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society, one that will be a benefit to the county, a benefit to the agricultural, manufacturing, and domestic interests of the county.
There are certain duties that the board of each county agricultural society are required to perform. [Mr. Joy here read the provisions of the law governing county agricultural societies. ]
These are the plain duties required of every county agricultural society, and I claim that our State and county agricultural societies ought to be run in the interest of farmers, and run by farmers, and if honest and intelligent farmers take that as their guide they cannot fail to have a society that will be of vast benefit to our agricultural and mechanical interests.
Now, Mr. President, there are certain other things that the law says shall not be permitted, and any officer that permits liquor to be sold within the limits of the fair ground, or within two miles of it ought to be fined. It is within the province of the officer of the law to remove every hell-hole within two miles from the fair ground, and it is their duty to do it.
The language of the law is not that they may be permitted, but says they shall not be permitted. And the board is bound by the provisions of the law here to execute it. So there is no kind of excuse for having liquor sold on our fair grounds. It is the only time when we can prevent liquor being sold, except, perhaps, on election days, anıl it is hard to do it then, and I do hope our societies will prohibit the sale of liquors within two miles of the grounds.
Then again, I claim that we cannot have successful fairs when we permit these sideshows and devices, these things that attract the attention of the children and youths, who have no interest in agricultural matters at our fairs. The law just as plainly says they shall not be set up nearer than within one-fourth of a mile of the grounds, without the permission of the board. They can by permission of the board, but unless they permit it they cannot be set up within less than a quarter of a mile. I claim that these shows and gambling devices, and everything that attracts attention from the real object of the society—the agricultural and mechanical interests of the county-should be prohibited.
J. M. DAUGHERTY, of Preble county: I belong to our county agricultural society. About twenty-five years ago our grounds consisted of abont seven acres, and our receipts ran up to from five to seven hundred dollars a year. The fair kept growing larger, and our facilities were insufficient, and we increased our grounds to eleven acres. The receipts increased to about twelve or fifteen hundred dollars. In 1860 we still lacked ground for the proper accommodation of exhibiters and visitors, and our old grounds were sold and we bought thirty acres, a good piece of ground for the purpose. These grounds were then well improved by erecting the necessary buildings, etc., upon them, and we made a half-mile track which was considered a very good one. We thought it necessary for our financial success to do this, as our adjoining county societies bad fine tracks. But when we got our fine track and other improvements finished, we found ourselves in debt some three thousand dollars. The balance of the board and myself had to carry that debt. We had a claim on the grounds, but had given our note for three thousand dollars.
The question came up in regard to allowing the sale of liquors on our grounds. Wo have been governed by the State law, and never have allowed liquor to be sold on the grounds, nor beer or ale. But they bring liquor there in their pockets and drink, and the hollow stumps will be full of liquor bottles after the fair. For this, however, wo are not responsible, as we do not allow it to be sold on the ground.
We do not allow the devices or shows referred to, and we have bad success all the way along. But we found we could not get out of debt, and had to introduce fast horsestrotting horses and pacing horses-and we had to offer pretty fair premiums to get them as they would not come without it. Other counties would offer more than we did. The result has been that as we succeeded financially, we built an ampitheatre and added other improvements, from year to year, and have reduced our indebtedness down now to about nine hundred dollars.
We don't claim that the fast horse business is agriculture, but it is a help to os financially. For the last seven years, since I have been acting as president, those men who have howled about our fast horses are on hand at the fair. We issue complimentary tickets to reporters, the general county officers, also to our ministers. For the last ten years, sir, we have given tickets to the ministers, and we never found but one to fail to look at the fast horses. They like to see them and the children like to see them, and it has been a financial success so far. I don't say that this feature is agricultural, bot some contend tbat, to some extent, it is.
T. F. Joy: What is the purpose of an agricultural society! To make money, or is it to improve the morals of the people, and to improve the agriculture of the country!
MR. DALGHERTY: It is to improve the morals and the agriculture, but the State Board and the county boards have stretched out a little. The cities and towns are in favor of this thing, and many persons that pay the most attend on this account.
James GRIFFix, of Butler county: The question is, I believe, as to the best way to conduct agricultural societies. I am from Butler county. It is pretty well known that our society is pretty generally successful. There are two or three general items, to which I will refer, that enter into the conduct of the fair with which I have been connected for seventeen years. We have a very fine half-mile track connected with our fair grounds, and have a large amount of stock shown Loth for speed and for draught purposes, brood mares, and all kinds of horses. Now, I would say that this one thing is a great attraction to the fair in Butler county. The track is good, and the exhibition is grand. I have seen thirty-two pair of match horses upon the track, many fine buggy horses, and so on, I would say, gentlemen, that the trials of speed is one of the elements of success, as we think.
Another element of success, we think, is due to the fact that oar fair is open to the world, so that they can come from any other county, or from Kentucky, Indiana, or any other place, and compete with us.
Another feature is this, that we charge the small fee of one dollar for a family ticket, and twenty-five cents for single admission, and admit ladies free. I believe that is one of the greatest inducements, because if you get the women in, the men will be in. [Langhter ]
I would say that we exclude gambling, liquor, and betting in any shape or form. If a man is known to bet on stock, he is turced out of the society.
Now, with regard to the success of the fair. We always have a large fair down in Butler county. This year we had one of the best fairs we ever had. So far as I can gather from our report, we took in $9,228.
A MEMBER: You have trotting ?
MR. GRIFFIN: Yes, sir, every day. We have trotting there on one of the tinest tracks in the country. We aim to have the whole thing conducted on christian principles. (Laughter.]
LEO Weltz, of CKoton county: I would like to inquire how the dollar family ticket plan operated ?
MR. GRIFFIN: We have an admission fee, and the family ticket is issued to the fami. ly, including all the members of the family under twenty-one. That makes the head of the family a voting member of the society, and gives them the privilege during the whole fair, being allowed to go in and out as they wish during the fair.
J. M. MILLIKIN: And generally about fifteen go in on one ticket.
Mr. GRIFFIN: I will say that my friend Millikin and I differ in reference to the price of admission to the fair. With due deference to him, though I look upon him as being the very head of our community, and you that know Mr. Millikin can understand why we appreciate him there, yet I can not agree with him on this point. He thinks we ought to charge a little larger admission fee, and thinks we ought to charge women as well as men. But our experience leads us to believe that that is not the way. All our exhibits in all our balls, in every class, were larger this last fall, I believe, than ever before, as was also the case in respect to the exhibition of horses, cattle, hogs, implements, etc., and our receipts the largest, amounting, as I said, to $9,228.
MR. Baker, of Lorain county: Are not those tickets pushed through the fence sometimes i
MR. GRIFFIN : I presumo sometimes they may be.
J. P. MARSH, of Williams county: We have been running our fair on the old plan of the dollar membership ticket, allowing a whole family to go into the grounds on the membership ticket during the fair—that is, up to this year,
We have been having a great deal of talk there in regard to the propriety of issuing membership tickets, and allowing them to be promiscuously used for the entire time of the fair, and to our certain knowledge we have been imposed upon most outrageously, ten or fifteen families having sometimes entered the fair on one ticket. A man belonging to church, and who is moral and respected, will take all his neighbors and himself in on one ticket, and then will shove it out through the fence to another person, who will take all his neighbors in on it. [Laughter.] The result has been that we have had a large attendance and a very small revenue.
This year we adopted the plan of issuing our tickets with coupons, or giving single tickets at fifty cents for each membership ticket sold, and allowing no person to go out without a ticket. That raised the indignation of the moral men there—we have some of them--and they put their heads together to break up our society. The result was that our income this year only amounted to about $1,200. One of our beer manufacturing establishments there—we bave one of the most extensive one in the country at Bryanoffered one hundred and fifty dollars to allow them to set up a beer stand in the fair grounds. As I said, we have some moral men in Williams county, and we utterly refused to allow them to sell beer on our grounds, and we were short that one hundred and fifty dollars, and now some of our moral men say, “ if you had listened to us and let the beer men started their shop on the ground you would have came out better."
A proposition was also made to us to allow thirty or seventy feet of our ground for the purpose of carrying on a bowery dance.
We were offered one hundred and eighty dollars for this privilege, but we did not want their establishment there. But there was a cortain member of our board that took exception to this, and when the resolution to rent the ground for the bowery dance was voted down by the members of the board, two members tendered their resignation.
The object of our fair certainly is to encourage agriculture and horticulture, and to improve the breeds of our stock, and they should be condncted with an eye single to that.
Mr. Marsh related at some length the disastrous results of horse-racing which they
once allowed on their ground, speaking of the accidents that occurred, the drunkenness, gambling, and disorderly conduct which prevailed. While he was not so much opposed to the trials of speed in trotting, he was now utterly opposed to the running races at fairs, which were dangerous, to say the least of it.
In conclusion, he said, if success at our fairs depends upon horse-racing, gambling, beer and whisky selling, and the congregating of a drunken set of-well, of men engaged in a jubilee as has been talked of here, I don't want any of it at our fairs, and if they cannot be conducted without these things, I think they would better be stopped at once.
WM. R. Pool, of Logan county. In my judgment some have got a good ways oft of the subject we were to consider—the best mode of conducting our county fairs. I will briefly state the manner of conducting our fairs in Logan county for some years back. We have grounds comprising twenty five acres. For a few years, commencing twenty years back, we were considerably in debt. For some years we have been making a good many improvements on our grounds, but in the way we have conducted our faire we have got out of debt and have a little surplus every year for several years now.
Our county has adopted for a number of years a“ trotting line," as we call it. We ' have found considerable trouble to keep the racing out of that line, but have succeeded thus far. For my part, my way of thinking in regard to that is, that it is not wrong to allow trotting on the track. Our country demands good buggy horses. We have never allowed any betting, to my knowledge, one the trotting line.
With regard to side shows, I would say that that feature is not yet exterminated at our county fairs. A resolution against allowing them at our fairs was offered at one of our meetings last year, but lost. I think this feature is wrong, but some counties have adopted it, and our county, I think, defends it.
Some of our people understood-whether correctly or not—that there was regular horseracing allowed on the grounds by the State Board at our State Fair, which made it a good deal more difficult for us to keep on the line we desired. Gentlemen, we all have our influence. If the State Board gets on the right track, and keep on the right track, I think the county boards will follow their example. Many of our leading men attend the State Fair, and, as things are conducted there, so they think they should be at the county fairs.
W. B. McLung. I have been looking around to see whether there was present here bome gentleman like Mr. Reber, for instance, who is a breeder of thoroughbred horses, and who believes that the best interests of stock men in the State is advanced by the breeding of thoroughbred horses, but I don't see any such man present.
Now, in discussing this question, there appears to have been two lines of remarks indulged in here. One was a total condemnation of the interests of thoroughbred horses, or race-horses. In the other, there seemed to be a little bit of sly attack made upon morals. A good deal has been said about moral men and Christian men. My own opinion is, that a man who is a moral man on the surface, can be just as mean a man as can be found, and if you find a mean man in church, he is as mean as the meanest. [Laughter.] I am not in favor of any thrust at moral men in the church or out of it, but my idea about the morality of some persons referred to here, is, ihat it is not moral ity, but a pretense to morality.
Now, as to the promotion of the interests of agriculture by the thoroughbred or race horse. Somewhere in England—I am not now able to refer to the place—a few years ago, there was a post-rider who made twenty miles an hour uniformly on his route. Now this time was made by the employment of thoroughbred horses—the horse that
was gotten to test its speed and bottom, or endurance. And that was the only horse that could be got to make that test. It was a celebrated case of which yon have read.
Now, here is a horse, like some Mr. Reber and others have imported, with fine bone, fine carriage, and everything to make him just the horse to breed, to give you the kind of horses you need in many uses to which horses are put-horses that will have the power of endurance. Now we are here to-night, sweeping out at one fell swoop this kind of horses. That is not the true theory according to my idea. The matter of racing should be put under certain restrictions. You have the law in your hands, and you can control this thing and keep it in proper bounds.
You all see that the breeding of this kind of stock has added to the horses of Ohio the most important element we find in horses-tbat of greater endurance. You must have trotters, and you must breed them from roadsters. If that be troe, how are you going to do that unless you encourage exhibitions of speed? Is Mr. Reber and other gentlemen going to England and other countries to pay two or three thousand dollars apiece for horses if they are not allowed to bring them to our shows and exhibit their speed and endurance ! If they violate the law, turn them out. This is a matter of agricultural interest. It is not a matter of accommodation to thein oply, but a matter of dollars and cents to agriculturists and raisers of stock, because any gentleman here knows quite well, that a carriage borse, well broken-gotten by a thoroughbred horsenice, attractive, and magnificent as we often see them, when put into our markets will bring in the money, and replenish the coffers of the farmer. Restrain him, I say, gentlemen, but don't strike that kind of a blow. After all, don't it come down to about this : that we want to control it—we want to govern this matter—and you have the law and have a right to control it. But don't throw away an investment so important to the State of Ohio; so important to those who have it, and so important to every one of us in every phase of life we can conceive of almost. If a gentleman wants a carriage horse you don't ask him to take a roadster, but a horse that has been bred in some way from a thoroughbred. Now I have said this much in defense of the thoroughbred horse, and ask you to consider it as a financial question, and almost as a social question, because when we want a good carriage horse for our families, the thoroughbred, kind, attractive, and with great powers of endurance, is just the kind we want.
DR. F. M, BLACK, of Pickaway county. I have had some little experience in running county fairs. The ground has been pretty well gone over in this discussion as to some points that are detrimental, and as to some that are advantageous to a society for the purpose of improving agriculture and horticulture throughout the country.
It is well known that no business can be run without money. That is one of the first objects that you must look to to have success. That is just as necessary as that you must offer liberal premiums in order to get up competition so as to have a good show, and to induce people to attend the fairs. Various kinds of devices have been used in my county for selling tickets to prevent abuses. We have had a set of tickets there, which were coupon tickets, costing a dollar, which made the parties purchasing them members of the society for the year; and every time he entered there was a number of the coupon punched, so that the ticket, whenever it was used, admitted a person. That destroyed one feature of an abuse that has been referred to-preventing the plan of handing the ticket out and being used repeatedly, and which thing had been done in our county. When all the coupons are punched, of course the ticket is worthless. That kind of tickets did very well, but there was a certain class of persons who wished to take the advantage of family tickets, who were greatly down upon it, and there was