Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

welfare which has always characterized the American farmers and rendered them the great palladium of liberty in the New World. Even the wives and daughters of our farming population, to their credit be it spoken, have not thought it degrading to “ lend a helping hand” in out-door employment, and have thus supplied the labor drawn from the farm to the tented field. The farmers are the very last class of men to be disheartened by the storms and tempests which sweep over the political world. They prize the blessings of peace too highly to permit the government of their country to be overthrown without a struggle for its preservation. It is a most remarkable phenomenon that the largest army known in the history of modern times has been called to the field from the free states of the north without any derangement of, or material detriment to the industrial pursuits, or even disturbing the peaceful relations of the agriculturist beyond the rebel states. The great mass of our farmers and our agricultural associations are “pursuing the even tenor of their way” and realizing the fruits of the divine promise of "seed-time and harvest”- thc products of the farm find a ready market at remunerating prices--their storehouses are well filled with an abundance of fine crops, sufficient for the home consumption and a liberal surplus for the markets abroad. A stranger travelling through this part of the country would hardly know, except from reading the public journals, that such a thing as civil war anywhere existed.

The county of Saratoga is taking rank among the best agricultural districts of the State. Its diversified variety of soils is well adapted to grass and all the cereals grown in this northern latitude. No better grass lands exist than the river bottoms along the Hudson and the Mohawk on the east and south, in the valley of the Sacandaga on the north, and the Kayaderosseras, which meanders through the center; nor are the table lands, when properly cultivated, inferior to the river bottoms. The ranges of the Kayaderosseras and Palmertown mountains afford the best sheep pas turage in Northern New York, while the sandy soils which more or less abound in nearly every town, when properly cared for and cultivated, are classed with the best grain-growing lands in the county. For the potato crop, now the most profitable use to which these lands may be applied, our sandy soil is regarded as the best and safest that can be found in any part of the State. Hence, the popularity of this indispensable vegetable when it is known in the city market as having been grown in this county. The extra expense of keeping our sandy soils well manured is more than compensated in the facility of applying labor-saving machinery to their tillage. Those white sand knolls which used to be moved about by the winds like snow drifts, and attract the eye of the traveller as he passed along, have all been reclaimed and brought to a good state of cultivation by a free use of clay and compost manures.

There has been much improvement in the breed of cattle in this county within the last ten or fifteen years; and in the sheep department, competition is introducing the very best kinds found in this country. Isaac Freeman, of Stillwater, H. & H. C. Holmes, of Saratoga, and Oscar Granger, of Saratoga Springs, have recently made some choice selections from the pure-blooded Spanish merino sheep breeds of Vermont, with a view to stock-breeding in this county, and their efforts to improve the breed of sheep are being appreciated by our intelligent farmers who pay any attention to this branch of agricultural industry. There is scarcely a farmer in this section who is not seeking to introduce the Spanish merino bucks into his flock in preference to any other. A visit to the sheep folds of the gentlemen above named will satisfy any sheep-breeder that his true interest will be best promoted in giving a preference to the full-blood Spanish merinos.

Our fine wool-growers generally have discovered the importance of using this breed in crossing with their flocks.

With the present “embargo" on cotton, and the high price of everything produced by the farmer, especially beef and other kinds of meat, sheepraising, whether for wool or for mutton, will continue to be a very profitable branch of agricultural industry, and another year of competition in this county will greatly improve the numerous flocks of sheep which abound in the mountainous and hilly regions. The law imposing a tax upon dogs is working an improvement in this branch of our farmers' occupation, and with such amendments as have been suggested by the action of several boards of supervisors, by which the tax becomes a town matter and a town fund, it cannot fail to be satisfactory to the sheep and wool-growers of this State. The law passed by the Legislature in 1862, to provide for the collection of agricultural statistics by school districts, is being carried out by this society as fully and fairly as the duties enjoined can well be performed for the compensation which the law has provided for the services therein required. We find it difficult, in all cases, to obtain the statistics through agents who receive only the books for their pay, and especially so when his pay is withheld for a year or more after the labor is performed. . This society has found it necessary to apply the whole of the state appropriation to it, money as well as books, to meet the incidental expenses attending the collection of the statistics, and with this we intend to furnish the returns from every school district in this county within the time limited hy the law.

ABSTRACT OF SOCIETY'S PROCEEDINGS FOR 1863. The first meeting of the executive committee was held on the 3d day of January, 1863, at which a premium of $10 was awarded to Lemuel Woodward, of Greenfield, for the best half acre of turnips, the yield being 428 bushele and 35 pounds, at the rate of 60 pounds per bushel, and at an expense of $22; and to Freeborn G. Chamberlain of the same town, $6 for the 2d best half acre of turnips, the yield being 401 bushels, at the rate of 60 pounds per bushel, and at an expense of $22.60.

Vacancies were filled in the board of managers, and vigorous measures were adopted for the collection of the agricultural statistics by school districts, under the law of 1862.

The next meeting of the board (being the regular meeting) was held on the 25th day of May, 1863, when it was resolved to hold the annual fair and cattle show of the society, on its show grounds, at Saratoga Springs, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th, 1863

A general superintendent of the exhibition was appointed, with instructions to report to the next regular meeting of the committee, the names of suitable persons to be appointed assistant superintendents, gate keepers, night watchmen, and policemen during the exhibition.

A premium list was adopted inviting competition on agriculture proper, such as wheat, Indian corn, oats, barley, timothy seed, clover seed and flax, on horses, on cattle, on sheep, on swine, on poultry, on implements manufactured out of the county, on miscellaneous articles, on mechanical productions, on agricultural implements, on butter and cheese, on fruit, on garden vegetables, on household productions, and on painting, drawing, embroidery and necdlework; the cash premiums offered amounting in the aggregate to $1,057.00.

The next was a special meeting of the executive committee, called by the president, in the village of Saratoga Springs, on the 8th day of July, 1863, to consider and determine whether the Federal Government might have the use of the society's show grounds and buildings for recruiting and raising a regiment for the war. This meeting was more numerously attended by the members of the board than usual, when it was unanimously

Resolved, That the Federal Government may have the use of the society's show grounds and buildings for raising and recruiting regiments for the war, and for no other purpose, for the period of one year, at the rate of $30 per month, provided that the Government restore the buildings and property, at the expiration of the term, in as good state and condition as they are now, and that there be secured to be paid to the society the sum of $300 rent in advance, on the 1st day of September next.

A committee of five was appointed to conclude the arrangement with the Government and to attend to the execution of the necessary papers on the part of the society. This committee was also instructed to report to the next regular meeting of the board the necessary arrangements for holding the next annual fair.

The next meeting of the board of managers was the regular one, held at the office of the society, on the 1st day of August, 1863.

The list of judges or viewing committees were appointed at this meeting and the secretary directed to notify each per mail.

Daniel Shepherd, Esq., of Saratoga Springs, was selected to deliver the annual address.

THE ANNUAL FAIR. The XXIII annual fair and cattle show of the Saratoga County Agricultural Society, was held on the society's show grounds, at Saratoga Springs, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 1st, 2d, 3d and 4th, 1863.

Owing to the occupation of the show grounds by the Federal Government for military purposes, an opinion had gone abroad that the society would hold no fair the present year, and it was not until the fore part of August that the board of managers finally determined to hold the annual exhibition. This delay kept back the publication of the premium list, and in fact all knowledge that the fair was to be held, until a week or two before it was opened.

This apology is offered as a partial excuse, if any is wanting, for the falling off from former years in any department of the exhibition. Other causes also combined to render the late exhibition inferior, in some respects, to its predecessors.

The unsettled, war-waging condition of the country, always detrimental to the peaceful pursuit of agriculture-in withdrawing labor from the fields, and in various other ways disturbing the relation of the husbandman and rendering his occupation uncertain—the lateness of the season itself, and an unwillingness on the part of the exhibitors, particularly in the village, to bring forward their articles for exhibition in a military camp occupied by soldiers--these are among the reasons why the late annual fair was not in all respects what the society had hoped and expected.

The entries in the horse and cattle department were very good, but not equal, as a whole, to those of last year. Of swine, there were none this year, although Saratoga has the reputation of being one of the best pork growing counties in the State. The sheep department excelled that of any other of the society's exhibition. There is evidently more interest taken in wool growing in this county at the present time, than in any former period in the history of this society. Oscar Granger of Saratoga Springs, Henry C. Holmes of Saratoga, S. C. Boughton of Halfmoon, William Waring of Milton, and James C. Brisbin of Saratoga, seem to have taken the lead in the Spanish thoroughbreds and fine wool class. To Messrs. Granger and Holmes is the society, as well as the public, indebted for the praiseworthy competition among the fine wool growers of this county.

In the class of coarse wools, Wm. H. Smith of Saratoga, S. C. Boughton of Halfmoon, and Wm. L. Dorland of Saratoga, took the lead with the Cotswolds; and among the exhibitors of South Downs, Jeremiah McKinstry of Saratoga, and Lewis Sickler and Charles D. Sickler of Malta, bore off the palm.

It is to be regretted that the citizens of the village of Saratoga Springs, who are largely benefited by these exhibitions, should take so little interest in this society. The show in the mechanical department, of household pro. ductions, of garden vegetables, of painting, drawing, embroidery and needlework, of miscellaneous articles, and of flowers, might be much better sustained if the inhabitants of the town wherein these fairs are located would contribute what they might to sustain these exhibitions. But for some reason unexplained, this class of exhibitors were not at the late fair. Their absence was the subject of remark by all who take any interest in the affairs of the society.

The adverse occupation of the large building by the military, whereby exhibitors had no safe or secure place from the weather in which to display their household productions and indoor articles, no doubt prevented many from bringing forward their property. Floral hall, too, which has heretofore been the center of attraction, and a very interesting feature in these exhibitions, and which was unavoidably dispensed with this year, was very much missed by all who visited the grounds. It makes a void in the exhibition which no other department can supply, and without which it is impossible to attract the attention of the ladies, whose co-operation and presence are so essential to every peaceful employment.

There was one novel feature of this exhibition, which deserves more than a passing notice—that of Flax SPINNING. To the younger portion of the visitors to the fair grounds, if not to all, it must have been exceedingly interesting to see some half-dozen venerable matrons, with their distaffs and little wheels, converting flax into thread, some of them spinning two threads at the same time, carrying us back half a century ago, when flax was one of the staple products of this country, and before " cotton had become king." To Oscar Granger is the society indebted for this department of the exhibition, and the preinium list will show the success which crowned his efforts in planning and carrying out the arrangements, and the names of the fortunate recipients of the prizes.

The first, and the forenoon of the second day of the fair, were devoted exclusively to entering and arranging the animals, and articles for exhibition, when the gates were closed to all but exhibitors and officers and members of the society. The following is a comparative table of the entries in each class for 1862 and 1863 :

1862. 1863. Class 1-Agriculture .......

30

14 « 2-First class horses ........

65
« 3-Second class horses..........

37
4-First class cattle......
€ 5-Second class cattle....................
66 6-Sheep .......

61
« 1-Swine.....

None.
6 8-Poultry ......
o 9-Farming implements .......
66 10-Miscellaneous articles...
“ 11-Mechanical productions ......
« 12--Agricultural implements ...............
« 13-Butter and cheese .....................
« 14-Fruit ........
" 15Garden vegetables ....

84
“ 16--Household productions........

.. 147 “ 17-Painting, drawing, embroidery, &c. ...

..... 100 66 18-Horses out of cou

... 1 66 19–Foreign fancy articles.......

..None “ 20—Flowerst................................. 41

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

24 20

121

Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The second day, the gates were open to visitors at 8 o'clock A, M.

At 1 o'clock, the judges were called and vacancies filled, when they entered promptly upon the performauce of their duties, as fast as the list of entries were prepared.

Thursday, Sept. 3. The third was the great day of the exhibition, so far as relates to the crowd of visitors. The programme of the General Superintendent was carried out with as much regularity as possible amid such a crowd of people.

At 2 P. M., the Society was called to order by Hon. Samuel J. Mott, President, and upon whose invitation, the Rev. S. T. Parks, of Greenfield,

• Last year, premiums to the amount of $140 were offered on horses owned out of the county of Saratoga, and only one entry in this class was mado. This year no premiums were offered in this class and four entries were made.

f Owing to the occupation of the show grounds by the Federal Government, for military purposes, no arrangements could well be made for the Floral Department, and hence no premiums were offered therein. It will be hazardous to repeat this omission another year. Without the Ladies, these exhibitions would be moager affairs.

« ElőzőTovább »