by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
For a few weeks I have been sharing parts of a college notebook assignment completed by Marjorie Tate, a Grain Valley resident and a student at Central Missouri State Teachers College in the early 1920s. Perhaps because one of my favorite classes at Mizzou was Rural Sociology with Dr. Hobbs, I continue to enjoy reading about Jackson County and specifically Grain Valley.
Because Miss Tate’s work was completed 100 years ago, the information, while written from one personal view, provides an interesting perspective of our past.
One section of her report dealt with Cooperatives and Miss Tate shared her understanding of the term. “Cooperation is the act of persons, voluntarily united, of utilizing reciprocally their own forces, resources, or both, under their mutual management and to their common profit or loss.”
She identified several types of cooperation in Jackson County. In her words, “… including work, selling and shipping livestock, selling and transporting cream, buying coal and corn, transporting children to school, cooking for threshers, in church and in lodge.”
At that same time, there were in Jackson County at least six cooperative enterprises.
As for the social life and social clubs, it is interesting to note that 100 years ago, the study was about funds provided for social life, issues that might divide a community, the role of the school in the community, provisions for youth, provision for disabled, and questions regarding isolation of individuals and families. The report even included the number of telephones in Missouri, 404,150. (The number of telephones in Grain Valley and Jackson County was not reported.)
One of the questions for the report was, “Has the community ever been broken up over any sort of questions?” Miss Tate reported on the community divide created by the consolidation of the school district in 1909, but stated that it is “now established and recognized as a helpful factor.”
As for social clubs in the 1920s, her report included the following:
Women’s Clubs (and don’t ask me what they were) Happy Hour Club, Bar Temps Club, XXIV Club, WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union), YPB (When I googled this, I got prohibition issues, but I cannot be certain for what the letter stood for), Ladies Aid Societies, Canning Clubs, Garden Clubs, Boys’ Clubs: Pig Club & Calf Club, 4-H Girls’ Clubs: Campfire Girls, 4-H.
Once again, the report included lots of social activities centered around the Grain Valley School. From sporting events to dances with picnics, pie and box socials, and traveling picture shows in the park, it seems to me that the good folks of Grain Valley found plenty to do.