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By Raymond W. Miller

WILLIAM L. ROBINSON is a prolific editor and writer, with knowledge and experience in the fields of farm business, cooperation, business history, and traffic safety. He is a former newspaperman and magazine editor and is a member of the National Press Club. He has directed the production of many educational films and was, for the past three years, chairman of the National Committee on Films for Safety.

For almost two decades he has edited American Cooperation, the annual yearbook on, farm business published by the American Institute of Cooperation.

As Editor of Sportsmanlike Driving and Teaching Driver and Traffic Safety Education, as well as supplementary driver education teaching aids for the American Automobile Association, he has produced materials that are the standard in U.S. high schools, with millions of young drivers thus learning rules of the road and proper attitude toward other highway users. His work in this field has gained for him national and international reputation.

As a professional "book architect" he has worked with a dozen authors in the production of a wide variety of books ranging from biography, capitalism vs. communism, and agricultural cooperation, in addition to those subjects mentioned above.

Mr. Robinson is a successful farmer, of Travilah, Md., producing eggs and cattle.

With this rich background, the National Grange sought his services to produce this concise 100-year history for its Centennial Year. The National Grange believes he has conceived and written an outstanding volume which deserves to receive widespread attention and acceptance in the Centennial Year and into the future.

THE GRANGE-1867-1987 Copyright © 1966 by The National Grange All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-291$7


This has been a very significant century of America's history.

Important contributions to the development of proper; constructive relationships between government and its people have been evolved or substantially influenced by the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Now, as the Grange is about to enter its second Century of Service and Evolution. -and of inspiration and motivation of its own people-we must be increasingly cognizant of the relationships between government and important segments of society, as well as the relationship of economic groups within that society.

The Grange was conceived and brought into being to stimulate the rural people, both farm and non-farm, and to dignify as well as lighten their labor by diffusing knowledge and expanding the human mind. It has thus raised the horizons and improved the opportunities of individuals, but has recognized at the same time that human happiness depends upon general prosperity. The very program and history of the Grange is as broad as all rural life itself.

Indeed, the history of the world is but the history of organization; and demonstrates alike its necessity and its beneficence. The philosophy of self-government, as we know it in America, therefore places greater importance on proper and effective organizational structure within our whole American society than does any other philosophy of organized society.

An organization is not like a chain no stronger than its weakest link.

On the contrary, an organization gains strength in proportion to the combined strength and effectiveness of its members. Hence each of us has a direct and personal interest-as well as a civic, moral, and political responsibility-to exert reasonable effort and to assist in perfecting appropriate organization to stimulate and combine the highest purposes and more constructive efforts of men, women, and families of each of our communities. Thus we tend to insure that future service and evolution shall be of the highest and most worthy character.

Grange Achievements a Commanding Challenge

The record of the Grange stands as a solid platform from which we may proceed. The achievements of our organization are, within themselves, a commanding challenge. We -are far better prepared to accept the responsibilities of a great self-governing society by reason of our organizational experience and seniority. In such acceptance, we shall, in large measure, be able to enjoy richer and fuller family and community life. As our society becomes increasingly plenteous and bountiful-rich and rewarding in experiences and associations-the Grange must then stimulate us to achieve the following goals:
1. A higher and better manhood and womanhood among ourselves.
2. Being never afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect and enhance our environment, our homes, and our communities.
3. Increasing our individual wisdom, that we may in reasonable measure match the fabulous growth in the world's total knowledge, characterizing our days with a reasonably comparable growth in ourselves.
4. Raising the standards of our own moral, cultural, and social achievements, that we may deserve, and in due course, command the respect of our neighbors.

As author of this concise, 128-page, readable and meaningful statement of the philosophy, purpose, and significance that has underlaid the first century of the Grange, W. L. (Bill) Robinson has given evidences of the wisdom and skill with which the Order of Patrons of Husbandry was conceived and brought into being. He has briefly outlined the kind of contribution that its organizational structure has made to its members; and which the members have thereby found to be such a useful institution in influencing the course of their own lives, their own communities and, indeed, of the very society of which you. and I are now a part.

The Founders of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry were not isolationists. They laid the framework for the world's only farm and rural family fraternity. They handed us an organization capable of stimulating the individual in the community interest, and also well structured to build a better community in the interest of families and individual members thereof.

A careful study of this brief synopsis of the Grange and its history will leave no doubt that these same goals and organizational purposes, that have served America so well for 100 years, provide a solid and challenging foundation for building a second century of service as we look forward to an America which will give increased attention to equity and justice, out of which can come boundless progress for a great nation and its people.

Needed-The Best Grange We Can Build

You and I, and the community in which we may live, therefore, need the best Grange that we can build. Whether our interest in agriculture is direct or indirect, we have that interest. We should each, therefore, also be interested in this great agricultural institution and organization of the Grange, dedicated to the fundamental principle that the rural home must be a bright and happy place in which to live and to rear a family.

The Founders of the Grange were bold. They championed property rights and human rights. But they accepted responsibility and insisted that their fellow Americans do likewise. So must we.

They sought to build an organization which would inspire and incite a degree of self-discipline, even as they recognized the necessity of organized discipline in achieving an orderly society.

Clearly, the increasingly complex inter-relationships and mutual interdependence of producer and consumer; that of the rural non-farm family and the strictly agricultural family within the community; and the interrelationships and inter-dependence of one community, one state, or even one nation with another, all these factors in our decade of the 1960's increase and underline the importance of the basic philosophy and purpose that inspired the Founders of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.

Is it not clear, therefore, that we need something much more substantial than a mere ordinary kind of an organization- Let us, therefore, plan wisely to build the Grange; even as we have had to better equip ourselves in our respective enterprises. Let us increase the usefulness and improve the effectiveness of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, that it may serve us better, even as we ourselves serve society in general-through the Grange.

Herschel D. Newsom National Master,
The National Grange

Introduction - Dream of the Founders

This 100-year history of the Grange could never have been written had it not been for the glowing achievements of a few inspired, dynamic pioneers, followed by the steady, continuing efforts of millions of hardy, high-principled, sensible men and women who built magnificently over the years.

The founder, OLIVER HUDSON KELLEY, and six other far-sighted men of different abilities-but vital for this great purpose-dreamed the dream of a helpful, protective, energetic organization with lofty ideals of fraternity and brotherhood, along with down-to-earth services to neighbors, community, state, and nation.

Many thousand words have been written about living and farming conditions in the 1860's and the personal attributes of "Father" Kelley. Grange history books are filled with stories about the early hopes and aspirations that brought these seven founders together.

Each contributed in a purposeful way toward developing the whole.

Among all the historical writings about the happenings that led to the founding of the Grange none seems more intriguing to this observer than the Address by Mrs. Eva McDowell, widow of one of the Founders, Francis M. McDowell, 50 years ago at the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Grange in Washington, D.C., November 18, 1916.

Mrs. McDowell knew them all and heard much about the early days from the lips of her husband. She regretted that she did not question them more, personally, when she had the opportunity. It seemed to her, she said, that they would live forever!

What impressed her most about these seven men were the so-apparently different characteristics they possessed and which they brought to full force in their development of the Grange idea.
Proof of their varying abilities is the organization that has stood the test for 100 years, and now goes into its second century with essentially the same lofty ideals, ritual, and practical mechanics of procedure-but improved, of course, by 20th Century modes of operation, better communication, more resources.

It was said that in the beginning "Father" Kelley sat down by himself and tried to formulate a ritual and a constitution for a farmer's organization but found it a hopeless task-having no special ability along that line. He had a great dream, though, and coupled it with initiative and rare foresight by applying to others for help so that in the end there came about the magic number of seven, the perfect number.

OLIVER KELLEY excelled as a propagandist and was chosen by the others to go out into the world (as did Paul) and preach the Grange gospel. He was eminently fitted for this work.

To WILLIAM SAUNDERS belongs credit for the plan of organization. He advocated establishing township, county, state, and national bodies. The title "Subordinate" was substituted for the word "township" and later when the county Grange seemed impractical, the term "Pomona" was established for it. Mr. Saunders suggested the name "Grange" for the meeting place, and the title of "Patrons of Husbandry" for the Order."

JOHN R. THOMPSON was a high degree Mason and had given much thought to ritual and laws of fraternity. He was largely responsible for the ritual of the Grange, having written that of the. Sixth and Seventh Degrees, and corrected and approved that of the lower degrees.

WILLIAM M. IRELAND was also a Mason of high degree. He was expert in parliamentary law and journalism, and to him belongs the framework of the constitution and bylaws, and the preparation of the journals of proceedings of the early sessions for the printer.

AARON B. GROSH was also skilled in ritualism, but his chief work for the Order was that of furnishing all the prayers for the lower degrees, which he helped to write. To him, Grangers are indebted for the high moral tone without religious bias which comes all through the Ritual. He also recognized the value of song in the Grange meetings, and gathered the first group of Grange melodies.

JOHN TRIMBLE acted as critic and adviser. So often did he pounce upon a pet idea of some of the others, pick it all to pieces and point out all its flaws, that he became known as "the wet blanket of the Order." Second thought nearly always demonstrated the justice of his criticisms, and they were generally heeded. On the other hand, he was just as ready to praise when he considered the work good, and his associates learned to await with eagerness his characteristic "well done," and drew deep breaths of relief when they heard it.

FRANCIS M. MCDOWELL, the last to become associated with the other six, found them with no definite financial plan, each one paying out of his own pocket such sums as he could spare for the work from time to time, keeping no accounts, having no idea of what they should do with their funds if they ever became strong enough to accumulate any. They gladly turned their affairs over to him and he took charge and remained in charge for the remainder of his life. It was through him that a happy investment in government bonds was made with the first surplus funds, which gave them sufficient income to tide them over the years of depression, and enabled them to follow through without incurring debt, Mr. McDowell served as treasurer for nearly 21 years from January, 1873, to November, 1893.

In Mrs. McDowell's words:

"To sum up, we have here a propagandist, an organizer, a ritualist, a parliamentarian and journalist, a man of God, a critic, and a financier. Could any one of these have given us our Order as we have it today- Could more than these have made it any better"

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