Muscatine County Iowa

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, page 631


In this connection we present a few articles too short for a separate section, and yet of too much importance to be omitted :


Muscatine was one of the first counties in the State to take action in regard to the formation of a society for the promotion of agriculture and the mechanical arts. A meeting was held at the court-house in Muscatine Oct. 9, 1852, for the purpose of organizing the Muscatine County Agricultural Society. Dr. James Weed was called to the Chair, and J. H. Wallace appointed Secretary. A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, and the meeting adjourned. Oct. 23, 1852, agreeable to adjournment, the members of the Agricultural Society met in the court-house and proceeded to the election of officers for the ensuing year, as follows : Hon. George Meason, President ; Dr. James Weed, Vice President ; J. H. Wallace, Secretary ; J. G. Gordon, Treasurer. William H. Miller, Bloomington Township ; Gamaliel Olds, Pike ; Henry Y. Iddings, Sweetland ; William A. Clark, Wapsinonoc ; Richard Sherer, Seventy-Six ; E. H. Albee, Moscow ; Douglass Veille, Monypelier ; A. Cone, Cedar ; A. Smalley, First Ward ; J. Bennett, Second Ward ; and Samuel Bamford, Third Ward, Muscatine City Directors. The following are the members of the Society in 1852, and signers of its constitution : James Weed, Joseph Bridgeman, Nathan Taber, William Smalley, William M. Miller, Strix & Oppenheimer, George Baumgardner, A. Reuling, Samuel Lucas, S. B. Crane, Henry Y. Iddings, J. S. Hatch & Co., J. H. Wallace, Adam Ogilvie, J. G. Gordon, J. Bennett, J. M. Cummins, Charles Neally, Saul Gilbert, William A. Clark, D. R. Warfield, Thomas M. Isett, Samuel Sinnett, H. N. Sumner, H. H. Garnes, S. M. Mckibben, George Meason, William Leffingwell, I. R. Williams, A. T. Banks, A. Cone, J. E. Fletcher, Shepard Smalley, George W. Chase, Richard Sheres, Abraham Smalley, Samuel Bamford, Levi Cross, R. Pritchard, John Critchfield, John A. McCormick, M. W. Byers, James A. Rankins, Richard Lord, Chester Weed, John H. Miller, Williams Watkins, Skilman Alger, A. O. Patterson, E. T. S. Schenck, Joseph Crane, Amos Cooper, Lyan C. Hine, Abraham Keen, D. C. Cloud, S. D. Viele, J. B. Dougherty, A. B. Wiles, S. Heilbrun, William G. Holmes, John Rose, Hiram Gilbert, Richard Cadie, Thomas L. Estle, J. P. Freeman, Henry S. Griffin, Henry Molis, Samuel Littrel, D. Dunsmore, William Lundy, James M. Jarboe, Jesse B. Overman, L. S. Goldsberry, W. Fultz, R. W. Chinn, John Idle, H. W. Moore, Jacob Smetzer, L. D. Parmer, James M. Brockway, W. D. Ament, Cyrus Townsley, J. LaTourrette, William Townsley, Jeremiah Lequat, W.M. Elliott, Charles Newell, George W. Kincaid, William Fryberger, William Moxley, Jacob Butler, Thomas Morford, A. Jackson, Levi Eliason, H. Q. Jennison, John G. Stein, P. Fay, John Leitzinger, Cotnelius Nicholson, George Plitt, Suel Foster, T. D. Song, F. H. Stone, John Ward, John Lemp, Thomas Vanatta, D. W. Colver, Edwin J. Browning, Brent, Miller & Co., Oliver Jack, George C. Stone, Jonathan Ady, John Ziegler. In 1853 the membership was increased to 399.

June 4, 1853, agreeably to a call published in the county papers, a large number of farmers and others copnvened in the court-house for the purpose of organizing a County Agricultural Society, according to the provisions of the general incorporation laws of the State of Iowa. The Hon. G. Meason was called to the Chair, and J. H. Wallace appointed Secretary. It was then resolved to abolish the former organization ; a new constitution was adopted, and the following named officers elected : President, Dr. James Weed ; Vice President, William H. Miller ; Secretary, J. H. Wallace ; Treasurer, J. G. Gordon. A new Board of Directors was chosen, which met August 13, at the store of Wallace & Beading. Messrs. Weed, Miller, Wallace, Olds, Lundy, Sherer, Cone, Smalley, and Vickle were present. On motion, the time for holding the first exhibition of the Society was fixed for Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 12 and 13, 1853. A list of premiums and judges for the several classes were then adopted and appointed. Resolutions were adopted authorizing the Executive Committee to procure suitable grounds, and put them in proper condition for holding the fair.

September 9, 1853, the Executive Committee leased from J. Bennett his out-lot on the graded road for a term of five years from the first exhibition. The Society was incorporated for twenty years, and at the expiration of the term the articles were renewed for twenty-five years from 1877. Like similar organizations all over the country the Society had its seasons of prosperity and seasons of adversity. When success crowned the efforts of the managers the whole people took the credit to themselves. When, for some cause, a comparative failure occurred, the management alone was to blame--according to the voice of the people.

On the expiration of the lease of the old fairgrounds the buildings thereon were sold and removed. The grounds were also sold and converted into a farm. A re-organization was then effected under the name of the Muscatine Fair Association, since which time the annual fairs have been held on the grounds of the Muscatine Fair Ground and Park Association, which are leased for that purpose. The exhibitions of this Association will compare favorably with any county fairs in the West. The present officers of the Association are : John Barnard, Pressident ; John A. Will, Vice President ; H. J. Fitzgerald, Secretary ; Thomas Brown, Treasurer.


A few years since an organization was effected under the above name by a number of liberal and broad-gauged men, who purchased a tract of land near the city, a portion of which they laid out as a Trotting Park and Fair Ground ; and design to fit up the park with seats and tables for the use of picnics and parties. In the park are several fine springs of water.

The Association has erected on the fair grounds the finest stables in the State used for such purposes, and have a half-mile track which has no superior. The grand-stand, from which can be witnessed the races and all stock exhibitions, will seat 1, 500 people. A commodious floral hall is also one of the attractions of the grounds. About $6,000 has already been expended on the grounds, but the Association does not ther propose to stop, but have plans laid out for further improvement.

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