The Grange in Indian Hill History

Most nineteenth century residents of Indian Hill were farmers, and after the Civil War, agriculture became a more commercialized industry.  There were new tools, better livestock, larger markets, and transportation challenges.  The national fraternal order of the Patrons of Husbandry appealed to local folk, and in 1875 the Jefferson Grange #1164 (located in what is now Indian Hill) was formally organized.


Founded in 1867 by Oliver Kelley, the Grange was a secret organization open to both men and women. Like the Masons, Odd Fellows, Elks, and Moose, Grange chapters emphasized traditional rituals for meetings.  By 1876, Ohio had over 1,000 local Granges, each pursuing their common objectives of laboring for Grange, country, and mankind.  Taking strong interest in legislative action, the Grange promoted policies of interest to its farming membership, such as rural electrification, Rural Free Mail Delivery, and Social Security for farmers, and also fought the monopolistic late19th century railroads.


It is believed that the Jefferson chapter had its headquarters in a cottage at the corner of present day Drake and Beacon Hill Roads.  At monthly meetings, members shared knowledge of new techniques of crop rotation, soil conservation, and fertilizers. The high point of their year was a local fair (a precursor of today’s county fairs) held the weekend before Labor Day.  Residents entered fruits, vegetables, grain, animals, and fowl.  There were handiwork classes in cabinetry, embroidery, sewing, tatting, and knitting.  Baked and preserved goods from area kitchens were judged, with adults winning ribbons and children cash prizes.