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History Of Delaware County
T. B. Helm

Lora Radiches




An Agricultural Society for Delaware County was formed March 4, 1852. The record of the formation of the association is not now at hand. The first officers were Martin Galliher, President; Thomas J. Sample, Vice President; Daniel Jarrett, Secretary; Thomas J. Matthews, Treasurer. Directors---Jacob Clavert, Center Township; Josiah Slack, Mount Pleasant; John Smith, Liberty; John Tomlinson, Salem; A. Shank, Harrison; William Mansfield, Monroe; Timothy Bennett, Hamilton; William Adsit, Union; William McCormick, Washington; James Jones, Delaware; John Worster, Niles; George Ribble, Perry; James McKimmey, Muncie City.

The first meeting found in the record occurred June 6, 1853. The Directors at that time resolved to hold a meeting July 4, ensuing, and to undertake to get Gov. Wright to deliver an agricultural address on that day. Whether the request was accepted or not does not appear. It does appear, however, that no address was delivered on that occasion by Gov. Wright, but, in his stead, that addresses were delivered before the society, at that date, by David Kilgore and Joseph S. Buckles, of a quality and character eminently satisfactory to all who listened to them. That there was an exhibition of farm products on that occasion, or previously, is quite probable, as will appear by an item in thereport of the Secretary to the State Society, for the year 1853. Speaking of the society, he says: "Its second annual exhibition was held at Muncie on the date [October 6, 1853,] before mentioned, which was well attended and a laudable interest manifested. The society comprises seventy-four members. Addresses were delivered before the society, on the 4th day of July, 1853, by David Kilgore and Joseph S. Buckles, Esqs., but no copies preserved." That second exhibition referred to in the foregoing item, was held in Muncie, perhaps in the court-house yard, which now would be considered rather small for a county fair, but, doubtless, in those primitive days, it answered the purpose reasonably well, judgeing from the results attending the effort. Some interesting certificates as to crops raised in the county, and exhibited on that occasion, appear upon the Secretary's record. "Premiums were offered on horses, cattle, sheep, swine, wheat, corn, potatoes, grass seed, butter, cheese, domestic manufactures, farm implements, and various articles displaying mechanical skill, poultry, fruit and flowers."

   "About $75 were awarded in premiums.
   "Statement of a field of wheat raised by Stephen R. Martin, on his farm in Hamilton Township, and Measured by us, and we certify the measurement to be correct, to the best of our knowledge.
   "Sept. 26, 1853. John Cullen and John Galbraith.
   "The field contained twelve acres, seven rods, and produced 306 bushels of wheat, as cleaned by a sparator threshing machine.
   "First--Clay soil slightly mixed with sand.
   "Second--Elevated with Western exposure.
   "Third--Three crops of wheat previous to this one; the first on clover sod, second on wheat stubble, third fallowed, and the present fallowed.
   "Fourth--A few loads of straw fed on the field.
   "Fifth--Broke up in June; stirred the middle of August; harrowed down sowed and plowed in with the shovel-plow, and cross-harrowed inthe last week of September.
   "Sixth--One and one-half bushesl to the acre, white wheat.
   " Seventh--Plowing, harrowing and seeding.

For man and team twenty-one days at $2 per day $42.00
Eighteen bushels seed wheat, at 60 cents per bushel 10.00
Threshing and hauling to barn, 10 cents per bushel 30.60
Harvesting, $1 per acre 12.00
Rent, $2 per acre 24.00
Total $119.40
Wheat worth at the time sold, 75 cents per bushel $229.50
Total profit $109.90
Per acre 9.12

   "Patch of potatoes, 45 square rods. Product, 53½ bushels. Nova Scotia potatoes, large round, yellow.
   "Corn, 4 acres, 128 perches. Product, 484 bushels in the ear. Cost, $39. Value of crop at 25 cents, $121. Profit, $82; profit per acre, about $17.50."

The next annual meeting was held April 5, 1854, and the following officers for the ensuing year were chosen:

Hon. David Kilgore, President; John Smith, Vice President; John C. Helm, Secretary; T. J. Matthews, Treasurer. Directors.---John Shoemaker, Salem Township; John Horne, Mount Pleasant; Jacob W. Miller, Harrison; Robert Winton, Washington; William A. Long, Union; Mark Moore, Hamilton; E. C. Anthony, Center; John Lenox, Monroe; David Stouder, Perry; J. Dynes, Liberty; James Orr, Delaware; John H. Rutter, Niles. Executive Committe.---Jacob Calvert, William Y. Williams, David Tomlinson, Timothy Bennett, and Volney Willson.

The Executive Committee were then directed to procure and prepare suitable grounds for the forthcoming fair. This fair was held Sept 28 and 29, 1854. It would seem that five acres of ground had been purchased for the use of the association. The record concerning this transaction is as follows:

"The society has procured a fifteen years' lease on a piece of ground owned by the county--indeed, bought by the Commissioners for that purpose, at a nominal rate--and is proceeding to inclose it and erect the necessary fixtures in a permanent and durable manner, thus giving the society a permanent and stable character.

Of the fair, to which reference has been made, the Secretary, in his report to State Association, for 1854, makes the following statement:

"The Society Fair was held on the 28th and 29th days of September, and was of increased interest and importance over those of preceding years, showing a decided and rapid improvement in the stock etc., exhibited; increased attention to the improvement of stock by procuring animals of good blood, and more attention to the details of good breeds and improved breeding; proving, also, that more attention was be bestowed on the manner of farming, and that our former loose, slovenly and careless habits were being reformed, giving place to systematic and scientific farming. But we have much, very much, to reform and improve, which will require time, as our progress will necessarily be slow, encountering as we do our full share of apathy, prejudice, bigotry, and stubborn attachment to old customs and habits. Our Society numbered something over one hundred members the past year, and our prospects for usefulness are encouraging." [State Rep. 1854-55, pp. 15, 16.]

The meetings and fairs of the Association appear to have been regularly held, as shown from time to time by the reports to State Association. In the report thus presented, covering the year 1856, the following statements occur:"The Delaware County Agricultural Society has continued its operations during the year 1856, with the following officers: Joseph S. Buckles, President; Thomas J. Sample, Vice President; John C Helm, Secretary; William Brotherton, Treasurer; Volney Willson, Superintendent, and one director from each of the twelve civil townships. The regular membership is from one hundred and fifty to two hundred, and gradually increasing each year. Our fifth annual fair was held on the fair ground at Muncie, on the 16th, 17th and 18th days of October, 1856. The list of premiums offered and awarded at the fair was paid in silverware, books, money and diplomas."

For the years 1857 and 1858, from the reports submitted to the State Society, as in the instances noted, we derive information of a similiar tenor, indicating the continued progress, though sometimes slow, of the County Society: that fairs were held annually, with the most flattering results, and that prospects for continued success were sufficiently gratifying to guarantee a most satisfactory future as the result of its labors.

In the record of the society's transactions, during the year 1859, it is shown that the officers, as they appeared at the meeting on the 24th of January, of that year, were Thomas J. Sample, President; Warren Stewart, Vice President; Thomas J. Matthews, Secretary: Frederick E. Putnam, Treasurer; P. F. Davis, Superintendent. Executive Committee--Thomas Kirby, Samuel G. Campbell, George Truitt, Martin Galliher, Volney Willson, William Y Williams.

The Secretary's book contains little direct information as to the financial condition of the society. An incident, recorded for 1859, would indicate a low state of money matters during the previous years. An order appears under date of May 6, 1859, would indicate a low state of money matters during the previous years. An order appears under date of May 6, 1859, directing an allowance to sixteen person, presumably the officers, for $5 each, for money advanced in 1855, for fencing the fair grounds.

The fair for 1859 was held September 21, 22, 23. From several facts appearing in the record for 1859, the finances seem to have been coming into a more healthy condition. The Treasurer was ordered to pay all premiums awarded at any previous fair, and to procure a gold-headed cane for not more than $15, as a testimonial to the Superintendent. The aforesaid cane was procured, and at the meeting held January 2, 1860, was presented to P. F. Davis, Superintendent, with all due formality. Mr. Samuel Orr, by appointment of the society, making the presentation speech, and Mr. Davis of course, delivering an appropriate and affecting reply. The list of officers chosen at that meeting, shows a considerable change as to the persons appointed for Directors. They were Messrs. Hupp, Beath, Shank, Janny, Tuttle, Williamson, Martin, Nixon, Weidner, Smith, Orr and Stowe. At a meeting in January, 1860, a new departure was taken, by resolving "That, at the next fair ground be free for the use of schools, picnics, etc., by our citizens. At the same meeting, a dispute between two contestants in a riding-match--Misses Warfel and Andrews--was settled by awarding a saddle to each of the fair equestrians.

A statement of the finances for 1865, is spread upon the Secretary's minutes, viz:

Amount from former Treasurer $147.54
Amount from family badges 897.00
Amount from carriage tickets 36.00
Amount from tickets, first day 101.00
Amount from tickets, second day 22.50
Amount from tickets, third day 71.00
Amount from eating stands, etc. 254.00
Amount from extra entries 30.00
Amount from County Treasurer 25.00
------TOTAL $1,785.29
Amount of disbursements 1,596.99
------Balance on hand R12C2

The association, formed in 1852, held a fair each year from 1852 to1867, including the latter year. A new organization was formed January 11, 1868, at a meeting held in Muncie, of which Judge Buckles was President, and J. A. Wachtell, Secretary. The Directors chosen that year were Thomas Tuttle, Salem Township; James P Snodgrass, Harrion Township; Randolph Beuoy, Washington Township; Aaron W. Ross, Monroe Township; Marcus C. Smith, Center Township; Joseph S. Buckles, Center Township; Samuel Orr, Liberty Township; Samuel Williamson, Mount Pleasant Township; Benjamin F. Smith, Niles Township; Eli Smith, Delaware Township; William F. Jones, Center Township; P. F. Davis, Center Township.

At a meeting of Directors, held February 15, 1868, they chose for their officers, President, Marcus C. Smith; Vice President, Samuel Orr; Secretary, J. A. Wachtell; Treasurer, Fred E. Putnam; Superintendent, William M. Petty. The receipts of the fair, held October 14 of that year, appear by the record to have been $1,129.95; and the expenses $640.65, leaving a balance of $489.30. The board ordered a payment on the premiums awarded of 331/3 per cent.

From that time, a fair was held annually, excepting one year, but it seems that the association could not pay for the ground purchased. The new organization had bought forty-one acres north of town at $165 per acre, costing the modest sum of $6765. The five acres previously owned by the association were accepted in part payment at its estimated value of $1,200. Only 141 Ten Dollar share are recorded as having been taken, which certainly was a poor basis for such a debt as that. The association struggled along for six years, and gave up the attempt. The County Commissioners then stepped in and paid for the land and took the deed, and the title still remains in the name of the county.

In 1874, certain prominent "Grangers" effected the organization of still a third agricultural association under the grand and comprehensive name of the "Delaware County Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Society," formed on the 7th of February of that year. The Directors were S. C. Moffett, Salem Township; Joseph Hancock, Mount Pleasant; James P. Snodgrass, Harrison; George Beuoy, Washington; A. W. Ross, Monroe; A. J. Wilson, Center; John Williams, Center; Samuel Martin, Hamilton; John C. Long, Union; Lafayette Whitney, Perry; Mordecai Whitney, Liberty; Nicholas Poland, Delaware.

January 9, 1878, the Directors chose their officers as follows: President, Thomas W. Tuttle; Vice President, William H. Wood; Secretary, Frank Ellis; Treasurer, John M. Graham; Superintendent, William M. Petty.

In June 1880, the citizens of Delaware tried their hand a fourth time at framing agricultural societies, and with the annexed result: President, John M. Graham; Vice President, Thomas W. Tuttle; Superintendent, William H. Wood; Treasurer, George Kirby; Secretary, Frank Ellis; Superintendent of Gates, Eli Ogle. Directors--Thomas W. Tuttle, Thompson Sharp, Wm H. Wood, James Carmichael, Samuel Parkison, Sr., Samuel Drumm, Chas. C. Mansfield, John M. Graham, Eli Ogle, George Kirby, J. L. Martin, James Barrett, John S. Fudge.

The fairs at Muncie have generally presented good, and frequently superior exhibitions of animals and articles for display, but the receipts have not always been sufficient for the expenses and the full payment of the premiums. The twenty-eigth annual fair was held September 14-17, 1880. The display was unusually good, and the attendance satisfactory. The receipts were about $3,000, and the premiums awarded about $2,200, which were paid in full, the net balance, after the current expenses had been defrayed, being sufficient for the purpose.

The exhibitors of live stock for 1880, may be named as follows: Cattle--Short-Horns and other breeds: Claypool and Davidson, John Storer, S. B. Skinner, William Sharp, Galliher and Son.
   Horses--For saddle, draft speed, light harness, roadster, matches etc.: L. D. Evans, Joseph Anderson, M. C. Smith, Ira Williams, A. J. Brunt, J. M. Clawson, S. Sunderland, Alfred Ellison, W. M. Heaggy, Washington Black, Henry Keesling, J. M. Laboyteaux, M. Bowen, James A Cox, Frank Drake, John A. Snyder, G. F. Heath, Dan Pittenger, C. C. Colburn, William F. Carpenter, Elijah Clevenger, John Jones, J. E. Kern, Z. W. Cecil, George Davidson, Peter Shafer, D. F. Studebaker, Henry W. Streeter, Samuel Coffin, John A. Thomas, George Fleming, James H. Jones, L. L. Cooper, John R. Hines, George Williams, S. B. Skinner, Albro Gates, Addison Atkinson, Thomas Port, John M. Huffer, J. P. Sharp, Samuel Coffman, David H. Jones, John McLain, R. W. Heath, George H. Shirey, M. F. Hamilton, John Williams, George Carmichael, Robert S. Mansfield, Andrew W. Martin, Jerry Wilson, John P. Baxla.
   Sheep--Southdown, Long-wooled and Shropshires: Jerry Wilson, W. A. Groves, Claypool and Davidson, N. P. Williams, G. F. Heath, Perry W. Williams, I. J. Williams.
   Swine--Poland-China and other Large-boned breeds, Berkshire and other Small-boned breeds: Andrew W. Martin, A. W. Ross, W. A. Groves, Jerry Wilson.

The Board of Directors for 1881, is composed of the same persons as in 1880, except George Kirby, who declining to serve another year, William A. McClellan was Sustituted.

The officer for 1881 (elected February 26), are as follows: Jonathan L. Martin, President; William H. Wood, Vice President; Eli Ogle, Superintendent; James L. Streeter, Treasurer; Frank Ellis, Secretary.


Some statistics are given below, pertaining to the farming interest. They are made up chiefly from the Report of the Statistical Bureau at Indianapolis for 1879-80. The figures are for 1879. They are probably only approximately accurate, yet they are the best at hand. The amount given are part estimated and stated in round numbers:
Owners of land 2,881 Acres of corn 46,000
Acres of land 252,399 Acres of oats 7,000
Acres of wheat 31,000 Acres of meadow 20,400
Acres of pasture 32,000 Pounds of pork 1,800,000
Acres of potatoes 2,100 Pounds of wool 86,000
Acres of flax 8,000 Horses 10,500
Bushels of wheat 580,000 Mules 840
Bushels of corn 1,600,00 Cattle 19,200
Bushels of oats 150,000 Sheep 18,000
Tons of hay 24,000 Swine 29,000
Bushels of rye 8,400 Gallons of sorghum 10,500
Bushels of potatoes 96,000 Bushels of grass seed 2,000
Bushels of flax seed 70,000 Bushels of clover seed 800
Bushels of fruit 22,000 Agricultural Implements $79,000
Sewing machine owned 1,030 Organs and melodeons owned 200

The above statistics are in many cases mere estimates, and as to many itmes, evidently far too low. Whether they reach the truth at any point, it is impossible to tell. It is to be hoped that the furture historian may find the subject in a more satisfactory condition. But whether statistics are gathered with accuracy, or whether they are for the most part guess work, one thing remains true, that the productive power of human labor has greatly increased since the settlement of Delaware County, indeed, almost beyond belief. If Rip Van Winkle had lain down in these Delaware woods to take a night's rest under a tree, in those good old hunting days when the first cabins began to appear in the mighty forest beside the Indiana wigwams, and had slept until now, his bewilderment would have been far greater than it was when he awaked in the highland of the Hudson River, after a sleep of twenty years through the troublons and transforming scenes of the Revolutionary struggle. Wonderful, indeed, has been the change. And to those ancient pioneers who came when all was wild and new and strange, and who have lived through all these rolling years, and whose steady and unceasing toil has done so much to assist in bringing about this wondrous transformation, it seems almost like magic. It is devoutly to wished, that, while the primitive dwellings of the pioneers have disappeared, and many of their habits and methods have been discontinued, yet, the warm spirit of hospitality and generous and earnest friendship, and of hearty neighborliness, may remain among their children and their children's children, even as among the fathers and mothers at the first, to the very latest generation; that, while comforts multiply and riches increase, love and good fellowship may ever bind together as one the hearts of the people of Delaware County, of this grand and noble commonwealth, and of the universal nation of which these citizens form an integral and not unimportant part. (Pages 64-66)

Horticultural Society and Increase of Property
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