Original Document
Original Document
Editorial in Praise of the Pennsylvania Grange, 1907.


The harvest is never over until the last sheaf of wheat and the last shock of corn are garnered. The sheaf may hold only smutted grain and the shock only nubbins, not worth the shelling. But when they are hauled home it means that the crops are in.

For many years The North American has been declaring that the State Grange is the most progressive body of citizens in Pennsylvania. We believe that contention proved by the one fact that not a single public reform or economic betterment has been effected which did not first find its supporters and advocates in this organization.

Until recent years the Grange in this State was misunderstood. To a large number of people the name was synonymous with populism and financial and economic fallacies. It was regarded as an aggregation of "Sockless Jerrys," whose muddled vision made them strike right and left in the dark whenever a question of general import was in issue.

This view prevailed despite the record of the Grangers' deeds. Their detractors ignored such facts as that it was the Grange which forced from the political machine in this misgoverned State a larger grant to the public schools than the appropriation of any other commonwealth.

When the bicycle and the automobile came and roused widespread interest in the subject of good roads, the advocates called it a new movement. They forgot that they were but late recruits in a battle which the Grange had been carrying on years before their enlistment.

For fifteen years the State Grange has advocated the parcel post and the postal savings bank on the identical lines that President Roosevelt and Postmaster General Meyer are now asking Congress to establish.

The Grange was foremost in the fight for pure food. Pennsylvania's wisely stringent laws were the pioneers of the statutes of other States and of the nation. The fact that the people of the whole country today are forced to eat less poison food than formerly is largely due to the Pennsylvania State Grange.

The Grange always opposed the railroad pass and railroad rate discrimination. For twenty years it beseeched Congress to do exactly what Roosevelt compelled it to do last year.

It was the Grange that first saw the danger of destroying our timber supply, and cried out the warning which brought about the creation of our Forestry Department.

It was the Grange that first advocated endowing trolley companies with the right of eminent domain.

The Grange stood immovable in opposition to the stealing of the water powers of the State.

The Grange made possible the passage of uniform primary election laws.

The Grange joined the movement to stamp out tuberculosis years before the Pennsylvania Legislature gave that great question the least attention.

It was the Grange that fought and won the battle for appropriations, to take the thousands of indigent insane off stone floors and out of squalid corridors and tend and shelter them with the spirit of humanity.

This record of honor of the Pennsylvania State Grange could easily be prolonged. It is enough to say that every good thing that has come to this commonwealth in many years, either has been the creation of the Grange or has had its stout support.

Throughout those years the Grange had no fair hearing. It was not appreciated, because it was not understood. The North American counts it one of our best services to the public that we were able to force the merits of the organization upon the attention of the people.

There is a difference now. No annual meeting of any other body is reckoned more important. And the same newspapers which jeered at the Grangers ten years ago now have only good words and fair treatment.

We congratulate the members today upon the fact that, after their years of splendid effort, at last they are coming into their own, that the Grangers stand today conceded to be the best type of our citizenship, devised by the heart and that their organization is a power known and recognized.

We say these things advisedly. There is at hand a supreme and unanswerable proof. During the years of service of Penrose in the State Senate and his twelve years in the United States Senate he never gave a sign that he was aware of the existence of the Grange or the Grangers.

Now, as a candidate for re-election he regards them as so important that weeks after their program had been made up he asks permission to address them during their meeting at West Chester.

The harvest is over. The last nubbin is in the crib.

Source: Philadelphia North American, December 11, 1907.

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