Vienna Grange No. 1537

Vienna Grange Post Number 1537 was chartered on February 26, 1901, and organized April 1, 1901. The first officers were:

  • Master: Emerson M. Norton

  • Overseer: I. W. Woodford

  • Chaplain: Mrs. Hiram Hayes

  • Steward: Archie Lampson

  • Assistant Steward: W. W. Woodford

  • Lady Assistant Steward: Mrs. J. C. Hood

  • Lecturer: Mrs. J. B. Hanson

  • Gatekeeper: Hiram Hayes

  • Ceres: Mrs. Emily Wood

  • Pomona: Mrs. Lucius Scovill

  • Flora: Mrs. Lawrence Boyd

  • Organist: Miss Mamie Norton

This Grange Post is a member of the National Grange of The Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Founded in Washington, DC, on December 4, 1867, this fraternal organization was created by Oliver H. Kelley and others to raise awareness of and improve the economic condition and social life of the farm and rural population in the United States.

An earlier Grange in Vienna had been founded on August 1, 1876, with 40 charter members. Rodney D. Leet was elected Master and H. L. Scoville was elected Secretary.

History

In the very early years of its existence, the Vienna Grange had no permanent home. Meetings were held in Vienna Methodist Church, Vienna Township Hall, in Vienna school buildings, and in private residences. In 1905 the Grange bought the then-abandoned Roman Catholic Church building for its hall. How many years the Grange used this structure is unknown.

The meetings were held twice a month and were followed by a lecture hour and social period. The Grange roll included several lively youngsters, and the social hours were enlivened by games and amusements. [1] In 1921, dues increased from 10 cents to 20 cents per member per quarter or 60 cents per year. [2]

On February 1, 1938, the first meetings in Grange Hall were held in what had been known as the "Old School," the building on the Township Green between the Vienna Methodist Church and the Vienna Presbyterian Church. Walter F. Kirk, Master of the Ohio State Grange, was master of ceremonies for the Hall's dedication. George Gray was Master at this time. The Hall was used until 1970.

On February 26, 1951, the 50th anniversary of the Vienna Grange was celebrated at the Vienna Centralized School with 314 persons in attendance. Mrs. Cora Norton, the only living charter member and wife of Emerson M. Norton, the first Master of the Grange, was present for the occasion.

On January 7, 1956, the necessity of purchasing land for a new Grange Hall was discussed and a motion passed. Two lots were purchased from Joe Kramarich, two miles south of Vienna Center on the left side of Youngstown-Kingsville Road. The down payment was $50. In the next few months two payments of $750 and $600 completed the purchased price of $1,400.

On September 30, 1958, the Secretary reported Vienna Grange membership as 1,467, the highest ever for the Grange.

The Grange Hall was vacated on September 17, 1970. Paul Gibson invited the Grange to meet in his newly finished Senior Citizen Room at Gibson Hall at Vienna Center. Brother C. H. Atwood moved Grange furnishings to Gibson Hall for the first meeting on October 24, 1970.

The lots on which the Grange Hall stood were sold to James Mizicko for $4,000. Litco Products now (2021) occupies this property.

With the decline of farming in the Township, however, came a decline in Grange participation. On October 6, 1973, the Juvenile Grange Charter was surrendered to the County Deputy and on to the Ohio State Grange because of lack of attendance and interest. On July 20, 1974, the last meeting in Gibson Hall was held due to the Gibson Insurance Agency moving to a new facility. For a few years, the Grange held meetings in the basement at the home of Norma and Edgar Mealy. [2] The Grange then met at the new Gibson Insurance Hall (now Governor Insurance) at 972 Youngstown-Kingsville Road SE, on April 17, 1976.

Lengthy discussion about the old Grange Hall on Vienna Township Green took place for several years, and on January 17, 1981, the building was sold to Copper Penny Masonic Lodge, for $1.00. On May 16, 1981, a bill of sale was revised, signed, and witnessed. The Copper Penny Lodge presented payment of 690 copper pennies donated by their members.

On October 8, 1981 a fire at Gibson Insurance Company left members without a meeting place. No grange furniture or belongings were burned but there was smoke damage. Several places were offered to continue meetings until Gibson Insurance could be rebuilt, and so the Grange met at the Vienna Township Hall. The new Gibson facility was finished and the first meeting held at the new structure was on February 20, 1982. [2]


Members of the Vienna Grange in 1990L to R: Jean Pritchard, Master; Wendell Lauth, Trumbull County Deputy Master; Evelyn Butler, Lecturer; Robert Ulp, Assistant Steward; June Ott, Lady Assistant Steward; Edgar Mealy, ChaplainImage from the Vienna Historical Society's collection.Photo donated by Christine Novicky.

In 1990 the dues were $10 per year for members.

As of 1999, the Vienna Grange had 57 members. The Grange supported the Vienna Ecumenical Food Pantry, the Hear Fund, Christmas Seals, State and National Grange Youth Funds, Friendly Hills Camp, Rural Life and Memorial Sundays, Heifer Fund, and many other projects.

Grange Masters
Emerson M. Norton (1901-1910)
Eli Taiclet (1909-1911)
Howard Bartholomew (1912)
Emerson M. Norton (1912-1913)
M. A. Hood (1914)
S. Stevenson (1915)
L. D. Scott (1916, 1921)
Charles E. Jones (1917, 1919)
J. L. Kauffman (1918)
Ithel F. Mathews (1920)
Barry Fair (1922, 1928)
Ben Miller (1923-1924, 1928-1930)
Clarence W. Leet (1925-1927)
Newton A. Mealy (1930-1931)
Louis Taiclet (1931-1932)
Dr. George M. Boone (1932-1934)
George Gibson (1934-1935)
Edgar Mealy (1935-1936, 1952-1954,1965-1969, 1983)
Robert Hake (1936-1937)
George W. Gray (1937-1940)
Duane Butler (1940-1941, 1945-1948, 1950-1951)
C. A. Daubenmire (1941-1942)
Russell Banner (1942-1945)
Paul L. Gibson (1948-1950, 1955-1958)
Orrin Aurano (1951-1952)
C. H. Atwood (1954-1955)
Loy J. Zimmer (1958-1959)
Jean Pritchard (1984-1996)
Otto Larsen (1996-1999)

Long-time Members

Margaret Mealy began serving as Secretary on January 1, 1941, and attended her last meeting on May 2, 1995: 53 years of service.

Genie Ulp was elected Secretary on March 19, 1994 and was serving in this capacity in 1999.

Evelyn Butler served as Lecturer for many years.

Dorthea Cockrane served as Treasurer.


Updated 2/02/2021
This article is adapted from Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2, of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 229-231. list of Grange Masters augmented by "Vienna Grange Booster Night in Recognition of 60th Anniverary of Vienna Grange and 150th Anniversary of Vienna Township, March 3, 1961."
The National Grange: http://www.nationalgrange.org/
[1] "Vienna Grange began in 1901," Niles Publishing Company, Bicentennial Edition, July 1976, page 40.
[2] Vienna Grange #1537 History 1901-1991 by Margaret Mealy and Evelyn Butler