No, you didn’t read the title incorrectly nor did I write it incorrectly! This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to the late 1860’s. It wasn’t long after the Civil War ended that The National Grange of The Order of Patrons of Husbandry was founded.
Throwback Thursday’s: Home on The Grange
This Fraternal Agricultural Organization was founded in 1867 in order to advance agricultural conditions and methods, as well as, promoting the social and economic needs of the farmers all over the United States. After the Civil War President Jackson sent a man named Oliver Kelley to visit the rural communities in southern U.S. The plan was to send them some help, the railroads were coming in taking over the land forcing farmers to buy what they could be growing and the battle itself did damage to the environment and economy.
The Birth Of The Grange
Mr. Kelley made his way back and informed President Jackson of the war-torn countryside and the tragedy they were facing. This was how, when, and where the Grange began. Kelley wanted to bring home back to the farmers and help them restore the land and further thrive. The first Grange was founded in 1868 in Fredonia, New York by seven people all with different interests in the reason behind the founding, one of them being Oliver Kelley.
The Purpose Of The Grange
One of the main purposes of the Grange was to bring community members together so they help one another rebuild what was lost. There was a big building designated for the townspeople to come together and discuss ideas, concerns, issues, good news, etc. Farmers from the North came down to share some of their knowledge and the North and South began to rekindle a kindness towards one another after the war. The goal was for the community to come together and care for each other eliminating the need to reach out to the big business and corporations making their way through on the railroads.
The Grange Movement
What started as one Grange branched out to many starting The Grange Movement in 1875. More and more communities became involved with Granges and little by little the rural communities pulled together to help each other grow and succeed. Granges are still growing and expanding today. The social meetings and get-togethers gave community members the opportunity to go out and meet others and learn new skills, enjoy games, and things of that nature. They held dances, concerts, lectures, plays, contests, and eventually, the 4-H club became what it is. It was basically a place for everything that communities should be doing together to help create an awesome environment all the way around.
The Grange Today
Members of The Grange would get together and repair old buildings and roads, take care of the local cemeteries, paint the schools, and do various jobs necessary to keep the town running in good order. There are still numerous granges throughout the United States used in the same exact manner – only there are more of them. Smaller Intentional Communities use similar systems to the Grange, holding meetings, events, and trading with other communities around.
A Way Of Life
What began as an act of activism became a way of living and being. I hope this look back in time brought some new information of old to your table. Community and the sense of security within a community are important for so many reasons. Speaking of community, I’d like to share a few ways you can help your local farmers:
- Purchase produce items from the local farmer’s markets.
- Make donations to local family farms if possible. (They don’t always have to be monetary.)
- When you buy furniture etc. try to find local craftsmen in your area.
Watch this video posted by minnesotahistory about Oliver Kelley and the Grange:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Throwback Thursday! Maybe you can find a Grange in your area and take a trip. Homesteading Skills are Life Skills!
Have you ever experienced the wonders Granges did to your community? Please share them in the comments below!
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Featured image via tpsdave
Interesting. My mom and I were recently wondering together about the origin of grange halls. One comment … I read this aloud to my son (who is a student of history) and he said the president who succeded Lincoln was Andrew Johnson, not Jackson.
Oh goodness! How embarrassing, thank you for pointing out that mistake. Your son is right it was Johnson not Jackson. Typo’s Good eye.