Celebrating 100 Years of
Cannon Grange No. 152 P. of H.
By Charles P. Gilliam
(Copyright 1999 Charles P. Gilliam. All rights reserved)
On April 27, 1899 a group of people met at the home William B. Smith in Cannondale to discuss organization of a new subordinate grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the National Grange.
The meeting was adjourned until May 4, 1899 and at that time, with 53 charter members and an assist from the established Norfield, Westport and New Canaan Granges, Cannon Grange No. 152 of the Connecticut State Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry was established.
Samuel J. Miller was the first Master of Cannon Grange. Mr. Miller was later President of The Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co. of Georgetown Connecticut. Click here for a full list of the Past Masters.
Cannon Grange was neither an original concept nor a new organization. By 1899 there were already 82 subordinate granges in Connecticut. The National Grange had already made its most prominent marks in American history books, had been through its most turbulent years and was in the process of a long and slow recovery from its nadir.
To put this event in perspective it is useful to journey back in time to visit the origins of the national Order which these local people joined.
Founding of the National Grange
In 1866 Oliver Hudson Kelley, a native of Massachusetts, received a commission from President Andrew Johnson to survey agricultural conditions in the Southern states because there was a dearth of reliable information following the War of 1861-1865.
Oliver Hudson Kelley, principal founder and first Secretary of the National Grange
What Kelley saw of conditions in the South and the advantage being taken by Northern carpetbaggers of beleaguered farmers, his work as a Minnesota farmer, his study and writings on agriculture and his association with the Masonic Order combined in the conception of a notion to extend a fraternal hand of friendship to farmers and rural people of the North, South and West to, as he wrote, “restore kindly feelings among the people.”
Kelley returned briefly to his Minnesota farm but never returned to farming in a substantive way. In the Autumn of 1866 he departed for Washington to accept a position in the Post Office Department and it was from there that he set about to organize the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, the National Grange.
Kelley joined with six others, William Saunders (first National Master), Aaron B. Gosh, John Trimble, John R. Thompson, Francis McDowell and William M. Ireland who became the Seven Founders of the National Grange. Kelley was the first Secretary. Although there was an agricultural background among the Seven Founders, five were currently Washington government officials, one was a banker, one was a minister and none were active farmers. While much of the early history of the Grange was aimed at assisting farmers in the South and West (their West is now our Mid-West) all of the Seven Founders hailed from north and east of those regions (Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Scotland).
The National Grange supported cooperative farm credit but not banking centralization which was seen as inapposite to the idea of local based institutions. Some government programs were lobbied for and won including the 1916 Federal Farm Loan Act and 1937 Bankhead-Jones Act which provided credit, including for farm purchases, supporting Grange policy of turning tenant farmers into farm owners.
Temperance and Tobacco
Today, anti-smoking is politically de rigueur but this is a recent phenomena. The National Grange historically was not a friend of tobacco products. For a hundred years curtailment of the cigarette business, education on the evil of smoking, increased cigarette taxation and restrictions on manufacture and sale (especially to minors) was urged. For example, at the 1929 National Grange convention a resolution was adopted urging local school boards to discourage smoking by teachers so they could set an example for children.
Current National Grange legislative policy can make a distinction between the tobacco farmer and tobacco use. The Grange supports efforts to diversify tobacco farmers into other products and to use some of the money from the pending “class action settlements” to ease dislocation in tobacco farming.
From the beginning the Grange espoused temperance. In 1905 the National Grange adopted a rule excluding from membership anyone engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquors. The National Grange supported the prohibition movement and when prohibition became the law of the land the Grange deplored resulting uneven and lax enforcement.
After repeal of prohibition the National Grange promoted temperance in the local communities including education of adults and children and opposition to use of intoxicants by youths.
Structure of the National Grange Community (Adapted from an official summary supplied by the National Grange)
The National Grange is comprised of four distinct divisions built one upon the other in logical sequence: 1. the Subordinate Grange, 2. the Pomona Grange, 3. The State Grange and 4. The National Grange.
The Subordinate (local) Grange
The local unit of the organization is built around the community. Men, women and youth are admitted on equal terms. Those who are 14 years of age are eligible for full membership. Each member has one vote. The local Grange elects its own officers and controls its own affairs in community matters. It confers the first four ritualistic Degrees: symbolic of the four seasons and life on the farm.
Although regular business meetings of the Subordinate Grange are for members only, the educational and literary programs are frequently open to the public. All Grange activities are for the purpose of developing leadership, improving community life, and expanding opportunities for all people.
Today, approximately three hundred thousand people are members of Subordinate Granges in 3,600 communities nationwide. Cannon Grange is a Subordinate Grange.
The Pomona (county or other region) Grange
Subordinate Granges within a given district are grouped together on a county or other regional basis into Pomona Granges that meet monthly or quarterly. The Pomona Grange offers the Fifth Degree of the Order, thus extending the lessons and opportunities of the Subordinate Grange. The Pomona Grange provides the leadership for educational, legislative, and business interests of the Subordinate Granges in its jurisdiction.
Members of Subordinate Granges are not required to receive the Fifth Degree but are encouraged to do so.
Cannon Grange is part of Fairfield County Pomona Grange which encompasses a total of eight Subordinate Granges from Brookfield, Fairfield, Monroe, Redding, Shelton, Trumbull, Weston and Wilton. There were once Subordinate Granges in Danbury, New Canaan, Stamford, Ridgefield and Westport as well.
The State Grange
The State Grange is a delegate body representing Subordinate and Pomona Granges. At their annual conventions, State Granges consider many important matters relating to legislation and public policy, with particular reference to agriculture, other matters of concern to rural America and the general welfare of the state as a whole. Inasmuch as State Grange policies originate in the Subordinate and Pomona units of the Order and are conveyed through their delegates, this branch is, in a special sense, expressive of Grange thought and sentiment throughout the entire state.
Voting authority is vested in the delegate body, which in most instances, is composed of the Masters of Subordinate and Pomona Granges and their spouses, if also members, each having one vote.
The Sixth Degree of the Order is conferred at the state conventions and is open to all members of the Pomona Grange.
There is a State Grange in 37 states. The missing states are in the deep South and the less-arable regions of the far West.
The Connecticut State Grange was organized in 1875. There are 96 Subordinate Granges in Connecticut.
The Connecticut State Grange runs Camp Berger, a summer (July and August) camp for boys and girls ages seven to 14, in Winchester Center. For more information e-mail Camp Berger at Campberger@hotmail.com or by snail mail write to 78 Laning 4-3C, Southington, Connecticut 06489.
The Connecticut State Grange holds the Connecticut State Fair yearly at the Goshen fair grounds, Route 63 south of Goshen Center. In 1999 the fair is July 24-26. For more information contact the State Grange.
There is a Connecticut State Grange Federal Credit Union for members. Two Grange related mutual insurance companies write insurance for the general public in Connecticut: National Grange Mutual and Patrons Mutual.
For more information visit the Connecticut State Grange web site at www.ctstategrange.org or write to the the Connecticut State Grange at 769 Hebron Avenue, P.O. Box 6517, Glastonbury, Connecticut 06033.
The National Grange
This is the parent branch of the Order which speaks with authority and understanding for the major branches of agriculture and rural America. All business sessions of the National Grange are open to any Subordinate Grange member in good standing. As spectators, they have no vote in the deliberations, but they do have ample opportunity to appear before committees and to testify. As the supreme legislative body of the Order, policies are developed through the channels of Subordinate, Pomona and State units, and consequently embody the seasoned judgement of the membership.
At the annual convention of the National Grange, one day is devoted to the conferral of the Seventh Degree, the highest degree of Order. This degree is open to all members of a State Grange. Degree candidates and members gather from all parts of the nation for this annual ritualistic event.
The National Grange Headquarters is 1616 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 628-3507. One may visit its attractive re-designed web page atwww.nationalgrange.org for more information.
An informal meeting was called to meet at the house of Mr. William B. Smith on the evening of April 27, 1899 to talk about organizing a Grange. Deputy I. C. Fanton and Brothers Pease and Blakeman of Fairfield County Pomona were present, also Brother Sipperly and wife of Westport Grange. They gave us such a glowing account of the Grange that we were unanimous to organize one then which we immediately proceeded to do by the election of master, Samuel J. Miller; lecturer, Mrs. Howard Stockwell; secretary Samuel Osborn.
We then received the obligation which brought it up to 12 o’clock so it was voted to adjourn the meeting one week, May 4, 1899 to the same place where the installation of officers took place. It was then voted the name of the Grange should be Cannon Grange. Our Grange starts with 53 charter members. Sixteen members of Norfield Grange were also with us at the installation. It was then voted to meet on the 17th of May at the schoolhouse. The meeting then closed in due form.
/s/ Samuel Osborn
The charter officers of Cannon Grange:
Regular Grange meetings were then held at the home of George F. Brown until August 15, 1899 when the venue was changed to Cannon Hall, which had just been built. At the first regular meeting at Cannon Hall it was voted to hold regular meetings there on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 8:00 p.m. and that has remained unchanged to this day except for part of the period of the Second World War when meetings were scaled back to conserve fuel.
Wilton could not be described as a farming center, in fact the entire state of Connecticut is not so known unless one wants to farm rocks. However, one hundred years ago Cannondale and Wilton had a number of farm families and family farms. These family farms are gone today but many of the names live on as road names in Wilton. If one looks at a road map of Wilton one will see the family names of many members of Cannon Grange represented.
The Lecturer’s Hour
Specifications for the 1899 construction of the new building in Cannondale included
Sheathing. The Building to be covered with 8″ Nor Col Matched.
Siding. All siding to be clear and well lapped.
Roof. Covered with Washington Red Ceder.
Flooring. To be 11/4 thick not more than 4″ wide of first quality Georgia Pine.
Chimmes. To have 2 two chimmes 1″x16″ of hard Brick laid in morter and cement one part morter one part cement.
Workmanship. All work done in a smooth and workman like manner and job left sound and complete.
Painting. All Wood work on outside to be Painted 2 coats of White lead and Linseed Oil in colors as may be directed. Inside to be finished with 2 coats of Hard Oil finish.”
In about 1927 the existing well was dug (prior to that water was ported in by hand) and in 1937 a kitchen added to the west side of the Hall as well as was a furnace and rest rooms. Originally the Hall was lit with kerosene lamps suspended from the twenty foot ceilings. Later lamps were added to the side walls and now there is of course electric lighting.
In the 1960s the original stage was removed, extending the floor space by about one-third and bringing the Hall to its current configuration – sixteen hundred square feet in the main hall and a completely open floor plan, ideal for Grange meetings, banquets and other Grange and community activities.
The hardwood floors were refinished for the first time since the 1955 flood.
Two old iron cook stoves were removed and a new gas range installed to meet government regulations.
A new kitchen floor was laid and rest room facilities upgraded.
The building exterior was sandblasted and re-painted white with green trim, the colors traditionally associated with the building.
The floors were re-done.
A major capital project, layers of old roof was removed and the building was sub-roofed and re-roofed. The roofers affirmed that the roof timbers still measured true square, attesting to the fine craftsmanship of the original construction.
In the face of rising oil prices, insulation was placed in the attic (the 1899 construction did not include any insulation).
The Hall started as a community center and after acquisition by Cannon Grange remained available to diverse community groups and others. Popular uses currently include wedding receptions and anniversaries, birthday parties, bridal and baby showers. In 1987 the Hall was the setting for a Country Time Lemonade commercial that featured members and friends of Cannon Grange. Past uses included “the Ladies Aid Society and Woman’s Foreign Missionary society of the Zion Hill Methodist Episcopal church . . . for meetings, suppers and many other events” in the 1930s.
Current regular users include the Wilton Conservatory of Dance & Theatre Arts which holds classes five days a week except in the summer, the Longshore-Southport Kennel Club for dog obedience classes and the Wilton Volunteer Fire Department and the Cannon Grange sponsored 4-H Clubs for meetings.
Enquiry’s about Hall rental can be made by contacting any Cannon Grange member or writing to Cannon Grange at P.O. Box 23, Wilton, Connecticut 06897. Click here for further details
Annual Agricultural Fair
Cannon Grange has a tradition of holding an annual agricultural fair. The first annual fair was in 1933 and continued until suspended during the Second World War. The fair was reinstated in 1975 and has been held annually ever since.
In 1975 numbering of the fair was restarted as the “first annual” and that is why the 1999 fair will be billed as only the 25th annual.
The fair is 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. always the last Sunday in August, rain or shine, at the Cannon Grange Hall.
At 4 P.M., at the conclusion of the fair, produce, flowers and baked goods from the exhibits are auctioned for the benefit of Cannon Grange. Many times the prices rise skyward for a prize entry.
Space is rented to concessionaires for a moderate fee.
Proceeds from the fair are an important contribution to the cost of maintaining the Grange building in addition to philanthropic works.
In days gone by the emphasis for exhibits and entries was more on farm produce and larger farm animals.
Today, exhibits are submitted mainly by back yard gardeners and people with small animals, such as rabbits and chickens, which are often pets instead of farm animals.
Each year there are the same general departments of exhibits as well as special categories – such as a state baking contest or quilting contest — that change every year.
The general departments for exhibits submitted by the public are:
Baked and canned goods (cookies, brownies, bars, pies, decorated cakes, sponge or angel food cake, coffee cake,
yeast bread, quick bread, muffins, jam, jelly, fruit butter, relish, pickles, canned fruit, canned vegetables);
In the early Spring of 1899, a few of the residents of Cannon who had heard of the interesting and useful work done by Granges in this vicinity, decided to ascertain public sentiment regarding the organization of a Grange in Cannon.
It was the ideal time to launch such a project, as the Cannon Real Estate Co., which had but recently been organized, was busily engaged in perfecting the plans for the erection of a hall. The need of an organization of this character which would be open to men and women alike had long been felt in our little community. Accordingly, an informal meeting was called to meet at the home of Brother William B. Smith to discuss the advisability of such an undertaking.
State Deputy Iverson C. Fanton, Brothers Pease and Blakeman of Fairfield, Brother and Sister Sipperly of Westport were in attendance. They gave such an interesting description of the grange work, that those present were unanimous to organize, which they immediately proceeded to do by the election of officers . . .
Directly after the election those present received the obligation, which, according to the words of the meeting, “brought it up to 12 o clock, so it was voted to adjourn the meeting one week from to-night at the same place (the home of Brother William B. Smith), where the installation of officers took place.”
At the meeting held May 4, 1899, Cannon Grange was the name adopted for the newly formed organization, which was formally organized with 53 charter members, whose names appear on another page in this booklet. It was voted to hold the next meeting in the school house, on May 17th. This being the first regular meeting of Cannon Grange , No. 152, Brother and Sister Sipperly of Westport, who were present, aided materially in conducting the meeting. Mrs. B. F. Brown was appointed pianist, and has always been prominently identified with the musical part of our programs, which help to make any Grange a success. The second regular meeting was held at the home of Brother George F. Brown on June 7th, when it was voted to hold the meetings on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month, at 8 o’clock. Brother Brown’s kind invitation to meet at his home until the completion of the hall was accepted. The By-Laws of Cannon Grange were adopted August 16, 1899. An agreement was entered into with the Cannon Real Estate Company for the rental of the hall, beginning August 15, 1899. The first meeting held in the hall was on Wednesday evening, Aug. 16th. The time of meeting was afterwards changed from Wednesday to Thursday evening.
The Grange since its organization in Cannon fifteen years ago, has steadily grown in numbers and strength. It has filled an opening that no other organization could, and has helped the social life and those interested in agriculture, materially. We are glad to report on an occasion of this kind that Cannon Grange has 93 members, is free from debt and has a substantial balance in the treasury. The outlook for continued prosperity in our Grange is very bright. We have an enthusiastic set of officers and the members are all willing workers, and this combination, with few exceptions, makes a prosperous Grange. It is a fitting time to mention the hall in which we are meeting to-night. This Hall is the property of the Cannon Real Estate Co., and is without doubt the finest hall for a place the size of Cannon in the State.
We urge the recipients of this little booklet, if they are members, to attend the meetings regularly; if they are visitors, to visit us often, and thus foster the good fellowship of Patrons of Husbandry. It has been truthfully said that members will get as much out of the Grange as they put into it. We hand you this little booklet in the interests of good fellowship, and ask you to join us in the future prosperity of Cannon Grange.
Cannon Grange’s twenty-fifth anniversary was in 1924. By that time there were 290 past and present members of Cannon Grange. (In 1986 many of the ancient records of Cannon Grange were lost forever, thus there are gaps in the original historical archive record. Detailed information is not available for this period.)
By the time of Cannon Grange’s fiftieth anniversary past and present membership totaled 497 souls.
A 75th anniversary celebration was held. According to the minutes of the meeting “a program was arranged by the Worthy Lecturer Sister Miriam Saunders and all officers were in their respective stations when Worthy Master, Brother Daniel Palmieri called the meeting to order at 8 P.M.” The National Anthem was sung. Visiting dignitaries were introduced.
Brother Stan and Sister Pat Gregory gave the Grange a set of new sashes in appreciation for many years of pleasure and friendship enjoyed through their membership in Cannon Grange. These sashes are still in use on the occasion of the 100th anniversary.
“The Rank and File, a Danbury choral group under the able direction of Nancy Beazley entertained with a varied program of currently popular songs, presented in a most lively and enjoyable manner.”
Sister Phyllis Palmieri read a brief history of Cannon Grange from the booklet published for the 15th anniversary program.
Brother Gregory expressed appreciation on behalf of Cannon Grange to the many people, not members of Cannon, who have helped over the years.
The Mighty Cannon Players (aka Brother and Sister Gregory) presented a humorous skit concerning the ethics of a typical rural tradesman.
There was a candle lighting ceremony involving officers, past masters and Golden Sheaf (50 year) members. Blest Be the Tie That Binds was sung by all.
“Distinguished guests were introduced who responded with congratulations and remarks appropriate to the occasion. The entire assemblage joined in the singing of Auld Lang Syne.” “Following the meeting a pleasant hour of sociability and refreshments were enjoyed.” Present were 156 persons, including representation from 21 other granges.
Cannon Grange Centennial Anniversary Celebration
The 100th Anniversary celebration was Saturday May 1, 1999 at Cannon Grange Hall. Donald Offinger, Master, headed up a committee to plan and organize the festivities for this milestone anniversary. There was a formal program at 4 P.M. with distinguished quests from the Grange and town of Wilton making presentations.
Wilton First Selectman Robert Russell read and presented a proclamation declaring May 4, 1999 Cannon Grange Day in the town of Wilton. The minutes of the first meeting of Cannon Grange were read. The Drum Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a flag which had flown over the United States Capitol and the Wilton Historical Society made a presentation.
Membership certificates were presented to Sister Miriam B. Saunders, 65 years, Brother Donald J. Comes, 50 years, and Sister Betty R. Johnson, 25 years. Each officer of Cannon Grange took part in the program. Following splendid refreshments dancing went on from 7 P.M. until 11 P.M.
By May 1999 there were 867 past and present members of Cannon Grange. Currently members reside in Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Wilton plus a few members outside the local area.
The longest serving member of Cannon Grange is Linda Davies with seventy years combined membership at Cannon and previously at Ridgefield Grange.
Cannon Grange has enjoyed a good relationship with its neighbors occupying the lot and building directly behind the Grange Hall.
For many years until 1990 the building was owned and occupied by the Southwestern Connecticut Girl Scout Council. When the scouts moved a medical practice was established in the location. In 1992 DiagXotics, Inc. (www.diagxotics.com), a producer of health care products for aquaculture and veterinary medicine moved into the building.
These good neighbors have graciously allowed Cannon Grange to use parts of their lot for the annual agricultural fair and other events.
Neighboring Subordinate Granges
The nearest neighboring Granges are Redding re-organized in 1939, located on Newtown Turnpike just south of Cross Highway, Greenfield Hill, organized 1893 whose hall is in the Greenfield Hill section of Fairfield at 1873 Hillside Road and Norfield, organized 1896, at 12 Goodhill Road, just east of Route 57, Weston.
Cannon Grange Activities
In the course of a year Cannon Grange holds several meetings for invited guests or the public.
There are neighbors nights where supper is served for invited guests and especially to thank the non-members who have helped Cannon Grange. Among these are the many persons who assist with the annual fair and without whom the member’s labors would be burdensome indeed. In addition there are fund raising suppers for which tickets are sold not too expensively.
The main civic program of the National Grange is deaf awareness. The Grange provides a selection of materials to interested groups. It supports financially education and medical efforts related to deafness. At Cannon Grange this activity is lead by the lecturer Josephine DeMenna.
Adopt A Spot
Cannon Grange sponsors the adopt a spot “spot” at the corner of Danbury Road (Route 7) and Olmstead Hill, Wilton. This is primarily an on-going project of past master and professional horticulturist Donald Comes.
Cannon Grange sponsors a Wilton little league baseball team and other causes and events as funds permit.
Cannon Grange has established a college scholarship for graduates of Wilton and Norwalk high schools.
Copyright 1999 Charles P. Gilliam. All rights reserved.
Sources for this article:
Gardiner, Charles M., The Grange – Friend of the Farmer (1948).
Saunders, Miriam B., The Cannon Grange, published in Cannondale A
Connecticut Neighborhood pp. 142-54 (Wilton Historical Society 1987)
Publications of the National Grange.
Archives of Cannon Grange
The living memory of members of Cannon Grange.
Special thanks to Carol Russell.
Past Masters of Cannon Grange
Rev. William E. Hooker 1900-1903
Joel Godfrey* 1904-1905, 1908, 1912
D. Henry Miller 1906
Arthur Little 1907
William B. Fearn 1909
Henry B. Cooke* 1910-1911
Rev. Eugene L. Richards 1913
Nelson S. Hurlbutt 1914-1915
Rev. Charles A. Marks 1916-1917
James O’Donnell 1918-1921
Rev. J. Howard Fairchild 1922
John F. Goetjen 1923-1924
Lloyd E. Scribner 1925-1926
Lawrence S. Olmstead 1927-1928, 1941
Hubert L. Smith 1929-1930
Walter W. Bassett 1931
Earle N. Whitney 1932
Grace M. Scribner 1933-1934
Estelle Andrews 1935
Andrew E. Monroe 1937
Richard Cowham 1938-1939, 1948
Allan W. Fuller 1940
Edward G. Saunders* 1942-1943,1980-1985, 1988-1989
Edith A. Bouton 1944-1945
Stanley B. Gregory* 1946-1947, 1949-1953, 1958-1962
Emily Plassmann 1951, 1955-1957
Arthur B. Saunders 1954
Robert H. Plassmann 1962
Patricia D. Gregory* 1963-1967
Ida Crowther 1968
Miriam B. Saunders* 1969-1972, 1992
Daniel F. Palmieri 1973-1976
Steven Meier 1977
Phyllis S. Palmieri 1978-1979
Philip J. Carvin 1986-1987
Donald A. Offinger (current master)* 1989-1991, 1993, 1995-1999
Donald Comes 1994
* Denotes also a Master of Fairfield County Pomona Grange.
Declaration of Purposes
of the National Grange
Profoundly impressed with the truth that the National Grange of the United States should definitely proclaim to the world its general objects, we hereby unanimously make this Declaration of Purposes of the Patrons of Husbandry.
To develop a better and higher manhood and womanhood among ourselves; to enhance the comforts and attractions of our homes, and strengthen our attachments to our pursuits; to foster mutual understanding and cooperation; to maintain inviolate our laws, and to emulate each other in labor, to hasten the good time coming; to reduce our expenses, both individual and corporate; to buy less and produce more, in order to make our farms self-sustaining; to diversify our crops and crop no more than we can cultivate; to condense the weight of our exports, selling less in the bushel and more on hoof and in fleece, less in lint and more in warp and woof; to systematize our work, and calculate intelligently on probabilities; to discountenance the credit system, the mortgage system, the fashion system, and every other system tending to prodigality and bankruptcy.
We propose meeting together, talking together, working together, buying together, selling together, and, in general, acting together for our mutual protection and advancement, as occasion may require. We shall avoid litigation as much as possible by arbitration in the Grange. We shall constantly strive to secure entire harmony, good will, vital brotherhood among ourselves, and to make our Order perpetual. We shall earnestly endeavor to suppress personal, local, sectional, and national prejudices, all unhealthy rivalry, all selfish ambition. Faithful adherence to these principles will insure our mental, moral, social and material advancement.
We wage no aggressive warfare against any other interests whatever. On the contrary, all our acts, and all our efforts, so far as business is concerned, are not only for the benefit of the producer and consumer, but also for all other interests that tend to bring these two parties into speedy and economical contact. Hence, we hold that transportation companies of every kind are necessary to our success, that their interests are intimately connected with our interests, and harmonious action is mutually advantageous, keeping in view the first sentence in our declaration of principles of action, that “Individual happiness depends upon general prosperity.”
We shall, therefore, advocate for every state the increase in every practicable way, of all facilities for transporting cheaply to the seaboard, or between home producers and consumers, all the productions of our country. We adopt it as our fixed purpose to “open out the channels in Nature’s great arteries, that the lifeblood of commerce may flow freely.”
We are not enemies of railroads, navigable and irrigating canals, nor of any corporation that will advance our industrial interests, nor of any laboring classes.
In our noble Order there is communism, no agrarianism.
We are opposed to such spirit and management of any corporation or enterprise as tends to oppress the people and rob them of their just profits. We are not enemies to capital, but we oppose the tyranny of monopolies. We long to see the antagonism between capital and labor removed by common consent, and by an enlightened statesmanship worthy of the nineteenth century. We are opposed to excessive salaries, high rates of interest and exorbitant profits in trade. They greatly increase our burdens and do not bear a proper proportion to the profits of producers. We desire only self-protection and the protection of every true interest of our land, by legitimate transactions, legitimate trade, and legitimate profits.
The Grange Not Partisan
The Office Should Seek the Man, and Not the Man the Office
of the National Grange
The prosperity of a nation is in proportion to the value of its production.
The soil is the source from whence we derive all that constitutes wealth; without it we would have no agriculture, no manufactures, no commerce. Of all the material gifts of the Creator, the various productions of the vegetable world are of the first importance. The art of agriculture is the parent and precursor of all arts, and its products the foundation of all wealth.
The productions of the earth are subject to the influence of natural laws, invariable and indisputable; the amount produced will consequently be in proportion to the intelligence of the producer, and success will depend upon his knowledge of the action of these laws, and the proper application of their principles.
Hence, knowledge is the foundation of happiness.
The ultimate object of this organization is for mutual instruction and protection, to lighten labor by diffusing a knowledge of its aims and purposes, to expand the mind by tracing the beautiful laws the Great Creator has established in the Universe, and to enlarge our views of creative wisdom and power.
To those who read aright, history proves that in all ages society is fragmentary, and successful results of general welfare can be secured only by general effort. Unity of action cannot be acquired without discipline, and discipline cannot be enforced without significant organization; hence we have a ceremony of initiation which binds us in mutual fraternity as with a band of iron; but, although its influence is so powerful, its application is as gentle as that of the silken thread that binds a wreath of flowers.
The Constitution of the National Grange was adopted on January 9, 1873. The Preamble to the Constitution has never been amended. The Constitution has been amended at various times.