Alpha Pi Chapter - History
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The Five Friends and Brothers

 

 

 

 George Miles Arnold, John Covert Boyd, William Grigsby McCormick, Frank Courtney Nicodemus, Edmund Law Rogers

 

Europe

 

Kappa Sigma Fraternity was originally founded as a secret society of students at the University of Bologna in the year 1400. Manuel Chrysoloras, a Greek Scholar, who taught at the University, founded the group. IN that day of city-states, the group's initial purpose was mutual protection of its members against physical attack and robbery by the unscrupulous governor of the city, Baldassare Cossa. In 1400, Chrysoloras and his five disciples formed a society for mutual protection, which inspired the Ritual and beliefs of modern day Kappa Sigma.

 

 

America

 

Stephen Alonzo Jackson is regarded as possibly the most important man in Kappa Sigma's history. Through his efforts a struggling local fraternity became a strong national organization. He was the architect of our Ritual, writer of our Constitution, and was our first Worthy Grand Master. The following is an excerpt from the Bononia Docet, our pledge manual:

Stephen Alonzo Jackson was born September 22, 1851. He was left motherless in his infancy and was raised by his grandmother. A close associate and brother, Francis Nelson Barksdale, recalled him with these words:

 

"Gentle as a woman, firm as a rock - a perfect bundle of nervous energy. His love of the Fraternity knew no bounds, and his enthusiasm was so contagious that it influenced everybody who came within his reach. His one ambition was to make Kappa Sigma the leading college fraternity of the world, and to that end he thought and worked by day and night, until the end of his busy life."

 

During the Fraternity's second Grand Conclave in 1878 in Richmond, Virginia. Jackson was re-elected as Worthy Grand Master. In his speech, he expressed his ideal and goal of an enduring and expanding brotherhood as he addressed the Order:

 

"Why not, my Brothers, since we of today live and cherish the principles of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, throw such a halo around those principles that they may be handed down as a precious heirloom to ages yet unborn? Why not put out apples of gold in pictures of silver? My we not rest contentedly until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land!"

 

Jackson died on March 4, 1892. His legacy to the Fraternity included its Ritual, a revised Constitution, a precedent-setting Grand Conclave, the first southern Fraternity to extend a chapter to the north, and above all else, a spirit of expansion.

 

Alpha-Pi History

 

Below is a letter from James Marion Kirtley, M.D., '29 that recounts the founding of the Alpha-Pi Chapter.

 

Dr. James Marion Kirtley '29

 

"In the fall of 1894, Charles Brewster Randolph of Lincoln, Illinois entered his junior year at Wabash College after transferring from Cumberland College in Tennessee. At Cumberland, he had made the acquaintance of Finis K. Farr, who invited him to become a member of the Theta Chapter of Kappa Sigma. He was duly initiated there and became quite proficient in the working of the Order.

 

In 1894, Wabash College had a student body of 262 young men and 6 Greek Letter fraternity chapters. Only about 50 of these students were members of the various fraternities and Randolph felt that there was a fallow field for the introduction of a chapter of his beloved Kappa Sigma. He inquired about the feasibility of his plan and found that there was considerable opposition but he believed that there were many men who could qualify in a new venture and he worked diligently toward his goal.

 

Randy needed some higher authority and he contacted the Worthy Grand Scribe of his fraternity, Herbert H. Martin. He was given immediate approval for his plan and he proceeded to look over good prospects. The "independents" of the day, or non-Greeks, were known as barbs, a contradiction of the word, barbarians. Presumably this separated the literati from the great unwashed. Randy knew that many of the barbs were fraternity material and he did some quiet rushing.

 

The college yearbook of the day was the Ouiatenon, which was published each year by the Junior Class at Wabash. Randolph was a member of this staff and he recruited two of them, Robert N. Todd of Indianapolis and Franklin D. Stone of Michigan. Harry H. McClure of Tecumseh, Michigan and Charles M. Rauch of Romney, Indiana were interested, as was Felix H. Willis of Illinois.

 

Randy was elated with his success at recruiting and he decided to petition Kappa Sigma for a charter as soon as possible. The petition was sent to the Supreme Executive Committee on January 14, 1895 and it was acted on immediately in a favorable way. Plans then had to be made for initiation of the pledges and Randy set about looking for help. The fraternity was small enough at the time that many of the members had a close acquaintance with brothers in other chapters. Randy had contacted Chi Chapter [Purdue] but found them less than enthusiastic over prospect of a chapter at Wabash. Alpha-Gamma Chapter at the U. of Illinois was quite happy to assist in the establishment of the chapter and agreed to send three of their members to help Randolph do the honors. This group was led by John T. Green and consisted of two other men, Boyd and Coffman.

 

The date for the initiation was set for February 1, 1895 and the Alpha-Gamma members took the Big Four Train from Champaign, Illinois to Crawfordsville where they were met at the station by Randolph. Since there was opposition on the campus by the other Greeks, it was with great secrecy that their plans were carried out. The Illinois group rented two rooms at the Nutt Hotel, then situated on the NW corner of Market and Green Streets, and the initiation of the pledges, and the founding of Alpha-Pi of Kappa Sigma was completed.

 

There was one hitch in the proceedings. Franklin Stone had second thoughts about joining a fraternity and had asked to be released from his pledge. This was granted but the charter had already been prepared and his name was on the official document. In addition, the name of Felix Willis did not appear. After a bit of correspondence between Randy and Herbert Martin, the original sheepskin was returned to Virginia and a new one was prepared. Thus did Alpha-Pi lose its charter for a few days but the new one still resides in the trophy room. The chapter was never under any sanction and survived two great wars to remain one of the stalwarts of Kappa Sigma. A complete history of Alpha-Pi of Kappa Sigma is being prepared at this moment and it will be in the hands of all brothers in due time. And now, we all say. A.E.K.D.B.!"