On the second day of the fair there was an exhibition of the "fixtures and usages of olden times," which elicited universal attention. The process of breaking, dressing and hatcheling flax was presented; also spinning flax, wool and cotton. Thrashing and winnowing grain with the old “grain fan," the old wooden plow and harrow, old carriages and carts with wooden wheels, old fashioned clothes, hats, bonnets were all presented. Old cooking utensils, old household furniture of which the following report gives a brief description.

ANTIQUITIES. The committee on antiquities regret that they were not notified till a very late hour of their appointment to the task of examining and reporting upon the various articles entered at the fair on the part of Colonel Charles Williamson, “Muckle Andrew Smith," and several other worthies of the last century, for competition with the productions of the present generation, for it can hardly be regarded as either civil or fair to these ancient persons, that their committee should be allowed only an hour or so on the last day to examine and certify to their claims for the honors of the fair, while the very calves and turnips of 1863 are honored with a full commission of

learned gentlemen, assigned to their honorable office six months before· hand.

Nevertheless, we beg leave briefly to say that the articles exhibited certainly do great credit to the exhibitors, and although in style and finish modern articles of the same class may seem to have somewhat the advantage over their antique competitors, yet we are not to be deceived by mere decorations of paint and varnish, with regard to solid excellencies of the


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

An iron pot brought from Scotland in 1790 is a first class work of art. In this pot the first civilized dinner eaten in the town of Bath was cooked. Throughout the administration of Colonel Williamson, in the agency of the Pulteney estate, it performed steady service in his kitchen, and having comforted many a hungry stomach of English traveler and Indian chief, or Southern cavalier in the days when "chivalry” was not a good joke, and of sturdy pioneer from the east, it was finally placed on the retired list, and for many a year has found an asylum among the descendants of “Muckle Andrew Smith.” The efforts of all other iron pots on exhibition at the fair to com pete with this veteran are signal failures, and we award to it the first prize.

A “bull plow” of most determined aspect, but unfortunately without a record, (though the committee guess it is not a day under a half century of age) exhibited itself, apparently on its own account, for we could find no person who was willing to claim ownership. We are happy to say of this plow, that it is an excellent impleinent. Notwithstanding the vaunted improvements of the day in this department the committee are unanimously agreed that they could turn a furrow quite as well with this ancient affair as with the slickest “Iron beam,” or “Wiard” on the ground. Advertising and a judicious use of paint will set the bull plow right before the public, notwithstanding its apparent want of beauty.

We noticed, also, a rolling pin which has rolled down from the last cen

tury, keeping, even pace with the “car of progress," for we are not aware that modern rolling pins claim to be different in any respect from their predecessors. A trifle of a legend belongs to this implement, which we may as well repeat. Walter Angus, mill wright and bridge builder for Colonel Williamson, begged Mistress Smith, the housekeeper, one Sunday morning in the year 1796, to bake him a short cake for breakfast. The housekeeper declared it impossible, for the rolling pin was lost. “Do you make the cake," said Wattie, “and ye shall na lack for a rolling pin.” So straightway the flour was mixed for the cake, and by the time it was ready for the oven, the hungering Scot had hewn, wrought and finished a substantial rolling pin, and the same is now exhibited, as perhaps the oldest specimen of wood work wrought in the town of Bath now extant.

We refer to a few other curiosities exhibited-an earthen jar made fifty years ago in a pottery near Hammondsport. Pewter dishes one hundred years old, exhibited by Mr. Van Amburg; several old books, by Mr. George Sagar and Mr. Van Amburgh; the Bible of “Muckle Andrew," published in 1723, in London, and originally the property of Edward Croke, an officer in the British service. The most ancient book was a Bible belonging to Mr. Watkins of Mt. Washington. This volume was printed in the year 1619.

Numerous other article were shown us by Mr. Andrew Smith, in charge of the department, which we have not time at present to remark upon.

This feature of our county fairs, with a little attention, can be made very entertaining and instructive, and it is to be hoped that another year will witness a still larger collection of these relics of old times.

In the arrangements for the fair, premiums were offered for the best essays on various subjects, and awards were made in favor of two: one on “The fruits of the county, and the best mode of their cultivation, and the other “On the noxious weeds of the county, their description and the best way to exterminate them." Of the latter I send you a copy.

The receipts and disbursements of the society for the year 1863 were as follows: Amount in the treasurer's hands, Jan. 1st, 1863 ....... received from the fair ........

.... 1,039 28

[ocr errors]







donations ......................................
use of dining ha
use of fair lot..........................................

75 00
20 00
14 00

[ocr errors]

Paid premiums for 1862 .......

interest ..........
secretary's salary ........
band and

postage .......................................
clerk hire....................................
printer's bills....
committee of arrangements.....
premiums for 1863 .......

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


......... $120 58

All of which is respectfully submitted.

G. DENNISTON, President.

NOXIOUS WEEDS OF THE COUNTY. The award of premiums on essays is a new and desirable feature in the programme of our county fairs. The subjects designated are all interesting to the farmer, and hints thereon useful to his success in the various de partments of his profession.

Before the advent of “NoxiouS WEEDS," the vegetable world presented a scene of beauty unknown to fallen man. The “Blind Poet” gives the following vivid description:

" And said : Let the Earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
And fruit tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth.
He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green.
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered,
Op’ning their various colors, and mado gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet."

Earth's productions were indeed beautiful and good, until the original transgression altered the aspect of nature in all its features. Then

" Discord, first
Daughter of sin, among th' irrational,
Death introduced, through fierce antipathy:
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
And fish with fisht; to graze the herb all leaving,
Devoured each other, nor stood much in awe
Of man, but fled him, or with countenanco grim
Glard on him passing.”

Thenceforth the earth, thorns also, and thistles, brought forth unbid, and myriads of weeds, both foul and noxious, increased to curse the earth, to multiply the labors and the sorrows of man, whose mission is to cultivate and subdue the soil.

Equally with the other portions of the State, the county of Steuben is productive of noxiqus weeds: These choke the fields and subdue them to their sole occupancy, unless the farmer, with rakes, harrows and hoes, exterminate them. We have the full and distinctive alternative beautifully described in the Georgics, written more than two thousand years ago:

« Though thistles chok'd the fields and killed the corn,

And an unthrifty crop of weeds was born.
Then burs and brambles, an unbidden crew
Of graceless guests, th' unhappy field subdue,
And oats unblest, and darnel domineers,
And shoots its head above the shining ears :
So that, unless the land with daily care
Is exercised, and, with an iron war
Of plows and harrows, the proud foes expelled,
On others' crops you may with envy look,
And shake for food the long-abandond oak.”

Of all the noxious weeds of the county, the Canada thistle stands promi· nent. It has already made its appearance in every town, and if suffered to

remain undisturbed, it will continue to increase until it has taken full possession of the soil, to the exclusion of every other plant, and may be handed down from generation to generation as a permanent legacy. In some portions of our county, the farmers are compelled to bind their grain with gloves on their hands, or to forego binding altogether, harvesting their grain like hay. And in some places, the owners are ready to give the ground up in despair to the thistle, whose inroads seem to them irresistable and unconquerable.

The Canada Thistle is described by Linnæus as belonging to the natural order “Compositus,” which includes all the compound flowers, as of the class Syngenesia, which implies “the union of the anthers," as all flowers of this class have five stamens, united by their anthers in one set, and the flowers are compound.

Its generic designation is “ Cnicus," and it is described as having its calyx imbricate, with prickly scales—its receptacle villose: egret plumose.

Its special designation is “ Arvensis.” Its leaves are sessile pinnatified, ciliate, spinose, stem panicled, calyx ovate, mucronate, scales broad, lanceo late, clase pressed, margin woolly.

It is perennial. Its rhizoma descending deep into the soil, spreading, and very tenacious of life. Stems grow two or three feet high, smooth, triate and angular, Its branches are woolly. Its leaves are from three to six inches long, and an inch wide, and a little woolly underneath; flowers purple and whitish.

The leaves are shaped like a lance head; from their edge sharp spikes are thrown out. The heads are small and numerous, globular and covered with scales, which are lance-shaped and tipped with prickles. The stalk is annual, growing and dying each year. But the roots are never known to die. They will descend into the ground from six inches to three feet, as the soil will permit. They will spread horizontally in every direction, and at intervals of a few inches they will send up shoots to the surface, producing stems bearing leaves and flower branches, and each stem becomes the radiation of new horizontal roots, from which spring new shoots and branches.

Its immense power of propagation by its roots, renders its destruction extremely difficult. These are so extremely tenacious of life as to resist all ordinary injury; when cut in two its capacity to re-produce is doubled; each small piece will produce a stalk and radiate new horizontal roots. A single plowing or hoeing will always increase them, as each root, when cut, will throw out from one to three new stalks, and in time, double or treble the former number of roots. Like the fabled “Hydra," in the field of “Argus,” it can re-produce any portion cut off, and the Agricultural Hercules who would exterminate it must succeed, if he succeed indeed, by "fire and sword.

The Canada thistle has arrested public attention for more than half a century in this State. At the instance of the State Agricultural Society, the Legislature passed an act, by which the inhabitants and free-holders of the towns of certain counties were authorized to make provisions for destroy. ing noxious weeds on the lands of any person residing in the town, at the exclusive expense of such person, and authorised the freeholders and inhabitants of the several towns of the State, at their annual town-meetings, to make provisions for, and allow rewards for, the destruction of the Canada thistle. The money to be levied and raised with and in the same manner as other expenses of the town.

By section 12, of chapter 12, of title 2, of the first part of the Revised Statutes, the boards of supervisors of the several counties have the "power and are authorised, at any meeting thereof lawfully assembled, to make such laws and regulations as they may deem necessary, and provide for the enforcing of the same, for the destruction of thistles and other noxious weeds." This power is to be exercised by a vote of “two-thirds of all the members elected to such boards."

At an annual meeting of the board of supervisors of this county, (Steuben), in 1856, Supervisor Larrowe, of Cohocton, introduced a bill providing for the destruction of “Thistles and Noxious weeds” in the several towns of the county, which was sustained by a majority, but failed to pass by a two-thirds vote of the board. Our citizens, therefore, are left to their individual exertions, in which the more provident and careful will exterminate, and the negligent and shiftless, by inaction, will permanently secure the continued existence and spread of thistles and other noxious weeds.

We present to such as are desirous of destroying the Canada thistle, the various means resorted to for that end. It will be seen that “the war upon the thistle" is neither novel, nor the means of conducting it new, as either have been reproduced as often as the subject has excited public attention.

In 1815, a communication from Simeon De Witt, states that “the Canada thistle can be destroyed by covering it with straw to a depth of five or six inches."

In 1818, Mr. James Furguson advised “to mow the thistles down in & wet day in August, just above the ground, the stalks being hollow, will fill with water, which will destroy them."

Another agriculturist, General Armstrong, "used brine with success as an extirpator, and apple pomace spread thinly over the ground, being assured “that malic acid would destroy the most vigorous tap-rooted plant.”

Citizen Genet, in a communication to the Plough Boy says: "Many essays have been made in Europe and America by the most skillful botanists and agriculturists, to kill that pernicious plant. Frequent and deep plowings, repeated mowings, superincumbent substances, burnings and thick sowings of clover and other grass, have been used, but none of these - means have conquered the enemy. I have used salt solutions for several

years, and have invariably succeeded. This is owing to the mechanical operation of grazing animals who resort to the spots impregnated with pickle, and devour the young sprouts as soon as they appear, and deprive, entirely, the roots of their necessary communication with the atmosphere, destroying in them the source of vegetation, and occasion their much desired death." He further adds: “On a lot containing Canada thistles, wlich had been occasionally sprinkled with salt for the use of 300 Merinoes in 1815, I have not been able to discover the least remnant of that pernicious plant, while where the pickle had been put on the thistles not exposed

« ElőzőTovább »