Shortly after the Civil War, the United States Department of Agriculture sent one of its agents, Oliver Hudson Kelley, to the South to see what could be done to revive agriculture. Finding a land devastated by war and a people burdened with distrust, debt, and depression, he decided that the “politicians would never restore peace in the country; if it came at all, it must be through fraternity.” He was convinced that the plight of the planter and farmer could not be changed until “the people North and South . . . know each other as members of the same great family and all sectionalism be abolished.” He believed that a possible solution might be a social and educational organization which would attract interest and stimulate the agricultural class. Because of Kelley’s Masonic background, he valued the benefits of fraternity, and he decided to establish a “Secret Society of Agriculturalists.” On December 4, 1867, he and six of his friends organized the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. The grange, as it came to be known, was designed to bind farmers into a fellowship which would help them cope with their many problems in a cooperative effort and at the same time try to enhance rural life.
Garwood, Saunders B.
"Florida State Grange,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 47
, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol47/iss2/6