If you haven’t heard, the National Grange will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017. Oliver Hudson Kelley was the original founder of the National Grange, which was first organized on December 4, 1867. Kelley was a firm believer that farmers could improve their herds, their crops, and their lives by sharing knowledge and experience. Kelley along with six other individuals and his niece formed the oldest agricultural organization in the nation. Kelley said, “The whole aim of our ritual is to elevate and dignify the farmer.” Kelley’s homestead is located in Elk River, Minnesota, and is now a part of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Grange youth from across this nation did a reenactment of the first four degrees from 1873 in full form at the Kelley Farm in Minnesota on July 13. The youth were dressed in clothing from that time period and they memorized their speaking parts. They performed two sets for each degree, because in the 1870’s they had four degrees for the men and four degrees for the women, for a total of eight. Pennsylvania had a total of 13 youth and 6 adults participate with the third degree, along with Grange youth from surrounding states. Berks County should be proud of the five youth and two adults from Berks County that were involved; Jane Adams, Jennifer Adams, Michael Adams, Robert Beamon, and Barb Schroeder from Hamburg Grange and Derek Schroeder and Lindsay Schroeder from Virginville Grange.
Berks County has 12 community Granges. We are a family, civic, organization that promotes community, life, and family values and provides an atmosphere of great fellowship to create long lasting friendships through volunteering. For more info, please contact Michael Adams, Berks County Grange President, at 610-562-5933.