1859 Macoupin County Fair Reminisced in Newspaper Story
- Macoupin County IL
©2001 Sue McMurry
Typed and donated by Sue McMurry
Macoupin County Enquirer, Carlinville, Illinois, March 22, 1911, Page 5
Some Events of Long Ago Recalled to Mind.
Some Features of the Macoupin County Fair of 1859, and Those Who Controlled It.
The Macoupin County Fair of 1859 was the sixth annual exhibition given by the association. It was held at the fair grounds here on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th days of September, in that year. There was no State Fair to be considered in fixing the date, no interurban to carry crowds to Springfield even if there had been a state fair, and the promoters evidently had no fear of the mystic 13th since they opened the exhibition on that day.
Twelve hundred dollars was the total amount of the prizes offered by the association and the premium list was a nine-page affair, printed in the office of the CARLINVILLE FREE DEMOCRAT.
The officers of the Macoupin County Agricultural and Mechanical Society that year were: J. L. DAVIES, president; T. C. DAVIS, vice-president; W. C. WATERS, corresponding secretary; T. L. LOOMIS, treasurer; and JOHN TUNNELL, secretary. All were Carlinville citizens except Secretary Tunnel who was from Plainview.
The directors were PETER DENBY, and R. H. TAYLOR of Carlinville, J. A. HUGGINS, Woodburn; HORACE LOOMIS, Chesterfield, and DAVID GORE, Plainview.
Under the head of "Local Committees" the catalogue mentions DAVID McDANIEL, Carlinville; THOS. B. RICE, Rhoad's Point; J. SMALLEY, Woodburn, HENRY LAW, Shipman; FRED STEIDLEY, Barr's Store; ALLEN SMITH, Clyde; JOS. HENDERSON, Nilwood; P. SILLOWAY, Virden; SARGENT GOBBLE, Scottville; THOS. S. GELDER, Chesterfield, B. JOHNSON, Brighton; T. J. VANDORN, Bunker Hill; HUGH CALDWELL, Staunton; A. V. CAMPBELL, Gillespie;C. RAYMOND, Shaw's Point, CHAS. H. FINK, Girard; T. B. ROSS, Cummington.
Isaac Moore of Carlinville was marshal and the gate keepers were GEORGE BAIN, B. VANCIL and HENRY ASHBAUGH of Carlinville.
The rules specified that the admission price should be twenty-five cents. Exhibitors could get a ticket for $1 which was good whenever presented and by paying $10 one might get a life membership ticket. All horses and vehicles were taxed 25 cents a day for admission within the grounds. Premiums under $5 were paid in cash. Over that amount, silver cups were awarded of the same weight and fineness as American coin. Hay and straw were provided free to exhibitors. The catalogue naively says: "Forty new stalls will be constructed for stock and seats will be provided for the ladies." The stock and the ladies being thus cared for, we are left to guess what provision was made for the men and children.
DAVID GORE was superintendent of the Class A thoroughbred horses, and the awarding committee was KLON ELDRED of Greene County, S. A. BUCKMASTER of Madison County, MOSES TRUE of Bunker Hill, JOHN R. CUNDALL of Chesterfield and RICHARD O'BANNON of Montgomery county.
In Class B, roadsters, the committee was JAMES ANDERSON of Plainview, JONES WARD of Greene County, JOHN M. LINDLEY of Madison county, FRANCIS BROWN of Chesterfield, and DR. JOHN LOGAN of Carlinville.
The Class C, farm horse department committee was SAMUEL WELCH of Plainview, T. D. MOORE of Carlinville, JAMES RAFFERTY of Chesterfield, BARLOW QUARTON of Hoover's Point and JOSEPH LISTON of Scottville.
In Class D, matched horses, etc., DR. E. E. WEBSTER of Carlinville, HENRY BURTON of Bunker Hill, JOSEPH HENDERSON of Nilwood, JOSIAH WHIPPLE of Chesterfield and NATHANIEL HENDERSON of Barr's Store, awarded the premiums.
JOHN VIRDEN of Virden, GEORGE HARDWICK of Scott county, WILLIAM H. ELLIS, of Greene county, JESSE B. STANLEY of Montgomery county and S. Y. SAWYER of Madison county decided the winners of the sweepstakes.
C. A. WALKER, HUGGINS and VAN DORN and FISHBACK & CO. offered special premiums in the horse department. Mr. WALKER had a horse named "Gold Dust" he was proud of those days, while HUGGINS & VAN DORN exploited "Granite State" and FISHBACK & CO., "St. Lawrence".
In Class F, jacks, jennets and mules, the awarding committee was SAMUEL THOMAS of Carrollton, ISHAM LINDER of Greenfield, DR. HEATON of Virden, MACK CARR of Chesterfield and WILLIAM H. FISHBACK of Carlinville, all of whom were no doubt well able to consider the good points of the long-eared animals, as well as their general "cussedness."
HORACE J. LOOMIS superintended the cattle department and the list of judges in the four different classes were: W. A. BLAIR, Virden; WM. CHALLACOMBE, Carlinville; CALVIN RECKARD, Plainview; WILLIAM GILL, Bunker Hill; MERRILL BALLINGER, Nilwood; BENJ. SANDERS, Rhoad's Point; LEWIS H. THOMAS, Virden; SAMUEL WOODS, Jacksonville; W. B. LOOMIS, Chesterfield; SAMUEL WELCH, Plainview; ROBERT HOLLIDAY, Plainview; J. S. KENNETT, SAMUEL WORK, HENRY KEUNE, Carlinville, JOHN ATYEO, Woodburn.
In the hogs, sheep and poultry department the supervision of PETER DENBY, superintendent, the judges were R. EDDY, Bunker Hill; R. RAYMOND, Shaw's Point; HENRY MILLER, Hoover's Point; JAS. McCLURE, Carlinville; JOHN DEWS, Chesterfield; THOS. GELDER, Chesterfield; WM. FISHBACK, Carlinville; T. C. REYNOLDS, Carlinville; JAS. W. LUMPKIN, Chesterfield; JAMES T. PENNINGTON, Woodburn; W. GILL, Bunker Hill; JAS. JOHNSON, Hoover's Point; J. R. CUNDALL, Chesterfield and T. J. McREYNOLDS, Carlinville.
FENELON TRABUE was superintendent of the farm products department. The awarding committee were JOHN WEER, Carlinville; LEWIS SOLOMON, Palmyra; HENRY FISHBACK, Carlinville; THOS. B. RICE, Rhoad's Point and WM. C. SHIRLEY of Staunton.
Class N was fruits and vegetables and Rev. E. McMILLEN and JOHN Q. SMITH of Carlinville; HARVEY CARSON of Rhoad's Point; WILLIAM SIMS of Plainview and HARVEY MADISON of Nilwood, were the judges.
SAMUEL WELTON of Plainview was the superintendent of the mechanical department and the awarding committee were WM. DUCKLES of Chesterfield, PETER HEINTZ of Carlinville, WM. CHALLACOMBE of Carlinville, JESSE SMITH of Girard; and LOT BULLMAN of Bunker Hill.
Mr. WELTON also had charge of the "saddlery, hardware, etc.," department and his judges were: WM. WRIGHT, EZRA KELLER, EDWARD MINER, Carlinville; CHAS. JOHN of Bunker Hill and GEO. JOHNSON of Hoover's Point.
The awarding committee on all other articles not specially mentioned was G. R. HUGHES, S. T. MAYO, J. C. WATERS, of Carlinville; G. A.. W. CLOUD, of Virden; and JAS. RAFFERTY of Chesterfield.
Of the women who made this fair a success, we shall speak in a later article, stopping now to look over some of the quaint things for which prizes were offered.
A number of prizes for corn were offered, to be awarded on December 1, after the close of the fair, and for the greatest yield of timothy hay on one acre, to be stacked out and entered by August 1, $10 was offered. A committee of the association visited the fields and measured the hay between the 1st and 10th of September.
The best "underground drainer", whatever that was, the best pork barrel, the best window sash and blinds, the best bedstead, best wardrobe and best table took prizes at this fair. This was not the day of furniture factories and these things were made by the good mechanics of the county right here at home, from lumber sawed from our native trees.
The best pair of gents' fine boots, best pair of gents' coarse boots and best lot of tinware were also listed for prizes, but not a word about shoes, which became popular long after this fair was held.
These and many other things that seem odd to us were among the exhibits at Macoupin's sixth annual fair, which was a great event then, greater than it is now, perhaps, but the pioneers of that day whose names are given herein built so well in their fair association work that the association still lives and does splendid work and the Macoupin County Fair is still an annual event long after other county fairs, started since 1859, have relapsed into a state of innocuous desuetude, and the fair grounds where they flourished are long since done away with.
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