The Legend of J.J. Love: TKE's First Frater
Tekes all know the story of our founding. On the cold night of January 10, 1899, students of Illinois Wesleyan University, in the small Midwestern town of Bloomington, had just returned from the Christmas holidays when Joseph L. Settles went to the room occupied by James C. McNutt and Clarence A. Mayer at 504 East Locust Street to discuss the organization of a new society on campus. Joined immediately by Owen I. Truitt and C. Roy Atkinson, these five students created the first set of regulations for the Knights of Classic Lore, a society whose avowed purpose was "to aid college men in mental, moral, and social development."
But, what of the sixth man planned to attend on that cold night?
What of the man who was very nearly our sixth founder? Because of his late arrival for this meeting, James J. Love was made the first new member. It is here that the legend of J.J. Love begins. Why did young James miss this momentous occasion? None other than Frater Love's lady love—Her name was Grace Mclntyre, and just a few short years later, they would marry.
Many Fraters have heard this tale. That our young Frater Love was late for a date, placing him first instead of founding. In an interview with Frater John Rose (Pi-Epsilon, Christian Brothers) for THE TEKE in 1998, Frater Love's daughter, Charlotte O'Leary, shared that Frater Love was indeed visiting her mother that evening.
And so it is that Frater love, in pursuit of love, missed one opportunity in the quest of another. And while we mourn the loss of our potential sixth founder, we celebrate our first Frater.
His daughter Charlotte shared, this was in no way an indication of his commitment to the bond of TKE. She recalled, "He was a proud man, and he was very fond of and proud of the Fraternity. He was the first initiate, you know! I remember he would always check the mail, and the first thing he would look for was the TKE magazine (at the time called THE TEKE), and he would sit down right away and read it from cover to cover. It was his favorite thing to read!"
In another serendipitous turn of fate, Frater Love passed away due to complications of Alzheimer's disease on January 11, 1956—the day after Founders' Day. He was buried in Fairfield Chapel Cemetery in Newman, Illinois.
So today, on January 11, 2021, let us take a moment to celebrate firsts. Our first Frater and the first time a Teke put Love first.
In honor of Frater Love, and for a limited time only, TKEStore.com is offering a special J.J. Love discount at TKEStore.com. Head that way to check it out. Frater Love may have been late, but he still won out in the end, and you should too.Use Promo Code: JJLOVE15 for 15% Off