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The History Of Our Grange

Meriden Grange was started on March 27th, 1885 as the 29th Grange in Connecticut.  Meetings were held in members homes and eventually were held on the 3rd floor of the Odd Fellows Hall, across from Meriden Grange Hall's current location.  The following is an excerpt from "The Connecticut Grange, published in 1899:






[The Connecticut Grange; 1899, pp. 210]



     MERIDEN is located midway between Hartford and New Haven, on the N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R., and is probably as well known throughout the United States, the Canadas and many places in Europe as any place in the state, as it is a manufacturing town and its wares are sent all over the country, large quantities of them being exported, which gives it nearly a world-wide fame. While it cannot be classed as an agricultural town, there are many good farms in and near the town, and the large number of people employed in the factories make Meriden a good market for all farm products, especially milk, which is the principal thing that many of the farmers here devote their attention to; and while many farmers of neighboring towns bring their produce to Meriden, these furnish but a small portion of the hay, grain, straw, potatoes, and in fact all classes of farm products that are consumed here, large quantities of such products being shipped into the place.

With the exception of an Agricultural Society, the farmers had no organization of their own until the Spring of 1885, when at an agricultural meeting held here, Mortimer Whitehead, of New Jersey, one of the speakers, urged the farmers to band themselves together and organize a grange.  Soon afterwards there was a meeting held when it was decided to act upon the lines George B. Murdock. P. M. suggested by Mr. Whitehead, and Sherman Kimberly, the State Deputy, came to Meriden and organized Meriden Grange, No. 29, March 27, 1885, the meeting being held at the home of J. T. Pomeroy, in the eastern part of the town. The accompanying illustration shows the home in which the grange took form and life.

     The following thirty-two persons were accepted as charter members: J. T. Pomeroy, A. R. Waterman, Nelson Hall, J. H. Beckett, John P. Hall, Geo. L. Hall, 2d, J. H. Yale, E. M. Ives, Frank R. Stillman, Amos Ives, George A. Sawyer, John O. Ives, Nathan S. Baldwin, George B. Murdock, Ives W. Hart, George L. Hall, J. G. Schwinck, C. L. Pomeroy, Mrs. J. T. Pomeroy, Mrs. A. R. Waterman, Mrs. J. H. Beckett, Mrs. F. R. Stillman, Mrs. George A. Sawyer, Mrs. John O. Ives, Mrs. Nathan S. Baldwin, Mrs. J. G. Schwinck, Mrs. B. H. Rice, Mrs. Nelson H. Ives, Mrs. Nelson Hall, Mrs. Amos Ives, Mrs. George L. Hall, Mrs. George L. Hall, 2d.

      State Deputy Sherman Kimberly then installed the following officers: - W. M., George B. Murdock; 0., Nathan S. Baldwin; L., John P. Hall; S., John O. lves ; A. S., J. G. Schwinck ; c., George L. Hall; T., lves W. Hart; S., J. H. Beckett; G. K., J. T. Pomeroy; Pomona, Mrs. J. T. Pomeroy; Flora, Mrs. George L. Hall; Ceres, Mrs. Nathan S. Baldwin; L. A. S., Mrs. George L. Hall, 2d.

      As we had no hall we held our meetings at the homes of the members until April 20, 1887, when we secured the hall owned by the Odd Fellows, located on Broad Street, which is well adapted to our use. The building being new, with a fine hall, banquet room and kitchen, makes it very convenient when we have entertainments, and also gives us a good place for the Pomona Grange meetings, which are sometimes held in Meriden.

     We gained fourteen members the first year, and our membership has steadily increased. January I, 1900, we had seventy-seven males and fifty-nine females, making a total of one hundred and thirty-six members. We have lost the following members by death: George A. Sawyer, J. T. Pomeroy, John C. Ives, Mrs. John O. Ives, Mrs. Nelson Hall, Mrs. J. H. Francis, Mrs. C. Z. Murdock, Miss Ida J. Hall, the first five being charter members.   Four charter members have taken demits, leaving twenty-three of the charter members still members of our grange.

     Since the organization the following members have filled the Master's Chair: George B. Murdock, John H. Francis, N. S. Baldwin, George W. Thorpe, George A. Hall, William  B. Rice.

     The officers of the present year (1899) are: W. M., Julius H. Yale; 0., Frank A. Disbrow; L., Mrs. Mabel A. Francis; S., Arthur C. Yale; A. S., Charles H. Viberts ; C., Charles H. Thompson; T., George A. Hall; S., John H. Francis; G. K., William P. Camp; Pomona, Mrs. Amelia n. Disbrow;   Flora, Mrs. Daisy L. Hall; Ceres, Mrs. Emma Miller; L. A. S., Miss Lucy E. Birdsey.

     The grange has been recognized by the town, as George B. Murdock has been a member of the Board of Education. B. W. Collins has been on the Board of Selectmen, and is now on the Board of Education, and is also secretary of the Connecticut State Agricultural Society, and a member of the Board of Control of the experiment station, president of the Meriden Agricultural Society and secretary of the Connecticut Jersey Breeders' Association. W. H. Baldwin has been on the Board of Relief, and is now on the Board of Assessors. Some of our members have held offices in the State and Pomona Grange,-Mrs. Nathan S. Baldwin having been Pomona of the State Grange for four years. The following have served as officers in the Central Pomona Grange: Mrs. Nathan S. Baldwin as Pomona; Nathan S. Baldwin as Master, Overseer, Chaplain and Steward; J. H. Francis as Master and Steward; Philip Viberts as Steward and Assistant Steward, and Levi B. Yale as Chaplain.

     The social feature has been given some attention, and many pleasant evenings have been passed in this way, but think it should be made more of a feature, as we believe there is nothing that will hold the members together as this will. We have made use of our organization to some extent in buying supplies, but not as much as we should have done, as we believe this could be made of great benefit to the farmers if they would unite their capital in purchasing all kinds of supplies. Our grange is looked upon kindly by the community, and other organizations here, and we cannot but feel we have done some good in this place by bringing the farmers into closer relations with each other, and hope to be able to accomplish much more in the future.




     Social events ranging from boat rides to the foot of NYC and simple picnics with Grange friends and families from more than one Grange -- as evident from several tickets and souvenir postcards from around the beginning of the 1900's.  One such activity included a Meriden Grange sponsored steam ship excursion to Glen Island from New Haven (see photo of ticket).  The other was a joint picnic between Meriden and Wallingford (see souvenir postcard from that event)

     By the 1920s, Grange membership was over 200 (see Ref).  This included families of all ages participating in meetings and Grange activities.


Several items of interest:

>> At least one former member became State Master of the CT State Grange and Voting Delegate to the National Grange (Minor Ives).  See reference article: http://ctstategrange.org/showarticle.asp?ID=800

>> In 2009, the CT State Grange performed the 6th Degree at Meriden Grange in October of that year.  This was the first time a Community Grange was used for this event.  See this article: http://ctstategrange.org/showarticle.asp?ID=1003

>> In 2010, a member of Meriden Grange created a CD music collection for the National Grange called the Digital Grange Songbook.  The CD was based on music published by the National Grange since 1983 called the Grange Songbook.  See this article:  http://www.ctstategrange.org/showarticle.asp?ID=1776

More historical information will be available as time permits.

1897 - Meriden Grange #29 - Excursion to Glen Island, New Rochelle, NY from N. Haven on the Steamship John H. Starin Meriden Grange Lecturer's Programme for 1902 - 1903.  This small booklet lists the Lecturer's programs and scheduled Meriden Grange activities.
This postcard from 1910 depicts a joint Wallingford and Meriden Grange picnic at Spruce Glen falls in August of that year.  The discovered postcard was found damaged and great care was taken to digitally repair aging, creases and general distress bringing out a scene taken over 100 years ago.  A poem depicting the event is seen on the back panel of the postcard. Photo of Past State Master Minor Ives in Photo taken in early 1920 of the Meriden Grange Inc. Building Construction Committee
Meriden Grange Program Book for 1926.  This newer format lists not only the Lecturer's programs for that year, but also the list of elected and appointed officers for Meriden Grange.  Point of interest, this is a year after the newly built Meriden Grange Hall was built and dedicated. Front Cover of

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