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South Carolina State Grange To Celebrate Historic Trip

By National Grange Press Release (7/25/12)

  JULY 25, 2012 --

On Saturday, July 28, Pineland Grange #549, in Latta, S.C., will celebrate Oliver Kelley's 1866 historic trip down the Pee Dee River in an event that is free and open to the public.

Kelley wrote during his journey on the river "there were marks of devastation by the cruel hand of war, yet there was a fascination that warmed my heart towards all I met."

This journey inspired Kelley to organize the nation's first agricultural society, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.

The Grange will commemorate the trip by conducting an old-fashioned watermelon seed-spitting contest, with all activities beginning at 7 p.m. Competitors will be judged on form, distance and accuracy of their seed spitting.

South Carolina State Grange President Jerry H. Martin II will also tell Grangers the story of the founding and ascent of the South Carolina Grange. He will relate the connection between the Grange, Free Masons, 4-H Youth Development Organization, and the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Martin will also discuss how the origin of the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry coincides with Grange history.

Those in attendance will also hear from a representative of the National Grange, who will discuss how the Grange operates nearly 150 years after its founding. Pineland Grange Hall, a refurnished Grange Hall that was used only for secret meetings, is located off the 181 exit on the I-95, one-quarter of a mile toward Latta.

Established in 1867, the National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation's leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 160,000 members across the United States. For more information on the National Grange, visit our website at www.nationalgrange.org.

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