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The Secretary read the following resolution :
Resolved, That it is the expression of this Convention that the matter of the location of the State Fair be left to the sound judgment and wisdom of the State Board of Agriculture, in whom we have entire confidence.
MR. MCCLUNG. My friend Major Millikin tells me to sit down, and let the vote be taken, but when my friend Hitchcock arose, I was in hopes that, with his parliamentary experience and general knowledge, he would have met this question a little bit more squarely. I would have supposed that he would have, in referring to the experience of the State Fair, told how it came in an embarrassed condition. I would have liked if he had stated that, when it was held in the city of Mansfield, a certain amount of money belonging to it, was lost by the failure of a bank or bank president. Instead of that, he ignores it with all the suavity of his nature, and says this was the result of its being located. Didn't it lose twelve or fifteen thousand dollars at Mansfield, that was taken away and the State Board came and asked the Legislature for assistance. Was that the result of the location of the State Fair?
MR. HITCHCOCK. If the gentleman will allow me, it was not immediately after that loss at Mansfield that the State Board came and asked that it be made up.
MR. MCCLUNG. Now my friend is begging the question again. Does it make any difference, with regard to the facts? Does he seek to evade the responsibility? Does he seek to cover himself up again by the thrust that he has made? When I say to him that a bank stole money, and that it was not until then that we came and knocked at the doors of the Legislature, and asked for an appropriation, and he says, They didn't ask." I don't care whether they asked, or not. It is a matter of fact. So you can trace it from one place to another. Go to Springfield, where we had some twenty-four thousand dollars when we came there, under the migratory system, and when we came out, how was it? About all gone. My friend Harmount understands that very well, how, in different localities we left with our coffers well filled, but in others we lost; and how was it when we got through? It was because we had lost money at Springfield, and because we had money stolen from us by a bank at Mansfield, and because we were drowned out in half a dozen places. It is not because it has been located in the city of Columbus.
MR. HITCHCOCK. I would like to ask the gentlemen whether those coffers, of which he spoke, were so well filled under the migratory system, at some place, or when we started in at Columbus?
MR. MCCLUNG. I say this, in answer to that question, just to get the gentleman to meet the question fairly, that at Mansfield we met a Waterloo defeat. We had been to the expense of putting up the most substautial buildings at the city of Springfield, and had everything prepared for a good exhibition, and when we got through what did we do? That which had cost us $10,000 we sold for less than $3,000; that is what we did; and we are beginning to shrink from such things.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. There no necessity for it.
MR. MCCLUNG. No necessity; but these are matters of fact. And the gentleman ignores all these questions. Why not just take up the question as you go along, if you want to make an argument?
MR. DAUGHERTY. I think this a question of very great importance. I think that every gentleman who represents a county here can judge something by his experience in his own county. My friend Millikin lives in Hamilton.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. No, I don't.
MR. DAUGHERTY. Well, you live in Butler county. I would like to know whether
you would like to have your fair moved to Oxford, in the north-western part of the county, or up the river to Middletown. I live adjoining Mr. Millikin, in Preble county, and we have tried the experiment of moving the fair to the north part of the county. The people of New Paris got mad because they said they were not represented, and we moved it there. The next year we moved it to the south part of the county, and the society became bankrupt by the operation. We have now located it at the county seat; and if we have but a little one-horse railroad in our county seat, we came pretty near competing with Butler, the fourth county in the State. We have thirty acres of property, valued at about $8,000. If we had continued migrating around the county, we would have been bankrupt three-fold. Some object to locating our State Fair, but I want to see it located at the Capital permanently, as being for its best interests. I speak of the experience of the fair in my own county as an illustration bearing upon the welfare of the State Fair. If you thus locate it you can build up convenient houses in connection with it, so that they who come from a distance can have a good place to sleep when night overtakes them, and conveniences for feeding stock, etc., which you cannot have when moving from one city to another, and you will have no Waterloo defeats. You can have houses and hotels where good accommodations may be furnished cheaply and reasonably, and then we will all come.
MR. MCCLUNG. I first want to speak about this financial matter. I have the figures that come down pretty close to date. I will read the receipts for the years while the fair has been located at Columbus, up to the last: For 1874 they were $27,674.79; for 1875, $20,539.30; for 1876, $11,909.61; and for 1877, 021,151.21. Now, gentlemen, I am very willing to take up the matter of receipts since the location of the State Fair, and compare them with the receipts at other places. I tell you, they don't compare with Columbus, so far as financial interests are concerned.
MR. HITCHCOCK. I wish the gentleman would state where the $24,000 that he spoke of came from; whether it came from Columbus.
MR. MCCLUNG. My friend Hitchcock asks me a question as to where the amount of money mentioned came from. I see from this table the amount of receipts from the different places.
MR. HITCHCOCK. Those you read are the quotations of receipts at Columbus after its establishment here for five years.
MR. MCCLUNG. Yes, sir; and they are largely in favor of permanent location. Those under the migratory plan fall far below.
MR. PARR. I cannot see any good to come from this resolution. We elect the State Board, and it has always had power to locate the State Fair; therefore, I move that the resolution with the pending amendments lie on the table.
The motion was agreed to.
MR. HITCHCOCK. I move, Mr. President, that during the election of members of the Board, this evening, Dr. Williams, of Monroe county and J. M. Dalzell, of Noble county, be allowed to represent their respective counties.
Which was agreed to.
On motion of B. W. Carlisle, the Convention now took a recess until 7 P. M.
The Convention re-assembled pursuant to adjournment, and proceeded to the election of members of the State Board, with the following result:
Total votes, 61.
Necessary to a choice, 31.
The first five named receiving the necessary number of votes, were declared elected.
The Convention then, on motion of S. W. Knapp, of Cuyahoga county, took up for discussion:
THE BEST MEANS OF CONDUCTING COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES.
S. W. KNAPP: The object I had in view in making the motion, was that myself and others might obtain some useful information by spending a short time in comparing our views as to what are the best methods of conducting a county agricultural society. Perhaps I cannot do better than to give some of my own ideas as to that. In Cuyahoga county, for the last ten years, perhaps with the exception of one year, we have connected with the agricultural society a horse-racing or jockey club, or whatever you choose to call it. My own views have always been against it.
We have, for the last four years, found it very beneficial to exclude all intoxicating drinks from our grounds, even beer and cider. We have also found it beneficial to exclude all games of chance of any kind, and we have succeeded very well.
Our society is considerably in debt at the present time, but it is paying its own way from year to year. We have this old debt, however, hanging over us, and I want to inquire of friends here who are out of debt, and have kept out, what will be the best means of getting out of debt, when we have got in debt by the fair, without having to put our hands in our own pockets and pay it up. That we are not very willing to do in our county.
E. T. C. ALDRICH, of Lake county: The remarks of Mr. Knapp, in regard to his horseracing, makes me think of our experience in horse-racing in Lake county at one time. We never had but one horse-race at the fair in that county during the time I was marshal of the board, a period of ten years. The board were asked to have a farmer's trot, one day. There was a race-horse brought on the track, and I can confidently say that
we had more trouble from that race in one hour's time, than we had had for years in the management of the fair. We had prevented intoxicating drinks being sold and drank on the grounds, but at that race it seemed as if drunken men rose right up out of the ground almost. Since that time we have excluded all the farmer's trots, blacksmiths' trots, and racing of all kinds.
George RiterER, of Marion county: Up in Marion county we have a jubilee once a year, aud have our own fun. The people that don't want to see a trot when we have nice order, are given to understand that they can go to one side, to some other place. We generally have beer upon the fair ground, and never thought proper to take it away until this season. I think it will stay away.
If a man has a fine horse or breeds fine horses, he has as much right to show them as a man has to exhibit draft horses, and they ought not to be excluded.
J. B. DORT: The regular delegate from our county is not here, and I don't know but that I may be considered almost an intruder. The gentleman here spoke about having their jubilee. If they want such a jubilee let them take it to themselves. I say it is not connected with agriculture at all. If we want an agricultural fair, let us have an agricultural fair, and if we want a horse race, go out and build a track somewhere else, and not put the county to the expense of making it, because these race horses are not worth the powder to blow them up. They are not worth keeping, and do not add to the wealth of the county, while the draft horse, by his labor, will enable the farmer to raise corn to sell and corn to keep. Look at the expense in the way of premiums that are given to encourage this business. Large sums of money are taken from the people and paid to these men, who make a business of going around from oue fair to another to trot and have a jubilee. I am opposed to this thing, and always have been.
And I am ashamed to say that in our own county a "wheel of fortune" is set up at the fair to decoy young people into gaming and betting. Liquor is also sold there, too, I am sorry to say, and all manner of shows, baboons, raccoons, niggers, and everything. That is not agriculture. I want to see a mighty reform in these matters, and I want to see the State Board take hold of it and do right in this matter. Begin here-here is the place to set the example to the county fairs. Why, you know the pigs will follow the old sow. If you do these things here they will do them in the county fairs. I want to see halls made sufficiently large to accommodate our farmers with all their produce, and comfortable stalls for their stock, and stock exhibited that will pay the owner and pay the community. We want stock that will add to the wealth of our country exhib ited at our agricultural fairs. I want the word agricultural emphasized on every page of our report.
L. B. HARRIS, of Wyandot county: The gentleman who preceded me made a very fine speech, one probably that would suit the people, but I recollect last winter when the subject came up with regard to horse trotting at the fair, we had a man there more eloquent than he that opposed it in toto, and objected to everything of the kind. By the way, I would say that he used to be a preacher, and a very good man. Yet after fighting very strenuously this thing of horse trotting at fairs, to my certain knowledge using all his energy to prevent it, nevertheless there was horse trotting there. This man did not like it because he could not persuade the Board to banish the horse trotting, and consequently became huffy, and would not go into the fair, but was going to break it up by not paying his quarter. He was hauling wood during the fair a short distance from town, and I will tell you what is true, that is, that he stood up on his load of wood and looked over at the horses while they were trotting.
While I am up I will merely add that the fair in Wyandot county for years back has
been run by whisky, by roulette, by negro shows, by anything else you can name, almost. The result has been that we have been getting behind, and I don't know as we would have ever caught up, but last year, against my wishes or consent, and though I protested against it, they elected me president of the society. As I never had taken a dram of liquor since I was born, I was determined we should not have any there, and we ran it this year without any whisky and without any roulette, or any such devices, and we had such a successful fair that it reminds me of the letter of a young man who went from our county to Illinois. A German in our county bought up a large drove of sheep and sent them to Illinois to winter, and sent his son, who was a very wild young man, along with them to take care of them. Instead of attending to the four or five thousand sheep intrusted to his care, he sat by the fire and neglected his business. The sheep became diseased, and the young man kept writing home about the sheep dying off. The old gentleman could not read English and the young man could not read German, so the old gentleman used to come to our bank to get his letters read. The young man kept writing about the sheep dying, and after a while wrote to his father that they were dying so fast that they could not skin them as fast as they died. The old man wrote back to his son that he must get help and catch up skinning the sheep as fast as they died off. At last the old man brought a letter to the office to be read, and the young man wrote: "Father, I have taken your advice and got help, and have caught up, and got about forty ahead." Now, we have not only caught up but have run ahead, and we think the principle on which we are running our fair is right.
MR. WARNER, of Licking county. I have been connected with the small fair at Pataskala. I have been marshal at that fair for ten or twelve years, and every year I saw jockeying and horse-racing. I am opposed to that, because I saw more betting and gambling than I had seen elsewhere for many years. I wish to say to the State Fair and county fairs if they want that kind of horse-racing let those interested get up a purse distinctly for that. When an honest farmer gets there with a good horse, sir, he stands no chance, because the jockeys are there who make a business of it, going from fair to fair swindling the people who give their money to keep up the fair. I am opposed to this kind of business. So, also, with cattle; there are those who make a business of going from fair to fair, making a business of it. I would like to see the State of Ohio doing away with this jockeying, and gambling, and defrauding the farmer, who has not the time to spend upon his horses that they do, and who cannot compete with these jockeys. As I understand it, these fairs are gotten up for the benefit of farmers; but when connected in that way it is not much of a benefit to them.
So far as the liquor business is concerned, I am a Murphyite. I never took a dram of whisky in my life. I am sorry to say that at the Licking county fairs they permit whisky to be sold every year. At Patalaska they got a little behind last year, and they thought they would let some men sell liquor and get pretty big pay for the privilege. So the men came there and sold whisky, a thing that was never done in that fair before. And they didn't get out of debt either. They also permitted gambling institutions, and young men who had gathered up a dollar or two were cheated out of it by these gamblers. I say every man in our community onght to help put down these things.
T. F. Joy, Delaware. It strikes me that the directors of our county agricultural societies forget that they are officers of the law; just as much officers of the law as are our county commissioners. They are elected under the statute of the State, which contains very wise provisions. It defines their duties, and I claim that any county that takes this statute and executes it fully, cannot fail to have a good, useful agricultural