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Eagle Grange charter members recalled during bicentennial year

By Carol Sones Shelter - | Jun 22, 2021

Mrs. Rosa Hartranft Decker and husband Alexander Decker, charter members of Eagle Grange #1, Montgomery. Rosa’s death in 1950 is believed to have marked the ending of the era of original members. Her Hartranft family was among first settlers to Black Hole Valley.

MONTGOMERY – The Eagle Grange, Pennsylvania’s first, is celebrating its bicentennial over the entire year of 2021. As such, opportunity was taken to gather and preserve information of a few of its charter members. The last surviving has been identified as Mrs. Rosa Hartranft Decker. Listed as a prominent member of the Grange and Montgomery was Frank Porter. Hereafter are parts of their accounts.

Mrs. Rosa Hartranft Decker, believed to be the last living charter member of Eagle Grange, died at her Montgomery area home, The Silver Birches, on March 4, 1950, at age 86. To her had been attributed the honor of also being the last charter member of the National Grange with Eagle and White Deer Valley Granges local units. Decker was preparing to attend the County Pomona when she became ill.

Husband Alexander Decker, a prominent county farmer, held many offices in the Grange. Rosa’s family is counted among the original settlers of Black Hole Valley in the Montgomery area. She was the daughter of George and Catherine Hartranft, affiliated with the old Stone Church in White Deer Valley until disbanded in the early 1940s by government acquisition to become the PA Ordnance Works. Rosa then joined the St. John’s Lutheran (Brick) Church.

The Decker’s parented five children and of the eleven grandchildren, two were killed in WWII. A great-granddaughter is Marian (Decker) McCormick.

The honorable Frank Porter

A charter member when the Eagle Grange formed near Montgomery was The Honorable Francis “Frank” Porter, one of the most prominent members of the Grange due to his status as a state legislator.

Having the occupation of a farmer residing near Montgomery Station, the Civil War veteran’s father was born in Ireland. Particularly interested in the Grange movement taking part in its affairs and held several offices. He was also identified with the White Deer Telephone company of which he was president at the time of his death.

He succumbed on October 2, 1908, at the age of 72. A widower, he last resided with a nephew, Robert P. Eger, son of his sister Hannah Porter Eger. It was Hannah’s husband, Luke Eger who presided as the first Master of Eagle Grange #1 at Montgomery and credited as having the major share in organizing the first subordinate Grange in Pennsylvania

Frank Porter was a member of the Presbyterian Church in which he held the position of elder for many years. The deceased was interred in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Maple Hill, Brady Township, Lycoming County, PA.