Kassidean Knights

From Kook Science

Kassidean Knights, A.E.R.

Motto "Unity, Toleration, Charity"
Formation 29 April 1880
Headquarters Dubuque, Iowa
Grand Hierophant Edward A. Guilbert
Vice-Grand Hierophant Charles J. Weatherby

The Kassidean Knights was an American fraternal society, formed by Edward A. Guilbert at Dubuque, Iowa in 1880,[1] which claimed to be a revival of the Chasidim, or "Knights of the Temple at Jerusalem", also known as the Essenes.[2][3] The organisation does not appear to have been long-lived, and Guilbert's second-in-command, Charles J. Weatherby, eventually broke away to form his own Knights of the Ancient Essenic Order by 1892.


The Kassidean Knights were organised as Priories at the local level, presided over by the elected officers — Excellent Prior, Senior Seneschal, Junior Seneschal, Sacerdos, Keeper of Finance, Registrar, Senior Vigilante, and Junior Vigilante. In turn, these local Priories were under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapiter A.E.R., led by the Grand Hierophant and his officers.

The order had three grades of initiation, conferred by Priories: Neophyte Kassidean, Associate Kassidean, and Knight Companion. Further, there were three honourary grades: Knights of the East, Knights of the Sword and Trowel, and Harodim (or Ruler).[4]

Index of Priories

(This list does not represent a complete index of all A.E.R. Priories, only the beginnings of one. Please do contact us if you have further information or corrections.)

Priory Name No. City/County State Founded Dissolved Notes
Bonaim 1 Dubuque IA 1880-04-29
St. John's 1 Kansas City MO 1888-02-24
St. James' 5 Omaha NE 1888-08-18
St. George's Leadville CO 1888
St. John's 60 Fresno CA 1889-04-18 Grand Chapiter for the Pacific
St. Elmo 62 Santa Rosa CA 1889-05 Grand Chapiter for the Pacific
California 77 San Francisco CA 1889 Grand Chapiter for the Pacific
Golden Gate 78 San Francisco CA 1889 Grand Chapiter for the Pacific


  1. Letter to Kassidean Knights, A.E.R., from Orient of Kansas City, Mo., 1888-02-24,, retrieved 2016-06-10, "In the renascence of this historical Order, which has now been successfully accomplished, Bonaim Priory, No. 1, Dubuque, Iowa, of Kassidean Knights, A.E.R., became the mother Priory of the Order for the Western Hemisphere, and was formally constituted April 29th, 1880. Out of this Body by lawful enactments, the National Grand Chapiter was formed and organized, with the author of the renascence — Edward A. Guilbert, A.M., M.D., L.L.D., as Grand Hierophant, and a full corps of officers as associates. These were men of force and intellectual capacity; to these were delegated supreme authority. They are once instructed the Grand Hierophant to prepare statutes, forms, ceremonies, and ritual; and these were in due time submitted to the Grand Chapiter, and after careful examination and discussion were formally adopted and declared to be in force. Circumstances did not prove to be propitious and the idea of propagating the Rite remained in abeyance, until the winter of 1888, when C. J. Weatherby, M.D., of Kansas City, Mo., with certain competent gentlemen as associates, entered the Order by special dispensation from the Grand Hierophant, and became the active propagandist of the Rite. Their accession to our ranks and the interests of the Rite made necessary a change of the Orient from Dubuque, Iowa, to Kansas City, Missouri. St. John's Priory, Kansas City; also rated No. 1 — was constituted and dedicated Feb. 24th, 1888, A.O. 2900, and established as the Associate Mother Priory of the world." 
  2. "OFFICERS OF KASSIDEAN KNIGHTS LODGES INSTALLED — BANQUET AT NIGHT. (Kansas City Journal, June 26, 1888.)", Nineteenth Annual Kansas Insurance Report (Topeka: Kansas Publishing House; Clifford C. Baker, State Printer): 62, 1889,, retrieved 2016-04-29, "[Dr. Edward A. Guilbert] said it came from the remote past, being a revival of the ancient institution of the Chasidim, whose members were also called the "Knights of the Temple at Jerusalem." They were especially commissioned to keep the porches and approaches of the temple in a state of repair. They were mighty men in Israel as late as the time of Maccabeus. The culture, power and influence of the knights in those times were narrated by the speaker. At the birth of the Messiah, he said, they numbered 4,000, and were firm believers in the Divinity of Christ. Soon after that they disappeared almost entirely from history. The motto of the Kassidean Knights of the present, he said, was "Unity, Tolerance, Charity," and they advocated love of country, free thought, free speech, personal chastity, fraternal unity and equality, reverence for Adonia and his commandments." 
  3. "KASSIDEAN KNIGHTS.", Twentieth Annual Kansas Insurance Report (Topeka: Kansas Publishing House; Clifford C. Baker, State Printer): 52, 1890,, retrieved 2016-06-10, "Dr. C. J. Weatherby and O. C. Newcomb, organizers of the new order, Kassidean Knights, are wanted at Santa Rosa for obtaining money on fictitious notes. Kansas City, Mo., is the location of "the national grand chapter" of the Kassidean Knights, and is the headquarters of the order in the United States. The "grand hierophant" is Dr. Edward A. Guilbert, of Dubuque, Iowa. The vice grand hierophant is Dr. C. J. Weatherby, ex-president of the notorious defunct Kaw Life Association, "shut up" by the Kansas Insurance Commissioner. This is the same Dr. C. J. Weatherby for whom the Sonoma county sheriff has a warrant for swindling. The Kassidean Knights order professes to be "a revival of the ancient institution of the Chasidim," whose members were "especially commissioned to keep the porches and approaches of the temple at Jerusalem in a state of repair." In the year 1 "they numbered 4,000 and were believers in the divinity of Jesus." [...] The "revival" of this ancient order of job carpenters occurred in Kansas City, Mo., May, 1888. Doctors (quack! quack!) Guilbert and Weatherby, temporarily out of employment, were the organizers. We imagine that the "bug" under the Kassidean chip is some swindling insurance scheme. —Coast Review, San Francisco, October, 1889." 
  4. "A New Secret Order Established in the City. THE KASSIDEAN KNIGHTS. They Institute a Lodge With a Good Roll of Members", Omaha Daily (Omaha, Nebraska) 18 (66): 3, 1888-08-19,, retrieved 2016-06-23