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Elgin Echo Newspaper


Elgin Echo

Elgin, Iowa

February 13, 1930

Front Page


County Politics Warming Up

The Fayette county political pot is commencing to boil and at present it looks like a hot time from now until the primaries.


All the present county officers will be candidates for re-election and some of these are going to have opposition.


Wm. F. Byers, of West Union, present county representative, is being opposed by Thore Thompson of Illyria township, and there may be more to enter this race. Thompson had one term and was defeated for his second term by Byers. Thompson will now try to turn the tables.


It was announced Tuesday that Wallace Peters of Illyria, had also taken out nomination appears for representative and the F. L. Robbins of Oelwein was thinking of entering the race too. This will mean a four cornered fight and maybe a convention fight. All of Byers’ opponents are sons of Illyria township and it will be difficult for the folks this way to choose their man.


Three candidates are already out for the Republican nomination for sheriff and one or two more have been planning to make a campaign for the nomination. Those now out are F. H. Martin of Oelwein, H. J. Nehring of Maynard, and c. C. Carmichael of West Union. No doubt the present sheriff will be the Democratic candidate.


Other present officeholders who are seeking re-election are:  J. H. Cline, auditor; F. G. Lee, treasurer; E. A. Johnson, recorder; M. M. Cooney, county attorney; W. K. Humphry, supervisor 1931 term; G. P. Leverton, supervisor 1932 term. Some of these may have opposition.


February 20, 1930


Illyria Man Tells What He Saw at Des Moines


The following is a report read by Wallace Peters before the County Farm Bureau meeting on his trip to the state meeting at Des Moines.


The 11th annual Farm Bureau convention has passed into history as the biggest event ever staged in Iowa in the Farm Bureau realm. The big auditorium in the Shrine Temple at 10th and Pleasant streets, Des Moines, was I should judge, four-fifths full at most every session. Over 2,000 farm men and women were in attendance. Folks that say the Farm Bureau is a lot of bunk, should have been there, and I am sure if they had average intelligence they would have come away convinced that the Farm Bureau was an organized worth while.

The weather was bad, couldn’t have been much worse. Snow piled in huge drifts, faster than it could be trucked off. The temperature was low but it failed to cut the attendance or dampen the ardor of these determined and courageous men and women from all parts of our fair state.


I suppose it will interest everyone in Fayette county to know about the quartette contest. The event was staged Tuesday the 14th, the first thing on the platform, though there was an executive meeting of the voting directors at 10 a.m. Ten quartettes contested. In the drawing of lots Fayette county quartette composted of Clifford Kittleson, John Larson, Russell Larson and Clarence Johnson, Miss Gladys Larson at the piano, drew first place in the Preliminaries. The boys stepped out and did a piece of work that made the whole assembly fall for them, and of course we marked them 100 per cent. Then each quartette took their turn and I don’t believe the old temple ever heard such music before. Seven of the quartettes snag before noon and the other three finished the preliminaries in the afternoon. This eliminated the five for the finals. Fayette county led. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to reports, the usual address of welcome by secretary of Des Moines convention bureau and appointments of committees. A police court trial by a group from Humboldt county was presented. The culprit was tried for getting the benefit of the farm bureau and not paying anything for it. Judges announced the finals in the quartette contest and group meetings, etc.


The fore part of the evening was devoted to community singing, presentation of awards to standard townships, trophies to county with largest membership, county making largest membership gain, membership team securing the largest number of members in 1929, and individual securing largest number of members. Quartettes in fals, Sac, Fayette, Marshall, Dallas, Woodbury, Linn. A short address by Rev. M. B. Schultz of Shelby county, past of the First church to receive a certificate in class A rural program in recognition of rural members. He spoke of the sacrifice the men and women had made to come to the convention and in doing the work of the farm bureau in general. He wondered how many of the quartettes got their inspiration from the church, and that was the same thought I had in mind as I listened to them sing. He also stressed the fact that the most cultured folks were worldly good. I don’t think there was any address at any time that appealed so much to the best in one’s nature as this address by Rev. Schultz. Then came the announcement of the judges decision in the quartette contest which gave Sac 1, Marshall 2, Dallas 2, Woodburg 3. Had the same judges judged the finals as the preliminaries no doubt Fayette county would have won first, as it was they were the most popular quartette for everyone seemed to think they were handed a raw deal. All quartettes joined in singing the “Blind Plowman” and this ended the first day.


Wednesday morn dawned cold and raw with a wind that cut like a knife. Meeting called to order, President Hearst presiding. After some (Turn to page 8 Please)


PETER’S [SIC] REPORT OF STATE F.B. MEETING AT D. M. (Continued from page 1)

Community singing and a prayer by A. W. Anderson of Polk county, we listened to secretary William’s report. She stated at the outset that the farm bureau work was never done. That the most important work for the year was taxation, organization and membership. Poultry and egg marketing had received much attention as did also the service and insurance departments. There are 60,000 farm families who are members of the Iowa Farm Bureau, and the Farm Bureau income is $105,714.35, with an operating expense of $85,000. Miss Williams is a fluent talker and sure knows her business. At this time there was a call for the Fayette county quartette to sing but in their absence they called for the winning quartette which happened to be there, and they sang two selections. By the way, the Fayette county quartette were [sic] getting ready to sing over WHO.

President Hearst gave his annual message at this time. I will try and hit just a few of the high spots. Never has agriculture held such an important place in the affairs of our nation. We have developed to a state where we are able to cope with any industrial group. 30 per cent of the folks of the nation are farmers but they receive only 10 per cent of the nation’s income. The record of the past year shows that our national government has at last recognized agriculture, and farmers have won a victory through legislation. We will have to give agriculture the credit for creating the extra session of legislature. The federal marketing act and the federal farm board. The federal farm board has a great task before it. It will take much time and patience to work the projects set before it. The day is past when a farmer can be independent. He must cooperative with the others and it is only through cooperation that we can get the benefits of the farm board. He also stated that it cost more to ship from any point midway of the Corn Belt to either the Atlantic or Pacific seaboard than it does direct across the continent. He believes in the improvement of waterways as a means of cheap transportation. Taxation is the dominant issue today. When the state was new and the land was practically the only asset the only means of securing finds to run the affairs of state was through the taxation on land. Now times have changed. We have great industrial groups and individuals that receive vast incomes. Over one half the folks in the state receive money from incomes, therefore it is only justice that such people pay their share to support the public welfare of the state. We are at the threshold of a new era in cooperative marketing. With the farm board working effectively with the coops, surely some system will be worked out effectively. He touched briefly on the women’s work and club work.

A short speech of greeting from H. D. A. Ella Loughran, president of Sioux City, and greetings from Harry Codlin, president co. agents, Adel, Iowa and then Jesse D. Sickler the composer and author of the Official Farm Bureau song, put on an interesting entertainment that was nothing else but good. Adjournment for a group picture and then dinner.

After dinner community sing led by Tolbert McRae. The report of credentials committee and seating voting directors. Greetings, Mark Thornberg, state secretary of agriculture. I don’t just remember what Mark said, I was wondering what place he would take  in a beauty contest. I am afraid it would spell zero. Senator C. T. Clark of Cedar Rapids, chairman of joint legislative tax committee, gave an address on tax revision and agriculture in Iowa. He stated that four different committees have studied taxes in the last 30 years. So the tax problem is not a new thing. 13 per cent are exempt from taxation in the United States and only 4 per cent in Iowa. He said that tangible and intangible property were about equal in Iowa. The vast sums of money the government spent was one great cause for increase in taxes. The only way to decrease taxes was to get revenue from other sources. Incomes mainly. Taxes are now 3 times larger than before the war. There is such a wide diversity of valuations because of the assessor’s judgment. That he deemed it advisable to create some extra means of assessing. Perhaps a county assessor would be advisable. An income tax would much more evenly distribute the taxes. At present 1-3 of the states have an income tax. Farmers pay 70 per cent of the taxes and get 40 per cent of the state’s income. 70 per cent of all state officers salaries are paid by the farmers. For the last 20 years 99 per cent of the money for road maintainence [sic] and building was derived from gas tax. He also stated that rural schools were on the downgrade or else creating excessive tax.

The winning quartet gave [unreadable] at this time and then M. S. [unreadable], extension secretary American F. B. gave an address that touched most every phase of farm life. He regards Iowa Farm Bureau as the one they pay more than any other state. He said the most important of the agricultural act was co-op, marketing or that part that dealt with co-op, marketing. Without the Farm Bureau it would be almost impossible to organize a co-operative assn. Soil fertility was next considered. We will have to watch our step or we will be in time like some of the farmers in the eastern states, spending $125 per acre for fertilizer and labor to grow a crop. Roads were a timely topic. He made the statement that the paved roads of Illinois did the majority of farmers but little good. Many living a distance off the pavement parked their cars on the shoulder and walked or drove a team to them when the dirt roads were bad. He also said every farm was entitled to electricity for lighting and power. I would say that Mr. Winder is a very able man.

Wednesday evening about 1,000 folks went across the street from the temple to the basement of the Methodist church and sat down to a banquet. While it was somewhat shy as to grub for a hungry man, yet if fed the humorous side of ones nature to the brim. The politicians were there galore. Dan Turner, candidate for governor, made a short speech but didn’t say much. Gov. Hammill made a long speech and didn’t say much, either. Congressman Dickenson made a few snappy remarks. Tolbert McRae sang a song, and led the group singing. A chap preformed [sic] some slight-of-hand tricks but the whole thing was eclipsed by Ed Odea, toastmaster with his funny stories and his comical way. After the banquet we all went back to the temple where a short stunt program was held on the exposition floor.

Thursday morning the first thing on the program was community singing, led by Prof. Twelldon, State Teachers College, after which President Hughes of Iowa State College, gave a short talk. His talk was mainly on the college and its work. He spoke of the moral uplift of the college and I believe he is right when he says that no finer class of young folks both morally and intellectually can be found anywhere outside of the rural districts. That they have been taught to work on the farms and is therefore inculcated into their being that industry, which makes for a greater proficiency in their college work. He gave a little insight into the industries brought out in research work. Such as the manufacturing of cornstalks into the various commercial commodities. He put in a plea for more money for the college. He said other industries spent more money for research work than Ames and cited one corporation that spent $15,000,000 for research work. Stark of the service department gave his report at this time. He said the farmers that bought of the Service Department, oils, minerals, chick mash, etc., have saved $40,000. Awarding of certificates to standard 4H club counties by President Hearst. C. W. Huntley of the Insurance Dept. gave his report. He stated that they had written 38,000 policies in 11 months. And now at 10 a.m. Ed O’Neil, vice-president of American Farm Bureau Federation, gave an address on marketing. Mr. O’Neil began his address by giving a little personal history. He said his father died when he was a small boy and his grandfather took the job of raising him. At his grandfather’s death he was left the estate, the debts and the negroes. His tales of how he and his grandfather went into the dairy business were funny and he told in that genial southern drawl which created much laughter. He stated that farmers’ problems were very much the same all over the country. Whether you were raised corn or cotton stock or grain farming. That co-op marketing was easy to talk about but the devil to do it. But hand the F. B. on a nail and it will boss the job for you. He stated that the vast majority of farmers were not producing on an economical basis as proven from figures over a four year period ending in 1928, showing that the wheat crop was produced at a loss of 2c a bushel, cotton at 2c per pound profit, and corn at only 4c per bushel profit.

Through organization the farmer must remove himself from his “What will you give us, and what will you take?” role. Last year more than one-fifth of all agricultural products were marketed co-operatively, mostly in small units. We must co-ordinate and unite these separate commodities. Organizations now competing with each other. He commended the federal farm board for its steps in advanced cooperative marketing and added that farmers must now do their part to make the agricultural marketing act a success. He cited the American Steel Co. as an example of collective bargaining power. He also spoke of the harmonious way in which the Farm Bureau and farmers’ union worked on fundamentals. He also believes the equalization fee the only thing and thinks it will yet be adopted, that it was just cooperation anyway. He thinks the farm board all right, though it may not meet all the requirements, take it as it is and build on it.

I didn’t go back to the temple for the afternoon session as it was not important to me. The first district had luncheon together at the “Y” where we had a real get-together, getting acquainted time and took up much of the afternoon’s time.

We boarded the train at 6 o’clock for Oelwein and reached our own fireside at about 2 o’clock Friday morning, having made two relays by auto, after leaving Oelwein. Glad we went, glad to get home. Found everything okay and the sow and litter doing fine.—Wallace Peters. 



~ transcribed and contributed by Crystal A. Bingham <>

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