William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]


On August 5, 1867, William Saunders, a clerk in the Agricultural Department, formerly a farmer, and O. H. Kelley, a farmer from Minnesota, who was a clerk in the Post Office Department, were the first to perfect a plan of organization for the National Grange, and on December 4, 1867, at the office of Mr. Saunders, in Washington, the first Grange was organized. Mr. Saunders was chosen Master; J. R. Thompson, Lecturer; Rev. A. B. Grosh, Chaplain; O. H. Kelley, Secretary.

A subordinate Grange was soon after established at Washington to establish the efficiency of the ritual. It numbered about sixty members. Mr. Kelley accepted the position of traveling agent April 1, 1868, and issued the first dispensation for a Grange at Harrisburg, Penn.; the second at Fredonia, N. Y.; the third at Columbus, Ohio; the fourth at Chicago; and in Minnesota he organized six Granges, making ten during the year. In 1869, there were 39 dispensations granted; in 1870 only 38; in 1872, there were 125; but in 1872 there were 800 dispensations granted.

First Grange in Kansas. - In April, 1872, the Hiawatha Grange, Brown County, was organized, the first one in the State. Osage Grange, Crawford County, was the first one organized in Southern Kansas. There were only nine Granges in the State up to December, 1872. William Duane Wilson came from Iowa in December, 1872, into Kansas, and in connection with a few Granges in the south part of the State, effected a temporary organization of the State Grange, with the following-named persons as officers: Master, F. H. Dumbauld; Overseer, J. Bell; Lecturer, J. A. Cramer; Secretary, G. W. Spurgeon; Treasurer, H. H. Angell.

Farmers' State Convention. - On April 26 and 27, 1872, a State Convention of Farmers was assembled at Topeka, representing forty counties, under the following call of the State Board of Agriculture:

Office Kansas State Board of Agriculture, )
Capitol Building, Topeka, February 27, 1873 )

To the Farmers of Kansas:

On the 10th inst., the following call for a "Farmers' State Convention" was issued:

The Farmers' Institute, held at Manhattan on the 23d of January, 1873, adopted the following resolutions, to wit: Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting that the farmers of Kansas should organize themselves into district clubs and at once place themselves in correspondence with the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, at Topeka. Furthermore, be it

Resolved, That whenever a sufficient number of clubs have reported to represent the public opinion of the State, the Secretary of the State Board be requested to call a delegate Farmers' State Convention, so that said farmers may meet to devise ways and means for their present relief and future protection.

In obedience to the request contained in the above resolutions, a delegate Farmers' Convention will be held in the hall of the House of Representatives, Topeka, on Wednesday, the 26th day of March, 1873, at 2 o'clock P. M.

Each County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and the farmers' clubs of each township in the State, will be entitled to one delegate. Application will be made to the different railroad corporations of the State for half fare rates to the Convention and return. If granted, notice will be duly given.

ALFRED GRAY, Secretary.

Subsequently the call was enlarged as follows:

Since issuing the above, applications have been received from the "Farmers' Union" of Douglas County, and from farmers of various parts of the State, requesting that Farmers' Unions, Granges of the Patrons of Husbandry, and all other farmers' organizations, as well as townships and counties having no such organizations, each have a representation in said Convention.

In view of the lively interest thus manifested, a cordial invitation is extended to the farmers of the whole State to send delegates to said Convention in pursuance of said request. But it is earnestly recommended that farmers do organize clubs and other agricultural societies, and send delegates therefrom wherever it is practicable to do so.

ALFRED GRAY, Secretary State Board of Agriculture.

Hon. J. K. Hudson was temporary Chairman, and the permanent organization was as follows: Hon. John Davis, of Davis County, for President; Jonathan Weaver, of Saline, and Alfred Taylor, of Johnson, for Vice Presidents; J. K. Hudson, of Wyandotte, for Secretary, and J. T. Stevens, of Douglas, Assistant Secretary.

The Farmers' Platform. - The convention resolved that the Farmers' Co-operative Association of the State of Kansas, co-operated with the State Board of Agriculture and the State organization of the Patrons of Husbandry, and adopted the following platform:

WHEREAS, Agriculture in its various departments is the basis of all material prosperity, and

WHEREAS, The burdens and imposition under which it lies having become intolerable, therefore, the farmers of Kansas, in convention assembled, do put forth this declaration of our desires and purposes, and state:

1. Farmers desire to unite in the form of clubs, unions or stock associations, for the purpose of showing that they can come together and co-operate like other folks for a common good, and for the moral effect it will have upon themselves and the rest of mankind.

2. They desire association for the purpose of controlling the prices of their products through their own boards of trade, or their own appointed agents, so that nothing need be thrown upon the market for less than the cost of production, and a reasonable profit.

3. They desire to unite for the purpose of getting their supplies at cost, with a reasonable per cent added, to pay for collecting and distributing, and the use of capital.

4. They desire to co-operate for the purpose of securing a reduction in freights and breaking the blockade between different parts of the country, by argument, by legislative enactment and by means of the courts.

5. They desire tax reform - the abolition of sinecure offices - the reduction of salaries - rigid economy in public expenditures, and the repeal of our present iniquitous tax penalties.

6. They desire home manufactures, so that the money paid for implements may be kept in the State, and our populations increased by industrious operatives, engaged in creating wealth, rather than in speculation.

7. They desire that the balance of our public domain should be kept forever sacred to actual settlement, and in no contingency be allowed to fall into the hands of railroad monopolies and land sharks; therefore, be it

Resolved, That organization is the great want of the producing classes at the present time, and we recommend every farmer in the State to become a member of some Farmers' Club, Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, or other local organization.

Resolved, That the taxes assessed and charged upon the people, both by national, State and local governments, are oppressive and unjust, and vast sums of money are collected, far beyond the needs of an economical administration of government.

Resolved, That we respectfully request our Senators and Members of Congress to vote for and secure an amendment to the tariff laws of the United State, so that salt and lumber shall be placed on the free list, and that there shall be made a material reduction on the duty on iron, and that such articles as do not pay the cost of collection be also placed on the free list.

Resolved, That we earnestly request the Legislature of our State at its next session, to enact a law regulating freights and fares on our railroads, upon a basis of justice, and that we further request our members of Congress to urge the favorable action of that body, where the full power exists beyond all doubt, to the same end, and, if need be, to construct national highways at the expense of the government.

Resolved, That the act passed by the Legislature, exempting bonds, notes, mortgages and judgments from taxation is unjust, oppressive, and a palpable violation of our State Constitution, and we call upon all assessors and the county boards to see that said securities are taxed at their fair value.

Resolved, That the practice of voting municipal bonds is pernicious in its effect, and will inevitably bring bankruptcy and ruin on the people, and we, therefore, are opposed to all laws allowing the issuance of such bonds.

Resolved, That giving banks a monopoly of the nation's currency, thereby compelling the people to pay them such interest therefor as they may choose to impose, seven-tenths of which interest we believe is collected from the farmers, is but little less than legalized robbery of the agricultural classes.

Resolved, That for the speedy and thorough accomplishment of all this, we pledge each other to ignore all political preferences and prejudices that have swayed us hitherto to our hurt, and support only such men for office as are known to be true to our interests, and in whose integrity and honesty we have the most implicit confidence.

Among the delegates present may be named D. W. Foster, of Allen County; Thomas Goudy and R. H. Cunningham, of Anderson; George W. Glick and R. A. Van Winkle, of Atchison; A. J. Buckland, of Barton; J. F. Babbit, of Brown; H. W. Beck, of Butler; W. S. Romigh, of Chase; J. B. Quimby, of Clay; John Giesey, of Coffey; G. W. Shoel, of Crawford; John Davis, John K. Wright, of Davis; V. P. Wilson, of Dickinson; G. Brenner, of Doniphan; Henry Bronson, J. A. Cramer, George Cutler, Charles H. Langston and Charles Robinson, of Lawrence; J. N. Foster, of Franklin; B. H. Bradshaw, William Cline and J. S. T. Milligan, of Jackson; Walter N. Allen, Valentine Brown, J. N. Insley and Edwin Snyder, of Jefferson; A. G. Chase, A. F. Evans and J. S. Van Winkle, of Leavenworth; C. M. Monroe, of Labette; R. B. McMillan, of Linn; M. J. Fiery, of Lyon; T. C. Thoburn, of Marion; Frank Leach, of Marshall; C. L. Pullman, of Miami; A. H. Grass, of Montgomery; S. J. Willes, of Morris; T. H. Butler, of Neosho; G. H. Nicolay, of Osage; John A. Beal of Pottawatomie; C. W. Clapp, of Reno; William F. Allen, O. W. Bill and Washington Marlatt, of Riley; W. B. Christopher, of Russell; T. H. Cavanaugh, of Saline, Thomas Buckman, M. A. Campdoras, C. G. Gardiner, Alfred Gray, Samuel Kosier, John G. Otis, W. P. Popenoe, A. A. Ripley and George L. Young, of Shawnee; C. S. Brodbent, of Sumner; J. M. Bisbey, C. B. Lines and E. N. Morehouse, of Wabaunsee; G. M. Parks and Charles Williamson, of Washington; J. H. McKelvy, of Woodson, and J. K. Hudson, of Wyandotte.

The Gist of the Speeches. - There was a large number of earnest, thoughtful men in this body, and considerable speaking talent. Mr. Bronson said:

Want of organization has kept farmers form accomplishing reforms, and we desire all to work with the means that accomplished these ends, whether by Farmers' Unions or by the Patrons of Husbandry.

Mr. Allen hoped the farmers' organization would be a legal body corporate, as it could compel officers to a stricter account than could any political organization. Mr. Glick was of the opinion that the tariff and the banking laws were the principal causes of the oppression of the agricultural interests. The people pay for the use of our currency $30,000,000 a year; tribute is paid to two or three salt rings, who receive some eight to ten millions from the people, the Government receiving from the same $200,000. Lumber and iron received consideration. Mr. Hudson said the farmers throughout the State needed organization and co-operation. The key of the difficulty lay in the ballot box. Gov. Robinson advocated county and State organizations, auxiliary to a national one, and all should be in correspondence with headquarters. While he did not advise any political action, his advice was to vote for the known friends of the farmer, and the farmers would soon find they had plenty of friends.

Address to the Farmers of Kansas. - In the published pamphlet of the proceedings of the Convention, the following is extracted:

The origin of the Convention is well stated in the proceedings. Its objects were well and plainly developed during the sittings, and finally took definite and satisfactory shape in the Constitution of the Farmers' Co-operative Association of the State of Kansas. We expect this association to be the organized medium of communication between its members and the outside world, making known our thoughts, deeds and aspirations. The farmer of America is no longer the serf or boor of the middle ages. He has, by contact with the culture and enlightenment, become a man of thought and judgment. He wishes to make his influence known and recognized in the markets of the world, in the counting-rooms of business and in the halls of legislation, by other means than mere pounds avordupois. He wishes to unite with all virtuous men in teaching, by word and example, the importance of public honesty and integrity. These things cannot be done while farmers remain in an isolated condition.

The learned professions and most of the industries have their organizations for self-protection and for public purposes. By these means, immense benefits have accrued to themselves, and have exerted a great influence on society. Shall not the most numerous and the most needy class of all follow such good examples? Surely the times demand it, as is shown by the bold corruption in our legislative halls. When the most important positions of honor and trust in the State are openly trafficked in with unblushing impunity; when American Congressmen, with the solemn oaths of office resting upon their consciences, beneath the sacred dome of the national Capitol and surrounded by all the mementoes of historic purity, can unblushingly vote into their own pockets the precious millions garnered by the hands of frugal industry to preserve the national credit, and which should have been sacredly applied to ease the burdens of a debt-ridden people - surely these acts should receive their well-merited censure, lest the morrow should drop into our laps still more bitter fruits. And shall not the friends of agriculture organize for public action, as well as their fellow-citizens of other professions and pursuits?

Through our association we expect to rub off that cold prejudice too likely to exist among men who live in isolation, and seldom meet for social intercourse. It is the division of our forces and influence which has enabled designing sharpers and politicians to manage us in detail. It was the tactics of the first Napoleon, by celerity of movement, to beat his enemies in detail before they had time to act in concert. Too long have the farmers of America been thus beaten while in a state of separation. But like the Great Peter of Russia, we are learning from our conquerors the art of victory. Very soon we expect to meet them, not as loose bands, or detached parties of Cossacks, but as organized veterans. It is then we hope to repeat to them discomfiture as complete as that dealt out by Peter to Charles XII at Pultowa; or by Wellington and his allies to Napoleon at Waterloo. Too long have our halls of legislation, and other posts of honor and trust, been monopolized and dominated by irresponsible speculators and politicians.

The present state of agricultural progress is transitionary. For many years it has been the chief aim to increase our products, both in quantity and quality to the utmost limit. For this purpose we have held fairs and discussions, have published papers and books. Crops have been increased and animals have been perfected, until the markets of the country, from time to time, are glutted to repletion; and stock men are able to export breeding animals to the farthest limits of the world, with credit to themselves and to the country. Agricultural books and papers have been published and scattered broadcast over the land, until they are piled up by the cord and by the ton in every library. Machinery for cheap culture and speedy harvesting has been built with maniac energy. Fair grounds have been covered with it by the acre and by the ten acres. At times it is the principal freight on the railroads, and crowds every depot and warehouse. Our ends in view have been most thoroughly accomplished. Taken as a whole, the Western farmer has demonstrated beyond a doubt his ability not only to supply, but to replete and overflow the markets of the land with the products of his labor. So true is this, that often the price in market is too small to pay the cost of transportation, allowing nothing for the cost of production. Surely then, this first lesson in agriculture is well learned.

Too much care cannot be exercised in the support of the local home markets of the country. This is done by fostering and increasing home manufactures. Yet, with all their importance, these local centers of trade cannot meet all the necessities of the Kansas farmer. Many of his products must seek a market in other States, and many of his supplies must come from other parts of the country. Hence arises the demand for cheap and speedy transportation on the various lines of commerce. Other States recognize this importance of this fact, and though enjoying much lower rates than we in transportation and travel, the farmers have thought themselves aggrieved, and are now engaged in what has been styled a furious "railroad war." The farmers of Illinois are evidently on the side of right, and since their cause is ours, we should be closely observant of all the facts as they transpire in our sister State, and by kind words and cordial sympathy encourage our brothers in Illinois in their struggles with those giant monopolies, that claim the ability to defy sovereign States, and scruple not to buy up Legislatures, to "invest in Congressmen," or to corrupt the courts. Sooner or later this Illinois struggle must reach our State, unless happily, the whole internal commerce among the States shall be well and timely regulated by the General Government.

It was wise in the Farmers' Convention, therefore, to take steps preparatory to this portending conflict. The Committee of five, appointed for the collection of railroad statistics, must perform well its duties. The association and the State expect it at their hands.

Questions of tariff were discussed, and while some doubted the wisdom of reducing the tax on iron and salt, there was no voice in opposition to placing lumber on the free list, or to the entire abolition of duties on such articles as do not pay the cost of collection.

The national banking laws were exhaustively discussed, showing conclusively that farmers understand this matter quite as well as the politicians. It is the unanimous voice of the Convention that the people are tired of paying the present enormous bonuses to the banks for the little aid they may render in circulating the greenbacks. Why shall we pay corporations largely for the use of money which we must guarantee to give it value, when we can just as well use our own money (greenbacks) without charge? The farmers of Kansas place much emphasis on this question, and desire our national law-makers to respond.

Attention is called to the resolution on the injustice of the recent State law, exempting all evidences of debt which are secured by mortgage on real estate from taxation. Why this State enactment, unjustly discriminating in favor of the moneyed Shylocks, who would cut the last pound of living flesh from the very vitals of our people? Let equal and just taxation, like the dews of heaven, fall on all alike, and the farmers of Kansas are content.

Meeting of the State Grange. - There were 409 organized Grangers at the first meeting of the State Grange at Lawrence, July 30, 1873. Dudley W. Adams, of Iowa, Master of the National Grange, and T. A. Thompson, of Minnesota. Lecturer of the National Grange, were present and largely aided in forming and shaping the State Grange, and in giving the secret work of the Order to the delegates.

The following-names persons were elected as the first officers of the State Grange: Master, T. G. Boling, Leavenworth County; Overseer, M. E. Hudson, Bourbon County; Lecturer, John Boyd, Montgomery County; Steward, E. D. Smith, Jewell County; Assistant Steward, J. B. Richie, Franklin County; Chaplain, W. S. Hanna, Franklin County; Treasurer, H. H. Angell, Cherokee County; Secretary, G. W. Spurgeon, Neosho County; Gate keeper, C. W. Lawrence, Leavenworth County; Ceres, Mrs. Mattie Morris; Flora, Mrs. M. H. Charles; Pomona, Mrs. Amanda C. Rippey; Lady Assistant Steward, Mrs. Jennie D. Richie; Executive committee, F. H. Dumbauld, Neosho County, W. P. Popenoe, Shawnee County; J. B. Shaeffer, Jefferson County.

Sixty counties were represented at the meeting of the State Grange held at Topeka, in February, 1874, at which the Secretary reported 975 organized granges, representing an actual membership of over 27,000, which, by April 1, was increased to 1,200 granges, with a membership exceeding 30,000.

Master Boling having resigned, M. E. Hudson succeeded him, and William Sims, of Shawnee County, succeeded Mr. Hudson. W. P. Popenoe was re-elected a member of the Executive Committee; W. H. Fletcher, of Clay County; was elected Gatekeeper, Mr. Lawrence having failed to accept and qualify. John G. Otis, of Topeka, was chosen State Agent. There were about 30 deputy agents; about 40 county agents.

Constitution of Kansas State Grange. - The first article of the Constitution is as follows:

This Grange shall be known as the Kansas State Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, and in all its acts shall be subject to the Constitution of the National Grange.

Article 2 related to Members; Article 3 defined Legislative Powers; Articles 4 and 5 related to Meetings; Article 6 defined the duties of the Master; Article 7, of the Overseer; Article 8, of the Lecturer; Articles 9 and 10, of the Steward and Assistant Steward; Article 11, of the Secretary; Article 12, of the Treasurer; Article 13, of the Gatekeeper; Article 14, of the Chaplain; Article 15 relates to Electors; Article 16, to the appointment of Committees; Article 17, to a Committee of Finance; Article 18, to the Executive Committee; Articles 19 and 20, to the Fiscal Year and to Quarterly Dues; Articles 21 and 22, to Appeals and Withdrawals; Article 23, to Councils; Article 24, to Deputies; Article 25, to Jurisdiction; Article 26, to Applications; Article 27, to traveling expenses of Delegates; Article 28, to powers of the Master and the Executive Committee, with reference to suspensions; Article 29, to Amendments to the Constitution.

By-laws of the Grange. - The rules of order established were thirteen in number, and the order of business was blocked out for a four days' session.

Constitution and by-laws for County and Subordinate Granges were given as recommended; Rules of Order, Manual of Practice, Parliamentary Practice and How to Organize a Grange with general recommendations, by W. P. Popenoe. Our business agencies were explained by John G. Otis; A. Patrons' Mutual Insurance Association, by S. H. Downs, and the funeral ceremony to be performed at the last sad rites over deceased members.

Address of Worthy Master M. E. Hudson. - At the second annual meeting, held at Topeka, February 19-21, 1874, Master Hudson said:

To be a Patron of Husbandry is not of doubtful propriety, but the proudest of our land are knocking at our doors. We are substantially a unit in the opinion that the order should in no sense become a political party; at the same time there are questions fundamentally affecting our material interests which can only be reached through legislation. The questions of transportation, taxation, finance and corruption in public places, are such as come home to the pockets of our members, and it seems imperative that they be discussed in the Grange.

The interests of the farmer demand that upon the simple but suggestive trio of agriculture, commerce and manufactories, the future prosperity of the country depends. Let us be patient, circumspect, firm and just, so that we may place our order on an enduring basis.

Patrons' Hand Book. - April 1, 1874, J. K. Hudson, then publisher of the Kansas Farmer, in publishing a book of the above named title for the use and benefit of the order of the Patrons of Husbandry, said:

The Grange, recognizing woman as man's equal in all things, gives an influence in its educational and social working of very great value. New social ties are formed; old neighborhood feuds are bridged over, and in the discussion of subjects pertaining to the social and educational welfare of farmers, a higher and broader culture will ensue. Libraries are being formed; more reading and thinking will be the result, the influence of which will a thousand-fold repay the cost of the organization, not only upon the present members, but upon future generations. The Grange recognizes that education, good morals and a higher culture, are essential to its permanent success and highest usefulness. In all the deliberations of the National Grange, the State Grange and subordinate organizations, the most advanced and progressive reforms in education, temperance and good morals have received full sympathy and support.

Annual Gathering of the Patrons. - In the autumn of 1874, the Executive Committee of the Grange adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, That for the purpose of advancing our business interests, promoting general acquaintance and good fellowship among the Patrons of our State, we would recommend an annual gathering or re-union of all our membership, so far as possible, at the annual State Fair in each year; and would further recommend the State board of Agriculture to permanently locate the State Fair at some central point within the State; and that our State Grange, from year to year, make arrangements whereby large numbers of our membership could be provided with cheap and comfortable board and lodging, and all needed facilities for holding business meetings, Grange meetings and social gatherings. And we would most earnestly request that Patrons take hold of these annual exhibitions, and make them the grand exponent of productive labor and material wealth within our State, and the gathering together of our people from every part of the country for mutual consultation, comparison and profit.

William Sims, Chairman. John G. Otis, Secretary.

Destitution from the Grasshopper Raid. - On the fair grounds at Leavenworth, at the meeting of the State Fair in 1874, the following resolutions were adopted by the Executive committee of the State Grange and the business agents of the Grange for twenty-seven counties:

Resolved, That whatever aid may be given by the State of Kansas for the relief of its citizens, be in the shape of direct relief, and the relief thus appropriated by the Legislature be placed under the control of the county and township officers of the county in which the aid is to be used - first, in the employment of those needing relief in some useful occupation for the public benefit; and secondly, directly to those in need, in the shape of provisions, clothing, or money, as the county board and Trustees may deem most expedient and safe in securing the object in view, and in preventing misapplication of the public money.

Resolved, That the Legislature be respectfully requested to pass no law that will unnecessarily encumber the counties thus reduced to the condition so deplorable, but to make this calamity a State affair and not a local one.

John G. Otis, Secretary.

[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]