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Rock County Agricultural Society

(& Mechanics Institute)

Rock County, Wisconsin

The first meeting of the Rock County Agricultural Society was held in January of 1851 in Janesville
at the courthouse. J. P. WHEELER of La Prairie Township chaired the meeting and the following officers were elected:
  • President - J. P. WHEELER (La Prairie Township)
  • Vice-Presidents - W. F. TOMPKINS (Janesville), Ansel DICKINSON (Bradford Township), Joseph GOODRICH (Milton), J. M. BURGESS (Janesville) and A. W. POPE (Janesville)
  • Recording Secretary - Josiah F. WILLARD (Rock Township)
  • Corresponding Secretary - Andrew PALMER
  • Treasurer - John RUSSELL (Janesville)
  • Board of Directors - 20 members (one from each township in the county)
On October 1-2, 1851, the "Rock County Agricultural Society & Mechanic's Institute" held the
first fair in the county in the Springbrook area. It was a combined county fair and state fair (Wisconsin's first) and about 5,000 people attended. Other combined county and state fairs were held in Rock County (moving from the Springbrook location to the present county fair location in Janesville) during 1857, 1864, 1866 and 1877.
At the onset of the Civil War, the Society disbanded and no fairs were held during the war.
Another agricultural group organized after the complete of the war and the fairs resumed.
For more information regarding the fairs in Rock County, read The Janesville Gazette's August
14, 1985, article "First State Fair held in Janesville."

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Rock County Coordinator: Lori Niemuth
Last updated September 9, 2005
Copyright 1999-2005