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Around The Grange
The NY State Grange in February 1911
 

By Kevin Gilbert, The Troy Record (2/7/11)

  FEBRUARY 18, 2011 --

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1911. The New York State Grange opens its 38th annual convention in Troy today, bringing more than 1,000 delegates to the Collar City, The Record reports.

The Grange is an organization dedicated to developing small rural communities and representing their interests at the state capital. As State Master F. N. Godfrey says today, “We have come to be recognized as a powerful influence in the direction of the affairs of the state.”

The four-day convention opens this morning with a formal ceremony at the Troy Music Hall, with more than 600 delegates in attendance. As many as 1,500 Grangers are expected to participate in the event while boosting Troy’s economy. The highlight of the convention will be an appearance tonight by Governor John A. Dix.

In his annual address, Master Godfrey praises the Grange’s success as a rural lobby in Albany. “The success of the order in securing legislation at the last session of the state legislature is commendable,” he tells the delegates.

The Grange’s biggest lobbying accomplishment, according to Godfrey, is an education bill “providing for a change in the supervision of our common schools.” This measure “will be of great value in making our country schools more efficient and renewing interest in these schools, where the greater proportion of our children are first taught.”

This year, the Grange’s top priority is to prevent legislation advocated by the governor that would put the State Highway Commission under the control of the State Engineer’s office. The measure would abolish a non-partisan supervisory committee created just two years ago.

“The ever-ready desire for control by party affiliations seems to especially show itself regarding this department in the change of administration from one party to another,” Godfrey protests. Dix is the first Democratic governor of New York since 1894.

“The present law for the supervision and construction of the highways of the state is, we believe, very much better under the direction of a non-partisan board of commission than it was formerly or can possibly be under the direction of the state engineer, a one-man partisan power, and I believe this body should enter a vigorous protest against such a change.”

The Grange, affiliated with the National Grange, has a national as well as local legislative agenda. On the national level, the New York Grange supports a constitutional amendment mandating popular elections of U.S. Senators. State legislatures currently appoint each state’s Senators. Despite a Democratic majority, New York’s legislature has not yet chosen a replacement for departing Senator Chauncey Depew.

In New York, the Grange opposes a proposal to reduce the fee for a “chauffeur’s license,” – what moderns call a driver’s license. Godfrey actually wants the legislature to increase the fee for automobiles of 15 horsepower or more.

The Grange also demands a higher fee for dog licenses to keep “worthless curs” off the streets and greater assistance to farms from cities.

“The time has come,” Godfrey suggests, “when the vast amount of soil fertility which is going to waste from the cities should be saved and go back to the soil.”

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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