Members of the Leesville Grange no. 2078 are proud to celebrate 98 years as a chapter. Their annual fair-booth is one of the attractions one may visit at this year’s 157th Crawford County Fair that opened Sunday, July 13.
According to member Priscilla Laughbaum, the Leesville chapter is one the remaining chapters left in Ohio. The organization once boasted 1.5 million member throughout rural communities across the Nation. Despite the decline in membership over the years, the Grange continues to serve communities where they exist by supporting local farmers and farming traditions for future generations.
Formally known as the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, the organization was founded soon after the Civil War in 1867. It’s purpose was to support local farmers through collectives centered around Grange Halls. These Halls served as meeting places. They even served as market places where, in times of scarcity and low returns, farmers could control the prices of their harvests by creating local-direct markets. Historically, the Grange also served farm families by providing a pool of farming equipment and other resources that could be loaned or shared communally.
Laughbaum and fellow Granger June Slabach walked through the Merchants’s Building Wednesday evening during the Fair. They stopped by their Chapter’s fair-booth to admire the display they, alongside members, created over a week ago. It features a number of handmade items and displays that represent mottoes associated with the intersection of community and agriculture.
Donald Graft serves as the Master-president for the Leesville Grange. Dorothy Eckert is the Chaplain and Barb Van Scoit serves as the Family Activities Chairperson.
Leesville Grange members served the Junior Fair this year by presenting trophies during the Fair to competitors in the Champion Beef Showmanship and Champion Ram Overall contests. The Crawford County Pomona Grange was set to present trophies for Champion Intermediate Goat Showmanship and Best Senior Speech.
The Leesville Grange meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Meetings are held in the Jefferson Township Fire Department beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Laughbaum and Slabach are alumni of Colonel Crawford High School, Class of 1969. They say they are both looking forward to attending their 45th class reunion in August.
Priscilla is the wife of Tom Laughbaum, the secretary-treasurer of the Crawford County Fair Board and fair manager. June Slabach is married to John Slabach.
The Fair continues through Saturday, July 19.