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Around The Grange
A look back at Wethersfield Grange No. 114

By Todd Gelineau, CT State Grange Secretary

  JULY 9, 2018 --

This month we look back at Wethersfield Grange No. 114.  The following history was first published in “The Connecticut Granges,” in 1900 by the Industrial Publishing Company, New Haven, CT.

by Dudley Wells II

A meeting for the purpose of organizing a Grange was held in the Academy Hall, Wethersfield, Conn., Tuesday afternoon, March 4, 1890.  Stephen M. Wells was elected chairman and Dr. E.G. Fox, clerk.  Brothers J.H. Hale and J.S. Kirkham were present and told of the many benefits to be derived from such an organization, and so much interest was manifested that an invitation was extended to present names for charter members, which was responded to in a very satisfactory manner.

A committee (one from each school district) was appointed to decide upon a date when a meeting should be called to organize a Grange.

The meetings during the first year were so very interesting, mainly from the efforts of Lecturer, Dr. E.G. Fox, that many applications for membership were received.  This necessitated seventeen special meetings to initiate the candidates, as the time could not be spared at the regular meetings for that purpose. The number of candidates elected members was one hundred and twenty-eight, forty-five brothers and eighty-three sisters, and two brothers were admitted by demit from Newington Grange.  Two members were lost by death.  The average attendance for the first year was eighty seven.

On January 27, 1891, Brother George A. Hopson inspected the Grange and installed the new officers.  During the year the Grange conferred the four degrees on twenty-one candidates, eight sisters and thirteen brothers; also added one sister and one brother by demit, and lost one brother by death.

In 1893 the Grange gve its first annual excursion.  These afterwards became a source of fame and profit.  It was a success under the good management of Brothers F.H. Robbins, S.F. Williams, R.T. Hewitt and Dr. E.G. Fox.

The officers for 1894 were installed by Brother Adams.  This year the Grange gave another excursion, going to Niantic with about 1,700 people on board the steamer City of Lawrence. This event netted the Grange nearly $1,000.

In 1895 the Grange voted to amend the by-laws, so that the offices of Treasurer and Secretary might be filled by the same persons for two or more years in succession, believing it would be better not to have the books of record change hands every year.

In 1896 the officers were installed by M.w.M. Luther Adams.  On March 9 of that year the Seventh Anniversary was celebrated with all but the Gatekeeper’s chair filled with Charter Members of this Grange.

At this meeting a communication from Dr. Bowen was read and the following resolution adopted:  “Resolved - That this Grange views with hearty approval the work of the Law and Order League of Connecticut, and protests against the repeal of its charter or any part thereof; believing that the hands of the organization should be strengthened rather than weakened by Legislative Act.”

In the fall of 1897 a joint stock corporation, with a capital stock of $5,000 was formed under the laws of the state for the purpose of building a new Grange Hall.  This stock was divided into 200 shares, one-fifth of which was subscribed for the Grange, the balance being readily taken by individual members.  The hall was built in the summer of 1898, and was finished in time for the annual Grange Fair in October.

In the last quarterly report, dated March 31, 1899, the Grange registered 147 sisters and 104 brothers, with another class of candidates to be enrolled the present month.


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