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Around The Grange
Deputy Corner: Deputy Charles R. Risley
 

By Todd Gelineau, General Deputy

  FEBRUARY 10, 2014 --

A special reminder and outline of the Schools of Instruction (Pomona and Community Grange) is provided elsewhere in this issue to allow us to do something a little different with this month’s Deputy column.

A Facebook request was sent out by National Grange Communications Director Amanda Brozana in early December asking for volunteers to assist with the digitization of the National Grange records in Washington, D.C.  (She would love to have many more volunteers!  -- abrozana@nationalgrange.org).

While recording the Charter Applications for many of Connecticut’s earliest Granges, an unfamiliar organizing Deputy’s name popped up – Charles R. Risley.  

For those of you not familiar with it, The Connecticut Granges was published in 1900 by the Industrial Publishing Company of New Haven.  This volume is a comprehensive listing of all of the Granges in Connecticut to that date in our history.  It is beautifully bound and is a precursor to The Grange in Connecticut written by Lida S. Ives in 1953 updating the developments in Connecticut since 1900.

In researching information for the National Grange project, Mr. Risley’s name pops up again in this volume, this time with a photograph and an impressive biographical sketch of this dedicated Patron.

It reads, in part:  “Much prestige attaches to the subject of this sketch as a dead-in-earnest, thorough-going Granger and all-round good citizen.  He is the most distinguished of the several capable Masters of East Hartford Grange, where his discriminating judgment, perseverance, application and resolution have wrought much for the advancement of Grange interests.  His discharge of his official functions as master for two years, lecturer for four years and secretary for one year was marked by much intelligent zeal and fidelity, and in these, as well as in the able performance of his duties as Deputy under State Master J. H. Hale, his clear-cut individuality left its impress upon all his work.

Charles Richard Risley was born in East Hartford, September 21, 1854.  He is the son of Charles Bulkeley and Delia Abigail Risley, both of whom were descendants, in the seventh generation, of Richard Risley of Boston, Lincolnshire, England.  The latter came to America in 1633 and settled at Newton in Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Two years later he became a member of the famous party which Rev. Thomas Hooker led from Newton to found the colony of Connecticut.  He died in 1648 having lived for several years on the east side of the river in the part of town called Hockanum.”

This remarkable Granger is descended from one of Connecticut’s founding families and continued to write his own history by being a Charter member of East Hartford Grange and later as an organizing Deputy for many Granges in Hartford County.

He is the embodiment of the truth that “we write our own history.”

Note:  A  digital version of “The Connecticut Granges” is available as a free e-book from Google Books.


 
 
 
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