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WATKINS, Feb. 1st, 1864. To the Hon. B. P. Johnson, Secretary of the State Agricultural Society, :
The undersigned would respectfully report the following, as the transactions of the Schuyler County Agricultural Society for 1863:
The annual fair was held on the 24th, 25th and 26th days of September. The exhibition of horses, cattle, sheep and swine was good. The mechanical department was not as good as on former years.
The attendance and interest manifested was such as to encourage the officers and friends of agricultural advancement to renewed efforts in behalf of agricultural and mechanical interests of the county.
The receipts were for membership and admission to the
Amount paid out for expenses, &o........................
$266 10 66 Premiums ....................................
263 84 “ Balance of premiums awarded and subject to draft 20 00 Balance .......
450 88 $1,000 82
All of which is respectfully submitted.
TIMOTHY OWEN, President.
Romulus, January 22, 1864. B. P. Johnson, Esq.,
Dear SirEnclosed I send you the annual report of the Seneca County Agricultural Society. The receipts, you will see, are not as much as the payments; the selection of the time for holding the fair was unfortunate, or rather, injudicious—being at the time farmers were generally most engaged in sowing their wheat. It was held about the 10th of September, to avoid interfering with the State and town fairs. We held our winter meeting yesterday, for awarding premiums on grain, grass seed and roots, and the election of officers for the ensuing year. The old officers were again chosen, with the exception of the two directors. The blanks for statistics were received, and considerable interest was manifested in using them this year; they were all distributed among the board of directors, and a number of them to persons in the several school districts. In this town they are also distributed to-day. Should anything be wrong about the annual report, please write me. The secretary will make his report as usual in a few days.
JOHN D. COE.
STEUBEN. To the intelligent farmer, the climate of his particular locality is an interesting study, and he will note the meteorological changes with great solicitude, as they shall determine his crop from year to year.
The question with him is not simply that of rain or sunshine, heat or cold, cloudy or fair weather, but of a combination of all these in an auspicious succession, so as to favor vegetable and animal life, and thus secure full returns for his care and labor.
The year ensuing our last annual report has been somewhat marked for unusual meteorological changes, though the average may not greatly differ from the preceding year.
The following notes were made in Prattsburgh, in our county, elevated more than 1500 feet above tide water.
The average for December, 1862, was 28.22, for January, 1863, 24.27, for February 24.21, making the average for the winter months 25.57; that of March was 32.99, for April 46.79, for ay 48.07, making the average for the spring months 42.62; June was 53, July 60.22, August 65.88, average for summer, 63.03; September was 57.54, October 45.93, November 35.21, making the average for the autumn, 46.23.
March opened with a snow storm of some extent and severity, but gradually softened down so that the whole month produced a fair average of temperature. The first part of April was cold and stormy. On the fifth the driving snow fell throughout the day, but the latter part of the month was quite mild. May opened pleasantly, with frequent showers; and the last half of the month was far above the average. The first part of June was cold, and the mean of the first week was below that of the last week in May, which is unusual; but the temperature gradually rose so as to make the mean for the month 53.00, which made the crops look promising, and the agricultural interests generally flattering. July was truly the favorable month of the year-marked for its uniform warm days and nights, and for the great storm on the night of the 20th, the fall of water exceeding seven inches, flooding the country, destroying roads and bridges. The grass crop matured in July finely, and the corn crop was far advanced towards maturity. August exceeded July in range of warmth, by more than five degrees, and secured the cereal crops in full maturity. The 30th was noted for the great frost of the season, which extended throughout the Western States, but was scarcely noticed in Steuben. In September the corn crop ripened finely, and produced a full yield. The first half of October was very pleasant, a little cool through the nights, but warm at mid day. On the 1st it was full 68°, and on the 15th, 65o. On the 13th the range fell below 32°, and gave us a frost of great severity—the grass and plants were as if covered with snow. The latter part of the month was splendid, and the foliage assumed those beautiful hues peculiar to our autumnal scenery. On the 22d was the great snow storm at the West, which began at St. Louis at 8, a. M., ard continued all day and night; on the 23d the snow six inches deep and the temperature 24o. During this storm, it was only rain in Steuben county. Thus we passed the second cold period of the seeson, which, severe at the west, was scarcely noticed east of Buffalo, and was not felt in Steuben. November opened warm and summer like, with that peculiar haze indicat. ing “Indian Summer.” This continued until the 7th, when we had the first snow of the season. But on the 11th we had fair autumn weather, which continued to the end of the month.
The fall of water for the year was, for December 2.60, January 1.96, Fe
bruary 1.83, March 2.41, April 2.64, May 3.15, June 2.04, July 8.09, August 2.31, September 3.25, October 2.46, November 2.86, making for the year 35.56.
Observation has satisfied me that elevated districts of the county are more frequently deluged with rain, as they are the more often enveloped in clouds than the valleys and plains. The humid air, rising to an altitude in which it can no longer retain its vapor, water is precipitated in showers, squalls and storms.
The effects of the temperature of the seasons were clearly seen on the vegetation and crops, in their backwardness through the spring months, and in their rapid growth and maturity through the summer.
The grass crop, though good, did not fully develope itself before June, and was unfit to cut for hay before the latter part of July, when a fine yield was harvested.
The corn crop hardly exhibited vegetation before the last of June, but rapidly advanced through July and August to full maturity, producing a full average.
The most singular feature in all our crops was in that of the spring wheat. The straw was good, full, thick and large enough to produce 25 bushels per acre, but did not yield more than six, which is far too low to be remunerative. Is there such a thing in the cereal crops as running out? It is within the recollection of many, that when the Italian Spring Wheat was first introduced into the county, that it yielded good crops for a number of years, and then gradually deteriorated until it entirely failed. The China T, when first introduced, would yield 25 bushels per acre, and for several years it was the wheat preferred to all others; but for a few years past the average has been gradually reduced until sıx marks the general yield. “The Club," " the Fife," have all the same history in our agricul. taral statistics. What then? Shall we abandon spring wheat, or obtain some new varieties that will ensure better returns ? This is an important question, and calls for serious consideration.
The winter wheat may, in the absence of the worm, the fly, the aphis, and a thousand other pests, produce remunerating crops. If so, let us by all means grow it. A resort to the "snmmer fallow” will clean our lands of weeds, that spring crops have nourished and propagated. This will be an improvement in the right direction, if the winter wheat will pay.
The crops of oats and barley, in the county, were a full average, though the area of the latter was not as large as usual, but the high prices they commanded will induce their extended cultivation.
In the way of crops and of markets our farmers have every encouragement for active enterprise in their departments of labor. While full crops and high prices prevail, let him who is in debt cancel his liabilities, and prepare for the change that will ensue when the collapse comes. Let him who is out of debt lay up his surplus funds, safely invested, until the storm blows over, and clear skies are seen ahead. They who remember the scenes of 1814-20, need no caution. The recollection will keep them from expanded sails and incautious adventures in times and circumstances like the present.
The annual fair was held at Bath, September 23d, 24th and 25th, and the exhibition was throughout very creditable to the industry and the enterprise of our citizens. In all the departments a far better grade was exhibited than on former occasions, manifesting that improvement is the order of the day.
In cattle, the bloods, and the grades were of unusual excellence, showing that our farmers fully appreciate the advantages derived from careful breeding of the best varieties. Mr. E. F. Dunkley, of Erwin, received the first premium on the best Durham bull, an animal that would compete favorably at any exhibition in the State. Mr. R. B. Wilkes, of Bath, exhibited the best cow, and J. Lyon Robie the best heifer.
In Devon cattle, of which there wore a fine display, Gen. 0. F. Marshall, of Wheeler, exhibited the best bull, the best bull calf, and the best heifer. The best cow was exhibited by Mr. Charles Waldo, of Prattsburgh, whose herd of Devons are worthy of all praise for symmetry, and purity, generally commanding the greater number, and the highest prizes offered at our annual fairs. In working oxen, Mr. Waldo received the first premium, also in three year old steers. In steers not broke, and in fat oxen, and steers, Mr. Samuel Balcom, of Campbell, made the best exhibition. Mr. Balcom, generally, brings a drove of fine fat cattle to our annual fairs, which for even grade, as to size, flesh and symmetry, can scarcely be excelled.
In shecp, of which the crunty of Steuben numbers many fine and valuable flocks, Gen. 0. F. Marshall exhibited the best buck, ard C. D. Champlin, of H. Port, the best ewes. The best exhibition of long wool sheep, was made by Josiah Nellis, of Bath, and the best middle wool by J. Walker, of Bath. The competition in sheep at our annual fairs, is generally exciting, and the premiums are highly prized, from the fact that the competing flocks are all extremely worthy and valuable, and can scarcely be surpassed by any in the State.
The poultry "fanciers" were fully represented, and made an unusual display of the "feathered tribes." There were white turkeys, black turkies, and gray ; there were pea fowls, and pigeons ; Poland fowls, and ducks ; Spangled fowls, and geese ; black Spanish fowls, Brahmas, and bantums—Shanghais, and Dorkins. The competition was sharp, and after the awards were declared, the successful coops were unusually vocal with jolly crowing, and gobbling, as though their inmates had imbibed the inspiration of the occasion.
The exhibition in horses was very large, including all the grades from the farm horse and the donkey to the more pretentious “roadster" and the "racer” of the sporting men. The best road stallion was exhibited by 0. C. Matteson, of Urbana; the best farm stallion by J. S. Carlton, of Bath; the best span of mules by I. H. Bronson, of Urbana; the best mule by Albert Clark, of Prattsburgh; the best pair draft horses by A. Stewart, of Cameron; the best pair matched horses by Ira R. Brundage, of Urbana.
In farm implements we noticed a general improvement from former exhi. bitions-new implements calculated to save labor-improvement of implements and machines to render them more easily worked and better adapted to perform the work intended.
L. Biies & Son, of Bath, made a fine exhibition of plows, improved in
many respects, so as to render plowing easy and efficient. H. T. Mitchel, of Wayne, exhibited the best plow; and “Wood's mower" was deemed the first on the ground. In the way of farming tools and implements, our agriculturist could select any and all that he needed for successful farming, from an axe helve, an ox yoke, to a plow, a fanning mill, a thrasher and separator, a reaper and a mower, so complete and so various are the improvements of the day. Farm wagons, substantial and spacious ; democrat wagons, plain and neat ; open and top buggies, single and double, plain and gaudy, neat and pretentious, were on exhibition, inciting notice and admiration, suited to service, to convenience, to families or single individuals, to use and to display. Of these, H. Loomis, of Bath, and D. & C. Conderman, of Hornellsville, made the chief entries.
In domestic manufactures we have a remnant of the good old times still with us. Our male and female population have not all abandoned the practice of domestic industry, but here and there, "few and far between,” indeed, they are seen pursuing the “old economy” of domestic manufacture, thus setting an example of frugality and of industry so much needed in these "fast times” of our day.
In the manufacture of woolen yarn, and for the best woolen shawl, and skirt, the award was to Katy Witcom, of Bath; and robed in skirt and shawl of her own make, she displays a far greater nobility than they who depend upon foreign looms, and alien artizans for the fabrics they wear.
The best sample of woolen yarn by a young lady under 16 years, was exhibited by Miss C. E. Wagoner, of Bath; and the best pair of woolen stockings by a girl 13 years old, by Miss Ola Jones, of Bath; an exhibibition more creditable to either than any pretentious modern display whatever. There was a fine plaid flannel "home-made" by Mrs. T. Çarel, of Howard, and fine “linsey woolsey" by Mrs. Josiah Nellis, of Bath; also carpeting by Mrs. H. L. Purdy, of Bath. We make honorable mention of these to encourage such exemplars of good and frugal “house wiferie, who are deserving of all praise.
The exhibition of dairy products was fine. The attention of our citizens is being more directed to this department of industry each year, and the fact is also being realized, that Steuben is better calculated for dairy and grazing purposes, than for any other. That our hills and valleys furnish fine pastures, plenty of water, all that is needed to make good beef, fine butter, and “golden” fleeces.
The best butter was exhibited by P. T. Smith, of Bath. The best cheese by H. Shaver, of Avoca.
In fancy articles, and flowers, there was a great display. The votaries of "Flora" and the “Muses” here joined hands to enhance, and to enliven the scene. Embroideries rare and beautiful, paintings truthful and fine, flowers artistically arranged, and ornamental designs, chaste and unique, were on exhibition in great variety. Miss Kate Cheney, of Prattsburgh, received the first premium on crayon drawings; Miss Jane De Wolf, of Bath, on oil painting; W. S. Cheney, on flowers; Miss E. Staniford, of Bath, on “crotchet work;" Miss Helen Finch, of Bath, on "embroidery;" . Miss E. Biles, of Bath, on fancy knitting. [Ag. Trans.]