The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Richard Lefever
For The Sentinel 

Lefever family Grange legacy


December 6, 2017

Contributed: Richard Lefever

National Grange President Betsy Huber (left), from Washington D.C., presenting commendation certificate to the Lefever family: Coner Holbrook, Paulette, Richard, Matthew, and Daniel Lefever.

This story is the first of two parts.

The Lefever family of Goldendale was one of nine Washington State Grange Families to receive recognition as a National Grange Legacy Family. A new program introduced at the 151st National Grange Convention to honor families with five or more generations of grange involvement. In all, 80 families from across the country qualified for this recognition.

Grange Legacy for the Lefever family spans five generations, very soon to be six generations when grandchildren Reeve and Matley become of age to join Junior Grange. Our grange involvement has fostered three marriages, provided for a State Grange Scholarship fund and repurposed a historic school house/grange hall into a popular apartment complex. In 112 years, our family has participated in six different Subordinate Granges in Klickitat County. Four of these early granges, Spring Creek #162, Number 6 #83, Woodbine #243, and Pleasant Valley #146, have consolidated with Goldendale Grange #49. Centerville Grange #81 organized in 1889, continues as a healthy working Grange.

Our legacy started in 1905 with Catherine Locy. She and husband Henry, along with sixteen neighbors organized and became charter members of Spring Creek Grange #162. Catherine was a devoted farm wife, raised the youngest of their 11 children after Henry unexpectedly died in 1915. She was steadfast and committed to community, social, and church affairs. She was unwavering in her belief that local history had to be preserved and recorded for future generations. She was a founding member of the Klickitat County Pioneer Association. As president of the Pioneer Association in 1940, she delivered the opening remarks at the dedication of the large pioneer monument on the county courthouse grounds.

Catherine Richardson/ Locy, as a young girl unknowingly provides us with some interesting family/grange trivia; when Catherine was only six years old, she traveled across the plains in a covered wagon arriving in Columbus, now the town of Maryhill, in 1867. That same year, 150 years earlier Oliver Hudson Kelley created the Patrons of Husbandry organization in Washington D.C.

In 1874, her family moved to Swale Creek, four miles of south of Goldendale, so Catherine, known as Katie, and her little brother Jesse, could attend school. This rustic and primitive school was the second school to be organized in Klickitat County. Catherine's aunt Helen Richardson was her teacher. This little school house was also the home for the first grange in Klickitat County. The book Early Klickitat Valley Days states "The first subordinate Grange lodge in Klickitat County was organized August 29, 1874, by Robert Mays of Oregon, with twenty-five charter members. G.W. Miller was Master and Henry S. Levins, secretary. This little Grange was known as Klickitat Grange #49. The hall for meetings was an old school about four miles south of Goldendale, just about where the Centerville Road now joins the Satus Pass Highway."

A year later, in 1875, the Richardson family left the Swale, built a house on Bloodgood Creek, a mile north of Goldendale and filed a homestead claim. Today that property is part of the Lefever Family Century Farm.

Early Grangers were never afraid to tackle big projects. In 1911, several local grangers banded together to draft a plan for dismantling and moving an old Indian era fort from its original site in Blockhouse, WA to the county courthouse park in downtown Goldendale. The historic old fort, built in the early 1850's, would be repurposed into a county historical museum. Catherine Richardson, now Locy, took a leading role in directing the renovation project.

During the project Catherine's 24-year old daughter, Helen Locy assisted her mother by cooking hot meals for the hungry crew members. Daniel G. Lefever, a 25 year old bachelor and a member of Number 6 Grange #83, lived alone on his Columbia Hills homestead. His passion was breeding quality saddle horses and selling these trained horses to the US Calvary. Although Dan lived about 18 miles from the Blockhouse project he supplied a four-horse team and a heavy freight wagon to help move the heavy logs to Goldendale. At some point during the project Dan Lefever and Helen Locy were introduced and they immediately fill in love. After a short courtship they were married and from this union came two boys, James Locy and Fredrick Henry Lefever.

When Goldendale Grange #49 reorganized in 1911, Daniel and Helen transferred their membership to Goldendale Grange. At the fiftieth anniversary of Goldendale Grange in 1961, Dan was introduced by Washington State Grange Master, Lars Nelson as a fifty-year golden sheaf member and one of only three surviving charter members of Goldendale Grange. Helen passed away a year earlier in 1960.

We now skip to 1948 when the second marriage blossomed. James Lefever, oldest son of Daniel and Helen Lefever, was a single parent with two small children. He had a natural ability with music and enjoyed playing his banjo. One evening while playing his banjo at a Centerville Grange dance he was introduced to Lucille Anderson. She was a recently windowed mother with a three-year old daughter. As happened with Jim's parents, upon meeting they immediately developed an affection for each other. They married a short time later and to this union a son, Richard was added to the Lefever family.

As Jim and Lucille's relationship was developing, Goldendale Grange was in the process of constructing a new concrete block grange hall. Each day at noon grange members working on the new building would return to the old grange hall where the grange women would fix and serve them a hot meal. Ironically, Lucille Anderson, Jim's new significant other, happened to live next door the old grange hall. She had a passion for cooking and baking bread. Although not yet a grange member she joined the grange ladies in preparing the hot noon meal. She continued her passion for cooking by working in the grange kitchen for an additional fifty years. They enjoyed participating in grange degree work especially at state grange conventions. Jim's favorite grange activity was serving as the grange Santa Claus for twelve years.


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