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In his last report to the State Superintendent, A. Yetter, recently county superintendent, made the following observations:
"Farming is the principal business of our county. Of this we feel proud, because it is the great source of subsistence to all other classes of men. The repeated failures, to a certain extent, of crops, have affected injuriously, not only the fariners, but all other classes of men. With us the complaint is scarcity of money and high taxes, and here may be found one of the causes why greater progress and efficiency have not been realized during the past two years. The compensation of teachers has been reduced, thereby compelling them to seek other business pursuits. Upon the whole, I rejoice in being able to report progress in the right direction. A few good school-houses have been erected during the closing year, and quite a number have undergone extensive repairs. The spirit of improvement and adorning has been aroused. We have not been standing idle, but quietly and slowly marching upward and onward. We have many active directors, together with a large number of interesting pupils, all ready to perform their respective duties, when properly marshaled, wisely directed, and sufficiently encouraged."
From the last premium list of the Marion County Agricultural Society we learn that the fair held in August of this year was the twenty-sixth annual exposition; the society has, therefore, been in existence since 1854.
At the first exposition but few articles were placed on exhibition. The society, then in its infancy, had no fair-grounds, no stock-pens and no halls for the display of agricultural products. The exhibition was held in the public-square, and the old court-house was used as a floral hall. The next year the fair was held on the common west of Knoxville, and tables were set up in the open air for the display of vegetables and other agricultural products. In 1858 a joint stock company was formed for the purpose of purchasing grounds and fitting them up for the purpose of holding annual fairs. The grounds consisted of eight acres, situated north of Knoxville, the same being the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 1, township 75, range 20. The first fair was held on these ground in 1858. Since that time many improvements have been made; commodious halls were erected, pens and stalls were built and an excellent half-mile track was constructed. Since the organization of the society till the present time the managers have not failed in a single instance to hold a successful annual exhibition.
We give the following synopsis of the premiums awarded at the annual fair held on the 4th, 5th and 6th of October, 1866. This was over fourteen years ago; the society was then comparatively in its infancy, and' it will be interesting to the reader now to see who were then the leading agriculturists and stock-raisers of the county and how the premiums then compare with those of to-day:
A. J. Mears, gelding 6 years old, single harness, 1st prem
Asa Johnson, mare 6 years old, 2d
D. O. Collins, 3d prem, by committee.
Class 22, Hogs, small breeds. Jonathan Jones, brood sow, 1st prem. 200 John Crumwell, 5 pigs under 6 months
John Gamble, best variety of apples
named, 2d prem...
John Gamble specimen fall cooking ap
old, 1st prem...
F. A. Rogers, one pair pigs under 6 months old, 1st prem.....
ples, 1st prem...
John Gamble, specimen winter cooking apples, 2d prem...
Mrs. L. M. Johnson, Bellshazzar pear.. 1'00