1898 Annual report of the Iowa State Agricultural Society






Iowa State Agricultural Society



P. L. FOWLER, Secretary.







Fair held at Marengo, September 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23, 1898.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had the finest of weather, but a drizzling rain set in at 6 o'clock Wednesday evening, and continued until noon the next day. The fair had to be postponed in consequence until Friday and Saturday. These days were perfect but the roads being so bad we failed to get the attendance our people expected. It has been our experience that a "five-day fair " is altogether too long to be either profitable or pleasant. Stock men do not wish to hold stock so long and the expense to the society more than exhausts the receipts.

The crop conditions never were more promising in this county than now; yields are abundant and qualities excellent. Corn is well out of danger from frost, and fall pastures good. The horse market of this county is gradually improving but cattle industry is the main center of interest to our patrons. Hogs are only a fair crop and the price ranging about the same as last year. Sheep raising is receiving more than usual attention in this section in the past year, many thousands being shipped in from the west to graze the rougher farms.

Marengo is a live business town, offering openings in almost any line, but the best thing in sight at present is an opening for a hotel and bath resort, our mineral water being equal to Colfax, and wasted now for the want of enterprising men to develop it.



Fair held at Victor, August 30 and 31, and September 1, 1898.

We again made a success of our fair. All departments were well filled with entries and sharp competition prevailed in all departments. We excluded all games of chance, which only reduced our privilege receipts a small amount. Our gate receipts were larger than last year, owing partly to fine weather and some special attractions, one of which was a baby show.


We raised, through the generosity of our people, a purse of about $100, which was given away in premiums. Thirty babies each carried away a prize. This was a drawing card, and increased our gate and amphitheatre receipts very materially.

The speed ring was not well filled, owing to conflicting dates, yet we amused the people and had fine performances in speed each day.

The corn crop is good in every respect and promises a fair yield. Wheat, both fall and spring, made a good crop; we raise only a limited amount in this district. Oats made a fair yield, but are light in weight Barley made a good crop. Potatoes fair, and hay and pastures were never better, which makes an urgent demand for feeding stock of all kinds.

The health of all classes of stock is better than the average, there being not much complaint of hog diseases of the various kinds. The pig crop was short of previous years, consequently better care was given to those saved. Poultry is receiving more attention than in former years, which pays well when care and good judgment are exercised. The fruit crop is not up to the average. More care should be given to this industry; spraying to destroy the codling moth would make a marked improvement in quality of fruit. Many farmers are paying some attention to fruit raising, with a reasonable degree of success; many more should follow their example.

Our district is adapted to all kinds of husbandry, and skilled hands are sure of a remunerative reward. I believe in the future of Iowa agriculture. We are in our infancy, and the day is not far distant when the scientific husbandman will not be satisfied with the yields and profits of today.



Fair held at Williamsburg (Iowa county), September 13, 14, 15 and 16, 1898.

The Williamsburg District Fair association held its first annual fair at Williamsburg, and was a success, both from a financial standpoint and exhibits displayed, and was one of the best in the history of the county. The first half day it rained and the outlook was gloomy indeed to the management, whose expectations were hopeful and roseate for the opening, after their busy weeks of hard work of preparation. But at noon the clouds broke away and the sun shone forth in all his glory and the remainder of the week was lovely as "balmy September" could make it. The entries poured in as fast as four clerks could record them, until they rounded up to 1009.

The mammoth barns were soon filled with splendid, large draft stallions, thoroughbred horses, and horses for general purposes, and fine cattle of the leading beef and dairy breeds, specimens of some of the best in the state, and did great honor to the fair.

The exhibit of hogs was very good and represents one of the leading industries of the county, and a large number of both sexes were sold from the pens to the farmers from different parts of the county.


The number of sheep was unexpectedly large, showing the increased interest taken in this branch of live stock since the late destructive prevalence of hog cholera.

Prof. J. J. Edgerton, of Ames, was judge of the live stock and spoke very highly of the quality of the exhibit, and said the fair in general was "an ideal agricultural fair and showed high purpose in its management." His decisions were quietly and readily made and gave the best of satisfaction. We shall be pleased to have his services again.

The poultry exhibit was large and fine. We have quite a rivalry in this department as there are a number of poultry fanciers in this district. There were one hundred and twenty coops shown, and Mr. W. S. Russell, of Ottumwa, the judge, said it was second only to the state fair poultry exhibit of last year.

The agricultural hall was well filled. All kinds of fruit and flowers in abundance, luscious stores from the pantry and oven, an interesting school exhibit, and the fine display of field products showed the bountiful resources of our rich soil, unsurpassed in the world. The large number of entries in this last department, their orderly arrangement, with the artistic decorations, brought many worthy compliments to its active superintendent.

The art hall was occupied by booths of our wide-awake merchants' exhibits, displaying most beautiful goods, artistic drapings of softest fabrics, terraces of costly wares, elegant furnishings in showy arrangement, all so exquisite and bewildering that one thought he was walking in the labyrinth White City again. The fancy work and work of art occupied the inner circle of this building. There were valuable specimens of brush and pen, showing products of no mean ability, while the ladies made a beautiful and varied display of needlework, which was arranged in a very tasteful manner. This hall was crowded all the time.

We must add that the efforts of the merchants in assisting the farmer in making the fair a success is commendable and wise, and promises a sure bond of unity that will assure good feeling between them and bring prosperity to both.

The display of machinery was good and the farmers showed their usual interest in this department.

Our speed ring was well filled. "Medyone" paced in 2:17½, making the best state record known on a new one-half mile track, and a record of 2:24 was made in the free-for-all trot. The horsemen were well pleased with the track, and the payment of the purses from the wire, and we are assured of a fine entry next year.

An agricultural fair should not be all horse racing, but the speed department has its proper place and it is always evident that the people will go to see the races. With proper and strict management, and good purses that will draw the best horses, we believe the entry money from a large field of horses, together with the increased amphitheatre and quarter stretch receipts, will nearly, if not quite, pay the cost of the whole program.

All premiums were paid in full; the decisions of the judges gave satisfaction, and all were outspoken in declaring the fair a success.

The fair grounds are one quarter of a mile east of Williamsburg, a location both convenient and beautiful. The property is owned by the Sale Pavilion company, incorporated, and was organized in 1897 with R. E.


Owens, president; B. H. Hakes, vice-president; E. W. Edwards, treasurer, and T. J. Evans, secretary. The company is composed mostly of farmers of the surrounding country, with many of the wide-awake business men of Williamsburg, and comprises about two hundred stockholders (none being entitled to more than two shares), intelligent, enterprising and well to do. A board of nine directors conduct the business of the company. The object of the company is to establish a suitable place and buildings for the exchange and sale of live stock for the farmers and stockraisers of this section. The pavilion in which the sales are held is a large octagon building, 52 feet in diameter, well lighted and arranged about with amphitheater seats, and will seat 500 people. There are two large barns, each 106 feet long and 32 feet wide, both containing stall room for 112 head of cattle and horses. All these buildings are substantially built with rock foundations, shingle roof, and painted. There is also a hog and sheep shed 108 feet long, driveway in center, and containing forty-eight pens. The poultry house is 8 feet long and 24 feet wide, having a double row of coops on each side— ninety-four in all. A deep well and windmill supply the best of water, and six well fenced yards give ample roam and accommodation for stock. Monthly sales are arranged, at which stock and farm products are gathered here from all parts of the county and sold to the highest bidder, and gives farmers opportunities of acquaintance and exchange of ideas. Many fine stock sales are held here by breeders, from home and from abroad, and herds of cattle, horses and sheep from the western ranches, or dairy breeds from the east have been auctioned off in this pavilion and distributed among the feeders and breeders of this community. The company is succeeding well and has declared an 8 per cent dividend for 1898.

This year the company extended its grounds sufficient for fair purposes, built a race track, and erected additional buildings thereon necessary for conducting a firstclass fair, and leased the same for a term of years to the district fair association. This association is an incorporated body of twenty directors, having for its object the management and holding of an annual fair and other occasions of amusement, recreation, and instruction for the good of the public, and is composed of twenty of our best, most energetic and liberal spirited men, farmers and business men. F. O. Harrington is president; E. W. Edwards, first vice-president; George E. Poyneer, second vice-president; D. O. Jones, third vice-president; T. J. Evans, secretary, and J. G Lortz, treasurer.

Williamsburg is situated in the center of Iowa county, about midway between Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railway, and in one of the fairest spots in peerless Iowa. It is built upon its "seven hills" overlooking what was once the billowy prairies, but now a veritable garden of hedge begirt farms with productive fields and luxuriant meads bordering to the woody groves, where nestle comfortable homes and spacious barns. The soil is a rich black loam with clay subsoil and is well adapted to grass, small grain and corn, nearly all of which is consumed at home in feeding stock, and a diversified system of agriculture is hereby maintained. Iowa county has never had a total failure of crops. All grasses grow abundantly, while corn is the great crop raised; therefore, stock raising becomes the chief business and is in a flourishing condition. Owing to shortage in cattle during the last few years, thousands of western cattle and sheep have been shipped in here to be finished in transit for


Chicago markets. Nearly 15,000 horses, cattle, sheep and hogs are marketed from here during the year. Horses are shipped to Chicago and Buffalo, cattle and sheep to Chicago, and hogs to Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids and Chicago.

The English shire and coach horse is receiving the attention of farmers at the present time—the heavy draft and the stylish roadster. R. E. Owens & Sons, well known in Iowa and over its borders as breeders and importers of English shires, are doing much for the heavy draft horse. An inspection of the fine Fountain farm herd by horse raisers who want improved blood and individual merit, will not fail to convince them that the heavy draft horse that is a heavy draft horse, is the right kind and for which he knows there is always a good price and demand on the market. Mr. Owens is also a large breeder of Shorthorn cattle—the breed that has the supremacy here—with a few very excellent herds of Polled and Aberdeen Angus rapidly coming to the front. B. H. Hakes & Son are the largest breeder of the Shorthorn, and have been the longest and most persistent in the business and to whom is due the credit of having done the most of any breeder to upbuild the cattle interests of this section in quality and quantity. Mr. Hakes has given a practical showing of the immense superiority of the pure blood cattle over the scrub, even for commercial purposes, and has started many a neighbor farmer on the road of success that he himself has reached. Fair dealing and fair prices brings him many sales and he gives in return warranted satisfaction.

E. W. Edwards is building up a very fine herd of Shorthorns and his bull that heads his herd of the Cruickshank strain of most excellent lineage, is an individual of high value and his breeding quality gives the most satisfactory results.

W. R. Hakes (of B. H. Hakes & Son) is a large and very successful breeder of Poland China swine. He keeps in touch with the best to be had and with pure blood and the right feed for bone and vigor supplies the wants of the farmer and a growing patronage. He is a successful winner at every fair he attends.

A few sheep have been raised in a desultory way since farming began here. But the destructive ravages of hog cholera has come upon us repeatedly of late years and the discouraged farmer has been forced to look reluctantly away from the "mortgage raiser" and has turned his attention to sheep, and scores of new flocks have newly started. The Shropshire breed is the most common, though there are a few good flocks of Lincoln and Oxfords. Among the best of breeders and having the closest experience with sheep is E. J. Owens, who has a fine flock of high class Shropshires. He keeps a choice lot of pure bred rams and is prepared to fill orders.

The culture of fruit is receiving more careful attention every year. Old orchards, full of barren and dead trees, "the fruit of the eastern tree-peddler's smooth tongue," are being replaced by new trees from the home nursery, known and proven to be at home with our soil and climate. Mr. F. O. Harrington, our nurseryman, is the present president of the Southeastern Horticultural society, and well known among the fruit men of Iowa. Our soil is exceptionally rich in properties that are necessary to produce fruit of excellent quality, and Mr. Harrington's experience through a quarter of a century has established a good list of hardy trees that stand the test of our


winters. His son, Mr. Hugh Harrington, a well informed and enthusiastic young nurseryman, has charge of the nursery and has just laid out an extensive addition to it.

The Williamsburg poultry club is an association of about fifteen of our poultry fanciers, each making a specialty of one breed. They have worked with much energy and enthusiasm, individually and collectively, and have for show and sale some of the finest top scoring birds in the west, and have established for our town a reputation for all that is first-class in breeds in this growing industry. Mr. W. R. Long is president of the club.

We have a well equipped brick and tile factory, having all it can do. The output for 1898 will reach about 1,125,000 brick and tile, all used at home. Our farmers appreciate the valuable results of tile, and many of the farms have a finished system of drainage.

The creamery firm located here operates three of the six creameries in the county, and is doing a flourishing business. It will ship this year fully 500,000 pounds of butter.

Williamsburg was settled in 1844 by three families of Welsh emigrants. They built their log huts near the wigwams of the little Musquakie town, Tau-so-no-nock, by the historic Min-ne-no-nock (Old Man's Creek). The primitive opening of this magnificent agricultural section was the cultivation of the then forsaken garden plot where the Indian women raised their meager crop of beans and maize, now the location of our public cemetery. The whole country is now closely settled, and fine farms and groves, on every hand, dot the once treeless prairie. Comfort and culture abound. Deep wells and windmills are found on every farm, and many have their own water system, with supply tanks and pipes, furnishing water to house and barns. Farms range in price from $10 to $65 per acre, according to improvements, and rent from $3 to $3.75 per acre.

Our town has a population of 1,500, and a third-class postoffice, giving it the distinction of being one of the few towns in Iowa of small population having its postoffice rank and salary, and which speaks highly of the intelligence and morality of the general community. There are two banks, having a combined capital of $100,000, five churches, an opera house, a fine school property valued at $20,000, having a seven department school of 500 pupils, sixty-five of whom are nonresidents. Two papers distribute the weekly news and are wide-awake to the best interests of country and town. There are two grain elevators and two lumber yards. The town has a fine natural drainage, has a fine system of water works, water supplied from two deep wells, costing $15,000. The improvements for 1898 will reach $40,000, and include three brick blocks and many fine residences.





Title: Annual report of the Iowa State Agricultural Society

Author & Publisher: Iowa State Agricultural Society, State Printer, 1899
Contributor: Stephen D. Williams
Published: Iowa County IAGenWeb, Nov 2010, by SDW