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Proud Legacy

Originally chartered in 1908 at Jefferson Station, a municipality that is no longer recognized, in what is the current South Manheim Township, Jefferson Grange #1384 has a great legacy in Southern Schuylkill County.


From its earliest days holding a six-week long (two-day a week) fair, to dances and picnics to Christmas parties with dozens of individuals showcasing their talents, Jefferson Grange is part of the collective memory of our county. A Junior Grange was organized, allowing children in the area to run their own meetings, create their own projects and broaden their horizons. Many people recall the Jefferson Grange fair booth as serving the best funnel cakes and hand-cut fries at the County Fair - an effort that helped bolster the treasury of the organization to invest back in the community.

Jefferson Grange members were also active in advocacy - holding public discussions about issues of importance and petitioning legislators for change they saw necessary to improve the lives of individuals in Southern Schuylkill County. This is a bedrock for our work; a proud legacy we can learn from and continue. 


Jefferson Grange membership had declined and in 2019, the charter was revoked with the option to reorganize. Funds from the sale of the Jefferson Grange Hall are being held in trust by the State Grange for use in our community by our newly reorganized Grange, and we are committed to putting those locally earned and raised dollars back into our communities.

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Our History

From "Historical Excerpts of the Pennsylvania Granges: 125th Anniversary Edition," Edited by James E. Diamond, Ph.D. and Donald E. Evans, D.Ed.; Nancy E. Cole, Technical Research Associate

by Claud Riegel (past President, Jefferson Grange)


Jefferson Grange #1384 was organized on June 10, 1908 in the Village of Jefferson Station in Schuylkilll County by Harvey Fessler. The members of Jefferson Grange purchased grain, feed and fertilizer by the railroad car load. They would sell it to the farmer for the cost of what it cost the Grange. This was a way of helping each other.


In 1953, the Jefferson Grange Hall was destroyed by fire and all records were lost. So there are no records to be found until 1960. The only thing that was found was a list of officers for 1954-1955. They were: President Sterling Staller; Vice President John Dietz; Lecturer Iva Moyer; Steward Paul Felty; Assistant Steward Merlin Kerschner; Lady Assistant Steward Mamie Phillips; Chaplain Ethel Bernheisel; Secretary Mary Reber; Gatekeeper Russell Reber; Treasurer Theodore Kerschner; Ceres Judith Reber; Pomona Messina Walton; Flora Amy Felty; Finance Committee Thomas Moyer and Norman Fisher; and Executive Committee William Walton, Merlin Kerschner and Russell Reber.

In 1955, members of Jefferson Grange planned to rebuild a Grange Hall. They built the first floor and had to stop because of insufficient funds to complete the building. Activities to raise money for the building fund included selling homemade donuts and sponsoring oyster and ham suppers. After a few years, a second story was constructed onto the Grange Hall. During the 1960s, members served meals to the Boots and Saddle Clubs.

In 1965, members of Jefferson Grange participated in the "sowing of seed" service at the St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The Jefferson Grange had a Blue Cross Hospital Plan for its members at a discounted cost.

In the late 1970s, attendance at the Jefferson Grange meetings began to dwindle. At the meetings, all that was done was to transact business and pay bills.

In June 1979, the members contacted the State Grange President about the problem of dwindling attendance and membership. Robert Steese and some others came to the rescue. A committee was organized and they sent letters to people in the community followed by a visit a week later. The committee worked for three months on this project and in September, members of Jefferson Grange obligated and reinstated nine new members....

In 1983, members of Jefferson Grange got involved with reorganizing the Schuylkill County Fair. Since that time, Jefferson Grange annually sponsor(ed) a food stand that serve(d) funnel cakes and french fries. The food stand (was) a major fundraising activity for the Grange to sponsor community service projects.

Members of Jefferson Grange (most recently were) supporters of the Kempfort Telethon to raise money for the Miracle Children Fund.

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Past Members

You may find a legacy of your own. 

From a variety of sources, including newspaper clippings and State Grange publications, we have identified individuals who were once proud members of Jefferson Grange #1384. If you're interested in your own family history, you may just find a link to the past in our roster of former members.

We are always interested in your information about the history of Jefferson Grange. Do you have a photo? A story about an event you attended there? Details about a relative's involvement? Share them with us.

Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Phillips


Mrs. Paul Fessler


Judith Reber


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Moyer


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fessler


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Emerich


Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kerschner


Mr. and Mrs. Eldon Bernheisel


Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Hale


Russell Reber

Past Gatekeeper (1963-?)

Mr. and Mrs. Norman Fisher


Mr. and Mrs. George Reber Sr.


Mr. and Mrs. Sterling Staller


Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wenrich


Dr. and Mrs. William Walton


Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Hale


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Felty


Mrs. Iva Moyer


Mrs. Lourie Staller


Mrs. Earl Brensinger


Clarence Fix


James Siegfried


Harold Reber


William Kerschner


John Bernheisel


Wilbert Staller


Carl Brensinger


James Brown


Fred Kilmer


Clair Moyer


Harry Fisher


George Reber Jr.


Sherwood Felty


John Felty


Arline Fix


Mr. Charles Fix


Darlene Fix


Fern Kerschner


Earl Phillips


Harold Phillips


Carl Wenrich


Paul Heim


Bonnie Fessler


Connie Fessler


Mary Kerschner


Iva Kerschner


Fern Bernheisel


Susanne Felty


Mrs. Emanuel Koch


Mrs. Joseph Fessler


Mrs. Stella Krause


Donna Morris


Fred Long

1906 Charter Member

John Nagle

Past President (1963-?)

Mrs. Russell Reber

  

Michael Morris


William Miller


Lillian Miller


Mr. Greasy

Past Lecturer (1909-?)

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More to come. Please check back.