Page images

The exhibition of household manufactures and fancy articles was full and rich. In this display was combined the useful with the beautiful. Many articles which at the glance seem only ornamental add to the attraction and comfort of home-life, where farmers and farmers' wives and daughters and sons spend a large portion of their lives.

Taking the fair as a whole it was excellent; and I am sure that the State is getting value received for the money paid to this society, and that the fair is evidence of its proper expenditure for the promotion of agriculture, which lies at the foundation of all other industries.

My acknowledgments are due to all the officers of the society, and especially to the president, and the past and present delegate to this Board, for their kind attention, which made my visit to Sturbridge and the Fair of the Worcester South Agricultural Society so pleasant; and I congratulate the society on its prosperity as an organization.



The Annual Exhibition of the Worcester South-east Agricultural Society was held at Milford, Sept. 25, 26, and 27.

I reached the grounds in the afternoon of the first day, and immediately repaired to the hall, where I found the president, Hon. William Knowlton, so well known to this Board and throughout the State, who took me in charge, introduced me to many of his assistants, and in person accompanied me to the stock-pens, which we found well filled with Durhams, Devons, Ayrshires, Jerseys, and their grades, nearly all kept for dairying purposes. Jersey's and Ayrshires were largely predominant, embracing many fine animals. A superior Jersey bull from the herd of O. B. Hadwen of Worcester, entered by the president, took the lead. I understand that this animal is soon to render professional service at the Agricultural College. He ought to make a good impression.

I found but few swine and but few sheep ; at which I was greatly surprised, as so much of the pasturage within the limits of the society seemed to me so well adapted to the production of mutton. My inquiry for the reason elicited the reply that it was due to the

curse of curs," with which so large a portion of the State is affected. It is hoped by many a good farmer, that some method may be devised by which these and cursing tramps, a kindred nuisance, may speedily be abolished. Is it not the legitimate

[ocr errors]

business of this Board to attend at once to these two things, and so present them to the present Legislature, that their action may relieve the thousands of families who live in constant dread of the one, and prevent the fear and great destruction arising from a toleration of the other? If it be true that worthless dogs are in excess of sheep (the most profitable stock for a large portion of the Old Bay State) in the ratio of two to one, is it not high time some stringent measures were used to reverse the ratio ? The show of poultry was very good.

The exhibition at the hall did great credit to the society, and deserves a more extended notice than in this brief report I am able to give.

The untiring efforts of the ladies were everywhere manifest; but the great interest of the first day centred in a fireman's muster. Twenty-one companies contended for the prizes, aggregating sis hundred dollars, with the greatest enthusiasm. The prizes, the vociferous cheering of the four thousand spectators, the doughnuts and hot coffee distributed by the lady-members of the Reform Club and the Woman's Temperance Union, were stimulants sufficient for the 1,244 men who participated in the trial.

I was informed by the president that nothing intoxicating was allowed upon the ground. I certainly saw no indication of any, a good evidence, that, in this respect, the officers of one society, at least, are the right men in the right place.

At eight o'clock on the morning of the second day a procession, formed in the village, - consisting of teams for the ploughingmatch, draught, matched, and fat cattle, trained oxen and steers, and a crowd of spectators, was escorted by the Milford Band to the field selected for the ploughing-match, near the grounds of the society.

Pen cannot describe the scene presented that beautiful September morning as the long train of cattle, from unweaned calves to large oxen, guided with tenderest care by men whose whitened locks were a crown of glory,'' with their sons and grandsons, down to the boy below his teens, with vehicles of almost every description, filled with implements for the day's trial, passed out of the village. Yankee Doodle from twenty pieces, accompanied by the lowing of oxen, the shouting of their drivers, their pleasant greetings, and merry laughier, were amply sufficient to stir even the dull soul of your delegate to a pitch of enthusiasm seldom reached.

There were thirty-one entries for the ploughing-match, which was concluded about ten o'clock, A.M., in a most satisfactory manner. As I examined the well-turned furrows, I did not envy the com

mittee the responsibility of awarding the limited number of prizes.

The first trial in the exhibition of trained cattle was the backing of a cart loaded with stone up quite an incline, in which, as well as all the trials of the day, it was fully demonstrated that the natural advantages of strength and weight cannot win against discipline; and that prizes cannot be gained by whipping, or the use of profane language.

The next exhibition was one perfectly new to me, and very novel, one for which I think this society deserves all the credit. A fine pair of steers were introduced without yoke, with hats upon their heads, and decorated with ribbons. They were made to lie down and stretch out as though dead, to stand with one foot upon a stool, to stand with all of their feet upon a stool, to stand upon two stools, one to stand upon the stools while the other walked under and around him upon his knees, to stand with one foot upon a pivot and turn around, to stand upon a turn-table while the other pushed the table around with his fore-feet, - to jump several poles placed about three feet high, also through a hoop, to walk up a flight of stairs, to stand with one foot hanging over the platform, to sit upon a cushioned stool with their fore-feet upon the first stair, with wooden pipes in their mouths, and hats upon their heads, to the great amusement of the crowd.

Several other pairs showed a high degree of training. A lad not more than ten or twelve years old showed what his patient training had done for a pair of calves only a few months old, and is deserving of great praise. The boy who has so far practised self-control as to teach these useful animals — by many thought to be incapable of any thing, save to drag unreasonable loads, and receive knocks, curses, and goadings from brutal drivers — should be held up as an example worthy of emulation. I was much interested in the trial of walking and fat cattle, the most satisfactory test of the latter being at the tables loaded with every good thing sufficient to satisfy the appetite of the most fastidious epicurean, which might have prompted the speakers in their high encomiums of the enjoyments of farm-life.

So closed the exercises of the second day. I felt that I had enjoyed a model cattle show, and could but wish that every man in the State who holds that an agricultural society cannot be sustained without the excitement of a jockey trot had been one of that vast crowd held from early morning until nearly dark as though spell-bound.

The exhibition of the third and last day, which was to be wholly devoted to the interests of the horse, I was unable to attend.

I can but express my heartfelt thanks to the president for the hospitalities of his home and many kind attentions, and shall ever remember with pleasure all those who ministered to my enjoyment during my stay in Milford.



There is so much of sameness in agricultural exhibitions, that it is difficult to write a report of a display, which shall not, with the name of exhibitors omitted, apply almost equally as well to one as another; but in the fair at Northampton there was one feature which truth compels me to say is not usually so much thought of or attended to as it should be. I refer particularly to attentions paid to delegates. Having attended some exhibitions, where, no designating marks being used, I was at a loss to whom to make myself known, and, when known, left to grope my way around “unhonored and unsung,” I was agreeably surprised to find that such was not the case at the exhibit of the Hampshire Franklin and Hampden Society. On the morning of the first day a gentleman introduced himself to me at the hotel as especially detailed to accompany me in my visit upon the grounds, and see to it that I was well cared for: so, under the guidance and pleasant companionship of Mr. Stebbins, my visit was made exceedingly agreeable. If questions were to be asked, he was ready to answer; if attention was to be called to any particular exhibit, he was there to point it out; and introductions to members and exhibitors made me feel very much at home where I had else been a stranger.

Upon arrival at the grounds, the usual preliminaries of getting ready were in progress; and in the course of time a very fine display of stock, which, as a whole, was very creditable to the society, was shown; and as an evidence of interest very many of the cattle had been driven several miles in order to compete for premiums, and add to the show. It has been said that “ those who live farthest from church are the most regular and prompt in attend

It may be there were very fine cattle in Northampton; but few, however, were upon the grounds.

Of herds there were specimens of the different breeds, of which many were of unsurpassed excellence. I would very much like to particularize ; but it would be difficult so to do, and fearing, while doing justice to some exhibitors, I should unintentionally omit others, it perhaps is better in this report that no individual distinctions should be made.


Being unaccustomed to the sight of Shorthorn stock, the display of that breed was one of great pleasure to your delegate. It seemed to him that no better exhibit could be made, either in herd or singly; and it could not be otherwise, when such wellknown breeders as are in the Connecticut valley lent their aid to “swell the list," and compete with each other for a creditable display. Devons, Ayrshires, and the cream-producing Jerseys, too, were there in large numbers, each breed having its friends and their owner enthusiastic in praise of his favorites.

An elderly lady who owned a fancy farm, and was also a great lover of flowers, in the temporary absence of her gardener, one morning called in the aid of her farmer to assist in the garden. He was very unskilful in the ways of managing a flower-garden, and was so awkward, that the good old lady got out of patience, and testily exclaimed, “ William, all you are fit for is to trade cows, and sit on the fence and see pigs grow.” The display of swine at the exhibition was so good, that your delegate could hardly find fault with any one for sitting upon the fence, to see them grow; and the noted pork-breeders of the vicinity must have taken a justifiable pride in their exhibit. Every known breed seemed to have its champion ; and, if desirous of “getting the best," the purchaser would be at loss to decide.

There was not a very large display of sheep; but such as there were seemed to be the best of their kind, and reflected great credit upon their exhibitors.

A society having its grounds in the vicinity of large State institutions usually has a great advantage in making an attractive display over those not similarly situated. The Hampshire Franklin and IIampden would seem to be particularly favored in this respect. For with the hospital in its immediate vicinity, and the agricultural college not very far off, your delegate expected to see the fine cattle of both places on exhibition, especially as, at the exhibit at Amherst the year before, a large and creditable display was made from the college. I understood its stock could have been sent without pecuniary loss; but, probably for some reason best known to the authorities, no exhibition was macie. Some exceedingly fine specimens of swine, however, were upon the grounds from the hospital.

There was a general mixing up of poultry, not a very large exhibit, but very creditable.

Upon entering the hall there seemed to be specimens of almost every thing usually found at such times and in such places, and every thing was very tastefully displayed. The contributions of fruit, and its arrangement, were grand and beautiful. One feature

« PreviousContinue »