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Around The Grange
Eureka!... we found it!

By Todd Gelineau, CT State Grange Secretary

  FEBRUARY 9, 2018 --

In 1899, a committee formed by the Connecticut State Grange worked with Industrial Publishing Company of New Haven, CT to print the volume we now know as “The Connecticut Granges.”  It is described by its own title page as “An Historical Account of the Rise and Growth of the Patrons of Husbandry; Sketches of the State, Pomona and Subordinate Granges of Connecticut, with Valuable Statistics, Notices of Prominent Members, Portraits and Illustrations.

It is remarkable that this 695 page volume was published only 14 years after the establishment of the Second Connecticut State Grange and only 32 years after the founding/creation of the Grange by the Seven Founders in Washington, D.C.

We often receive phone calls/emails from members and/or people outside our membership looking for information about a Grange (past or present).  More often than not, our starting point is in the pages of this book.  It provides a wealth of information and photographs from the earliest years of the Grange in Connecticut.

From time to time, we plan to print excerpts from this volume.  This month we present an article on Eureka Grange located in the Nepaug section of New Hartford.  We hope you enjoy this new feature.



This (New Hartford) is one of the four townships set off to Hartford in the final division of the Western lands between that town and Windsor in 1726.  At the meeting of the proprietors of these four townships, held at Hartford in 1732, the 23,942 acres comprised within the territory which became the town of New Hartford were appraised at fifteen shillings an acre.  In setting off land to settlers the condition was imposed that two or three acres must be broken up and a tentantable house not less than sixteen feet square be built within two years, and that within one year more this house must be personally inhabited and that the residence must continue for three years more.  Settlements were begun in 1733 and in these the town enjoyed an advantage over the other three towns in the tract, for it was settled by the original proprietors.

In May 1733, the General Assembly was petitioned for a name, and that of New Hartford was conferred.  The Hartford proprietors made liberal provisioin for highways and were otherwise generous in the bestowal of land for public purposes.

There were few Indians in the territory, probably not more than a dozen families, but the settlers appear to have experienced some apprehension and took measures to defend themselves from possible attack.  There was an Indian settlement at the west side of the river in the last quarter of the eighteenth century which finally lost its Indian character and became the rendezvous of renegades of assorted types, and was called Satan's Kingdom.

The town was incorporated in 1738.  At the first town meeting, held that year, a committee was appointed to secure a minister.  At the second town meeting steps were taken to have the General Assembly indicate a site for a meeting house.  In July, 1739, the site having been indicated, it was decided to build a meeting house, the length “to be fifty boots and the bredth forty foots.”  The building was raised in May, 1740, with the usual “sutable peparations of liquer," but was ten years in building.  The timbers were so heavy there were not men enough in the town to raise the frame and help was obtained from Hartford.  The population at that time numbered 150, in twenty-four families.

The Reverend Jonathan Marsh accepted the terms of settlement and was ordained December 5, 1739.  The preparations for the ordination ceremonies included a supply of “liquer.”  The choice of minister would appear to have been a happy one, for the pastorate continued for a period of fifty-five years.

The early records of the church were lost and the date of its organization is left to conjecture.  There is reason for believing, however, that it took place in the early part of 1738.  The records for 1741 give a hint that the society suffered an affliction of some sort, though the nature, cause or consequence of this is not indicated, save that the neighboring ministers were appealed to for advice and a day appointed for humiliation, fasting and prayer “for deliverance from present circumstances.”

The Society propsered, however, and gained in strength and numbers, till 1828, when a colony of sixty-two members was detached for the purpose of organizing the North Congregational Church of New Hartford.

With exceptional water privileges manufacturing has taken on large proportions.  Many enterprises have been started with many failures, but some have surived and grown and these are so extensive as to have proved of unmeasured advantage to the growth of the town along all lines of progress.  The total area of the town is embraced within a length of six miles and an average breadth of the same distance.  It is a hilly region flanked and traversed with mountains of considerable altitude.  Although there may be more inviting regions for the prosection of agriculture it has a fruitful soil and prosperity has been the handmaid of its farming population.  The rugged contour of the land furnishes scenic beauties hard to rival and gives to the town much of irresistable attractiveness.



Located at Nepaug, was organized Feb. 28, 1887, at the house of Morton Sanford on “Town Hill”.  Twenty-seven people had enrolled themselves as charter members and met to be organized into a working Grange by Deputy A. Minor of Torrington, assisted by G.F. Douglass and T.C. Barnes of Cawasa Grange (Canton).

The number of members increased rapidly until the maxiumum enrollment of one hundred names was reached in 1892.  Many of these have dropped out and the total number of members now is but twenty-five.

Eureka Grange has lost since its organization somewhat more than the average by death.

This Grange has borne its part in furnishing the State and Pomona Granges with efficient officers.

The Grange met at private homes and in the basement of the Congregational Church, also a short time in the hall over the Creamery, until November, 1888, when a bargain was made for the present Grange Hall.  This is pronounced one of the prettiest Grange halls in the state.  It is valued at $300.  Eureka Grange has been interested along educational and social lines rather than financial.  At the outset there were many who saw intellectual advantages that were needed among a small population.  This was more attractive to them than dollars and cents.  It is along these lines that the Grange has been of great benefit to the community, and the members have been taught self command, knowledge of parliamentary rules and ability to express themselves practically and intelligently upon the various topics of the day.

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