History of Buffalo County
and Its People
by Samuel Clay Bassett
DEFALCATION OF JAMES VAN SICKLE, COUNTY TREASURER -- H. C. M'NEW IN SHELTON CLIPPER -- INTEREST ON PUBLIC FUNDS DEEMED THE LEGITIMATE OFFICE INCOME OF A COUNTY TREASURER -- UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY EVADES PAYMENT OF COUNTY TAXES -- HOMESTEADERS COMPELLED TO PAY TAXES ON LANDS BEFORE MAKING FINAL PROOF -- COUNTY MONEY BUILDS BRIDGES AND FURNISHES STAGE-LINE EQUIPMENT FOR STAGE LINE FROM KEARNEY TO BLACK HILLS -- COUNTY TREASURER JAMES VAN SICKLE TAKES A HUNTING TRIP -- METHOD OF CONDUCTING COUNTY BUSINESS -- MONEY HIRED OF AN OMAHA BANK TO MAKE SETTLEMENT WITH COUNTY BOARD -- REMOVAL OF TREASURER VAN SICKLE FROM OFFICE -- AN EMPLOYE OF THE UNION PACIFIC COMPANY INSTALLED AS DEPUTY COUNTY TREASURER -- EX-COUNTY TREASURER JAMES VAN SICKLE EARNS A PRECARIOUS LIVING BY HUNTING AND TRAPPING.
Editor H. C. McNew of the Shelton Clipper, date December 31, 1881, writes as follows of the Van Sickle defalcation:
"It was during the year 1879 that the county treasurer, James Van Sickle, proved to be a defaulter in the sum of $14,000. This defalcation has never been settled, and a lawsuit is now in the Supreme Court between the county and the last term bondsmen, who claim that a portion of the defalcation occurred during the previous terms. What will become of it is hard to say. Probably a long law suit, putting the county to a great deal of expense will be the result. The last term bondsmen claim that they should not be held responsible for all of the lost money, as there is positive proof that a portion of it occurred during Van Sickle's second term. The commissioners settled with the treasurer before beginning the third term, and he counted out the money, but it has been ascertained that the money was only secured for the occasion of settlement with the county. Such was the game practiced by some of Kearney's leading citizens."
It is not pleasant to write of the history of the defalcation of James Van Sickle, treasurer of Buffalo County. James Van Sickle was not a deliberate and intentional thief. He was as honest in his intentions and purposes as were many of the people of Buffalo County at the date when he served as county treasurer. He was of kindly disposition, generous and trustful to a fault, one who found it well-nigh impossible to say "No," to a personal friend. It was at a time when a large majority of residents of the county were sorely pressed for ready money to meet outstanding indebtedness and to establish themselves on their claims and in business. As a defaulter he was largely a victim of circumstances and conditions.
To many men, deemed honorable and upright, James Van Sickle loaned
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
money, both parties knowing it was the money of the county. It was not deemed so great a sin to misappropriate public funds in that day and generation as in the year 1915.
Interest on public funds was deemed the legitimate office income of a county or state treasurer. At that date the Union Pacific Railroad Company was evading the payment of taxes in Buffalo County on some one hundred and forty thousand acres of its land within the limits of the county. This company had secured a decision from the courts that, as the general Government had not issued patents for these lands, they were not taxable, and yet the company had mortgaged these among other of its lands for $10,000,000 and sold the bonds on the general market, the lands being the only security.
To illustrate how flagrant and unjust this decision of the court was to taxpayers in Buffalo County let us cite a specific instance. Section 7, town 9, range 13, in Shelton Township, was railroad land, and all of this section except the east half of the southeast quarter had been purchased of the railroad company by settlers who were paying taxes on same. The state auditor notified the clerk of Buffalo County to strike from the assessment rolls of the county the east half of the southeast quarter of section 7, town 9, range 13, the same being not taxable.
A homesteader in Buffalo County had seven years in which to make proof on his homestead and secure a patent from the general Government, and yet the courts had held that at the end of five years the lands of a homesteader were liable for taxation (and homesteaders were compelled to pay taxes on homestead claims) at the end of five years, although they did not make final proof and secure a patent until the end of seven years. These instances are not cited as any justification on the part of James Van Sickle, county treasurer, or of men who borrowed knowingly of him of county funds, but simply to illustrate public conditions and public opinion as to use of public funds.
Promoters induced Treasurer Van Sickle to invest of county funds in schemes which seemed to promise profitable returns, but which proved a financial loss. As an instance, take the promoter's scheme to establish a stage line from Kearney to the Black Hills in which was invested county money to build bridges and furnish stage-line equipment. Stage lines had been established from North Platte and Sidney, and it was hoped to reap a profit by making Kearney an out-fitting point for such a stage line, but as a financial venture it was a failure.
James Van Sickle was in no sense fitted to be trusted with the duties of so responsible an office as county treasurer. He was not efficient as a collector of taxes; he was not competent as an accountant or a keeper of public records. He was an easy dupe of designing individuals. He was compelled to give a personal bond (bond signed by individuals-friends) which tended to place him somewhat at the mercy of dishonest bondsmen. He was modest, unassuming and exceedingly popular with the mass of the people. He was an active member of the Grange, and the Grange movement being in a flourishing condition in the county, he used his Grange acquaintance and influence to further his political aspirations. (The meddling of politics and politicians was a death blow to the Grange movement in the county.)
His delight was to hunt and trap, and during his three terms of office he
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
often spent weeks at a time on hunting trips, entirely out of touch with the county treasurer's office.
His methods of conducting the office of county treasurer is well illustrated by an incident connected with one of his hunting trips.
The trip had been arranged for, the other members' of the party in waiting, the team with the wagon loaded with supplies of food, ammunition and camping equipment stood waiting on the street of the county seat, when Treasurer Van Sickle, who had been engaged during the day in his office, entered a bank in which he deposited county funds, took from pockets in his clothing rolls of county money, placed it uncounted on the bank counter, requested that it be counted and he be given credit--and at once departed on his hunting trip, to be gone weeks.
It was the duty of the board of county commissioners to settle with the county treasurer. In a settlement during his last term of office it was notorious that the cash to make settlement with the commissioners was hired for the occasion of an Omaha bank, brought to the county seat, counted out to the members of the county board as county money, at once placed in a handbag and returned to the Omaha bank.
County Treasurer James Van Sickle was not competent to originate and carry out a scheme of this character, and hence should not be held wholly responsible for the shortage of county funds which occurred during his term of office.
No steps being taken by the county board to proceed against the county treasurer for defalcation in office, his removal came about in the following manner: The Union Pacific Railroad Company at that date paid a major portion of county taxes. It made comparatively little difference to the county whether individuals were prompt in payment of taxes or not. Should the Union Pacific refuse to pay its county taxes, the financial affairs of the county would be at a standstill. A taxpayer of the county wrote officials of the Union Pacific company, stating that it was well known that the treasurer of Buffalo County was short in his accounts, that the county board seemed not disposed to take action, and requested the company not to pay its county taxes, then about due, until some satisfactory arrangement could be made to safeguard the county funds. The result was that John G. Taylor, an employe of the Union Pacific company in the auditor's department, was installed as deputy in the county treasurer's office, having full charge of the office, and served to the end of Van Sickle's term. It appears that the prosecution against Treasurer Van Sickle was abandoned. The county records do not seem to disclose that the county recovered any part of the shortage from either Van Sickle or his bondsmen. Some of the bondsmen offered to pay whatever the court found them holding for, but it appears the court could not determine thfe amount.
It did not appear that Mr. Van Sickle profited in any marked degree by reason of his defalcation as county treasurer. He lived for many years after retiring from office, earning a precarious living by hunting and trapping.
PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY -- GRANGES ORGANIZED IN NEBRASKA IN EARLY '70s -- ENGAGE IN MANUFACTURE OF FARM IMPLEMENTS -- NOXIOUS WEED SEED IN GRAIN SHIPPED DROUTH SUFFERERS -- GRANGES ORGANIZED IN BUFFALO COUNTY IN 1875 -- LOCATION OF GRANGES AND THOSE ACTIVE IN THE MOVEMENT -- POLITICS DISRUPTS THE GRANGE -- THE GRANGE MOVEMENT IN BUFFALO COUNTY IN 1912-15 -- TWENTY-ONE GRANGES ORGANIZED, WITH 687 CHARTER MEMBERS -- GRANGE MEMBERSHIP 1,000 IN COUNTY IN 1915 -- LIST OF GRANGES -- NUMBER OF MEMBERS -- NAMES OF MASTER AND SECRETARY.
PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY
In the early '70s granges were established and the movement spread rapidly over the state. A State Grange was organized, with Church Howe as master, and an office opened and maintained at Lincoln in charge of P. E. Beardsley as secretary. A stock company, on the co-operative plan, in which many members of granges took stock, was organized, and under the supervision of the State Grange, engaged in the manufacture of farm implements (more largely corn plows), the buying, in wholesale lots, of family supplies and the handling and shipping of farm products. During the grasshopper invasion the officers of the State Grange were active in shipping many carloads of grain both for seed and as feed for farm teams out into the state for the relief of drouth sufferers. Unfortunately like relief sent out by the state, such grain (for seed purposes) was purchased at grain elevators, a mixture of the different varieties of wheat, oats and the like, and without being cleaned as it came from the threshing machine and containing many kinds of noxious weed seed, was shipped to the needy in all the newer portions of the state, thus seeding, for all time to come, thousands of newly opened farms with such noxious weeds.
The social feature of the Grange was of great and lasting benefit to the agricultural population of the state. The Grange meetings were attended by practically the entire rural population of the locality and visits were made to other granges. The members met on common ground, became acquainted, discussed questions in which all were more or less interested, such meetings going a long ways in helping to overcome the monotony and isolation of homesteaders in sparsely settled localities, often with oxen only as a means of travel.
The business ventures mentioned did not prove profitable. Whether conducted locally or those under the patronage of the State Grange, as before noted, the latter entailing considerable loss which was finally satisfactorily adjusted, in large part, at the personal expense of Church Howe, master of the State Grange.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
BUFFALO COUNTY GRANGES
Granges were first organized in Buffalo County about the year 1875 by Maggie G. T. Mobley as state organizer. One of the largest granges was in Shelton Precinct and met in the schoolhouse in District No. 8. When organized V. Armbus was its first master, and S. C. Bassett secretary. A Grange was organized at Gibbon, but soon abandoned. There was a flourishing Grange in Centre Precinct, the more active members, as recalled, being William F. McClure, George N. Smith, James Van Sickle, T. J. Mahoney and Robert Haines. At Crowellton (now Odessa) a Grange was instituted at the home of John D. Seaman, its meetings being held in the nearby schoolhouse. A Grange was also instituted at Elm Creek, of which George Miller was "master" and a most active member. One of the most flourishing granges was located in Buckeye Valley (later called Butler), in Valley Township. As recalled, T. B. Williams was "master" of this Grange, and N. Morris one of its very active members. This Grange continued to hold regular meetings for many years after all other granges in the county had surrendered their charters.
There was a "Pomona" Grange, which met at the county seat (Kearney). This, the county Grange, was attended by representatives of the local county granges.
POLITICS DISRUPTS THE GRANGE
The flourishing condition of the Grange movement was a tempting bait to designing politicians who made use of membership in the Grange for their own political advancement, not only in Buffalo County, but in Other counties of the state. This caused dissension among the members of the Grange, and the Grange movement in Buffalo came to a speedy end.
THE GRANGE MOVEMENT REVIVED
About the year 1912 the Grange movement in Nebraska was revived under the leadership of Hon. J. D. Ream of Broken Bow, who was elected master of the State Grange, and in the reorganization of the Grange members of the order in Buffalo County took an active part, the following being officers of the State Grange: C. E. Bishop of Riverdale, steward; J. S. Cooper of Kearney, treasurer; Mrs. Belle Crosby of Kearney, chaplain; Mrs. George Bischel of Kearney, ceres; Miss Gladys Eichmeir of Kearney, lady assistant steward; George Bischel, chairman bureau of information.
George Bischel of Kearney served as organizer of granges in Buffalo County, and under his inspiration and leadership twenty-one granges were organized in the years 1913-15, with a charter membership of 687, and since their organization has a largely increased membership.
With two exceptions these granges meet in schoolhouses in rural school districts. Herewith is given a list of granges in Buffalo County in the year 1915, the school district in which located, the number of charter members, the name of the master and secretary.
The membership of granges in Buffalo County exceeds one thousand, December 1, 1915:
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Wood River Valley
A. R. Crosby
W. A. Smith
J. F. Parks
E. E. Humbert
J. E. Kennedy
J. E. Abbott
J. E. Higbee
J. D. Curd
C. H. Payton
C. W. Jenkins
R. B. Drake
R. A. Larimer
W. W. Applegate
P. A. Nickey
C. E. Demming
J. C. Vlack
K. E. Kirk
George J. Rinkle
O. S. McCurry
ERIE FARMER'S CLUB ORGANIZED IN 1874 -- LIST OF CHARTER MEMBERS -- SOME OF THE SUBJECTS DISCUSSED -- BUFFALO COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY -- FIRST ORGANIZATION IN 1875 AND A FAIR HELD AT KEARNEY--RE-ORGANIZED IN 1881 AND LOCATED AT SHELTON -- BUILDINGS ERECTED AND THREE FAIRS HELD -- FAIR MOVED TO KEARNEY IN 1884 -- SEVERAL SUCCESSFUL FAIRS HELD -- RE-ORGANIZED IN 1913.
ERIE FARMER'S CLUB
On the 13th of February, 1874, there was organized the Erie Farmer's Club, the place of meeting being the schoolhouse in District No. 8. The object of the club, "Mutual benefit and improvement," which also included the discussion of farm problems and the conducting of experiments in the growing of grain and vegetables.
The charter members of the club were: E. M. Fargo, B, C. Bassett, L. Worthington, J. E. Judd, S. C. Bassett, D. Stonebarger, Wm. Nutter, L. Plumb; S. V. Seeley, John P. Smith, O. Washburn, W. J. Steven, V. Armbus, T. D. Thatcher, D. Waldron, James Mills, S. R. Traut, George Brown, S. T. Walker. Officers: S. V. Seeley, chairman; S. C. Bassett, secretary; Geo. Brown, treasurer.
Among the subjects discussed, and in which there was a wide difference of opinion among the members of the club was, whether fall plowing had a tendency to produce more smut in small grain crops than where such crops were grown on land plowed in the spring.
This club continued in existence many years with profit to its members. Later a farmer's institute, attendee by representatives of the college of agriculture, state university, took the place of the work of the club.
BUFFALO COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL SOCIETY
August 7, 1875, there was held in Kearney, a meeting to organize an agricultural and mechanical society. At the preliminary meeting, Judge N. H. Hemiup served as chairman and S. S. St. John as secretary. At this meeting a committee was appointed to solicit memberships in the various precincts as follows: A. Eddy, Gibbon; M. B. Hunt, Grant; C. S. Greenman, Crowelton; S. B. Lowell, Shelton; H. H. Clark, Loup; G. N. Smith, Centre; D. T. Hood, Western; A. Collins, Rev. Wm. Morse, C. A. Borders, H. C. Andrews, Kearney; E. W. Carpenter, Cedar; E. Smith, Schneider; A. L. Armstrong, Buffalo. The meeting adjourned to August 21, 1875, at Kearney.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
At the August 2ist meeting the organization was perfected by the election of James Van Sickle as president, S. C. Bassett, secretary, and F. S. Trew, treasurer. The following were named as additional members of precinct committee: B. C. Bassett, Gibbon; Hamilton Grant and D. Harpst, Crowelton; H. A. Lee, Shelton; John Magee, Loup; W. F. McClure, Centre; George Miller, Western; Sam L. Savidge, Kearney; Captain Strothers, Cedar; Harvey Brown, Buffalo; Wm. Barrett, Schneider. This meeting adjourned to September 4 at which time C. S. Greenman was elected first vice president, and T. J. Mahoney second vice president. The executive committee was W. F. McClure, D. Harpst, C. A. Borders, B. C. Bassett and George Millburn.
The executive committee were authorized to offer premiums "for the leading agricultural products." Messrs. Hemiup and Calkins, who were engaged in the furniture business in Kearney, offered the free use of rooms in their building in which to hold an exhibit of agricultural products, and such an exhibit was held September 18, 1875. First and second cash premiums were offered for the following exhibits: (Note--As this was during the grasshopper raids when no corn was raised, it will be noted no premium was offered for corn.)
Wheat, oats, barley, rye, millet, flax, potatoes, beets, onions, cabbage, carrot, parsnip, beans (navy), turnip, squash, pumpkin, melon, broom corn, sorghum, cucumber, butter, best assortment of flowers, bread hop yeast, bread salt rising.
Committee on general arrangements: N. H. Hemiup, Webster Eaton, Col. John H. Roe.
Committee on grain: S. B. Lowell, A. Collins, Miles B. Hunt.
Committee on vegetables: James W. Wallace, S. W. Thornton, George Hall.
Committee on butter, flowers, etc.: Mrs. Wm. Killgore, Miss Fannie Nevius, Mrs. L. B. Cunningham.
Committee on ways and means: I. B. Wambaugh, George Norris, N. H. Hemiup.
It was a great day in Buffalo County, September 18, 1875, when was held the first county fair; everybody in the county was there and all were surprised at the remarkable showing made of farm products. Officials of the Union Pacific land department from Omaha were present and were so pleased and delighted at the exhibit of grain and vegetables raised in grasshopper times in the county that they bought outright the grain and vegetables awarded premiums and in charge of Col. John H. Roe and R. H. Eaton; these exhibits were taken to Omaha and placed on exhibition in the rooms of the Union Pacific land department.
History does not record to whom premiums were awarded but it is recalled that Mrs. John M. Bayley was awarded first premium on butter and B. C. Bassett first premium on beets. The records disclose that the following named were members of the society, having paid $1 each membership fee: C. S. Greenman, Geo. D. Aspinwall, George Hall, J. E. Chidester, Daniel Harpst, Dan A. Crowell, T. J. Mahoney, Wm. F. McClure, S. W. Thornton, James Van Sickle, F. S. Trew, H. C. Andrews, J. P. Johnson, C. A. Borders, N. H. Hemiup, Sam L. Savidge, D. Allen Crowell, B. C. Bassett, Simon Murphy, S. C. Bassett, Robert Haines, L. Sturges, Geo. F. Millburn, Asa Fawcett, Geo. N. Smith, A. H. Connor, Geo. Miller, I. B. Wambaugh, Geo. K. Norris, Miles B. Hunt, Wm. T. C.
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
Kruth, John Magee. The activities of this society seem to have ended with the holding of this one exhibit.
RE-ORGANIZED IN 1881
The Buffalo County Agricultural Society was re-organized in 1881; the officers elected were H. A. Lee, president, E. M. Cunningham, secretary, and John H. Roe, treasurer. The names of the directors can not be recalled, but among the number were Patrick Walsh, W. A. Rodgers, George Meisner, T. J. Mahoney and D. I. Brown. The annual fair was located at Shelton for a term of three years, the citizens of Shelton providing a convenient location, and contributing about seven hundred and fifty dollars in cash; a half mile race track was built, also an agricultural hall and stalls and pens for live stock. A very successful fair was held in 1881, the total receipts being in excess of thirteen hundred dollars, and a balance on hand at the annual meeting in February, 1882, of some two hundred dollars. It is recalled that W. A. Rodgers, of Gibbon, exhibited a fine herd of shorthorn cattle, and W. W. Pool, of Cedar Township, a choice herd of registered Devon cattle.
In the Shelton Clipper of February 18, 1882, appears the following accounts of the annual meeting of the society:
"GOING TO KEARNEY"
"Last Tuesday was the date set for the annual meeting of the Buffalo County Agricultural Society. The people of Shelton and vicinity are greatly interested in the management of the society. Last season the board of directors decided to accept the offer of Shelton and hold the fair here for three years. This move did not meet with universal approval. At a late meeting of the board of directors the matter was again brought up and by a vote of seven to six it was decided to carry out the agreement. Mr. P. Walsh is one of the directors and he has always been on hand at the meetings and kept his eye peeled for breakers ahead, and up to the present time the opposition have been unable to steal a march on him, and they probably never will as Paddy is never asleep when it comes to a fight.
"The Union Pacific put on an extra car to accommodate the parties who wished to attend the meeting. Near one hundred tickets were sold at this place. No. 7 was on time and loaded with a jolly crowd of men, principally farmers. Jake Rice sent a box of cigars just before the train pulled out, and at Gibbon Hank Colby passed another box. At Gibbon about forty more members of the society got aboard, making in all about one hundred and fifty persons attending the meeting from the east end of the county. Just after the train left Gibbon some of the boys discovered an Italian fiddler in one of the coaches and he was immediately brought into the coach occupied by the grangers. He played jigs, clogs and such tunes and the boys danced. First one and another was brought out and was either compelled to dance or give the Italian a quarter. This was kept up until the county seat was reached. During the stay in Kearney the boys behaved well and showed their neighbors what it was to have a good time. The
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
day was pleasantly spent and a majority of the crowd came home in the evening. About a dozen remained and took in the masquerade ball given by the Kearney cornet band. It was probably the grandest ball ever given in Kearney, and the K. K. B. are deserving of praise for the hospitable treatment of visitors."
"ANNUAL MEETING AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
"Pursuant to call issued by the chairman, H. A. Lee, the Buffalo County Agricultural Society met at the courthouse in Kearney last Tuesday at half past 1 o'clock. About one hundred and fifty members were in attendance, the majority coming from Shelton and Gibbon. Considerable interest was manifested concerning who should be elected officers for the ensuing year, and the election of three directors to serve three years. H. A. Lee as president, called the meeting to order. Secretary E. M. Cunningham and Treasurer John H. Roe made their report to the association and by unanimous vote the reports were received. A committee of two, S. C. Ayer and J. J. Saville, was appointed by the chairman to canvass the house for new members which they did with success.
"On motion a committee of three, H. L. Strong, M. L. Phelps and L. D. Forehand, was appointed to examine the report of the treasurer. No material mistakes were encountered and the report was received. The following officers were elected: President, H. A. Lee, of Shelton Precinct; secretary, C. Putnam, of Gibbon Precinct (Mr. Putnam declined to serve and S. C. Bassett was appointed); treasurer, E. M. Cunningham, of Kearney; directors, R. W. Farr, of Gardner Precinct; George Meisner of Shelton; D. I. Brown of Western." * * * "The headquarters of the association was moved from Kearney to Gibbon; this was done in order to accommodate a majority of the members who live in the east end of the county. The meeting was harmonious throughout and the officers elected went in without opposition. The Kearney people did not attend in great numbers, and the feeling of the meeting appeared to be in support of carrying out the contract with Shelton and holding a fair here for three years."
Three annual fairs were held in Shelton, all premiums and other expenses paid in full, and H. A. Lee, who served as president the first three years (writing in 1915) states that the society had a cash balance of about seven hundred dollars at the annual meeting held in February, 1884.
The rules of the society provided that any person might become a member by paying a fee of $1. The annual meeting in February, 1884, was held at Gibbon, and a large delegation of Kearney business men attended, paid $1 each, controlled the annual meeting and moved the location of the fair to Kearney; thirty acres of land for fair ground purposes was purchased northeast of the city, the buildings at Shelton moved to the new location, a one-half mile track provided and several very successful fairs held. It is recalled that R. R. Greer succeeded H. A. Lee as president; S. C. Bassett served as secretary from 1882 to 1885 and was succeeded by H. G. Cutting. The site occupied by the fair grounds having greatly increased in value the officers were induced to exchange for another location, as recalled, eighty acres on section 5, 9, 15, a location not at all suited for fair ground purposes. Here buildings were provided and a one mile race track--a one mile race track being of itself enough to insure the
HISTORY OF BUFFALO COUNTY
financial ruin of a county agricultural society. On this new location effortswere made to hold a county fair, but with disastrous results financially, and the Buffalo County Agricultural Society, organized in 1881, became a matter of history--not pleasant to relate.
A NEW ORGANIZATION IN 1913
The Buffalo County Mid West Fair Association was organized January 28, 1913. The articles of incorporation were signed by F. F. Roby, E. D. Gould, L. S. Deets, G. H. Williams and O. G. Smith. Its officers: J. W. Patterson, president; G. H. Williams, vice president; O. G. Smith, secretary; C. C. Carrig, treasurer.
The fair grounds comprise forty-seven acres, embracing in part the grounds purchased when the fair was moved from Shelton to Kearney. The first fair was held in September, 1913, and was most successful in its results. The amount of premiums totaled four thousand dollars.
The present officers (1915): F. F. Roby, president; Geo.H. Williams, vice president; G. E. Haase, secretary; H. A. Webbert, treasurer. Board of directors: F. F. Roby, James Boyd, Geo. H. Williams, W. H. Swartz, Frank Brown, J. E. Harris, W. H. Buck, F. H. Redington.L. S. Deets, O. G. Smith, H. A. Webbert, E. D. Gould, J. W. Patterson, Ed Anderson, G. E. Haase.