek alphabet and numbers being the most common.) indicating from the beginning the intent to start a national fraternity. From the spring semester of 1890 until October 13, 1890, there existed, in effect, a fraternity which had no chapters.

    In the fall of 1890 the names of Fred Kingsbury Stephens, Martin Joseph Flannery and Frank Edward Thomas appeared on the agreement to share the cost of purchasing a sample badge for the fraternity, and the signatures of both Flannery and Stephens appeared on the pledge “… to form a Greek letter fraternity….” Since both Flannery and Stephens dropped out of the organization early, they have not been included as Founders.

    The inclusion of Thomas’ name as a Founder has been hotly debated since the beginning, and Carl Peterson, Union ’22, who had researched the founding of Delta Chi during the 20s and was largely responsible for the recognition of Crandall as a Founder, maintained that Thomas was equally deserving. This was confirmed in conversations with Barnes, Crandall and Thomas, but met with opposition from some of the remaining Founders. The prime reason for denying his recognition seems to be the fact that the did not return to Ithaca in the fall of 1890, even though he was actively involved in the inception of the fraternity during the 1889-90 school year when it, at least on an informal basis, actually came into existence. The possible role he played in the birth of Delta Chi is re-counted in Peterson’s article “New Version of Our Founding,” in the September 1930 Quarterly. The authenticity of this role was strongly supported by Crandall. It is interesting to note that Crandall also did not return to school in the fall of 1890, although he did work in Ithaca until early in the fall semester when he left for Utica, N.Y. and Sweetland, having graduated the previous spring, was practicing law in Ithaca. Despite this, Crandall was listed as an active charter member of the Cornell Chapter on October 13, 1890. It was at his insistence, with it is assumed, the support of the majority of the members present, that Frank Thomas was listed as an honorary member. Sweetland was listed as an honorary charter member. Several of the Founders were working on their masters of Law degrees when the Fraternity was being organized.

    Up until the publishing of the 1929 Directory the list of our Founders did not include the name of Crandall. The inclusion of his name at that time was largely due to a replica of the original historical work of Peterson, even though as early as August 14, 1924, Crandall’s name was recommended by Whitney for such recognition.

    In the same letter, Whitney recommended that Peter Schermerhorn Johnson not be recognized as a Founder since he wasn’t initiated until December 1890 or March 1891. Johnson was, however, responsible for a large portion of the secrets of the Fraternity, writing “Foven’s Mater” and drawing the first emblem for Delta Chi.

    It is interesting to note that, in 1910, Whitney sent to the Cornell Chapter a composite of the nine men who he then believed to be the Founders of Delta Chi with an enlarged picture of Sweetland in its center.  He later had that composite removed when he determined that he had left out one or two men.

  • The choosing of the name for the new fraternity is difficult to credit to any one person. In a letter dated November 7, 1919, Crandall claimed remembering having a conference with Sweetland during the summer of 1890 concerning the naming of the fraternity. He also stated that Barnes may have “had something to do about it.” In the same letter he recounted enlisting George Hoxie, a student in the University, but not a law student, to help make a drawing of the Delta Chi badge that same summer. Hoxie’s involvement was confirmed by Whitney and Thomas. Sweetland claimed he, and he alone, picked the name of “Delta Chi” and that he liked the way the two words sounded together. Sweetland further said that he submitted the design and drawing for the first badge which was made by Heggie, an Ithaca jeweler. We do know that “Delta Tau Omega” was considered, and that they may have considered “Omega Chi.”

    There seems to be no doubt that Barnes obtained the first badge (which he lost at a class reunion 25 years later) and that the second badge was made for Whitney but purchased by Sweetland.

    In an article published in Volume 5 Number 1 of the Quarterly, Barnes stated that he had in his possession at that time, 1907, “… no less than seventeen designs …” for the badge. Barnes also claimed to be the chairman of a committee on designing the badge. The badge that Barnes owned had gold letters and a diamond in the center. This badge was worn by the Founders and frequently borrowed by the other members for special occasions, and while having their pictures taken.

    The first departure from this, according to Johnson, came when Richard Lonergan, Cornell ’92, had his made retaining the diamond in the center, but had the Delta mounted in black enamel. An early description of the badge stated that the Delta was jeweled or enameled to suit the owner with a diamond usually surmounting the center. The Chi was jeweled with one garnet on each arm.

  • The main work of composing the Ritual was done by Stillman, either during the summer or early fall of 1890. Supposedly the Ritual was read at a meeting when it was still incomplete and was submitted shortly thereafter at a meeting on October 20, 1890, where it was adopted. Since a committee on the Ritual composed of Stillman, Barnes, and Stephens was appointed on October 13, 1890, it seems probable that it was originally read at that meeting, and that Stillman was given some help in completing the Ritual. In Stillman’s own words, “I looked upon that Ritual as temporary and that (it) would serve until some genius could devise something entirely original. The ritual contained many phrases that were not original and which, as I ‘(Stillman) remember, I did not take the trouble to mark as quotations. The principal ideas are almost as old as civilization, and it was my idea that an entirely new ritual would be prepared.” The original Ritual was written on both sides of some sheets of old style legal cap, and was signed by each new initiate. A rehearsal was held on November 14, 1890, and on November 26, 1890, Albert T. Wilkinson (who later introduced Kimball to the Fraternity), Frank Bowman, and George Wilcox were initiated in short form. It was not until December 3, 1890, when Frederick Bagley was initiated, that the full initiation was used. At the November 14, 1890 meeting, Gorham, Stillman, and Sullivan presented the grip and passwords for adoption.

    The structure of the Delta Chi’s initiation ritual has remained virtually unchanged since it was used on November 26, 1890.

  • The emblem of the Fraternity changed greatly in the early years. At one time it was a rock wall with ΔΧ on a scroll in the center and the hand of humanity reaching for the key of knowledge above the wall. This was adopted prior to the NYU installation. Founder Alphonse Derwin Stillman was probably responsible for the battle-ax and scimitar that were included in an early design. The rock wall design was submitted by Founder Peter Schermerhorn Johnson. Being the earliest known emblem of the Fraternity it is now worn at official functions on a special medallion by past and present international officers as well as members of the Order of the White Carnation. In a March 19, 1907 letter to Founder Barnes, Founder Johnson wrote: “Regarding the hand and key, it was presented by me as a substitute for one of the wishy washy designs furnished by the engraving companies who we called on to furnish designs for a cust (sic) to represent the society in the Cornellian in 1891. The original is on the Alhambra at Grenada, Spain, and signifies the grasping of the race for knowledge, for God, for eternity. The key unlocking the gates to all. The hand reaching to attain its end.

  • In the city of Grenada,

    In that quaint old Moorish town,

    Where Alhambra’s noble palace,

    From the lofty height looks down;

    O’er the portal to the courtyard,

    Where each passerby may see:

    Graved by subtle Moorish sculptor,

    Are the mystic hand and key.

    On that symbol rests a legend,

    Brought from far Araby’s sands,

    By the Saracenic warriors.

    When they conquered Gothic lands:

    And the meaning of that emblem.

    As has oft been told to me:

    Is that wisdom’s rarest treasures,

    Fill the hand that grasps the key.

    We have placed that ancient emblem on the banner that we love.

    Golden key of golden promise, with the open hand above:

    Aid our Maters’ strength, my brother, that our own fraternity:

    In the coming years yet distant, have the hand that grasps the key.

  • The owl, interlocking Delta and Chi, and the Oil lamp, which appeared on some of the early charters, may have been the work of the committee on charters that was formed in the spring of 1891. It wasn’t until the Easter vacation of 1899 that Fraser Brown and Roy V. Rhodes decided to design a coat of arms for the young fraternity. The design they developed involved the “marriage” or union of two “families” : that of Sir Edward Coke, one of the towering figures in the establishment of law as the instrument of justice; and that of the knight-errant, the feudal predecessor of law in enforcing justice, as symbolized by his weapons. In regard to the alterations made on their original design, Roy V. Rhodes had this to say:

    “Some slight changes were made a few years later by whom I do not know. I had nothing to do with it and I don’t think Fraser Brown had either. One of these changes was the addition of a lot of what appear no be rivets around the edges of the shield and which do not, in my opinion, improve the appearance. Another change was the placing of the martlets in profile instead of from a front view in flight. I believe we adopted the front view because that is the way they are shown on the arms of Sir Edward. For practical reasons we omitted the usual helmet and united the crest and helmet in one great insignia of the fraternity – the Greek letters, Delta and Chi, with the torso between the shield and the crest instead of in its usual position above the helmet.”

    The coat of arms involves the “marriage” or union of two “families”; that of Sir Edward Coke and that of the knight-errant.

  • If there is one man in history who personified the principles upon which Delta Chi was to be built, that man would be SIR EDWARD COKE (pronounced “cook”). The Founders, as students of the law, were greatly influenced by the writings of Sir Edward Coke. Looked to as a “spiritual founder,” his words and beliefs were reflected in many aspects of Delta Chi as the organization was forming.

    An English barrister, judge and, later, opposition politician, Sir Edward Coke is considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Born into a middle-class family, Coke was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, before leaving to study at the Inner Temple, where he was called to the Bar on 20 April 1578. As a barrister he took part in several notable cases. Following a promotion to Attorney General he led the prosecution in several notable cases, including those against Robert Devereux, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. As a reward for his services he was first knighted and then made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.

    The final resting place of Sir Edward Coke is symbolic of his place in history. Coke is probably one of history’s greatest kept secrets. Few individuals throughout the centuries have had such a profound impact on so many throughout the generations and gone so unnoticed. His fingerprints can easily be traced to many of the fundamental principles used to establish the systems of laws and governments which countless counties currently enjoy. As Attorney General, Speaker of Parliament, advisor to three monarchs, and even political prisoner in the Tower of London for speaking out for empowering commoners, Coke has been disserved by history through its lack of properly recognizing his contributions to humanity. Delta Chi, by honoring him as their spiritual founder, has gone a long way towards corrected the injustice Coke’s attributes have suffered through lack of exposure.

    Coke passed away on September 3, 1634. To underscore the power and respect Coke had even at the time of his death, shortly before his passing, King Charles had all of Coke’s papers seized from his office to ensure none of his powerful writings would provide fuel for a popular revolution again the monarchy. Unfortunately for King Charles he may accomplish his mission of seizing Coke’s papers, including his last will and testament, however he was still dethroned and beheaded by the masses.

    Coke is buried in a 15th century stone Church, St. Mary, behind the alter to the left in the small town of Tittleshall near his last home in Godwick in Norfolk, England. If you are able to visit Coke, be sure to sign the guest book in the rear of the church and look through how many other Delta Chis have stopped to pay their respects to the spiritual founder of the Delta Chi International Fraternity. On his tombstone above the life-size carving on his marble coffin is the following inscription:

    DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF

    Sr. Edward Coke, Knight, a late revered IVVE, born Milleham in this Co of Norf. Excellent in all learning, Divine & Hvmane, he remandded, that for His owne, this for His Counties Good, especially in the Knowledge and practice of the municiple lawes of this Kingdom. A famous Pleder of sound counselie.

    In his younger years, recorder of the cities of Norwch & London, next Solietor General to Qveen Elizabeth and then Speaker of the Parliment in ye XXXV year of her Qveen as also to her successor Kinge James. To both a faithful servent for there mastes for theire Safetys. By King James conflitvted Chief Jvstice of both benchs svccessfully. In both a jvst, in both an excepleary jvdge. One of his majestys most honorable prive covncil. As also Covncil to Qveen Anne & Cheif Jvstice. In Eire of all his forces, chases and parkes. Recorder of the Citie of Conventiye & High Stewart of the University of Cambridge, where of he was sometimes a member of Trintey.

    He had two wifes, Bridge, his first wife, (one of the davghters of John Hasten, Esq.) He had liffue seaven Sonnes and Davghters.

    And by the Lady Elizabeth (one of the davghters of Right Honovrable Thomas, late Earle of Exester). He has liffue two Davghters.

    A CHAST HUSBAND; A PROVIDENT FATHER

     

    Special thanks to Aaron Otto, Kansas State ’98, for his contributions to this section.

  • On October 13,1890, “Founders Crandall, Potter, and Sweetland were placed on the Supreme Council and authorized to proceed with expansion plans.” At that same meeting, Barnes was appointed to work “Buffalo Law School” for possible expansion due to his association with a student there. The lack of enrollment at the school and the fact that the Phi Delta Phi Chapter there was doing poorly, delayed expansion to that school until later. Building Delta Chi into a true national fraternity began during the spring of 1891.

    On April 14, 1891, John Francis Tucker, of New York University, went to Ithaca and earned the confidence and regard of the Cornell Chapter. He was initiated into Delta Chi that night and was sent back to prepare his associates for induction.

    Although Stillman remembers Tucker (who was a member of Delta Upsilon) coming to find out about Delta Chi, Wilkinson tells the story with more confidence:

    “At first the chapter and the fraternity were the same thing, and there were not separate officers. But in the spring of 1891, in the month of May, I think, we received a visit from John Francis Tucker of New York. We put up a big bluff, and treated him with great formality and instructed him to return to the place whence he came, and make formal application in writing for a charter from our ancient and honorable body. As soon as he departed, there was a hurry call for a meeting to organize a body to which he could apply and it was then that the first general officers of the fraternity, as distinct from the chapter, were elected. I cannot remember for the life of me who they were, except that I was Treasurer.”

    Wilkinson’s contention that the general fraternity wasn’t formed until later seems, at least in part, to be verified by the minutes of the April 15, and May 23, 1891, meetings. At the April 15, 1891 meeting, the constitution and ritual were adopted as read, the committee on charters was appointed, and the men traditionally considered the first set of officers (“AA” Owen Lincoln Potter, “BB” John Mil ton Gorham, “CC” George A. Nall, and “DD” Albert T. Wilkinson) were elected. It is interesting to note, in light of Wilkinson’s statement about “a hurry call for a meeting to organize a body to which he (Tucker) could apply” is the fact that this April 15 meeting occurred the night after Tucker’s initiation. At tha may 23 meeting, the motto, grip, challenge, and the colors were adopted by the fraternity.

    One solution to the confusion is the possibility that Delta Chi was originally founded as a national fraternity, but with the pressures of school work and the chapter at Cornell to keep them busy, the Founders allowed the national organization to take a back seat. When Tucker appeared the next spring, the national organization had to be reorganized in order to accommodate the applicant from N.Y.U.

    As it turned out, Tucker played a significant role in the development of the Fraternity. In a letter to Johnson dated February 22, 1892, he stated:

    “As to Dickinson Law School, I have been at work at that school since last August and I think I now have six more pledges, I have worked up a chapter of 25 men at the Albany Law School and another 12 men at the University of Minnesota.”

    The debt which Delta Chi owes Tucker would appear to be larger than previously recognized. In 1892 four more chapters were established, three of which exist today (the fourth — Albany Law School — had its charter transferred in 1901 to Union College; the Union Chapter existed until 1994). Twelve chapters were founded within the first decade and on February 13, 1897, Delta Chi became an international fraternity with the installation of the Osgoode Hall Chapter in Toronto, Canada. Delta Chi’s first convention was held in 1894 at the Michigan Chapter. By the turn of the century, Delta Chi had grown to ten chapters. The initial years of the new century saw conservative growth and the 1902 Convention (where the White Carnation was selected as the fraternity’s flower) authorized the Delta Chi Quarterly. The convention had misgivings. Everybody wanted it, some thought it was an unwarranted risk; no one had the slightest idea how to go about it. Harold White, Chicago-Kent ’01 became the first editor and Edward Nettles, Chicago-Kent ’00 was the first business manager. In an article in the May 1929 Quarterly, White had this to say:

    “No doubt in our innocence, we felt the honor compensated for all the work. That’s the marvel of being young and enthusiastic. There was no plan, no adequate appropriation for necessary expenses, no business or editorial policy …. There was not even a list of alumni members. We had to start from a point below zero and from the beginning the jobs of editor and business manager so interwove and over-lapped that it was difficult to say who did what. When it came to all the endless worries and sleepless nights that accompany the launching of a frail bark in unknown waters by two inexperienced mariners it was a joint enterprise and the punishment was inflicted equally.”

    April, 1903 saw the first issue of the Delta Chi Quarterly published for a fraternity of fourteen chapters and fewer than 3,000 alumni.

    On February 13, 1897, Delta Chi became an interantional fraternity.

  • At the time Delta Chi was first conceived, men coming to college could begin law studies immediately upon entry to the University. In fact, some schools did not even require a high school diploma as a prerequisite for entry. Many of the law schools, Harvard being the first in 1899, began requiring two years of liberal arts training before eligibility for law.

    Founded as a professional law fraternity, Delta Chi was initiating members of Delta Tau Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Tau Omega and the other general fraternities. As time passed, several chapters which had voluntarily refrained from initiating members of other fraternities began pushing for a change in the Constitution to prevent dual memberships.

    Delta Chi stood out as a law fraternity, not an honorary or club, but yet something special. As the Fraternity expanded, a divergent policy grew, contoured by the different chapters. The metropolitan law school chapters wanted to continue the practice of initiating members from the general fraternities. The campus chapters which had voluntarily refrained from such practice, though it was then still allowable, were agitating for a change in the constitution to prevent future initiation of such men. For some years, the single standard men had been slightly in the majority but were not numerically strong enough to change the constitution.

    The limelight focused on the issue as early as 1903 and was personified by the man elected as “CC” that year. Floyd Carlisle, Cornell ’03, was awarded that office while still an undergraduate. The election is indicative of the impression this man made on a group. He was class president in both his sophomore and senior years at Cornell. Determined to resolve the question in favor of the single membership standard, he championed a change in the Fraternity’s form of government. Up to that point, with only five executive officers to be elected by the convention, the older, more experienced and attractive personalities of the graduate double-fraternity men (who were usually the alumni delegates from the metropolitan law chapters) held the stage and the attention of the delegates during the two or three days of convention acquaintance. As a result, they almost always succeeded in being elected. Carlisle planned to break up this habit. By proposing the election of a fifteen-man “XX” (which then elected its own officers: “AA”, “CC” and “DD”), the eighteen chapters of the day would concentrate on trying to get one of their own elected to the governing board. By combining their votes against a double fraternity candidate, the single membership chapters were able to elect an overwhelmingly predominate single-standard “XX”. This principal question of dual membership was debated for about five years. The arguments of “a man can be both a good Mason and a good Elk” and “no man can serve two masters” were heard time and time again. Finally, after unseating four “dual membership” chapters on alleged violations, the 1909 Cornell Convention adopted an amendment to the constitution prohibiting dual membership. he “guilty” chapters were then reseated. The issue and ultimate decision cost the Fraternity the New York Law (1905), West Virginia (1908), Northwestern (1909) and Washington University (in St. Louis)(1909) Chapters. All were dual membership chapters. But the tide of change had only begun to engulf Delta Chi. During the next dozen years, another undertow would build to turn the fraternal ship.

    The tide of change had only begun to engulf Delta Chi.
  • In 1923 the old “XX” was abolished and replaced with an Executive Committee of seven. This board, comprised of the “AA”, “CC”, “DD”, “EE”, and three members-at-large, was the governing body of the fraternity between conventions. A new “XX” was created as an advisory body to the Executive Committee; its membership consisted of the “BB”s elected by each chapter.

    25th International Convention. August 27-30, 1929 Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado.

    There were other internal improvements during the period between the World Wars. The position of Executive Secretary was created in 1923 and provision made for a permanent central office which was finally established in 1929. The position of Director of Scholarship came into being in 1925 to lead the drive for general scholastic excellence. In 1927, one full-time Field Secretary was placed in direct contact with the chapters and, in 1935 a second one was added to the staff. By 1930, Delta Chi had grown to 36 chapters and, in 1934, the Headquarters began publishing the Quarterly.

    During this era Delta Chi made two noteworthy contributions to the Greek letter fraternity world. The first of these was the Tutorial Advisor Plan–members of the faculty (preferably not members of the Fraternity) living in the house where they acted as tutors, advisors, and counselors.

    In yet another way Delta Chi took the lead among Greek letter organizations. At the 1929, Estes Park Convention, Delta Chi unanimously voted to abolish “Hell Week.” (The following day another national organization, meet-ing in convention, also abolished hazing.)

    The position of “EE” was also abolished at the 1929 convention and, at the 1935 convention, the Executive Board was increased to nine. Without realizing the full significance of what it was starting, the Pennsylvania State Chapter in 1937 invited six chapters in neighboring states to meet with them. Dean C. M. Thompson, who was then the “AA”, saw the great potential of such gatherings and promptly asked the Indiana Chapter to be host for the first Midwest Regional Conference. After that the Regional Conference plan blossomed. But with World War II and the temporary suspension of many chapter operations, much about the mechanics of the Regional Conferences was forgotten. But the need, desire, and concept were not forgotten. After the war, Delta Chi saw its conference program expand and become more purposeful.

    Today the Regional Conferences play an important role in the affairs of the fraternity. The conferences are the vehicle for the election of each Regent for a two-year term. More important, each conference is designed to accomplish specific purposes, including the development of new approaches to the solution of Fraternity problems; fostering a better understanding of the operation of the various programs of the general Fraternity and the Headquarters; promoting good will in university-fraternity relations; and bringing together large numbers of Delta Chis for information, inspiration, and plain good fun.

    After the Great Depression and on the verge of the United States entering World War II, the Fraternity celebrated its 50th Anniversary with 35 chapters. Once again our young men went off to war and many of the chapter houses were taken over by the military as was done during the first world war. It was the alumni dues program, started in 1935, that provided the main source of revenue to the Fraternity while the chapters were not in operation.

    The war ended and the chapters resumed normal operations. By 1950, Delta Chi had 39 chapters. 1951 saw the retirement of O.K. Patton from the position of Executive Secretary which, while he was a professor of Law at Iowa, he had held part-time since 1929 on an official basis. Prior to that time he had effectively operated the central office since his election as “CC”.

    Prior to 1929, the membership records of the fraternity would follow the election of the “CC” and the financiall records would follow the election of the “dd”. When O. K. Patton was elected “CC” in 1923 he put the records in one room of a downtown Iowa City building and hired one part-time secretary. After the “general” membership question was resolved, Delta Chi grew from 21 to 36 chapters in four 1929 and the records and related activities had expanded to four rooms and four secretaries. Effectively after the fact, Delta Chi established its Headquarters in Iowa City where it has stayed.

  • In 1958, the size of the Executive Board was increased to include the “AA”, “CC”, “DD”, the immediate past “AA”, and Regional Representatives called Regents. More important than the increased size was the method to be employed in selecting its members. As before, the “AA”, “CC”, and “DD” were chosen by the Convention. Included in the change was the adoption of a plan whereby regions were established and a Board member selected from each region. Prior to the adoption of this plan, every member of the Board could possibly have come from the same community or geographical area. The new plan made this impossible; the entire Board benefits from the geographical diversity.

    In 1960, the Fraternity employed its first, full-time executive, Harold “Buc” Buchanan, Wisconsin ’35. Up to this time the Fraternity was run by volunteers or part-time employees. At the 1960 Convention, a “Building Loan Fund” was created. The original level of assessment proved too low and, in 1962, the Delta Chi Housing Fund was established to assume the function of the “Building Loan Fund.” Today, the Housing Fund has loans outstanding to chapters and colonies across the country.

    Also at the 1962 Convention, the Regional Representatives were redesignated as Regents and the Executive Board was renamed the Board of Regents.

    In 1969, the Fraternity moved out of rented space into its first permanent facility. The property is wholly owned by Delta Chi and houses the archives of the Fraternity and a staff of three directors, five traveling consultants and three clerical employees.

    At the 1975 Chicago Convention, the Order of the White Carnation was created to honor alumni who give outstanding service to the Fraternity in a meritorious but inconspicuous way. The first inductee into the Order was Victor T. Johnson, Purdue ’32. In 1983, Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Washington ’34 was selected as the first Delta Chi of the Year in honor of his achievements in his chosen profession.

    While there have been a variety of changes that have strengthened Delta Chi within the last decade, the 80s will most probably be remembered for the growth in chapters. Starting with 78 chapters and colonies in 1980, the Fraternity celebrated at its Centennial Convention with 120 chapters and colonies on the rolls.

    The year 2015 marked Delta Chi’s 125th Anniversary. The Fraternity celebrated throughout the year, culminating with 125th Anniversary black-tie banquet (held October 10th) in Atlanta, Georgia, with nearly 200 Brothers and guests in attendance.

Founders

  • Albert Sullard Barnes

    Born: January 13, 1869barnes
    Died: July 17, 1935

    The son of Willard C. and C.M. (Sullard) Barnes, Albert Sullard Barnes was born on 13 January 1869 in Franklin, New York. While a student at Cornell, he and others founded a law organization which became Delta Chi. Barnes also carries the dubious distinction as the man who lost the first Delta Chi badge, at a class reunion at Cornell in June 1916.

    After graduating with the LL.B. degree in 1891, Barnes joined a series of successful law firms in Binghamton, New York. He practiced law in that city until 1931 when he retired to Franklin. Barnes married Katherine L. Hermans of Binghamton on 30 October 1895. They had two daughters: Marjorie (Mrs. B.G. Durham of Washington, DC) and Helen (Mrs. John W. Brownfield of Binghamton).

    During the controversy over general vs. law membership, Barnes sided with the general group. In an interview printed in the Quarterly in 1920, he argued that the fraternity was losing good men by maintaining the law restriction. Barnes was one of only a few of the founders who continued to work closely with the fraternity. He, along with Sweetland, was a frequent guest of the Cornell chapter speaking at banquets and other functions. One of his best known quotations was: “Delta Chi is not a weekend or once-a-year affair but a lifelong opportunity and privilege.” In politics he was a Republican. Other organizations which Barnes joined include the Masons, the Shriners, the Scottish Rite, and the Red Men. He served on several corporate boards of directors. His hobbies included trout fishing and all outdoor activities. He was a lifelong member of the Franklin fisherman’s club. A member of the Congregationalist church, he was active in the local church as well as the state convention.

    Barnes died 17 July 1935 in Franklin, New York, at age 66 in the same house where he had been born. He was buried in the Floral Park cemetery, 104 Burbank Avenue, Johnson City, NY. He is in Section 3. Lot 29 (behind the mausoleum for the Elmer family). He is buried in his wife’s, Katharine Heermans’ family plot.

  • Myron McKee Crandall

    crandall

    Born: August 27, 1867
    Died: August 25, 1931

    Born 27 August 1867 in East Winfield, New York, Crandall was the son of Otis N. Crandall and Flora (McKee) Crandall. As a youth, he attended the public schools of West Winfield, Cooperstown High School, and finally the Utica Free Academy. While a student at the latter, Crandall met Frank Thomas; they became close friends and remained so throughout their lives. Crandall and Thomas spent weekends at the Crandall family farm hunting and fishing. While students at the Utica academy, the founded Theta Phi Fraternity in 1885.

    In the fall of 1887, Crandall and Thomas entered Cornell to study law. For several years they shared rooms on East Seneca Street in Ithaca. Crandall maintained that he and Thomas organized Delta Chi in the spring of 1889, but the new fraternity failed to meet.

    Cornell’s requirements for a student organization and thus was not officially recognized. Crandall claimed credit for the name Delta Chi and the design of the badge; it should be noted that Monroe Marsh Sweetland also claimed credit for the name and the badge.

    Crandall earned an LL.B. degree in 1889 and an LL.M. in 1890. After being admitted the New York state bar, he associated with the firm Cookinham and Sherman of Utica, New York, for one year. He also worked for a law firm in Ithaca. Later he returned to West Winfield and set up a private law practice.

    Crandall married Gertrude Hiteman in 1894. They had six children, four daughters and two sons.

    Throughout his life, Crandall was involved in local politics as a Republican. At the time of his death he was President of the Board of Education and also served on the Library Board. He was a member of the Emmanuel Congregational Church of West Winfield, serving as superintendent of the Sunday School and as a trustee of the church. He was a Mason and had been Master of the local lodge.

    Crandall died 25 August 1931, two days before his sixty-fourth birthday, in West Winfield. He was buried in the East Winfield cemetery located approximately 2 miles east of West Winfield. Leave West Winfield on main street heading east then go over a set of railroad tracks, then through a 4 corners intersection then after ½ a mile there are buildings on the right and the East Winfield cemetery (city does not exist anymore) is approximately ¼ mile north of the highway. He is buried there in his family plot with his wife Majorie, his brother and parents. At Crandall’s funeral, Albert Sullard Barnes, another founder of Delta Chi, represented the fraternity as an honorary pallbearer.

    It was not until March 1929 that the Quarterly included the name of Myron McKee Crandall among those of the fraternity’s founders. Beginning in May 1919, the Quarterly’s masthead in each issue had printed the names of only ten men as founders; then in 1929, without fanfare and with only slight notice, our fraternity recognized an eleventh man as founder. In an account of his travels in central New York state, Albert S. Tousley, Field Secretary of the fraternity, wrote that after visiting with Founder Owen Lincoln Potter in Albany, Tousley and several brothers from the Cornell and Union chapters had visited Myron McKee Crandall, then in his early sixties, in West Winfield. Tousley reported that they discussed hobbies with Crandall and that: “It was the first time in years that any members of Delta Chi have called on Founder Crandall, and he was mightily pleased to have us as his guests.” Although Delta Chis of the modern era would not think this observation unusual, the men who read this passage in 1929 probably pulled up short when they saw the term “founder” applied to Myron McKee Crandall. Prior to March 1929, Crandall had never been credited as a founder. On the masthead of the Quarterly that month, the list of founders, previously ten names, had suddenly grown to eleven. Nearly four decades after the founding, Delta Chi had finally recognized one of the men instrumental in the creation of the fraternity. Soon after this change, the fraternity’s history was revised to recognize Crandall’s contribution.

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  • John Milton Gorham

    gorham

    Born: April 21, 1867
    Died: March 18, 1943

    Much of the life of John Milton Gorham is a very large mystery. After attending Cornell from 1887 and graduated in 1891 with an LL.B., and in 1892 a B.L. he broke all contact with the fraternity. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, the Quarterly printed numerous requests for information of Gorham, apparently without success. In the September 1928 issue of the Quarterly, Gorham was listed as “missing,” as O.K. Patton (“CC”) prepared information for the publication of a new fraternity directory.

    According to the 1880 U.S. Census Gorham was born in Canajoharie, New York on April 21, 1867, the son of James and Honora Gorham, who were Irish immigrants, and grew up in Washington County, New York. Following his time at Cornell, Gorham married Emma G. (Catherine) Fuller of Palantine Bridge, Montgomery County New York at the Canajoharie Methodist Episcopal Church in June 27, 1894. Emma was born in May 21, 1869. He was admitted to the bar in Utica in September 1893. In a 1906 Souvenir Book he was listed with a photo of Distinguished Alumni of Canajoharie’s Union High School where he graduated in 1887. Gorham was also listed as practicing law in New York City.

    According to the next census following his graduation from Cornell (1900), Gorham is living in Westchester County, New York in Mt. Vernon. The couple had two daughters, Ruth Emma born in March 29, 1895 at Mt. Vernon, Westchester County, New York; and Dorothy Elizabeth was born on November 28, 1906. According to the 1910 census the family has moved to Manhattan, New York were he continues to work as a lawyer. His sister-in-law, Harriet C. Fuller (Emma’s sister), is a Stenographer for a Law Office and is living with the Gorham family, as is L. Peterson who, listed on Census records as a servant.

    According to the 1920 Census records, John M. Gorham is not listed. His family is living at 93 High St. in Orange, NJ (Essex County) and are borders in this house. Edith Mead is listed as Head of Household and has a daughter named Ruth. Emma is still listed as being married according to the Census information. In the 1930 census Emma and Dorothy are living at 23 Ridge Avenue in Evanston City, Illinois (Cook County). They are living in the Illinois Children’s Home. Gorham’s wife Emma is now listed as a widower and works as an Assistant Superintendent of the Cradle Orphan’s home. His daughter Dorothy is 24 in 1930 and lives with her mother and works as a clerk/electrical services. According to family sources, she married Eugene W. Ibs. He died on April 12, 1950 and she died on September 21, 1977 in Evanston, Illinois. They had a son named John Michale who was born on September 21, 1937 and died in October 1992. He never married. His older daughter Ruth married Stanton Van Wie on May 15, 1920. She died from complications of childbirth in May 27, 1921 and is buried in Fort Plan Cemetery with a stillborn daughter, Ruth Ann, who was stillborn dead on May 11, 1921. Stanton remarried and later died on April 14, 1975. Gorham’s wife Emma died in January 16, 1965 at Pembridget House, Evanston, Illinois at the age of 95. She was cremated and her remains are interred at the Memorial Park.

    For several decades numerous efforts have been made to determine what happened to Gorham when it appears he left the country and, through this research, the following facts have come to the surface which outlines a rough sequence of events of his life when he separated from his family in the 1910s.
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    Last known picture of John Milton Gorham from his 1915 passport. In the 1910s Gorham moved with his family to East Orange, New Jersey. He left the United States for England in October 1913 residing on Abbyington Mans Road, Kensington. He received a passport from the London Embassy on June 9, 1915 which was approved on July 29, 1915. When asked on this 1915 submission when he would return to the United States, he answered “uncertain.” He requested the passport to visit the countries of France for business and England as his temporary residence. There is no record of him returning to the United States including when his oldest daughter died in 1921.

    On March 18, 1943, Gorham died of congestive heart failure at 62 Esmond Road Chinwich, Middlesex, England. He was cremated on March 24, 1943. On his death certificate, he is listed as a retired company director and as married. A person by the name of K. Forbes caused the body to be burned. His cremation certificate adds that his remains were scattered at the Garden of Remembrance at Mortlake Crematorium on March 25, 1943. The application for the funeral was made by Kathleen Forbes of Balls Park, Hertford. It is unclear what her relationship was with Gorham.

    It is important to note some alumni sources at the time have speculated that he was promoting his automobile interest while overseas, but it is unknown why he would travel to France which was in the middle of trench warfare fighting with the United Kingdom against Germany in World War I starting in 1914.

    Family sources of Emma Gorham believe John served overseas as an “undercover man” in World War I and never returned. No service records for Gorham have been located and since he was the son of Irish immigrants one could make the case that it was unlikely he was involved in the war in aiding the United Kingdom and the allies in fighting against the Germans since England still controlled his family’s native Ireland until 1922. The United States was neutral in World War I until 1917.

    The 1916 Delta Chi Directory listed Gorham as living in Orange N.J. and also in New York City as an automobile dealer. In the 1920 Directory he is listed in Orange, N.J. and no longer in New York City.

    Cornell University has no contact information of him as of 1926. That same year an 1874 Cornell alumnus William N. Smith had replied to the Register of Cornell stating that Gorham had disappeared and his wife was living in Chicago. The letter incorrectly stated he had only one daughter who was married for 5-6 years and then died a year or two ago.

    In a September 23, 1936 letter to Delta Chi Executive Secretary O.K. Patton, Founder Frederick M. Whitney stated that Cornell has no record of where Gorham lived after he graduated. Whitney also said Gorham’s wife was last heard of in Chicago. Whitney also wrote to Bert H. Brower a Cornell lawyer in Gorham’s hometown of Canajoharie, New York. Brower said that Gorham’s brother-in-law William Fuller stated that the Gorhams were divorced. Fuller also told Brower that he believes Gorham lived in London. Fuller also said that Emma, Gorham’s wife, had a sister in Chicago, Mrs. Helen Grace Fuller Stuntz.

    In 1937, Bernhard Shaffer, Penn State ’25 Delta Chi alumni connected O.K. Patton with the William J. Burns International Detective Agency Inc., which was headed by a Delta Chi alumnus Raymond Burns, to investigate the location of Gorham. In his February 24, 1937 letter to the detective agency Shaffer said “Apparently Brother Gorham’s life was saddened by being divorced from his wife and, apparently, he has dropped out of existence as far as the fraternity is concerned.”

    In March 1937 Burns traveled to the house of Mrs. Stuntz who was Emma Gorham’s sister and had previously lived with the Gorham family during the 1910s according to census information. During this discussion Mr. Stuntz did most of the talking but had a very limited amount of information. Mrs. Stuntz said, “No, the past is dead, and I would tell nothing that might get back to my sister and reawaken old memories that are not pleasant.” Mr. Stuntz said that in 1910 or 1911 Gorham was engaged in the automobile accessories business. He said that Gorham went to England in 1913, presumably London, to promote the sale of an auto truck. For a time he wrote to his wife Emma in New York but the letters stopped. Mr. Stuntz said nothing has been heard from him in 10 or 15 years. This statement makes it appear the possibility exists he may have been heard from again since the 1913 and 10 or 15 years since we hear from him comment does not cover the span of time to 1937 when this discussion took place. When Mr. Burns tried to follow up on this discrepancy of time, Mrs. Stuntz said “his wife, my sister, thinks he is dead, and I will say noting that will bring back any thought of him in any way.” Mrs. Stuntz did say her sister was alive but would not say were she was living other then to say she was New York City (1930 census had Emma Gorham living in Chicago, the same city as her sister Mrs. Stuntz at the time of this interview). Gorham had two brothers but Mrs. Stuntz did not know anything about them. Mrs. Stuntz’s parting remark was that “Gorham has been considered dead many years, and it is best to continue in such belief” Mrs. Stuntz denied that any family trouble caused Gorham’s departure from this country, or caused him later to cut himself off from his wife here.

    The Fraternity is truly indebted to M. Frank Gilbreath, Texas State Alumnus and Stephen Henson, Louisiana Tech Alumnus for the extensive research on Founder Gorham’s life history. Information complied by Aaron Otto, Kansas State Alumnus.

  • Peter Schermerhorn Johnson

    johnsonBorn: December 11, 1869
    Died: September 23, 1947

    Peter Schermerhorn Johnson was born 11 December 1869 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. His father was Joseph W. Johnson, a pioneer in the oil and gas business in New York, and later Oklahoma. Founder Johnson attended grammar school at the academy in Claverack, New York.

    Johnson contributed some of the secret work of the fraternity and penned the words to the song “Fovens Mater.” He is also credited with the design of one of the fraternity’s early symbols: the hand of humanity reaching for the key of knowledge, and the poem of explanation that accompanies the design.

    Although he earned a law degree from Cornell in 1891, due to a severe hearing loss, Johnson chose business over the legal profession. After graduation, he formed a partnership with his father in an oil and gas business is Bolivar, New York. Johnson later moved to Woodfield, Oregon, where he was associated with Andrew Mellon in a natural gas business. He then operated a hardware business in Colorado. In 1908, Johnson moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at about the time the commercial oil and gas business began to develop in that area.

    In 1914 Johnson married Clara von Gonten of Tulsa. They had no children.

    During the law vs. general membership debate, Johnson was clearly on the law side. The march 1920 issue of the Quarterly published his letter in which he argued strongly for a single-membership professional organization. He offered his opinion that the law alumni would not support the fraternity if eligibility for membership should be broadened to include non-law men. Further he wrote that a new general fraternity would need a new motto, ritual, coat of arms, and other symbols. He expressed his hope that the fraternity could find a way out of the conflict short of changing to a general fraternity. After the decision in 1922 to drop the law requirement for membership, Johnson gave his complete support to the re-organized fraternity.

    At age seventy-seven, Johnson, the last surviving founder of Delta Chi, died 23 September 1947 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery 1133 East 11th Street in Tulsa with his mother Gertrude Schermorhorn Johnson (1845 – 1914) and Joseph White Johnson (a Civil War veteran as a Lieutenant in the 7th New Jersey Infantry) in a family plot located in Section 3 Block 130 SE Quarter lot #2.

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  • Edward Richard O’Malley

    omalleyBorn: March 13, 1863
    Died: May 30, 1935

    Edward Richard O’Malley was born 13 March 1863 near Medina, New York, the son of Michael O’Malley and Bridget (Whalen) O’Malley. While a child, he rarely attended school due to the financial condition of his family. As a teenager, he supported himself by working on a farm and laboring in a stone quarry. When he was aged twenty, doctors told O’Malley to give up hard physical labor due to a congenital heart condition. He then began a program of reading to educate himself prior to entering Cornell Law School at age twenty-three.

    While a student at Cornell, O’Malley was selected to assist the law professors working on a revision of New York state law, and he worked as an assistant in the law library. O’Malley was also recognized for his debating skills.

    After graduating with the LL.B. degree in 1891, he moved to Buffalo and joined a law firm there. A stranger in the city, he entered local politics to meet people and build his legal practice. Making friends rapidly in Republican circles, he was appointed corporate counsel for the city. In 1901, he was elected to a two-year term in the New York State Assembly.

    In 1910, O’Malley ran for Attorney General on the same ticket with gubernatorial candidate Charles Evans Hughes (later Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court). The Hughes-O’Malley ticked won easily. While Attorney General he settled several long-running disputes between the state and corporate interests. After one term as Attorney General, O’Malley was appointed to a state judgeship for several years. As judge or counsel, he preferred to handle civil rather than criminal cases. On the bench, O’Malley was popular with jurors because he was careful to explain the jury’s duties without floundering in technicalities. Newspaper reporters liked Judge O’Malley because he rarely held court in camera openly hearing all cases in public.

    In 1922, O’Malley ran successfully for the New York Supreme Court and served a ten-year term. He left the bench at the mandatory retirement age of 70. O’Malley credited his success to “Luck and an ability to make friends quickly and a sincerity to sustain these friendships.” Edward Richard O’Malley died 30 May 1935 in Buffalo, New York, at age seventy-two and was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery, 800 Pine Ridge in Cheektowaga, NY in Section F lot 284. In tribute to O’Malley, former President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Mr. O’Malley is a mighty fine exhibit of good citizenship and has made a good record.”

    O’Malley’s younger brother James (Cornell ’01) was “AA” (international presiding officer) in 1902-3, and he also served as a judge on the New York Supreme Court.
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  • Owen Lincoln Potter

    potterBorn: June 21, 1865
    Died: May 11, 1934

    Owen Lincoln Potter, a founder of the Delta Chi Fraternity, was born in Ithaca, New York, on 21 June 1865. After attending the public schools in his home town, he earned an LL.B. degree from Cornell in 1889 and the LL.M. from the same institution in 1890. While a student, he and others formed Delta Chi. Potter was the first “A” (chapter presiding officer) and the first “AA” (international presiding officer).

    After graduation he was admitted to the New York Bar. Relocating to Albany, New York, he worked for the commission on the revision of New York state law for five years before going into private practice. In 1901 Potter began a long series of jobs for the New York state Attorney General and the Governor. These positions capitalized on Potter’s knowledge of state law. In 1927 he accepted an appointment to the New York Court of Claims where he served until his death.

    In 1895 Potter married Ameka Parcell. They had no children. After a long illness Owen Lincoln Potter died in Albany on 11 May 1934; he was sixty-eight years of age. His death was reported on the front page of the local newspaper.  He was buried in Lot 28 Section 116 of the Rural Cemetery of Albany, Route 32/Broadway, Albany, NY.   Potter’s brother Horace was also initiated by the Cornell Chapter.

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  • Alphonso Derwin Stillman

    stillmanBorn: April 21, 1864
    Died: August 24, 1937

    Alphonso D. Stillman was born 1864 at Granite creek (also called Granite City) in Grant county Oregon. He had two brothers and one sister. His father mined for gold. In 1872 his father, Erasmus D. Stillman, was an inventor and purchased a fruit farm near Milton, Oregon. He went to Pendleton to work at his trade as mechanic and machinist, and left his farm to be conducted by his family. Alphonso worked at general farm work and obtained a meager education in a country school. In 1882 he moved to Pendleton and went to work at the lumberyard and planning mill of Watson & Luhrs. In 1887, he left that employment and went to a Business College in Portland. He only stayed there one term before returning to his former employment. Later that year he went to work for the East Oregonian Publishing Company. During his year there he worked as a reporter and a bookkeeper. He married Minnie Disosway, daughter of his employer on Jul 3, 1887. They divorced a few years later. In 1888, he began his study of Law with Bailey & Balleray, reading for a year. He became dissatisfied with his progress and entered Cornell University. He graduated in 1891 with the degree of LL.B. He returned to Pendleton and in 1892 formed a partnership firstly with John C Leasure and after two years with W.M Pierce. Their firm, Stillman & Pierce, was well known in Eastern Oregon. During this time he was a member of the executive council of the Woodmen of the World. The 1900 census shows him to be living with his ex wife’s sister in Pendleton. Ten years later he was living in the Flathead area of Montana. He married the local schoolteacher who was 15 years his junior, Effie Erickson, around 1910. They had one son named Adee (named after the combination of his parent initials A.D. and E.E.) in 1911. The next 25 years he spent Ranching in Pleasant Valley, mining and established a law practice in Kalispell. He was active in politics and took a leading part with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. He wrote a small book, “Montana’s Nightmare,” concerning governmental farm policies in the state. He divorced his second wife and she moved to Seattle where she was the first female guard of the Port of Portland and a private detective. She is buried in Seattle. At one time he had extensive holdings but a failed irrigation plan and other bad luck, turned his fortune. Two years before he died he suffered a severe stroke. He spent his last years under the care of his son in Kalispell. Adee Stillman, A.D.’s only child, married Mary in 1940. Adee served in World War II and died in 1978. His wife, Mary, was a pioneer in her own right. She was the first single woman to obtain a residential home loan on her own in the 1930s. During letter correspondence in 1997 and an person interview in 2009, Mary said “A.D. lived his life with gusto, had some tough financial problems and died of pneumonia. His son loved and respected him. His handshake was a deal with him. His word was solid.” A.D. Stillman’s gravesite remained unmarked for several decades. Mary Stillman purchased a flat tombstone for A.D. following the death of her husband Adee. He is buried in the Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell, Montana in lot 22A section F grave 2 (flat tombstone next to marker 29a).

    Stillman is credited with writing much of the fraternity’s ritual during the summer or early fall of 1890. Later a committee composed of Stillman, Barnes, and Fred Kingsbury Stephens completed the work.

    Epilog: Stillman’s first wife, Mimmie, never remarried. When she died she left her estate to the City of Pendleton in care of the Pendleton Community Foundation. There is a small Park called Stillman Park that exists today and a permanent fund was established to maintain it. There is an impressive granite marker in the park.

    Note: The Fraternity is truly indebted to M. Frank Gilbreath, Texas State Alumnus for the extensive research on Founder Stillman’s life history and Aaron Otto, Kansas State ’98, for interviewing and collecting pictures from Mary Stillman (A.D. Stillman’s daughter-in-law) and documenting Stillman’s final resting place and Stillman Park.

  • Thomas Allen Joseph Sullivan

    sullivanBorn: July 6, 1869 Died: October 26, 1924 Thomas Allen Joseph Sullivan, a founder of The Delta Chi Fraternity, was born on 6 July, 1869. Born in Fishers, New York (near Rochester), he was the son of Thomas and Hannah (Doody) Sullivan, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The younger Sullivan attended public schools including the Fairport (New York) Union classical high school. He was graduated from Cornell in 1891 with the LL.B. After being admitted to the New York Bar, he moved to Buffalo, New York, where he entered a series of successful partnerships. In 1905-06, he formed a partnership with Frederick G. Bagley, another early Delta Chi. From 1906 through 1912, Sullivan was county attorney for Erie County, New York. Sullivan married Mary Van Ness of Fairport, New York in 1895. They had two children: a daughter (Katherine) and a son (Kreag). Mrs. Sullivan died after only eleven years of marriage, shortly after the birth of their son. Sullivan never remarried nor recovered from the shock of her death. Tom Sullivan’s hobbies included fishing, golf, botany, and history. He was a Republican, a Roman Catholic, and a member of the National Guard. Noted for his Irish wit, he was popular with younger lawyers whom he encouraged in the law profession. After a brief illness, Sullivan died 26 October 1924 in Buffalo. He was buried in Fairport, NY at the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery with his wife Mary who passed on almost 20 years before Thomas. For directions to the cemetery contact the Assumption Church located on 20 East Avenue, Fairport, NY which administers the cemetery. To this day, Kreag Sullivan, initiated by the Buffalo chapter on 5 January 1925, is the only Founder’s son known to be initiated into the Bond.

  • Monroe Marsh Sweetland

    sweetlanBorn: August 14, 1860 Died: February 12, 1944 The son of George James Sweetland and Hannah Lugenia (Marsh) Sweetland, Monroe Marsh Sweetland as born 14 August 1860 in Dryden, New York. He received the A.B. degree from Union College (1885), the LL.B. degree from Albany Law School (1886), and the LL.M. from Cornell University in 1980. Sweetland, who as a Delta Tau Delta, was interested in fraternal work and ritual. Like Crandall, he claimed credit for originating the idea for the organization that would become Delta Chi. He also claimed sole credit for the design of the badge and for selecting the name “Delta Chi” because he liked the way the two words sounded together. Along with Founders Gorham, Stillman, Barnes, Crandall, and Potter, Sweetland was present on the 13th day of October 1890 for the official chartering of the fraternity. Sweetland spent his professional career in Ithaca. He held various elected and appointed positions including city judge of Ithaca and county judge of Tompkins county. In the 1917 election, in recognition of his efforts to streamline court procedure, he received more than one-thousand write-in votes, without campaigning, for a seat on the New York state Supreme Court. In 1901, Sweetland married Georgia Smith of Ithaca. She died in 1929. They had no children. In politics Sweetland was a Democrat who frequently gained endorsement of the Prohibition Party. Other organizations which he joined included the Odd Fellows, the Grange, the Masons, and the Knights Templar. He also belonged to the Methodist Church. Sweetland was one of a few of the founders who stayed in contact with the fraternity. He was frequently a guest of the Mother Chapter, speaking at initiation and Founder’s Day events. During the debate over law vs. general membership, Sweetland supported the general side. “It was my idea not to restrict membership entirely to law men,” he stated in an interview in the Quarterly. At the 1940 convention, Sweetland originated the “hand shake across the country” to pass the greetings of the Founding Fathers to future generations of Delta Chi. This custom has continued into the present at banquets, regional conferences, and international conventions. Aged eighty-three years, Sweetland died 12 February 1944 in Ithaca and is buried with his Georgia at Willow Glen Cemetery, Dryden, NY. During the 1990 centennial convention held in Syracuse and Ithaca, many of those attending visited Sweetland’s grave and placed a wreath of white carnations there. His tombstone reads, “Mason, K.T. I.O.O.F Monroe Marsh Sweetland, born in Dryden, son of George J. and Hannah marsh Sweetland was county clerk, recorder, city judge, county judge, surrogate, United States commission, graduate of Union College, Albany Law School, and Cornell university, founder of the Delta Chi college fraternity, member of the American and New York State Bar Associations, Methodist church, Masonic Odd Fellows, and other fraternities. A supporter of the constitution and the United States. A believer in the Christian religion and the noblest motive is the public good.”

  • Thomas David Watkins

    watkinsBorn: September 4, 1870 Died: December 25, 1912 Thomas David Watkins, the youngest Founding Father of Delta Chi, was born 4 September 1870 in Plainfield, New York, the son of John Watkins and Ellen (James) Watkins, both natives of Wales. Founder Watkins was the youngest of eight children and was reared on his parents’ farm in Otsego County. After attending public schools, he studied at the West Winfield Academy, graduating in 1889. As a result of his academic record, Watkins entered Cornell law school on a total scholarship. He earned an LL.B. degree in 1892 and an LL.M. in 1893. Watkins was admitted to the bar at Syracuse in April 1893. Over the next years he entered a series of successful partnerships; the most notable was a one-year partnership in 1895 with Albert T. Wilkerson, another early Delta Chi. In 1898 Watkins and others formed a partnership which eventually became Watkins and Titus, a major law firm in the city of Utica. The law firm handled affairs for the New York Central Railroad, and Watkins became recognized for his knowledge of transportation law. Politically, Watkins was progressive and independent. For many years he was a Democrat. He ran unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 1894 and in 1898 he ran for the state Senate losing the election by only 67 votes. In admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, he became a Republican and later followed Roosevelt into the Progressive party. In 1898 Watkins married Corinne Wheeler of Auburn, New York. They had three sons: John W., Thomas David, Jr., and Wheeler. Thomas David Watkins was active in community affairs, including the Y.M.C.A., the Presbyterian Church, and fraternal organizations including the Knights of Pythias. After a brief illness, Watkins died in his Utica home on 25 December 1912 at age forty-two. He was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery, 2201 Oneida Street, Utica, NY. The local newspaper printed the following lines in tribute to Founder Watkins: “He was respected by all who knew him, for ‘Tom’ Watkins was a loyal friend, a zealous attorney for all clients, whether their cases were small or large, and a good citizen in the best sense of the word.”

  • Frederick Moore Whitney

    whitneyBorn: July 14, 1869 Died : October 10, 1942 A descendant of a pioneer New England family, Frederick Moore Whitney was the son of Abraham Johnson Whitney and Marietta (Parmelee) Whitney and was born in Bethel, Connecticut. After graduating from the LeRoy Academic Institute (LeRoy, New York), he entered Cornell’s College of Law in 1889. Whitney graduated from Cornell in 1891 with an LL.B. degree. For the next two years Whitney worked in Colfax, Washington, constructing a water works for that city. He returned to Cornell in 1893 to study civil engineering and hydrology for one year (1893-94). For the rest of his life he was associated with successful law partnerships in and around Rochester, New York. Whitney preferred to represent corporations and handled few criminal cases. He also enjoyed success in real estate and financial investment. In 1901, he married Hilda Jessie Fisher of Rochester. They had two children: a daughter, Helen Hamby (Whitney) Doud; and a son, Frederick Moore Whitney, Jr. Whitney was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing. Other fraternal organizations which he joined include the Masons and the Elks. Shortly after World War I, Whitney helped reorganize the Delta Chi alumni chapter in Rochester and was elected its president in 1919. He was an Episcopal and in politics, a Republican. Founder Whitney died October 10, 1942. He was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, 2650 Lake Avenue, Lot 54 H2 107 in Rochester on October 13, 1942, the fifty-second anniversary of the founding of Delta Chi.  

Early Leaders

  • Frank E. Thomas thomasAlso buried in Forest Hills Cemetery is Frank E. Thomas in his family plot. There is no marker for Frank but the rest of his family is identified with a tombstone. Other founders confirmed Thomas’s role in the early development of the fraternity, but Thomas, having graduated, left the Cornell campus and was not present on October 13, 1890 when the constitution and by-laws were adopted. Although not currently listed as a founder, some students of our fraternity’s history believe that he should be so credited. The son of Thomas R. Thomas and Mary (Richards) Thomas, he was born on September 27, 1867 in Utica, NY. While attending the Utica Free Academy, he became friends with fellow student Myron McKee Crandall. Their friendship lasted throughout their lives.In 1887 Thomas and his friend Crandall entered Cornell to study law. For several years they shared rooms at 126 East Seneca Street in Ithaca. Thomas, who received the LL.B. degree in 1889, was admitted to the new York bar and for a time practiced law in Utica. Later he joined his father in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business in Utica. The firm became T.R. Thomas and Company and enjoyed commercial success. With his father’s death in 1908, Frank Thomas became sole proprietor of the firm. He sold his interest in the frist in 1917, but continued as President of the Utica Canning Company. Along with his commercial ventures, he was also successful in trading stocks and bonds. Thomas married Rose Beltz in 1897. She died in 1920. they had no children. Thomas was a member of the Democratic Party and served six years on the civil service board, two years as its chairman. He also served on other public boards. He joined the Masons, the Knights Templer, the Shrine, the Elks, and the Utica Curling Club. Thomas died on June 27, 1933 in Utica at age 65. In 1990, the fraternity recognized Thomas’s early influence in Delta Chi by posthumously naming him to the order of the White Carnation, the highest honor of the Delta Chi Fraternity.
  • Albert T. Wilkinson Born: June 12, 1870 Died : March 21, 1948 thomasWilkinson was initiation in the short form in November 26, 1890 and later introduced Kimball to the fraternity. It was not for another week later that Frederick Bagley was initiated on December 3, 1890 that the full initiation was used. Wilkinson went onto served as the first International Treasurer from April 15, 1891 through the first Delta Chi Convention held at the Michigan Chapter in 1894. Wilkinson is buried with his wife Arderlla May Brown in Forest Park Cemetery on highway 13 near Rome, NY. Enter the cemetery from the first (west) entrance on the left hand side of the road and follow the outer loop around to the North/Northeast corner. If the cemetery was a clock face then Wilkinson would be located on the 1 o’clock position on the outer edge (ring) of the cemetery.

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