The order known as the Knights of Malta was established in Jerusalem in 1048. The Order's original duties were to care for sick and wounded Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, and to assist the poor. It was chartered in the United States in 1889 with headquarters in Philadelphia.
A commandery was organized in Grand Forks in 1899 under the leadership of Judge William H. Becker. He held the title of Supreme Organizer. Becker helped to organize other commanderies in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota soon after.