Kelley, Oliver Hudson

Kelley, Oliver Hudson,

1826–1913, American agriculturist, b. Boston. He was a founder of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, the central influence in the Granger movementGranger movement,
American agrarian movement taking its name from the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, an organization founded in 1867 by Oliver H. Kelley and six associates. Its local units were called granges and its members grangers.
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 of the 1870s. Kelley took up land on the Minnesota frontier in 1849 and farmed until, in 1864, he became connected with the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture, traveling in the West and South to report on agricultural conditions. At this time he conceived the idea of the Grange as a social and fraternal organization of farmers, and in 1867 he and six others secured the charter and Kelley became secretary. After 1873 the leadership passed to others, and Kelley resigned as secretary in 1878. He wrote Origin and Progress of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (1875).
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Kelley, Oliver Hudson

(1826–1913) farmer, founder of the Grange; born in Boston, Mass. He worked in Illinois and Iowa before moving to Minnesota (1840) where he traded with Dakota Sioux and farmed. In 1864 he became a clerk in the Bureau of Agriculture, wrote articles for the National Republican on the greatness of Minnesota and undertook the Bureau's survey of agriculture conditions in Minnesota (1865). In 1867 he and six other men founded the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry of which he was secretary; he touted the benefits of the Grange in the agricultural press, and by 1874 there were more than 20,000 granges. (Originally activist/reformist organizations for farmers' rights, they would survive more as social/community clubs.) In 1875 he moved his family to Louisville, Ky., where he established the Grange secretary's office. In 1878 he resigned his office and became a land speculator in northern Florida, founding the town of Carrabelle. He wrote Origin and Progress of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (1875).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.