The Grange was formed on December 4,
It was originally founded on the teachings of agriculture and was the first organization to give women an equal vote with men (in 1867).
New Hampshire’s first Grange was organized in Exeter in 1873.
There are Granges all across the state.
The legacy of the Grange affects your
Over the last century the Grange has lobbied local, state, and federal government agencies for issues important to communities and individuals.
The results of these activities have noticeably impacted the American experience from the youngest child to the largest corporations.
Granges were the warehouse-buying clubs
of the nineteenth century.
Their influence grew into a nonpartisan political lobby that worked to create laws now known as Granger Laws that are still important in anti-trust litigations today.
The Grange is credited for the Rural Free Delivery program of the United States Post Office. Grangers consider education important to the advancement of society and created local libraries to store and share books.
Many of these early libraries have become the community public libraries of today.
In New Hampshire, the Grange was active
in lobbying for a State Police Force.
Agricultural Stations established by New Hampshire Granges evolved into what is today the University System of New Hampshire.
Before cars, telephones, running water,
or even electricity, Grangers were fighting for the rights of rural
I have been keeping busy during this Corona virus scare staying indoors and doing a lot of reading along with writing items on my State Historian Facebook Page.
I have been doing a lot of research on former members, especially members of the Pink Sash Family. I was sad to find out that a few them had passed away and never were reported because the Granges they belonged to had closed or they were transfered to another Grange only to have that one close as well.
I was looking back in some of the older issues of the GSG to see what was happening. I was reading the State Master's comments in the first issue of the Granite State Granger in May of 1952. He mentioned that it had been many years since the last State Grange Journal publication. State Master Charles Eastman stressed that "this magazine will be a contributing factor toward developing interest and enthusiasm among members, which will ultimately reflect its purpose, that of having the membership realize the significance of the organization of which they are a part of and which continiously renders service for the betterment of Agriculture and Community environment, thus realizing the need of improving our State, Pomona, Subordinate and Juvenile endeavors."
He spoke about the need for attendance of officers and members at a series of fourteen Deputy District meetings to be held in April and May. At these meetings, the Third Degree will be exemplified along with a vocal and instrumental contest to take place. An added feature will be a Pomona Drill Team Competition, which should create considerable interest. The scores will be kept of the three features with the winners being announced at the completion of the fourteen meetings. Later the two highest in each classification of the talent contest(popular, classical, and miscellaneous), plus the two highest in the drill team competition will compete for final honors in June in Concord.
What were some of the Granges doing in this issue? I always enjoy reading what Granges were doing in the past.
Candia Grange started the year off working the four degrees on four candidates and one reinstatement. They then had more join their Grange in April. They reported their slate of officers had 100 percent attendance through March. Plans were underway to paint the outside of the hall this spring and put on a new piazza .
Kearsage Grange of Wilmot reported Deputy George Gilbert and State Flora Marjorie Emery were honored guests at one of their meetings. The Home and Community Welfare committee had put on a sale and raised enough money to pay one half on the liability insurance on the hall for one year.
Cheshire Juvenile Grange No. 115 of Keene was organized by Juvenile Deputy Madeline Radcliffe with 28 charter members.
Batchelder Grange of Manchester with sixty officers, members and friends went on a mystery ride to Reading, Massachusetts. Batchelder Grange furnished the program and the host Grange provided a bountiful lunch and a dance orchestra. Five non-members applied for membership to Batchelder Grange after the mystery ride.
Mystery rides were very common for Granges especially in the spring and summer. I remember when Pineconia Grange went on a mystery ride to Sandown Grange. The only person who knew was our Master. We had about 24 members who traveled in carloads to Sandown and we had a great time. I remember when Lake Grange of Sunapee came to Pineconia Grange for a mystery ride in August. It was nice to see a large group coming out to visit. Pineconia Grange also went on a mystery ride to Prospect Grange in Mont Vernon and another great time was had by all.
Arlington Grange of Winchester took part in a one act play contest at the Community Center. These one act plays were put on monthly by various groups or organizations. There were three plays presented each week and the best plays were selected for a competition night. At the competition night, a cup was presented to the winning act. The funds received from these plays went towards purchasing a new furnace for the Community Center.
Winnipesaukee Grange of Tilton observed Neighbor's Night and the Ladies Degree Team had conferred the degrees several times during the year.
Madbury Grange enjoyed a busy year with many events scheduled. Madbury Grange meets on the first and third Mondays of each month. The Madbury Grange Fair Association planned it's second Agricultural Fair for the first week of September.
Merrimack River Grange of Canterbury held an Installation of Officers conducted by the State Secretary, Scott Eastman. Deputy John Lyford visited them in February for Instruction. Merrimack River Grange revitalized the Merrimack River Juvenile Grange, voted to enter the Community Service Contest and plans were underway for a minstrel show.
State Juvenile Grange Superintendent, Dorothy McLain announced that Vincent Siche Jr, of Halloween Juvenile Grange of Penacook, won first place in the 1951 Forest, Farm and Garden Contest for Juvenile members. His award was a $25.00 US Savings Bond.
The State Master congratulated Deputy John MacEachran for organizing Rumford Subordinate Grange #109 of East Concord with 37 charter members. This made the state total equal 280 Subordinate Granges.
This virus pandemic has forced many organizations to curtail their activities for awhile. I found out in 1918, in the State Master's address, how the influenza, or the Spanish Flu, caused a major health issue in October and November. The State Board of Health of NH joined all the other states in closing down for awhile and people were told to stay home. Remember that we also had World War I going on at the same time. The NH State Grange held its annual session in December so that they could meet but for those two previous months, Granges across the state were not able to meet together. The reason for this was because they didn't have the medicines or treatments like we have today. So please listen to the doctors and wear your masks when you are in public.
I remember how Granges were having a hard time in paying their property taxes to their respective towns or cities. Many Granges were holding fundraisers to help with raisin money for their taxes. However in 1980 the State Master, Philip Shattuck, mentioned in his Master's Address about the problem with property taxes on Grange Halls. A special committee was appointed and General Deputy, Ed Pratt, contacted State Representative Edna Pearl Parr from Hampton concerning this issue. She submitted a bill to the State Legislature to declare the Grange Halls as exempt from property taxes. I remember going to the State House in 1983 for a hearing on the Grange Hall Bill. The room was overcrowded with Grange members from all over the State. Several speakers from the Grange including Past State Masters John Saturley and B. Franklin Hayes, State Master Phil Shattuck along with State Reresentatives Edna Pearl Parr and Jack Chandler of Warner. The committee passed the bill and it went to the full house where it was voted on and passed. Next the bill went to the Senate where it also passed and was sent to the Governor's Office. Governor John Sununu invited State Grange Leaders to be there for the signing of the bill. The cities and towns also had to approve of this measure. It was a great day for the Grange as many were going to sell their halls because of the taxes.
When I go to the cemetery to visit my parents and grandparents graves, I always go by the gravestone of Mae Chesley who was a Past Flora and Past State Youth Chairman. I read in her column of the 1954 May issue, of the Granite State Granger, that she urged bringing more young people into more prominent roles in Grange activities with well planned entertainment and recreation is a necessary part of our program. If the opportunity of meeting people, making friends and having fun is not provided through Grange meetings we cannot expect in keeping young adults interested in all parts of our work. The voice of the young people is needed in Grange affairs, so its up to the Youth Committees of State, Pomona and Subordinate Granges to encourage and assist our youth to regards their responsibilities. She spoke about some Youth nights she had visited. Batchelder Grange of South Manchestrer held a mock wedding with an all male cast. Now that would have been unheard of in the 1950's but today in 2020, it is a reality. She mentioned that Sandown Grange had held a successful Youth night with members present from Chester, Nutfield, Danville and Hampstead Granges. Dancing was enjoyed by all after their regular meeting.
Pineconia Grange of Concord Plains held a successful Youth night with members from visiting Granges filling the offices. Arnold Clement, Master of Rochester Grange along his wife with their daughter participated in the program.
Dorothy McLain, State Juvenile Superintendent, mentioned about some poems that entered by juvenile Granges for Mothers Day. One in particular was titled "My Mother Always Knows" - My Mother has a happy way of always knowing what to say, When I fall down and stub my toe "Please Mother, May I go?", With just the touch of her soft hand she somehow makes me understand, That what she says is best for me My Mother always knows you see.
I was looking in the 1980 State Grange Journal and I can't believe it was forty years ago. Where has the time gone?
The Youth Officer Contest results were announced: Youth Master was Carolyn Ross of Gilman Grange, Youth Steward was Glenn Yardley of Walpole Grange, Youth Assistant Steward was Edward Rhodes of Walpole Grange, Youth Lady Assistant Steward was Jane Campbell of Warren Pond Grange and Youth Ceres was Joanne King Warren of Pond Grange. The Youth Royalty winners were announced. State Prince was Glenn Yardley of Walpole Grange, State Princess was Donna Boucher of Wattannick Grange and Young Couple of the Year were Donald and Carolyn Ross of East Kingston.
I will close out my lengthy column by wishing Irene Lynde a very happy 95th birthday. Irene and her late husband Bernard were from White Mountain Grange in Littleton. They were the Young Couple of the Year in 1958. I hope Irene has a great birthday and we wish her many more! Her son David mentioned that his family were all Grange members of Riverside Grange in Dalton. You might remember Beryl Boule who was his aunt. I remember meeting her at State Session and that she used to install officers for different Granges. She knew her Grange work like none other. David was a Past Master of White Mountain Juvenile Grange. He mentioned that his mother loves the Grange and still speaks of it fondly.
Happy Father's Day to everyone and don't forget Flag Day. Most of all keep healthy, wear the masks and be careful. A special thanks to Hannah West for all she does for the Grange with the Granite State Granger and the Grange Grapevine!