THE HISTORY OF FARMHOUSE FRATERNITY
1915-1924 Shaping the Future
The second decade of FarmHouse was a developmental one, with much of the framework of the organization built shortly after Illinois became the third chapter in October 1914. The real work of nationalization began in spring 1915. Each of the three chapters appointed committees on nationalization, and those committees did the first work on drafting the constitution. Many drafts were made, and much correspondence ensued before an acceptable instrument was accepted. A few changes also would be made in the constitution and bylaws during the first and third Conclaves.
The first FarmHouse Conclave took place in April 1917 at the University of Missouri. Much of the meeting focused on revising the bylaws and constitution and approving important items, such as the ritual of initiation, the badge, and the pledge pin. Already at the first Conclave, it was debated whether the organization should be called FarmHouse or FarmHouse Fraternity. At the time, it was determined
to maintain simply the name FarmHouse.
Almost immediately after the 1917 Conclave, World War I interrupted many of the great plans put into place at Conclave. No expansion was seriously considered during the period of the war, as many student bodies were drastically depleted. The second Conclave was in 1919—just after the war ended. But little activity was reported.
In 1920, the coat of arms and the seal were debated and approved. The third Biennial Conclave in Champaign, Illinois, was a busy one as charters and the membership shingle (certificate) were adopted. A well-bound house registry (now called the Herd Book) was developed that would have room for up to 30 years of members for each chapter. Many other forms also were developed.
FarmHouse as a national organization became a reality in 1921 when the constitution and bylaws were approved by each of the active houses and they gave up some of their individuality and became chapters of the greater FarmHouse.
Expansion to Wisconsin and Kansas State
Within five weeks of the third Conclave, in 1921, two new chapters were chartered — Wisconsin and Kansas State.
Both groups were chartered within a couple
of being formed. A student at
Lacey (WI '21), had attended a student convention at MU earlier in the term and came back “radiating enthusiasm” to develop a chapter at Wisconsin. It wasn't long before 18 charter members took the oath of membership into FarmHouse. Just five days later,
the Kansas State Chapter was chartered. Missouri brother Earl Maxwell (MO '18) had visited the school on May 2, 1921, and discussed the idea of starting a chapter with some faculty members and with several men who had visited other FarmHouse chapters.
Ira K. Landon (KS '21) and S. D. Capper (KS '21) began discussing it with the dean of agriculture and decided to run with the idea. The two selected a third to join them, then the three selected a fourth and so on until there were 26 men ready to petition for a charter. Just a month after deciding to form a chapter, the charter was issued on June 2, 1921.
Nationalization helped challenge the more established chapters as the newer ones were formed with excellent scholarship records and impressive activity reports.
FarmHouse continued to grow and prosper through 1923 and 1924. At the fourth Biennial Conclave in Madison, Wisconsin, it was reported that the official badge, coat of arms, and seal had been copyrighted, and plans were made to create a songbook.
Although the leadership had ongoing discussions
with men from a number of universities, one of the
most promising opportunities at the close of the
second decade was with the Lanthus Club at Iowa
State University. The men's club had been seeking
to become a chapter as early as 1922, but the group ran into some challenges with the university in regards to affiliating with a national organization.