The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Grange movement

Grange Hall in Maine, circa 1910
Grange Hall in Maine, circa 1910

The Grange movement in the United States involved the affiliation of local farmers into area "granges" to work for their political and economic advantages. The official name of the National Grange is the Patrons of Husbandry. Today they might be considered a special interest group. Founded after the Civil War, it flourished toward to the end of the 19th century. Many small rural communities in New England, the Midwest and West still have an old "Grange Hall" standing on Main Street. The word "grange" comes from a Latin word for grain, and is related to a "granary" or, more generically, a farm.

The Founders of the Grange were: Oliver Hudson Kelley, William Saunders, Francis M. McDowell, John Trimble, Aaron B. Grosh, John R. Thompson, William M. Ireland and Caroline A. Hall.

Originally founded as a social and educational organization borrowing ritualistic overtones from Freemasonry, membership in the Grange increased dramatically from 1873 (200,000) to 1875 (858,050) as many of the state and local granges adopted non-partisan political resolutions, especially regarding the regulation of railroad transportation costs. Rapid growth infused the national organization with money from dues, and many local granges established consumer co-operatives, initially supplied by the wholesaler Aaron Montgomery Ward. Poor fiscal management at both the national and local levels of the Grange led to a quick demise of the organization's new prosperity, and by 1880 membership had dropped to 124,420.

External links

  • "A Short History of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the National Grange," by Charles P. Gilliam
  • Official Website of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
  • Background, History, Ritual and Emblems of the Grange

Last updated: 02-09-2005 18:49:00
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55