Classic Three Flap System

October 7, 2009


Prior to Santee hosting the 1965 Dixie Fellowship the lodge came out with a new pocket flap for members to wear. The flap debuted in the summer of 1964 and was used until the summer of 1978. Again this flap was to be worn by all members. The new flap was later nicknamed the “Old Ordeal Without”. This name is in reference to later flaps which contain a fleur-de-lis.  Some old timers call this flap the “White Ordeal”.  It is also known by its Blue Book designation which is S2.  Designed by Saunders Bridges, the “Old Ordeal Without” really set the standard for all of the Santee flaps to come. The design featured a white background with a red outside and black inside border. It also featured a Carolina Parakeet that is not taken from Audubon’s painting. The right side of the flap contained symbolism associated with South Carolina including an outline of the state, a crescent moon, and a palmetto tree. The left side of the flap has symbolism associated with Native Americans including an arrowhead and a pot. Future flaps of the lodge would incorporate all or at least some of this symbolism in their design.

Another standard that this new Ordeal flap set was the new restriction that would be set on lodge flaps suggested by Bill Tyson. This restriction was that a brother could only purchase one flap per fellowship attended for 24 hours. In addition, flaps could only be sold at lodge fellowships. With only three fellowships this meant that a maximum of three flaps could be purchased a year. The part of the restriction requiring 24 hour attendance made sure that someone would have to come to an entire fellowship in order to buy one. This helped promote attendance and participation.

In 1969 the lodge ordered a new loom of its standard flap the “Old Ordeal Without” from the Lion Brothers Company. The order came back without a red outside border. Instead the flap had a double black border. Lodge rules required that lodge flaps have a red outside and black inside border. Therefore, instead of selling the patches the lodge Executive Committee sent them back to the company.  Apparently, instead of destroying the flaps, the National Supply Division either sold them to collectors or gave them out to people as samples of their work. It was a few years later that members of the lodge at a National Order of the Arrow Conference discovered the lost loom of flaps had been distributed. This flap is called the “Double Black” due to its unique border.

In 1975 the lodge instituted what is called a three flap system. Similar to the early twill flaps which designated Ordeal and Brotherhood membership, this system also had a flap for recipients of the Vigil honor. These new flaps were designed by Greg Vaught. The “Old Ordeal Without” was kept on as the flap designating Ordeal membership. A flap which had a black background and the three Ws spread out was used for the Brotherhood flap. This flap was called the “Spread” because of the unique placement of the Ws.  The new Vigil flap had a blue background. Its design featured three small red arrows in the shape of a triangle which is the symbol of the Vigil honor. A different parakeet was also included in the Vigil flap design. The Spread was in use from the Fall of 1975 to the Fall of 1978. The Vigil flap was sold between the Fall of 1975 and the Summer of 1980. The lodge also made a unique restriction on the Vigil Honor flaps. Instead of allowing Vigil Honor members to purchase one per fellowship, they were limited to one per year. When a person first obtained the honor and at the initiation of the system, a person was allowed a one time exemption to buy three. Brotherhood members could purchase either an Ordeal flap or a Brotherhood flap every fellowship.

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