Cannon#039;s Creek branch continues Grange#039;s mission

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 15, 2003

Nestled along County Road 4, a plain block building is home to the Cannon's Creek Grange No. 2366 - part of an organization with much history and a generous heart.

The National Grange, also known as the Patrons of Husbandry, was founded in 1867 and chartered in 1873. The Grange was one of the first formal groups to admit women on the basis of equality.

Nationally, the Grange now has 300,000 members in 37 states and Washington D.C.

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This branch of the non-profit organization started on Cannon's Creek but moved to its current location in August of 1958.

"We can boast as a Grange in general that we got the trains running on a timetable and a rural mail system," said Mike Kimmle, master of the Cannon's Creek Grange. "The Grange basically started for farmers and the farming community. We have kind of gotten away from that because we had to adapt with the times."

However, the organization has kept the tradition of community spirit alive. With 42 members, Cannon's Creek is joined by three other chapters in the county - Kitts Hill, Deering and Windsor.

"We try to take care of a community that needs help," Kimmle said. "I was raised with the idea that you help your neighbor."

Whether it is an auction every Saturday night or the DAV's Christmas dinner, the organization rents out the building whenever it can to raise money for its community activities that include an annual Thanksgiving dinner that fed nearly 50 people this year, providing Christmas gifts to 45 families and 125 children last year, or helping families in need after disasters such as a house fire or the February ice storms.

"We would like to get more people involved because there is a lot more we could do," said Gloria Kimmle, overseer for the Cannon's Creek branch. "Years ago, we used to have square dances but we don't have the manpower now."

With a lifetime lease on the land owned by the Wayne National Forest, the Grange chapter plans to continue what was started so many years ago. Groups that often meet there such as the Coon Hunters Association have helped maintain the building by painting it and building a porch.

Both the Kimmles agree that everything they do is about helping out.

"We instill this in our members," Mike said. "We are here to help people. We are not trying to be famous."