Middleboro Lodge #1274 Elks Care, Elks Share
On Friday, November 15th , 1867, Charles A. Vivian, an English comic singer, landed in New York via an English trading vessel from South Hampton. On the night of his arrival he dropped into the Star Hotel, a Free and Easy kept by John Ireland on Lispenard street near Broadway. Richard R. Steirly, also of English birth, was a piano player at the Star Hotel. Vivian struck up an acquaintance with him and volunteered to sing a few songs. He made such an impression on John Ireland that the latter sent for his friend, Robert Butler, manager of the American Theater on Broadway. Vivian sang for Butler, making such a hit that he was engaged for a three week=s run at the American. When closing time came at the Star Hotel, Steirly took Vivian around to his boarding house at 188 Elm Street, kept by Mrs. Giesman, There he found a collection of congenial spirits, among them William Bowron, who also knew Vivian in his native land. The streets in that section of New York have been re-
On November 23rd , 1867, Dick Steirly went to the American Theater to take notes for the purpose of orchestrating some of Vivian=s songs. After the matinee, Vivian took Steirly over to Sandy Spencer place at Broadway and Fulton Street, There they met Hughley Dougherty, Cool Burgess and Henry Vandemark. The latter suggested that the party shake dice for the refreshments. Vivian replied that he never handled the cubes, but would show them a new game. Calling for three corks he gave one each to Steirly and Vandemark, keeping the other for himself, He asked Cool Burgess to be the judge and Dougherty to count to three. They rehearsed the trick of each dropping his cork on the bar and picking it up as rapidly as possible, several times, the idea conveyed to initiated being that the last man to lift his cork was to buy. Vivian then gave the word of command, Dougherty counted, He and Steirly passed their hands over their corks while Vandemark, eager to lift his cork from the bar, was both first and last to pick it up, and consequently was stuck for the round. This was the first introduction of a delectable form of amusement which became popular.
At about this time the Excise Law was being strictly enforced and Sunday in New York City was a very dry day. Devotees of the cork trick formed the habit of congregating at Mrs. Giesman's on this day to hold social conventions under the inspiring influences of a stock of beer laid in the night before. This little coterie styled itself the Corks, with Vivian as the Imperial Cork.
The revels of the Jolly crew meeting at Mrs. Giesman's became disturbing to the other boarders and she finally required them to forego their Sunday gatherings in her house. Quarters were found at 17 Delancy Street, over a saloon kept by Paul Sommers, where the meetings were continued, The object of the Corks at this time was entirely convivial, it's membership was composed of professional and semi-
BIRTH OF THE ORDER OF ELKS
On February 16, 1868, the committee reported, recommending that the Jolly Corks be merged into the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the recommendation was adopted by a vote of eight (8) to seven (7). Listed below are those who voted for what name.
For BUFFALO :Charles A. Vivian; Richard Steirly; M.G. Ash; HenryVandermark; Harry Bosworth; Frank Langhorne; E. W. Platt.
For ELK: George McDonald; George Thompson; Thomas Riggs; William Carleton; William Sheppard; George Guy; Hugh Dougherty; William Bowron.
The Death of Charles A. Vivian
Before passing from this branch of the resume of Elks History, it will not be inappropriate to mention the death of Brother Vivian. With the beginnings of the B.P.O.E. a breech was opened between two factions within the ranks, which rapidly developed into a feud. On one hand were the legitimate actors, endeavoring to invest the new organization with principals and ideas in keeping with a benevolent and fraternal institution, while on the other were the semi-
History of the Order
Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks USA
by Exalted Ruler William Kastner, Bath Lodge # 1547, N.Y.