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History of the Tioga Valley Grange - P.O.H. # 918
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Article: History of the Tioga Valley Grange P.O.H. #918
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Mansfield Advertiser, 1 March 1950, p.4

Valley Grange History Given

Last week the Mansfield Tioga Valley Grange celebrated its 60th anniversary February 18, 1950. Following is the history of the Grange as reported by Mrs. Coley Starkey:

In response to a call the farmers of Mansfield and surrounding country met in Union Hall, Mansfield, PA, Feb. 15, 1890, to consider the advisability of organizing a Grange of Patrons of Husbandry. [Union Hall is now occupied by the IOOF]

Tioga Valley Grange No.918 was duly organized by Deputy A.S. Ashley, assisted by W.R. Jones, in Union Hall, Feb. 15, 1890, consisting of the following charter members: S.D. Forrest, C.H. Horton, Byron J. Costley, William Shaw, C.F. Walters, H.V. Walters, J.F. Pitts, W.H. Baynes, J.D. Slingerland, Charles Nelson, J.W. Slingerland, Grant Lewis, A.D. Watson, Charles Coveney, Byron Bartlett, W.V. Powers, H.F. Sturdevant, Julia E. Sturdevant, Hart Stuart, Nelson Ripley, C.B. Sherwood, B.H. Osgood, Elwin Allen, Nettie Allen, Lucy A. Welch, Miles D. Rice, Harry Bailey, A.M. Pitts, W.W. Inscho, J.C. Howe and Mary Bartlett.

Immediately upon organization of the Grange, the following named persons, who had been members of a former Grange, were reinstated and made member of Grange No.918: J.E. Rose, William B. Jerald, William Hutchinson, Samuel McConnell, Frank Howe, W.A. McConnell, J.C. Clark, Estella Clark, H.M. Starkey, J.C. Ireton and Wells Burley. 

The following officers were duly elected and installed: Worthy Master, J.F. Pitts; overseer, J.E. Rose; lecturer, Byron Bartlett; steward, Elwin Allen; assistant steward, C.H. Horton; chaplain, W.W. Inscho; treasurer, William B. Jerald; secretary, Byron Costley; Gatekeeper, Samuel McConnell; Ceres, Mary E. Bartlett; Flora, Julia E. Sturdevant; Pomona, Estella Clark; lady assistant steward, Nettie Allen.

The following committee was appointed to procure a hall in which to hold meetings: Byron J. Costley, Byron Bartlett, J.E. Rose, J.F. Pitts and Samuel McConnell.

The next meeting was held on March 1, 1890 in the Union Hall, after which they rented the E.A.U. or Pitts Hall [over Coles Pharmacy], which they continued to occupy until January, 1894, when they rented the hall of Strait’s Hardware.

In 1890 they initiated 21 members in the fourth degree. The Tioga Valley Grange No.918 won in September, 1890, the prize of $75 for the best display of any Grange at the Mansfield Fair. The Grange bought the organ in February, 1894, and purchased their piano March 20, 1909.

On Jan. 1, 1919, the Grange purchased the lot upon which to build the Grange Hall. At that time the membership was 366.

The committee in charge of the 25th anniversary held Feb. 1915, included: Arrangements, Miss Ella Baynes, Mrs. Helen Howe, Mrs. Florence Bartlett; Reception, Mr. & Mrs. H.V. Walters, Mr. & Mrs. J.C. Rexford, Mr. & Mrs. W.B. Smith.

There are several other instances that are of interest to us. From the first book of minutes we find these members realized the necessity of Granges working together. They called in Mainesburg to assist in initiation and through the years they worked in close cooperation with North Elk Run, Aurora, Tioga and others. Purchase of seeds, binder twine was also done cooperatively. 

The first year of organization they invited Pomona Grange to meet with them. They always sent delegates, usually four and always paid their expenses which in those days often cost $2.40 each.

Fair exhibits were continued, winning $75 first prize, other prizes $50, $25, provided five Granges participated. Expense of exhibit $9.35.

First death reported, A.M. Pitts.

Picnics were held every summer in Horace O’Dell’s Grove at Lawrenceville, when they tried to get excursion rates on railroad and at the Pomona Grounds, etc.

Lecturers had their problems then as now for two or three times we find where those failing to respond to their part on the program were fined 5 cents or 10 cents.

Helping friends and neighbors was prevalent for they had a wood bee for Mrs. John Slingerland, and when the Mansfield Business Men bought shingles for the town sheds our members put them on.

An interesting item in the minutes of Jan. 18, 1896: Moved and seconded that we obligate the candidate. Motion carried. The candidate went out for fresh air so consequently no obligation.

At the time of purchasing the present Pomona property, our Grange voted to pay the 50 cents per member in good standing, provided the whole amount of said debt is paid. On April –, 1905, they paid $26 as pledge to Pomona.

Interesting subjects were discussed: Fish Hatcheries, Spring Gardens, Trips to Klondike. Questions: “Are the farmers in our community as prosperous as they have ever been?”

One man reported raising 400 bushels of cucumbers on one acre.

Legislation, even back in 1904-1095, had to deal with “Oleo Law” and our Grange was very much against the repeal of laws which protected on a meeting of dairymen at Harrisburg where a hearing was held and protests made.

March 10, 1906, Hon. Mortimer Whitebear, Past Lecturer, of National Grange, gave a talk on “Signs and Symbols of Our Order.” Visiting members were here from North Elk Run, Mainesburg and Carlin Hollow.

April 6, 1907, Bro E.B. Dorsett, as State Lecturer, gave a talk on his work in Franklin County. Bros. J.F. Ailman, State Secretary, visited us on August 17, 1912.

P.H. Dewey as overseer, visited our Grange on Oct. 18, 1919. Of course, we have has many other State and National officers speak in our hall since that time. Bro Charles M. Gardner, High Priest of Demeter, State Master Beak Bagshaw and many others. 

Inspection by District Deputies regularly – James spencer, Stella Pratt, Lelia Coveney, Colie Starkey, and those of more recent times: Sisters Glover, McIntosh, Tebo Niles, and Pros. Coolidge, Luce, Gilbert and Campbell.

The first children’s program recorded gives the following participants: Wilford Shaw, Nelson Shaw, Gertrude and Leigh Allen, Rachael Paris, Edwin Kingsley and Colie Slingerland. Oranges and bananas were served.

Attendance from 1916 through 1914 and 1915 ran very high – 106, 77, 58, 48, 63, 80, 116, etc. Printed programs were used during the years 1913 and 1914.

First church attendance at the Methodist church on April 26, 1914, when Rev. G.W. Baity was pastor.

One of the greatest achievements was the purchasing of the lot and the building of our present hall. Much discussion went on for several years and many suggestions were made as to materials, raising funds, etc. First a mortgage was held by Mrs. Obourn and later bonds were issued and after these were partly paid a first mortgage was again given to one of our members. 

Our Grange has held many things to raise money, but the Grange Fair held soon after our building was finished was unusually successful. Community, Business Men and schools all participated.

On July 4, 1914, Bros. C.D. Kingsley and Lynn H. Hall presented the Grange with an American Flag and staff.

Our ranks have been entered often by the grim reaper and many loyal members have passed on, among them officers – Sister Jennie Paris having passed on while serving as lecturer and Sister Slingerland as secretary, and Sister Ada Reppard just seven days after her term expired. Grant Lewis, our last chapter member, died Feb. 27, 1950, shortly after our 60th anniversary.

We have had a large membership at one time, having 400 members and being the largest Grange in the State. In the past 50 years degrees have been conferred on approximately 11 candidates.

We now have 17 living Past Masters:  Earl Shaw, Colie Starkey, George Paris, Carlos Sperry, George Barden, Walter Shaw, Halsey Benson, Norris Burtch, Malcolm Kingsley, William Collins, W.D. Bradway,  Fordyce Hagar, Colie Slingerland, Nathan French, Warren Slingerland, Carl Barnes, Earl Tribe.

We have had 35 different Masters in these sixty years, 20 Secretaries and 36 Lecturers.

We have awarded certificates at three previous meetings:

In 1935 three members received Golden Sheafs -- H.V. Walters and Grant Lewis, charter member of Tioga Valley Grange, and E.D. Snover, a charter member of North Elk Run Grange, organized ten days before our Grange.

Eighty Silver Star Certificates were awarded at this meeting.

In 1940, 24 members received Silver Stars.

In 1947 Charles Howe and Charles McConnell were awarded Golden Sheafs and four more Silver Star Certificates were given out.

In 1950 Claude Hagar received the Golden Sheaf.  Ten Silver Stars were awarded.

Our Juvenile Grange was organized in 1928 and has been quite prosperous most of the time. Much credit should be given those members who act as Matron, as it is a real task, yet one worth the effort it takes.

As near as we can count this Grange has had 1368 members. Our present membership is 244.

We have conferred degrees in many other Granges in this county as well as had them bring candidate tour Grange. At one time we conferred the first and second degrees in Troy Grange, Bradford County.

In 1930 ninety members of our Grange attended the Baptist Church on Go To Church Sunday. In 1940 many of our members attended the County Church service in Straughn Hall when Rev. Fred Norris, pastor of the Methodist Church of Shippensburg spoke. He later became State Chaplain and all were saddened by his death a few years ago.

We have the distinction to have one woman hold the office of Worthy Master, Sister Ada Rexford, in 1895.

With several other Grange members Brother Colie Starkey attended a meeting at the home of Past Master E.B. Dorsett with Father Kelley, founder of the Grange. At that time there was no code book and such work was learned from someone else. Those at that meeting had first hand instruction in the unwritten work as well as in other secret work. Very few people met this great man of vision for the farmers’ need.

Many of our members have been officers in Pomona, holding many different offices. Three have been Master, holding other offices before being elected to Master. Three have been lecturers, one holding this office for ten years. One has been lady assistant steward and others have been on the home Economics Committee.

We have also had charge of tableus at many meetings and done our share of entertaining Pomona in our hall.

In the last three years we have made repairs and remodeled our hall. It has also been redecorated, the work being done by the members themselves. Our lower hall is now in better condition for renting. It has been rented for roller skating.

We feel that Tioga Valley Grange has been an active Grange during all its years of service. We have been represented in State Grange by Bro. E.B. Dorsett, who held three of the Highest offices there: Overseer, Lecturer, and Master. We have had leaders in many projects in the County and State.

We have endeavored to live up to the purpose of the Grange – to develop a higher and better manhood and womanhood among ourselves and to practice the Grange motto: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty; and in all things charity.”

1948 - Mansfield Advertiser

Skating Rink to Open in Grange
Skating Rink To Open Soon
Tysons to Open in Grange Hall--Skating Every Evening Except Monday and Tuesday
Mansfield Grange Hall will soon resound in the rhythmic roll of the skates when its doors open with a new and modern skating rink. The first floor of the Grange Building is being redecorated.
Mr. Larue Tyson, who operated the rink in the Armory on Smythe Park about a year ago has announced his plans for opening a rink here.
Skating will be held every evening from 7:30 to 10:30 except Monday and Tuesday. Music will be furnished by a Hammond organ.
Mr. Tyson has been operating a skating rink on Lake Keuka, N.Y., and closed there last Saturday, Oct. 2. His rink here will be opened in the very near future, date to be announced later.

1965 - Mansfield Advertiser

Grange Opposes RR Station Closing. Mansfield's Tioga Valley Grange Number 918, Saturday night took action opposing the closing of the Mansfield Railroad Station due to the inconvenience it would cause to many farmers of the area. The Grange pointed out that in recent years many carloads of hay and grain have been processed through the Mansfield R R Station. This is due to the fact that Mansfield is located on the crossing of two importatnt U.S. Highways and is easily accessible to the farmer receiving or shipping hay or grain.

August 1970: Grange Prepares for Merger

Photo- Granges Prepare For Merger- Beginning of the End- George Barden, Treasurer; Fordyce Hagar, Master; Miss Ina Hagar, Secretary; and Mrs. Letha Horton, Chaplain begin the business of closing out the Tioga Valley Grange, prior to merging with North Elk Run Grange. The Tioga Valley Grange will hold their final meeting on December 19. After that date they will make arrangements to merge with the North Elk Run Grange. This was hastened by the Mansfield Urban Renewal purchase of their Grange Hall which will be razed to make way for a shopping-parking area.

January 1971 - Mansfield Advertiser

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First Added to the Site  on 223 December 2018
By Joyce M. Tice

The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933