This past weekend was a fun one for us. The Becque5 clan gained another +1. Officially we are the Becque5 +2 after last fall’s wedding of our daughter. I made the hotel reservations in early January and didn’t think more about it until we left home last week. Things have been so hectic and planning a rehearsal picnic for 70 from afar had me deep in decisions. The wedding was in Western Pennsylvania where the couple met. It wasn’t until we checked into the hotel that I realized where we were. It was Canonsburg, a place that has a role in the history of Phi Gamma Delta and Phi Kappa Psi. When it was time to decide where to have dinner on our first night in town, the vote was for Primanti Brothers, a favorite of some of our crew, at a new location in Washington, Pennsylvania.
The family indulged me with a walk on the Washington and Jefferson campus before dinner.
As soon as we got home, I had to get ready for the Rotary Club of Carbondale-Breakfast’s Fifth Tuesday potluck. We were hosting 22 Panamanian teachers who are studying at SIUC. Have I mentioned that there are four Tuesdays left in my term, one of which I will be out of town?
On Wednesday morning, I headed up the highway to one of my favorite places, the Student Life and Culture Archives at the University of Illinois. After a day of research, I visited the newly rebuilt Phi Kappa Psi chapter house for a tour. I spent several months writing a history of the chapter for the Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing, so it was fun to see what has been done to the house. I only wish I had the chance to see the house before it was rebuilt.
After I left the Phi Psi house, I headed over to the Mount Hope Cemetery. I was on a quest to find the grave of Frances Haven Moss, Gamma Phi Beta founder, and daughter of Erastus O. Haven, who served at the helm of the University of Michigan, Northwestern University and Syracuse University.
Finding a gravestone isn’t as easy as it sounds. I knew the size of the cemetery, so I knew I had a fighting chance. I quickly came across a Moss, but it wasn’t the one I was after. So I walked and walked. About 35 minutes in, I saw one with the name Stoolman on it. Finding that made me feel better about my trek in the cemetery. I found someone and if I couldn’t locate Frances Haven Moss, at least I found Lois Franklin Stoolman, who served several terms as Pi Beta Phi’s Grand Treasurer. Her husband A.W. Stoolman built many of the fraternity and sorority houses in Urbana and Champaign, among them the original Phi Kappa Psi house.
I was contemplating a second tour of the cemetery when I happened upon what I came to find.
I capped the night off with a stay in a P.E.O. Bed and Breakfast. And now it’s on to meet my people, the Fraternity and Sorority Archivists, at our biennial conference.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/