East Clay Grange
Posted on January 17, 2021
HISTORY MYSTERY: East Clay Grange
The photo shows the last surviving Charter Members of the East Clay Grange, 469, in 1915. They were left to right seated Melvin Young and Allen Gilmour: standing Mrs, D. A. Young and Mrs, Allen Gilmour. After the close of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant gave orders: “Let the men keep their horses; they will need them to put in their crops.” A couple years later, President Andrew Johnson appointed Oliver H. Kelley to visit the southern states and lead them into an era of agricultural reconstruction. The idea was so successful that Kelley conceived an idea of organizing a secret society to foster its continuance. The National Grange (Patrons of Husbandry) came into being on December 4, 1867.
The movement spread and a chapter was founded in Clay on February 16, 1883, the first meeting being held at the home of Brother D. A. Young. For a number of years they were held at his home or homes of other members by invitation only. There were 15 charter members. After several years, the membership decreased due to death and movement. But with the concerted effort of the few faithfuls, membership was built up to 105 in 1915 when a history was published (Onondaga Pomona Grange 1883-1915). This was a County history of the 20 Granges in Onondaga County.
During these years, the Grange had outgrown meeting in private homes and they met in the Euclid Restaurant Hall. Later they met in Weller’s Hall (above the old Cigarville Post Office and the general store) next to the Railroad tracks. Later still they met in Schneider’s Hall opposite Sotherden’s Feed Mill. It was the time that local one-room schools were being disposed of subsequent to the centralization of such school districts into large school systems. A meeting was held at the old Lynnville schoolhouse (District 5 on Van Hoesen Road) to decide the disposition of the building, It was suggested that the Grange would be a proper custodian for the property that it might continue to serve the community.
By a vote of those present, the property was sold to East Clay Grange for $1.00 with recommendation that other organizations be permitted its use. In compliance, the VFW met there for some time and The Clay Social Club used it from time to time. Other community functions were held there. East Clay Grange moved into its new quarters in January 1953. The building was improved from time to time with paint, lowered ceiling, an addition,. Central heating, water and more adequate lighting so that it could remain a local landmark to the Community. On February 2, 1955 East Clay Junior Grange came into being with Mary Kisselburgh as worthy matron. There were 35 charter members. In 1975 amid the dwindling interest in Granges throughout the country due to the changing lifestyle, East Clay Grange was still the strongest in the country according to its members. It had assumed a place of leadership in Onondaga County Pomona.
Those who served East Clay Grange as worthy masters through the years of her history are Ira Schell, D. A. Young, P. W. Schell, W. V. Young, A.Gilmour, J. Beagle, Milton Beagle, B. G. Shaver,
William Van Epps, Neil Gilmour, Rollamd Strever, Leon Sstrobeck, Donald Blanchard, Wayne Sponable, Wlliam Kopp, Scott Sitterly, Rolla Carlisle, Mason Crain, Wayne Sponable, Austin Moyer, Foster Sponable, John Hamlin,Ernest Hughson, Milo Harrison, Emmett Green, John Kisselburgh, Gerald Hurley, Clifton Pratt, Glenn King, Emma Maider, Lyle Hawthorne, Loren Dence, Donald Baird, Lewis Trumble, Clifford Woodward, Lola Hawthorne, Ruth Dattler, Harold Neville, Glenn Sotherden, Godfrey Kisselburgh, and Barbara Sotherden.
Many service projects were carried out throughout the years. The most recent range from support and contributions to NAVAC, Path of Life, local needy families, Hospital North, Project HOPE and numerous others.
Photo and information from WELCOME TO CLAY, Copyright 1978 by the Clay Historical Association
Dorothy Heller, Historian
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