On May 23, 1867 Sir Knight Robert Pitcarin, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania, constituted Hermit Commandery No. 24 and installed Sir Knight Jacob Weidle, Sr. as Eminent Commander, Sir Knight Grant Weidman as Generalissimo, and Sir Knight John P.S Gobin as Captain General. A first regular Conclave was held at 8:15pm, May 31, 1867. Sir Knight William W. Murray was the Commandery’s first recorder serving to the time of his death in 1881. The Commandery met in the United Hall Building in Lebanon and over the years moved to other locations when Weidle Chapter No. 197 moved. The initial membership fee was $70.00 which included a uniform and annual dues were $2.50. It was the common practice for many years for members of the Commandery to attend the annual conclaves of the Grand Commandery and the Triennial Conclaves of the Grand Encampment as a group and, also, participate in a parade in full uniform prior to these sessions. Also, it was the practice that on the passing of a Sir Knight the fellow fraters would assemble at the Asylum, form lines, sometimes with a band and march to the residence of the deceased or to a church were a eulogy was presented. The remains were then escorted to the cemetery where a solemn ceremony of the Templar Order was performed.
On May 15, 1890 Sir Knights marched accompanied by the Perseverance Band of Lebanon to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to participate in an Ascension Day Service for the first time this practice continued most years for nearly 100 years.
In May, 1978 Sir Knight Howard R. Stickler, Past Commander, wrote the tactics for and conducted a Memorial Day weekend Sunday Service at the Lebanon Veterans Administration Hospital.
Hermit Commandery No. 24 has been honored to have three members serve as Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania; Sir Knight Grant Weidman (1874), Sir Knight John P.S. Gobin(1879) and Sir Knight Abram Hess in (1920). In addition, Sir Knight John P. S. Gobin was Grand Master of the Grand Encampment from (1889-1892) and later served as Lieutenant Governor of PA from (1898 – 1902). Members of Hermit Commandery have also served with distinction as Division Commanders of the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania.
Hermit Commandery No. 24 Ladies Auxiliary
The Ladies Auxiliary of Hermit Commandery No. 24 was organized on October 22, 1914 at the law office of Charles D. Weirick in Lebanon. Mrs. Jennie Weirick was installed as the president serving through 1919. The Auxiliary disbanded in 1920 and was reorganized in 1925 with Mrs. Edna Atkins serving as the new president. Mrs. Sara Bomgardner served as the secretary of the Auxiliary from October 1914 through April 1936. Over the years the ladies of the elected officers of Hermit Commandery often served as officers in the Auxiliary.
The original mission statement of the Auxiliary reads: “The objects of this Auxiliary shall be the advancement of sociability among the members; the entertainment of the Sir Knights of Hermit Commandery No. 24, Knights Templar; and to assist the Commandery in the entertainment of its guests”. The mission statement is still in the current by-laws 98 years later. The Auxiliary has been true to its mission these many years. At most of the business meetings there has been a time for socializing among the members.