TALES from the FRONT PORCH
Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project
Ringgold County Genealogical Society
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Vol. III, Pp. 14-16, April 1982
FARMERS' INSTITUTE AT REDDING
By Mrs. Barton ABARR
The Redding Farmers' Institute was a very big fair for a very little community during the first quarter of the century.
Beginning in 1901 and continuing into the 1930's, it was a venture that not every small town attempted.
A copy of
the October 11, 1906, issue of the Redding Weekly Register headlined the Redding Institute as a success,
Three Big Days. The article continues, as below:
The deep interest that was manifest in every feature of the Institute is the best guarantee that the
Institute is a permanent one.
. . . Early Wednesday morning the large pavillion tent arrived and it was
immediately erected in the park near the east gate. Entries began to pour in and D. M. RICH [a fair official] was the
busiest man in town.
By noon the tent was filled with the choicest of grains, vegetables, and fruits that this
section of Iowa is noted for.
At prompt eleven o'clock the Horse and Colt Show started. The judge was late in arrival
on the south-bound freight and it was necessary to choose other judges. W. E. HIATT, our popular horse and mule buyer,
was chosen. First awards went to C. L. MALOY and C. R. MAIN, and other prizes to J. B. EDWARDS, Oscar WATSON, T. J.
FORBES and O. C. HULL. Prizes for the horse show were donated by the Union Savings Bank of Redding, J. W. HOWE and
On Thursday, Earle ALLYN of Mount Ayr was corn judge, with entries in speckled corn, white corn, yellow
corn, and Missouri courn, with 315 ears shown. Hog awards went to O. C. HULL, H. T. MILLER, E. C. LAUER and J. W. ADAIR.
The editor adds that Jethro GRIFFITH showed an extra fine pen of Chester Whites and he sold almost the entire pen.
Lectures by Buff JERSEY on "Silos, Their Construction and Ensilage and Its Uses as a Cheap Feed" and by Prof. W. H.
STEVENSON, professor of soils at the State Agricultural College [present-day Iowa State University] at Ames on "Soils
of Southern Iowa with Special Reference to Increase Their Productive Capacity" were given. He advised empatically against
the use of any and all commercial fertillizers; told them to return all manure to the soil and advocated the rotation of
crops: Two of corn, one of oats, wheat, barley or flax, one of Red Clover or other legumes and then back to corn.
On Thursday evening's program, Elder BAIRD and Miss Lillian TENNANT spoke on the subjects, "Is The Farmer's Boy or
The Farmer's Girl's Life a Drudgery?" and the editor was surprised to find each of them teaching school after painting
such a picture of the halo that surrounds the boy and girl on the farm.
On Friday, Ladies' Day, Pantry Stores were
judged. Judges were Mrs. A. E. KING and Mrs. BELLUS of Blockton and Mrs. L. L. RICHARDSON of Mount Ayr. Entries besides
cakes, canned fruit and jellies were: Best Loaf of Bread made from White Loaf Flour, Best Loaf of Bread made from Puritan Flour,
in which first place winners were Ida HUDSON and Mrs. Robert SHAFER. Punkin' pie winner was Mrs. Chas. WERTZ. Best pie,
Mrs. W. A. BAIRD; Best Plymouth Rock Cockerel, Mrs. Nina HULL. Other winners were Mrs. Floyd MAIN, Mrs. D. F. HOFFMAN,
Mrs. T. A. ARNEAL, Mrs. J. M. BAIRD, Mrs. Olive WILLIAMS, Mrs. J. W. ADIAR, Mrs. W. T. SMITH, Mrs. J. K. HERRON, Merle BAIRD,
Lillie PORTER, and Mrs. S. P. BAIRD. The best pound of butter was entered by Mrs. Alice MALOY.
Fourteen babies were entered in the baby show, "Darling cherubs who were each one the prettiest in the fond mother's
eyes." Judges were A. J. BUTLER, W. G. SCHANCKE and J. W. HOWE, who, according to the editor, have worn a scared look
ever since. Asa HARRIS entered a large wax doll and the editor said, "We understand he is awfullysore at the
judges because they didn' not count his baby the prettiest."
FARMERS' INSTITUTE AT REDDING, 1907
Officers for 1907 were D. M. RICH, J. W. ADAIR, and Roy BAIRD.
FARMERS' INSTITUTE AT REDDING, 1910
In 1910, entries in the horse classes included a first-place in draft mare to George ALLYN and a second to J. K.
HERRON. Draft winner James ARNEAL, and for suckling colt James HARRIS, G. W. ADAIR and G. A. WATSON.
the single driving horse were Fred ADAIR, first; Roy BAIRD, second; and best driving team to Dean BAIRD.
cake judging that year the sweepstakes went to Mrs. O. C. HULL and another consistant winner was Mrs. O. J.
TARDY with five cakes entered.
FARMERS' INSTITUTE AT REDDING, 1911
A secretary's record kept by J. W. ADAIR showed the officers for 1911 to be Floyd MAIN, Roy BAIRD and
O. C. HULL.
FARMERS' INSTITUTE AT REDDING, 1926
A booklet program and premium list for September 23, 24, 25 shows many departments. Advertisers in this book
include the Redding Lumber and Hardware who promoted Melotte cream separators, the Redding Savings Bank, G. M.
JENNINGS - barber, Union Savings Bank, Roy SMITH with General Merchandise, CROUCH and COMBS Grocery and Produce,
Mr. and Mrs. J. Clay DENNEY advertising Big Type Purebred Mammoth Toulose Geese,
Mrs. R. B. ARNEAL advertising S. C. Buff Leghorns, Mr. J. D. ARNEAL with Tamored S. C. White Leghorns.
There were also The F. A. WALLACE Poultry and Egg Company, H. F. HOLLAND General Merchandise [on the northeast
corner of the square], The Herald Print Shop, John REIDLINGER'S Redding Meat Market, and Jess D. BAIRD - painting
and decorating. The Redding Service Station sold Sinclair products and C. E. HOOVER advertised Shropshire rams.
In the horse and mule division there were six classes for mules, six for draft horses and one for saddle horses and
one for Shetland pony with first place premiums of $2 and $3. Superintendents were Emerson SAVILLE, E. A. BRYAN and
Superintendents in the cattle division were Roy BAIRD, Charles ADAIR and Clyde SKINNER. No prizes were
given in the beef breeds.
Henry KETTLE, T. J. MILLER and Lester STEPHENS were in charge of the hog show, and
Charlie HOOVER, R. B. ARNEAL and Rowe DENNEY were officials for the sheep entires.
There ws a cow testing program in
which a premium was given on the highest scoring cows with C. H. JENNINGS as tester.
Poultry was a big department with
Clay DENNEY, Mrs. Bruce ARNEAL, Mrs. A. J. WARDEN and F. T. McGREW in charge. The judge was Prof. E. J. ROOD of Ames. The
rules stated, "This show will be open to the world unless otherwise stated. Ship all birds by express or freight to
F. T. McGREW, Secy. Poultry to be judged by comparison: turkeys, ducks and geese will be entered single. A pen will
consist of four females and one male." Also included in the poultry show were Best Pair of Bantams and Best Dozen White
Eggs and Best Dozen Brown Eggs.
The grain department was headed by Phil STUDER, C. E. JARMAN and Samuel J. SMITH. It included
classes for Calico corn and cane among other grains and legumes. Officials in the fruit display were J. W. HARRIS, Roy
STEPHENS, Mrs. Elbert EDWARDS and Mrs. J. D. ARNEA. Heading the pastry department were Mrs. Roy BAIRD, Mrs. Earl ADAIR and
Mrs. George GRIFFITH; and for the canned fruits and vegetables were Mrs. Charles ADAIR, Mrs. Grover WRIGHT and Miss
Fay BAIRD. The ladies had these special prizes for the ten best cans of cold-pack vegetables: First - a steam pressure
cooker, second - a 26-piece set of silverware, and third - an aluminum perculator - colonial style.
The fancy work with 18 classes were under the direction of Mrs. J. D. BAIRD, Mrs. J. O. LYNCH and Mrs. Emerson SAVILLE.
There was also an educational department with Ferne SEATON, Mabel GAMET and Mrs. J. L. HUGHES in charge. Some of the entries
included "Map of Iowa showing the principal automobile routes." Prizes of $10, $5 and $2.50 were given for the best floats by
any rural school or room in the town school.
The newspaper gave a description of the second day which was Children's Day
with the parade put on by the schools. Four rural schools and each room in the Redding School entered a decorated car. Other
interesting attractions included a decorated pony cart in which rode Marion and Junior MALOY and Barbara Jean THOMAS
dressed in colonial costumes.
Twelve of the Seventh and Eight Grade girls marched in red, white and blue, carrying flags.
They later gave a flag drill.
Mabel BRADLEY rode a pony at the head of the parade. There was singing by the Brush College
rural school students. The $10 first-prize float award went to the Fairview School with Dale ADAIR, teacher.
There was a baseball game, running races and a tug-of-war. There was a wheelbarrow race for the ladies in pair and
blindfolded. James GRIFFITH and Cecil SHAFER won the horse race for the boys. There was a rolling pin throw that, according
to the editor, had some well-trained local talent in this line.
There was a horse pull with Lou REYNOLDS' team
winning by pulling 30 sacks of cement a distance of 20 feet.
A few special awards for the ladies included a set of
dishes to Mamie SAVILLE, a ukelele to Mrs. Maggie ADAIR, and a breakfast table to Mrs. Kate MORRIS.
Chautauqua entertainers performed two night and a moving picture show was advertised for Thursday evening of the fair.
Joe BURCHETT was the perennial man with buttered popcorn to sell and is well remembered by those who were youngsters in
It isn't clear why the Redding Farmers' Institute was discontinued. One theory is that the Great Depression and
hard times that followed had something to do with its demise.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010