Dunlap, Cecelia Halston(born: 1858 - died: 1908) The Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., an Eastern Star organization founded in Kentucky, is more than 100 years old. The organization had existed for several years when it was named to honor the late Cecelia Dunlap in August of 1913 during a chapter meeting in Winchester, KY. Dunlap had lived in Earlington, KY. [In some sources, her first name is given as Celia or Celie.] The Grand Chapter was organized in 1895, and Cecelia Dunlap was one of the original members. According to an article in the Bee newspaper, 08/08/1895, p. 2, Cecelia Dunlap traveled to Henderson, KY, to attended the "grand session of the ladies department of Masonary." She attended the 1897 meeting in Bowling Green, KY [source: "Mrs. Celia Dunlap...," Bee, 08/05/1897, p. 2]. The following year, at the Grand Chapter meeting in Hopkinsville, KY, Celia Dunlap was elected the R. G. A. M. [source: "Colored Department," Paducah Daily Sun, 08/30/1898, p. 3]. She served as the third Grand Worthy Matron of the Grand Chapter from 1901 until her death in 1908. During her tenure, the chapter was incorporated.
Celia Dunlap was often sick during her membership with the Grand Chapter, and periodically her name appeared on the sick list in the Colored Column of the Bee newspaper, beginning as early as 1895 [source: "Mrs. Celia Dunlap is slowly recovering from an attack of neuralgia." Bee, 08/25/1895, p. 4]. In 1891, the following appeared in the column "Old Kaintuck" in The Freeman, 02/14/1891, p. 6: "Celia Dunlap is recovering from a recent illness." According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Celia Dunlap was born in Alabama around 1858, did washing and ironing, and was the wife of Simon Dunlap. The family of four lived in Macedonia, TN. The couple had married on February 25, 1875; Simon Dunlap and Celie Halston were joined in matrimony by Rev. James Rhodes in Maury County, TN [source: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 in Ancestry.com].
Simon Dunlap (1855-1936) was born in Mississippi. He, Celia and their three children lived in Tennessee until sometime around 1900, when they moved to Earlington, KY, where Simon Dunlap was employed as a coal miner, according to the U.S. Census. In her biography, Cecelia Dunlap is said to have been a Cherokee Indian. In the 1900 Census, the entire family is listed as Black. Cecelia Dunlap died December 8, 1908. For more information see the 1985 publication A Bright Star: a biography of Cecelia Dunlap, by Mollie M. Bradley, G. W. M., Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., P.H.A., Jurisdiction of Kentucky; and Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star of Kentucky, P.H.A.