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Chapter 2
A Family Institution

"The woman's cause is man's: They rise or sink Together." -Tennyson

Unique because it brings together young and old, men and women, boys and girls, the Grange looks forward to its second 100 years as the greatest American family organization-cradle and developer of noble human aspirations; generator of closer, more satisfying relationships among man, wife and children, and their friends; fertilizer of ideas and generous actions to help neighbors and improve community life; site of exhilarating and sincere friendships and social activities.

This is the forceful statement attributed to Miss Caroline Hall, "Father" Kelley's niece, whose vision and emphasis on what women could do for the Grange led her uncle and other Founders to decide, for the first time in America, that women should have equal status with men AND A VOTE.
While early records of discussions among the Founders contained no reference to women, the influence of his niece and then his own strong conviction led to Kelley's happy decision, and the inclusion of women in important basic ritual and other Grange activities.

One hundred years ago this was unusual and misunderstood-with some people still clinging to the old belief that any organization which admitted women to equality of membership anal privilege was "going altogether too far."

Another of the Founders, Rev. A. B. Grosh, first Chaplain of the Grange, who had seconded Miss Hall's suggestion, and was faithful in translating her idea into the ritual, said in his book "Mentor in the Granges," dedicated to his wife:

Here is an Order inviting woman to an enlarged and cheerful social intercourse; to enlivening recreation for body and mind; to instructive lessons by pleasing symbols and scenic representations; to the improvement of mind, heart and morals by the programs of Grange meetings, and by conversations on a great variety of helpful subjects.

Woman needs our Order far more than does the sterner, hardier sex; and the Order needs her for man's improvement. Her gentle influence, her innate tact in all matters of good taste and propriety, her instinctive perceptions of righteousness and purity-all these are needed in the Grange and also in society at large, from which she has been so much excluded, but into which our Order is rapidly introducing her.

Side by side with her husband should she advance in knowledge and wisdom, that she may be his helpmeet in all things. Onward and yet onward, before her advancing children, should she be enabled to progress in useful knowledge, that she may guide their tender feet in the ways of literature and science while she trains them to lives of virtue, usefulness and peace.

Mrs. Kelley to the Rescue

"Zero hour" for the Grange was May 1, 1868.

After six non-productive weeks on the road with weariness, hunger, and little to show for his pioneering efforts except the organization of Fredonia Grange No. 1, in Fredonia, N.Y., the always enthusiastic, courageous Kelley seemed utterly disheartened when he returned home. He even had to borrow his railroad fare from Masonic friends at Madison, Wis., to reach his farm home at Itasca, Minn. He told his wife that he had endeavored to do something worthwhile for the farmer "who was not willing even to help himself]"

Temperance Lane Kelley, unknown to her husband, had received a $500 legacy from a distant relative. She had carefully saved it in spite of the harassing situation around the impoverished farm homestead where almost everything was badly needed.

What she did undoubtedly saved the Grange] After hearing her husband's story she gave him the $500 along with sympathetic, but challenging words of encouragement. She urged him to try again-to continue his inspired organizational efforts.

Without this financial and inspirational aid the discouraged Kelley might never have resumed his crusade to start the Grange; and it was unlikely that any of the other Founders would have done so.

Thus did Caroline Hall, a teacher who became Kelley's assistant, and Temperance Lane Kelley, his wife, put their mark on the only family organization of its kind in the world. One Grange historian described it in these strong words: "Had the seven Founders of the Grange lacked these two encouraging women to offer frequent counseling and hope, it is doubtful that the Order of Patrons of Husbandry would have gotten much beyond the naming stage."

No. 1 in Recognizing Women

The spectacular action of the Founders in giving women full equality and a vote placed the Grange in another No. 1 leadership position. It was the first American association of any general sort-not only the first farm organization-to work for equality and justice for women.

Early sessions of the Grange declared for women suffrage and it was Grange support and influence which undoubtedly assisted greatly in bringing about equal suffrage for men and women in the United States. This is the resolution adopted at the 1885 National Grange session:

Resolved, that one of the fundamental principles of the Patrons of Husbandry, as set forth in its Declaration of Purposes, regulating membership, recognizes the equality of the two sexes. We are therefore prepared to hail with delight any advancement in the legal status of woman, which may give to her the full right of the ballot-box, and an equal condition of citizenship.

It was not until 1920, some 53 years after the Grange had established the principle of equality, that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States forbidding the states from making sex a qualification for voting, was ratified.

Children in the Grange

Further proof, if any is needed, of, the extent to- which the Grange is truly a family institution is found in its programs for children and youth.

Again, the far-sighted Founders scored! The admission of boys 14 to 16 years of age, and girls, 12 to 14, was approved nearly 100 years ago, and Anson Bartlett, of North Madison, Ohio, who early joined the Founders to help, gave this sage advice:

There is a time in the life of every farmer's boy when he becomes disgusted with farm life. At or before that time I would admit him to the Order and try to educate him to a love of the occupation.
That children and their welfare, as well as their value through early indoctrination as future adult members, were in the thoughts of the Founders is seen also in the words of Founder Kelley when he wrote to Founder Francis M. McDowell July 27, 1868:

I suggest having a primary degree expressly for the little folks from six or eight to sixteen years, so as to entertain and instruct the children in the rural districts and get their minds interested in the study of the beauties of Nature, as well as to afford them some rational recreation.

Again at the 1877 National Grange session, in his report as Secretary, Kelley recommended:
Establish primary Granges for children. In these we can teach them by illustrative lessons, interspersed with music and singing, to love the farm. Give them amusement and recreation. Have in each Grange a microscope and a copy of Webster's Unabridged.

Today, the Junior Grange with its inspiring-plus-work programs, and emphasis on Subordinate Grange membership, ritual, and community service activities for youth under 16 is without equal in America. It provides broad, enlightening, satisfying, and maturing experiences leading to outstanding manhood and womanhood.

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