FarmHouse Fraternity is an international student organization located on more than 30 college and university campuses in 24 states and Canada. It is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1905, the fraternity's original membership focused on agricultural majors. However, today's FarmHouse includes hundreds of young college men majoring in a large range of academic disciplines both within and outside of agriculture.
Even though FarmHouse men come from many different types of communities, they all share a pride in preserving the "small town" core values upon which this fraternity was created. The Letters of F-A-R-M-H-O-U-S-E..."Faith", "Ambition", "Reverence", "Morality", "Honesty", "Obedience", "Unity", "Service", and "Excellence" are more than just words. They are the principles and ideals that we hold in highest esteem. Every FarmHouse chapter strives to provide the kind of environment that fosters the best in each of its members.
Coming to the NCSU FH chapter house for the first time, many visitors have commented about the genuine friendliness and family-like relationships of its brotherhood. Its not uncommon to hear, "its like coming home". For some, that first visit will be the start of their journey in becoming a FarmHouse brother. The "FarmHouse Experience" ushers new beginnings: the start of new, lifetime friendships; the encouragement and support to help attain academic excellence in preparation for each member's professional future; envolvement with community and charitable projects; athletic competitions; and, fun social activites.
FARMHOUSE FRATERNITY - BUILDER OF MEN
The Founding of
How It All Began Almost A Century Ago...
The Founding of FarmHouse
FarmHouse Fraternity is what it is by reason of the faithful, loyal,and enthusiastic efforts of members of the fraternity. Whatever greatnessit may boast, whatever influence it wields, whatever reputation it mayhave, all of these and each of these are to be credited to the members ofthe organization.
In order to understand the development and history of FarmHouseFraternity, we must keep clearly in mind what kind of social order existedon the University of Missouri campus during the time of its birth and infancy.FarmHouse like most campus social organizations, had a humblebeginning. There were few students to draw on for members. Its purpose orobjective was not clearly defined or understood, and therefore, itattracted little attention. It was not the result of a crisis amongagricultural students, but was rather the result of a need for recognitionof a small and subordinate, specialized group in the area of higher education.
The Missouri College of Agriculture was established in 1870, as partof the Land Grant System. It was a small Division of the University withless than 100 students, and was not held in the same esteem as Law andMedicine - by far the largest class to this time. Nearly all were farmreared boys. This was, to a degree, the beginning of a new era in theCollege - not only because of the larger enrollments, but because of anenlarged curriculum, and the adoption of higher standards for admission -on a par with other divisions of the University.
A rather close fellowship developed in this group of 35. Most of themattended the same classes. Everyone knew everyone else. There developed adepartmental consciousness among the agricultural students that haspersisted to the present day.
As an outgrowth of this fellowship in the College, and the friendshipsthat were formed, three men - D. Howard Doane, H.P. Rush and Earl Rusk -conceived the idea of forming an Agricultural Club, in order to perpetuatethis congenial association (apparently this was discussed at Sundayafternoon Y.M.C.A. Bible meetings.) Other members of the class who seemeddesirable were invited to join this group. It was proposed to rent a houseand live together. This was in the spring of 1905.
From the diary of D. Howard Doane comes the following record:"At the close of my freshman year, (May 1905) there was organized a club offarmers, principally from the freshman class, to run a club house to beknown as The Farm House. I thought out and worked up the plan and then tookit to the Rusk brothers, Earl and Henry, and we asked to join us ClaudeHutchison (Si), Robert Howard (Bob), Melvin Sherwin (Melvin), HenryKrusekopf (Kruse), C.B. Smith (C.B.), Lee Hewett (a graduate), Palmer andMcDaniels (Doc). Each of the above named was to get a roommate and thisnumber, 22, would fill our house, which we rented from Judge Stewart for$65.00 per month for twelve months.
"When school opened in September only seven of the group returned.They took the house on their hands and turned it into a regular rooming andboarding house.
"Those seven fellows were the best bunch that ever got together.During the whole year they managed the house without one singledisagreeable incident. Henry Rush was president; Melvin, vice president;Bob, secretary and treasurer, and myself commissary. My duties were toattend to all the buying, hiring of all the help - we had three servants -and plan the meals and see that things ran smoothly. As pay for my work Ireceived my room and board. My duties were numerous and I spent between$350 and $400 a month, every penny of which had to be accounted bor bimonthly."Many a night this dear old bunch assembled with gravest doubtsassailing them and they wondered if it was all worth while."
The second year a "matron" was hired, in the hope that it would reducethe problem of managing the house. It was a trying and testing year and itwas debated if the club should continue. But by this time the friendshipof the seven members was so strongly entrenched, that the decision was tocontinue. "We will overcome" might appropriately have been our slogan..The first two years were difficult but enjoyed and characterized bydetermination, friendship, and a high standard of conduct.
In the fall of 1907 the club moved to a house at the corner ofMissouri and Rollins streets, near the present site of the UniversityCommons. Mrs. Austin, a kindly widow was matron and owner. Meals were notserved, but all members ate at the boarding house across the street. Thiswas a significant period, for all men living in the house were agriculturalstudents and were now considered members of the Farm House Club. Theoriginal club of seven lost its identity, and was part of the larger group.Founder, C.B. Hutchison, in his fiftieth anniversary address to membersattending the Conclave said, "It should be noted that no one among the little group of founders had anythought that he and his fellows were founding a fraternity nor had they anyintention of doing so. Indeed, had any one seriously suggested at the timethat this would or might be the ultimate outcome, the little acorn fromwhich this mighty oak has grown would doubtless not have been planted, orif planted would not have survived the seedling stage. Such was thereputation of fraternities in general in the youthful minds of the"founding fathers," some of whom, I know not whether all, had already hadinvitations to join well established greek letter fraternities in theiruniversity community. This was not to be a fraternity but a club and itwas make so again in those earnest but youthful minds by definition..."The basic point in our minds was to find a place where we could liveand work together, to promote our mutual interests in stimulatingcompanionship and fellowship. Top make sure no one would think of our clubas a fraternity, we gave it what we thought was a non-fraternity name. Itwas to exemplify agriculture and rural living despite the fact that ofnecessity it had to have an urban locale."
FarmHouse had its first picture in the Savitar in 1907 and was listedas a club.. It continued to be so classified until 1916, when it wasclassified as a professional fraternity. In 1924 FarmHouse was recognizedas a fraternity on the University of Missouri campus and became a member ofthe Pan Hellenic Council. All this indicates the changing concept andattitude of the members, and of the University, to Farmhouse as a fraternity.
There were significant developments in the college of Agriculture inthe period from 1904 to 1908, in which FarmHouse had a significant part,not as an organization, but by the leadership of individual members of thegroup. The Missouri Chapter of Alpha Zeta was established in 1907. Sevenof the ten charter members were members of FarmHouse. The Farmers Fair,established in 1906, was first suggested by a FarmHouse man. Theagriculture club and the College Farmer were established in 1904.FarmHouse was the nucleus where many of the activities in the College werefirst planned and discussed, and thus it exerted a strong influence on theentire college.
When the third organization bearing the name of FarmHouse wasestablished, then nationalization was first discussed seriously. TheMissouri House was organized in 1905. In Nebraska the organization waswell underway without name when the organizers learned of the MissouriHouse and because of the similarity of purposes, aims and constituency thename fitted and was adopted. Thus the two original Houses were, we mightsay, independently organized. However, the Illinois FarmHouse wasdeliberately and designedly organized as such, accompanied by a lurkingnotion of nationalization.
The real work of nationalization began in the spring of 1915.Committees on nationalization were appointed by each of the three Housesand these committees did the first work on the drafting of theconstitution. Many drafts were made and much correspondence ensured beforean acceptable instrument was molded. A few changes were make in theConstitution and By-Laws in the First and Third Biennial Conclaves.FarmHouse as a national organization became a reality early in 1921when the Constitution and By-Laws were approved by each of the ActiveHouses and they then gave up some of their individuality and became"Chapters" or the "greater" FarmHouse. FarmHouse had taken on a new meaning.But even with the Constitution and By-Laws adopted there were manydetails of the organization to ve worked out The Ritual for initiation waswritten, The badge designed by H.W. Richey, Nebraska, in 1914, and used bythe Nebraska House was adopted at the First Biennial Conclave in 1917 asthe official pledge pin.
The Coat of Arms and the Seal were given a vast amount of diligentstudy and thought before they were brought to final completion in 1920.Upon the latter depended the form for the Charter, finally adopted at theThird Biennial Conclave and ordered engraved. The idea of a "shingle"(membership certificate) for members and the plan for it were alsodeveloped at the Third Biennial Conclave.
A well bound House register was printed for each Chapter, so designedthat a complete and up-to-date record could be kept of each member. It wasdesigned to last the Chapter for thirty years or more. Many other formswere developed, such as order blanks for badges, forms for semester reportsfrom the Chapters to the National Secretary-Treasurer and record cards forkeeping a record by the National Secretary of all the individual members.More than a casual reading of the constitution will disclose the factthat the official name of our organization is "FarmHouse." At the FirstConclave in 1917, a suggestion was advanced of amending the Constitution tomake the name "FarmHouse Fraternity." The feeling was predominate at thattime that even though the organization was a fraternity in the fullestmeaning of the word it had not become sufficiently well established tocounteract the odium that is sometimes attached to the name "fraternity" asknown in the Colleges and Universities. It was considered best to awaitthat time when by its distinction "FarmHouse" might inject a new meaninginto the word "Fraternity".
Nationalization had a stimulating effect upon the various Chapters andthe addition of new Chapters with their excellent scholarship and activityreports caused the old Chapters to look to their laurels. Alsonationalization helped in gaining a greater recognition in the institutionswhere Chapters were maintained, although the respect in which FarmHouse isheld is most largely due to the creditable manner with which the chaptershave deported themselves through the years.
FarmHouse was inactive as an organized group during the two WorldWars. During 1943 and 1944 Chapter houses became dormitories for servicemen or for girls, under the supervision of the University. Many Chaptersresumed activity in the fall of 1945 on a limited basis, but it was 1947before all Chapters were operating on a full scale.
Relationship with the National Interfraternity Conference
FarmHouse joined the NIC as a junior member in 1944. Because of itssize at the time, eight chapters, it was not considered eligible for fullmembership. With twelve chapters and three colonies, FarmHouse became afull fledged member on March 25, 1953.
FarmHouse dropped out of the NIC during 1971 to 1981, as did manyother national/international fraternities. Since rejoining, FarmHouse hasbeen an active, supportive member of the NIC and its programs, andencourages its local colonies, chapters, and associations to be the same intheir campus IFC's.
Exploration of a Merger
Following two years of discussion concerning a possible merger, DeltaTheta Sigma Fraternity, having 150 members, and FarmHouse Fraternity ,having 2,700 members, agreed at the 1948 Conclave to a period of "trialmerger," for the mutual benefit of the two fraternities.
President J. Kenneth Stern of Delta Theta Sigma and President JosephAckerman of FarmHouse worked together as did other officers in attemptingto reconcile the policies of both fraternities, The publications of thetwo organizations, The Shield of Delta Theta Sigma, and the Pearls andRubies of FarmHouse, were published together under the efforts of Milton E.Bliss of DTS and Preston McDanniel of FarmHouse.
During the 1950 Conclave, both fraternities in separate businessmeetings agreed to discontinue efforts to bring about a merger of the twogroups. Because of disagreement on a new name, groups felt that bestinterest would be served for each to go its separate way.J. Kenneth Stern expressed the attitude of both groups when he spokeat the final session of the Conclave, saying, "It's been a grandexperience. There's a deep appreciation of the generosity, friendliness,and hospitality we have enjoyed." It was a genuine expression of mutualfeeling that prevailed after two years of joint effort to find a commonground on which the two fraternities might meet as one.
On April 20, 1974, the FarmHouse Club at the University of Alberta,Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was installed as the University of AlbertaFarmhouse Chapter, thereby making FarmHouse an International Fraternity.
[ "The Founding of FarmHouse" Used with Permission from FarmHouse International ]
North Carolina State
In the Beginning
FarmHouse, a national non-Greek letter social fraternity, was first established at the University of Missouri in 1905. Three (3) young men conceived the idea during a YMCA Bible study class. They envisioned a social fraternity noted for academic excellence and high morals standards, while developing outstanding leadership qualities and providing a home away from home. The motto, “Builder of Men” was adopted. By design, the fraternity grew slowly, eventually expanding to other mid-western universities.
Setting the Stage
The “seed” that became FarmHouse Fraternity at NC State began germinating on the Raleigh campus soon after World War II with the arrival of Paul Harvey, Fred Warren, H. A. Stewart, and Clarence Hanson, new faculty members in the School of Agriculture. Having had the FH experience as undergraduates, these young professors were prepared to foster a similar brotherhood for students at NC State. Drs. James H. Hilton and Carey H. Bostian, the Dean and the Director of Instruction for the Ag School encouraged them.
The early 50’s were exciting times at State College and the climate was ripe for a new and different social fraternity, particularly one for agricultural and forestry students.Most World War II veterans, many married with children, had graduated.The campus was now more homogenous with approximately 5000 recent high school graduates. They were primarily white males largely from small North Carolina’s towns and rural areas, and were born during the depression of the 1930’s.Many came from small high schools poorly prepared for the rigors of NC State. Yet, they were a determined group with little money, fully charged with enthusiasm and determination.
The stage set by NC State and the State Legislature created a heady atmosphere for these young students. Previously over-shadowed by UNC at Chapel Hill, State emerged in the late 40’s as a truly equal institution. Demands by a developing economy and by WW II veterans for engineering, textiles, forestry, and agricultural training challenged the Legislature to fund new facilities and a larger faculty.Simultaneously, Reynolds Coliseum had been completed and the Wolfpack, under Everett Case, was a dominant basketball power, producing national sports headlines.
While the engineering curriculum encompassed more students, the School of Agriculture tended to dominate campus life. Its faculty and research facilities reflected the political influence of the State’s agricultural interests of those days. Tobacco was king while dairy farming, poultry, swine, and beef cattle were gaining importance.
During the spring quarter of 1952, Dr. Fred Warren, Professor of Dairy Manufacturing, organized a small group of outstanding students to form a FarmHouse Club. The goal was to eventually file for a charter, thereby becoming a full-fledged member of the national Fraternity.The group included S. Eugene Younts, Richard A. Ledford, Birch McMurray, Robert M. Brinkley, Tommy F. Foster, Dewey W. Hennessee, G. Richard Gwynn, Walter Stinson, Clayton Davis, Charles Raper, Bryon Hawkins, Horace Hodgin, Ervin T. Kornegay, Lewis Penland, and Earl Poplin.
All were serious, excellent students disinterested in traditional fraternities.Most worked one or more jobs with little time for distractions. The concept of a social fraternity whose focus was good grades and building men through brotherhood was a hard sell for the faculty advisors. However, out of respect for Warren, Hanson, Harvey, and Stewart, and due to common interest, the young Club began to have regular meetings. According to Birch McMurray, “Bob Brinkley, Tom Foster, Richard Gwynn, Dewey Hennessee, and Richard Ledford were the only ones present at one organizational meeting. As a result they were named Founders.The others became Charter Members”.
After the first quarter, FarmHouse startled NC State’s other fraternities with a grade point average half a letter grade better than its nearest competitor. According to Gene Younts, “No one believed that 15 FH students could average well above a B.Since we were only a club, the Interfraternity Council ruled us ineligible for grades competition.When our grades for the entire academic year were better than a B, we created quite a stir on campus.” Birch McMurray remembers, “We set the standard for grades yet were very active in intramural sports, the Ag Club, the NC State Agriculturist, and honor societies such as Alpha Zeta, Blue Key, and Thirty and Three.We were enthusiastic, off to a good start, successful in recruiting good pledges, and this impressed the faculty”.
The First House
Fulfilling the goal of a “home away from home” was realized in the fall of 1953 when the Club moved to 2600 Hillsborough Street, the private residence of Marvin and Frances Dunbar.Gene Pickler, Class of ’56 says, “I don’t know who arranged for the first house, but I do know for certain that by arriving one day early, I was the first to move in”.
Mr. & Mrs. Dunbar lived on the first floor while the fraternity occupied the top floor with its “greenhouse” and an “outhouse” (rooms with lots of glass), and the basement known for its “dungeon”.Mrs. Dunbar, beloved housemother, and her cook, Jake, fed the brothers two (2) meals on weekdays and Saturday breakfast. For a group of active farm boys, sitting down to good home cooking was truly“home away from home”. Some were introduced to new foods such as “French toast” and store-bought bacon. Even though an occasional fish fry created odors and reluctance for brothers to rush to dinner, food and mealtime were important daily rituals. Mrs. Dunbar’s food was an excellent pledge-recruiting tool. Richard Ledford remembers, “Mrs. Dunbar’s meals were very memorable. They were a factor in keeping our members close and working for the common good.”
The new brotherhood blossomed at this location as serious young men learned to live together in harmony, earning good grades balanced with wholesome fun, and realizing the significance of FarmHouse objectives.Today, each FH’er who lived with the Dunbars has his unique memories. Gene Pickler recalls occasions when the National President of FarmHouse, D. W. Colvard, Dean of the School of Agriculture, E. L. Cloyd, a neighbor and Dean of Students, Carey H. Bostian, then Chancellor at NC State, and other stimulating visitors were dinner guests.
Upper classmen and fraternity leaders lived on the 2nd floor. A small living room on that level was used for weekly meetings and was also the scene for regular “bull sessions” about every subject imaginable, especially girls and politics. The house phone was nearby but private conversations were almost impossible. Occasionally, with all guys present, this room was used for the wholesome critique of a specific brother. As the center of attention, he was taken apart bit by bit and then put back together. Usually the subject centered on his social skills or lack thereof, and habits that brothers liked or disliked. Delivered with loving care, it was usually a highly successful therapy session that created stronger brotherly love.
A room in the basement held a ping-pong table where loud competitive games were constantly in progress.Excitement filled the air when a brother became pinned (giving a girl friend his fraternity pin). Regardless of weather, that brother was “captured”, crammed into a vehicle and carted off to the nearest water hole, usually a pond at the College dairy farm.The “victim”, fighting and resisting, was usually successful in dragging other brothers into the water as he was tossed into the “deep”. One brother from that era was color blind and dependent upon others to select his clothing. Betrayed by his “best friends” he went off on an important date thinking he was color coordinated only to learn later that his “buddies” were having a hearty laugh at his expense.
While the boys were more comfortable in their overalls at the annual Barn Warming, Interfraternity Council dances created considerable excitement.Brothers with steady girl friends were charged with finding dates for the unattached.Of course there were those who had never worn a tuxedo, and worse yet had never danced! Fraternity social events played cupid for a number of the brothers. Richard Ledford says, “FarmHouse was a factor in my meeting Martha, my wife of 47 years. A group of us attended the State/Carolina game of 1953. She was a WC (now UNC-Greensboro) student and we met following the game at a reception”.
Chapter is Chartered
On May 15, 1954 at a ceremony in the cafeteria of the NC Highway Department, the NC Chapter of FarmHouse was chartered.All other 14 chapters and clubs from around the country sent representatives. Groups drove from Colorado and Wyoming (in those days air travel was not a viable option). At the ceremony Drs. Joe Pou and Ed Legates, beloved faculty members, were inducted as Associate Members. Dr. Pou recalls,” I don’t remember the details of the program, but I have vivid recollections of being very impressed with the caliber of the leadership and scholarship represented by the students there”.
By 1955 the Fraternity was flourishing.It was known for alcohol abstinence and for scholastic achievement. Brothers continued to be active members of various honorary clubs, participate in intramural athletics, serve as campus leaders, and continued to gain respect of other fraternities and the campus administration.
As the 1955-56 academic year progressed, it became clear that FH was ready for the new challenge of home ownership. Chapter president, Justus M “Jud” Ammons, and Bert Brown negotiated the purchase of a large frame dwelling at 2100 Hillsborough Street, across from the NC State bell tower. With no furniture and little money, the brothers “pitched-in” during the summer of 1956 and built bunk beds, bought used springs, mattresses, chairs, cooking equipment, and were in full operation by the fall semester. Total responsibility for cooking, cleaning, and operating a house proved to be excellent training, though often trying, for participating brothers.
As with the Dunbar home, 2100 Hillsborough provides special memories for those who lived there. It was a large rambling house, since destroyed, that provided the fraternity its first opportunity for in-house socials and other functions. However, the old structure was a challenge, even to farm boys who were accustomed to barns and non-insulated homes.One February with the temperature at 6 degrees, and with inadequate blankets, brothers were sleeping with each other, under mattresses, just to keep warm.
During the spring of 1958, 2100 Hillsborough was sold and the fraternity moved a third time to 1718 Hillsborough, a brick veneer, and better quality house.Here the fraternity thrived well into the 1960’s until Public Service Company of NC persuaded the group to sell in 1969 (the Gas Company tore down the old house and built their corporate headquaters on the site).
FarmHouse then purchased the residence at 115 Park Avenue (referred to as the Elizabeth Lawrence House, so named because famed southern gardening author Elizabeth Lawrence lived there for 40 years). The chapter continued to flourish in the 19th century country style 2-story house that was built by the warden of Central Prison as his residence sometime around 1878. This is the house that the vast majority of our alumni remember since it housed the chapter for 35 years!
But "time", the "wear and tear" of thousands of student residents and their visitors, and more demanding university policies concerning the safety of student housing, prompted the NC FarmHouse Association Board to once again take a bold step. Adopting the campaign theme, "BUILDING FOR THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS", ground was broken on November 8th, 2003 for a new chapter house at the 115 Park Avenue location, just behind the old Lawrence house (which was largely salvaged for recycle and then taken down on May 24th, 2004). Construction of the new building took 9 months. On August 13th, 2004, FarmHouse received its Certificate of Occupancy from the City of Raleigh...beginning the next era of FarmHouse Fraternity at NC State.
The official Chapter House Dedication Ceremony occured on Saturday, September 18th, 2004 and was attended by active brothers, alumni, representatives of FarmHouse International Fraternity, NC State faculty, and members' families and friends.
At the annual "Founder's Day Banquet" on Saturday, May 23rd, 2005, a bronze plaque was unveiled naming the "Ammons Chapter House" in honor of Alumni Brother Justus M. "Jud" Ammons (NC '54) recognizing his many years of commitment, loyal service, and unwavering support of the North Carolina Chapter.
Service and Careers
Approximately 150 young men were initiated into the North Carolina FarmHouse Chapter from 1952 –59. These men have been, and continue to be, solid contributing citizens. Among the brothers are at least eleven veterinarians, three (3) physicians, two (2) ministers, and a Superior Court Judge.A large number earned PhD degrees and have served in academic and administrative positions at major universities and in private industry. At least two have written books that have been published. Gene Younts and Gene Pickler both served the National FH organization in various positions, Younts having been National President.While the past 50 years have been dramatic and traumatic for farming, some brothers continue to successfully till the soil. Several launched successful businesses.
The 50’s FHer’s, now grandparents, are still active in careers, church service, political positions, volunteer work, and living by the rule that “service to humanity is the best work of life”.
Fundraising for the new chapter house has given those from the 50’s reasons to reminisce and there is a unanimous agreement with Gene Pickler’s comment,“FarmHouse has given me some life-long friends. I grew up in many ways as a chapter member and my growing was mainly through association with great brothers. I have never doubted the vast benefits that I received from the Fraternity.”
A recent dream prompted Birch McMurray to recall a comment made to him by Dr. Carey H. Bostian more than 50 years ago, “ State has been good to you, what do you plan to do for State?” Birch states, “Since Dr. Bostian was both a personal supporter to me and a supporter of FarmHouse, I decided to get involved and contribute to the new house, so let’s all remember what State and FarmHouse did for each of us”. Gene Younts adds, “ FH has been of great significance in my life for several reasons, but first and foremost was the opportunity to become friends with the greatest group of men in the world.”
[Webmaster's Note: This History of the NCSU FH Chapter was written by Sherrill Brinkley (NC '55). Our thanks to Sherrill and to those founding and charter members who contributed to this wealth of information concering our beginnings.]
[Additional updates by "JB" Braxton (NC '98)...last revised on January 22, 2006.]
NCSU Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity
115 Park Avenue - Raleigh, NC 27605-1832