THE ETOWAH "GRANGE" - # 984
"Grange" is an old word that means grain, granary, farm, farmhouse or an association of farmers.
Do you have information or photos to share on the Etowah Grange, or the early 1900's farms of Etowah? Please contact the website.
In 1937 the rural farming community of Etowah formed a Grange organization, a unit within the larger North Carolina State Grange, and one of five grange units in Henderson County: Dana, Edneyville, Etowah, Fletcher, and Mills River. The Grange served the economic and social concerns of rural farm communities and their families, and with membership open to both men and women.
For many years, the Etowah Grange met at Etowah School, later called Etowah High School. After twenty-two years, in 1959, a Grange building on Brickyard Road was completed.
The new Grange hall was used extensively by Scout Troops, numerous community clubs, church organizations, and family reunions on a no charge basis.
The Etowah Grange no longer exists; however, the building that once housed the organization does. Today's WCCA Children's Center on Brickyard Road is the original building of the Etowah Grange, although remodeled.
Before it became the WCCA, the building also housed the Head Start Program and then served as the second location of the Etowah Branch Library from 1985 to 2008. In 1983, the Grange generously offered the building to Henderson County to replace the Etowah Branch Library's mobile classroom trailer located in the Etowah Shopping Center since 1982.
This link provides some general historical context and explanation.
WHAT IS GRANGE?
NC Grange History:
"Hold High the Torch - The Grange in North Carolina 1929-1989" by Noblin & Humphries, 1990, published by the North Carolina State Grange
1937 Nov 2, Etowah Grange is organized
and begins meeting at Etowah School
1937 Dec 10, Henderson County Pomona Grange
organized at City Hall. Includes Etowah, Fletcher
and Mills River Granges
1938-41 Community Fairs sponsored by the Grange
1944 The 1st Cannery is built and opens to the community,
burns three months later
1947 The 2nd Cannery is built, also used as school lunchroom
1947 Grange sponsors a boy scout troop
1951 Etowah Grange Quilt receives 1st place in State
(to be verified)
1952 Etowah Grange Quilt receives 1st place in State . . .
& 4th place National Award. Grange women present Quilt
to Mrs. Merle Umstead, wife of Governor William B. Umstead
1955 Plans are discussed to build a Grange Hall
1956-59 The Grange Hall is built on Brickyard Road
1962 Celebration of 25th Anniversary
1983 Building leased to Head Start Program
1983 Building donated to Henderson County for Etowah Library;
after 2008, occupied by the WCCA to the present day
" GRANGE ORGANIZED AT ETOWAH"
" A local Grange has been organized at Etowah and is connected [to] Henderson County Grange, the North Carolina Grange, and the National Grange.
Other local Granges have been organized at Mills River and Fletcher. The Grange is a fraternal organization composed of farmers and people interested in farming. Both men and women are eligible for membership. Some of the objectives of the organization are the betterment of the community and development of Agriculture, the promotion of education, and securing equality for the farmers. "
Source: Transcribed from the "Hy Tower," school newsletter, Etowah School, later known as "The Little Chief"
23 CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE ETOWAH GRANGE #984
C. W. Adcox
G. W. Allison
J. P. Ammons
R. D. Bruce
J. F. Corbin
H. A. Corriher
W. A. Franklin
R. W. Jones
Mrs. L. A. Keller
D. W. Maneval
G. O. Morgan
Mrs. G. O. Morgan
W. A. Morgan
Mrs. W. A. Morgan
Mrs. J. P. McKinna
Mrs. Ralph McKinna
J. R. McKinna
W. H. McKinna
Mrs. W. H. McKinna
F. M. Orr
Mrs. Annie Mae Parker
About the land donation for the Grange building:
The Morgans who donated an acre of land to the Grange lived just northeast of the present Fire Station on the hill. Because of the new highway the Grange could not build on the acre donated by them. According to a Minutes Book, September 6, 1955 entry, the Grange was then given the parcel on Brickyard Road by W. Homer (1896-1981) and Mary Gladys Blythe (1897-1979) McKinna.
[The Minutes Book 1952-1961 is in the Etowah History reference collection of the Etowah Branch Library.]
The following is a transcription from a newspaper article printed 1949-1950, 12 years after the Grange was founded in November 1937. A search is ongoing for the name and publication date of the newspaper. No results to date. Likely, the Times-News or Western Carolina Tribune.
" The Etowah Grange was organized with 23 charter members by State Deputy Herman Frick, on November 2, 1937. The present membership is 46.
While the Etowah Grange has never boasted a large membership, it has always set high goals. Community Fairs were sponsored by the Grange in the fall of '38, '39, '40 and '41. Over $100 was raised each year for premiums and expenses. The Grange gave cash awards to three local 4-H Club members in 1940.
For several years the Grange sent baskets of toys, clothing and food to underprivileged children at Christmas. In more recent years baskets of fruits, candies and nuts have been sent to the older members of the community [and] to shut-ins.
The Grange has sponsored a community booth at the WNC Fair each year.
Perhaps the greatest project of the Etowah Grange was the erection of a cannery. It was opened in July 1944, and was burned three months later. Although the first cannery was destroyed before it was entirely paid for the Grange determined to pay off the old debts and erect a larger cannery. With the help of many citizens who donated money, labor or materials, the second cannery was opened in February 1947.
During the school year the cannery is used as a school lunchroom.
In 1947 the Grange bought a piano, and three CARE packages were sent to Europe.
At present the Grange has two active committees working on community projects, one is the telephone committee, and the other the road committee.
During the 12 years of the organization of the Grange there have been four losses by death: C. M. Brockway, Mrs. J. E. Gonce, Mrs. F. D. Dalton, and T. E. Duncan.
The Etowah Grange has been fortunate in having faithful officers. Those who have served as masters are: G. O. Morgan, R. D. Bruce, W. H. McKinna, H. A. Corriher, L. J. P. Stone, and H. T. Sitton.
The present offices are: master, H. T. Sitton; overseer, C. G. Thornton; lecturer, R. D. Bruce; steward, Cecil Morgan; assistant steward, C. W. Hensley; secretary, Mrs. Jimmie Cantrell; treasurer, Mrs. Charles Playford; chaplain, W. H. McKinna; gate keeper, Wilson Morgan; Ceres, Miss Margaret Morgan; Pomona, Miss Martha Morgan; flora, Mrs. Helen Duncan; chorister, J. W. Cantrell; pianist, Mrs. W. A. Morgan; executive committee, M. H. Shuford, G. O. Morgan, H. A. Corriher.
The 2nd Grange Cannery built in 1947 after a fire destroyed the first cannery three months after it was built in 1944. On the grounds of Etowah High School and open for all the community. The Cannery also served as the school lunchroom. Photo courtesy of Henderson County Education History Initiative
From a 1964 article in the Western Carolina Tribune . . . about the charter members and some of the accomplishments of the Etowah Grange.
" There were 23 Charter members. The first officers were elected on Nov. 16, in the same year that the organization of the Grange was completed. The following officers were elected: George Morgan, R. C. Bruce, Mrs. J. F. Corbin, J. R. McKinna, J. P. Ammons, Mrs. J. R. McKinna, F. M. Orr, Mrs. G. O. Morgan, G. W. Allison, Mrs. Annie Mae Parker, Mrs. W. H. McKinna, Mrs. L. A. Keller, H. A. Corriher, R. W. Jones, W. H. McKinna.
In 1947, the Grange began sponsoring scout troops, as well as participating in or aiding the following projects: the Fair, contributions to CARE, the school annual, the hospital, the library fund, the county home, and the Bloodmobile.
Members of the Grange have made bibs, pajamas, and stuffed toys for the Orthopedic Home, and have also entertained veterans every year.
The present Grange building was constructed in 1959, and a barbecue pit was added in 1960. The present membership is about 62. "
Source: Western Carolina Tribune - June 11, 1964
"Fastest Growing WNC Community: Etowah (Part 2)
This apron won first place in the North Carolina Grange contest called "Fancy Apron." The September 1953 Grange Minutes record states,
The apron contest was held and Mrs. William Gash [Argyle Wells Gash, 1929 - ] won first on fancy apron, Mrs. Ralph McKinna second. The kitchen aprons, Mrs. McKinna won first and Mrs. Stewart won second. Mrs. Pike [State Grange Home Economics Chairman] and the ladies from Dana were the judges."
First Place Winner in the Baby Set Contest
North Carolina Grange Needlework Contest
Mrs. William Gash [Argyle Wells Gash, 1929 -]
In a November 1970 letter to Mrs. William Gash,
"Dear Mrs. Gash, Congratulations to you as the First place winner in the Baby set. It is beautiful and has been sent to Boise, Idaho for National Judging. Your cash prize will be mailed to you from Coats and Clark. [$10]
. . . Sincerely, Mrs. Hal Wells, Leicester, NC"
1952 - 1961 Highlights from the Grange's Book of Minutes
Meetings held January 7, 1952 – January 3, 1961
7/7/1952 – Cannery to open on Thursday 7/10
9/1/1952 – Selected a committee to Board of Education to discuss school lunch room at Etowah School.
10/6/1952 – Won prize at Apple Festival (2nd and 34d place) voted to use prize money for Applesauce machine at cannery.
11/3/1952 – Etowah ladies won first price of $50 at State Grange. The quilt has been mailed to the National Grange to be judged there in the national contest.
12/3/1952 - Mrs. Thornton mentioned that the ladies who quilted the quilt would present it to the governor’s wife next week.
1/5/1953 – Received $50 check for quilt – our quilt prize money.
9/8/1953 – Mrs. William Gash won first price on fancy apron – Mrs. Ralph McKinna Second
4/2/1954 – Talked about location of new building – new highway was upsetting their plans – buy acre across from Etowah School – County was thinking of buying that – voted to give Building Committee the authority to purchase a lot.
5/3/1954 – Building Committee reported the lot donated by Mr. and Mrs. Avery Morgan had been accepted for a site for our Grange Hall. Well has been drilled, cost for drilling $1,100.00. Duke Power will put electricity in. Brick, steel casement for window sashes have all been donated – approximate value of donation - $2,500. Motion was made and accepted to let Building Committee go ahead with building of Grange Hall – Motion made to pay $2,500 for pump.
7/6/1954 – Cannery sponsored by Grange would be open on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. Those who would like to can are cordially invited to come and can.
11/29/1954 – Bulldozing done by the Banks boys on the Grange lot was completed and the Banks boys donated this to the Grange. Also offered their services when we begin work on the building.
6/27/1955 – Committee to get together and start the foundation for the Grange Hall. A round table discussion was held on the design for our new Grange Hall. A vote was made to let Building Committee go ahead with Grange Building and decide about water for building.
7/5/1955 – Deed was presented to Grange for a lot for our Grange Hall to be erected on. The Grange Hall when completed is to be available to any worthwhile organization for the up building of the community.
8/1/1955 – A motion was made and seconded that the Grange go on record as supporting the road in front of Mr. Solon Whiteside to the school. Therefore, eliminating the crossing of the railroad twice in order to get to the school.
9/6/1955 – Mr. Bruce presented the deed to the lot for a Grange Hall that had been donated by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. McKinna. The deed had been duly recorded.* (Brickyard Location)
7/2/1956 – Mr. Homer McKinna gave a brief report on our Grange Hall Building. Asked for suggestions to make some money to continue with construction of the Hall. Tentative cost for laying brick to floor. $672 is in interest for building fund. Motion was made and second to have a supper to make money for Grange Building program. H & E Chairman to be in charge of the arrangements and food. Argyle Gash to be Chairman of Entertainment.
9/4/1956 – Mr. Coy Blythe reported on the Grange Hall Building. Walls have been built up above the floors. Quite a bit of donated labor has been promised. Cost thus far is approximately $500.19. Fletcher Motor Company would let us have either a Frigidaire deep freeze or stove at cost to sell tickets as means to make money for our Grange….
12/3/1956 – Check received for Community Development Club for $50 to be used to build Community Building.
3/29/1957 – Check from State Trust Company for Grange Building Hall for $25.
10/7/1957 – Contract for brick work on Grange Building had been let to Norris Brothers.
5/5/1958 – Dresses were judged in the sewing contest – adult first place – Mrs. William (Argyle) Gash; Youth First – Jean Wells - Junior – First – Jackie Sue Duncan.
8/4/1958 – Motion to borrow by W. H. McKinna $3,500 to finish Community Building.
12/1958 – Check for loan received – plans being made to finish building. Insurance for the amount of $3,500 has been made. This covers fire.
2/2/1959 – Mr. McKinna reported that lumber for the Grange Building had been ordered. Due to the size of the lumber there is a holdup in delivery and hopes that delivery will be made soon and work can begin to finish building.
5/9/1959 – Mr. McKinna reported that the contract had been let for putting the roof on the Grange Building. Mr. Coy Blythe mentioned that they could use all of the free labor that we could get after the roof is finished. Saturday, May 23, was set for a work day at the Grange Building – ladies to bring lunch…
6/1/1959 – Mr. McKinna reported the roof was on the Grange Building and floor is ready to pour and the Grange Hall will be ready for us to have a picnic meeting in our building for Grange meeting. Motion made that each member buy a chair. Motion made and seconded to order chairs and when they arrive te treasury pay for them until we collect from the members.
North Carolina State Grange
Office in Statesville NC
" The North Carolina Grange was officially recognized in 1875, but hit its stride after re-organizing in 1929. The war was over, the Depression had ended, and our state’s isolated farm families needed a place to come together. Through local events, education, renewed community spirit, and the encouragement to be more tolerant of others with different political and religious beliefs, the Grange helped neighbors and communities come together. People received help getting on their feet through training and cooperative buying and selling among members. When schools needed help, the Grange stepped in there too. In some cases, even running them. Our members were instrumental in the development of 4-H and Future Farmers of America and worked to ensure North Carolina’s farming communities would emerge stronger than ever. "
Source: website of the North Carolina State Grange
Additional information may be found at NCPedia.org