Agriculture in Post-Civil War Missouri
In 1867, Jasper County was about 1/3 timber and the other 2/3 was prairie. The county was beautiful in appearance and capable of having a high state of cultivation. It could produce abundant crops when seasons favored. And no other county in the state presented better facilities to the industrious farmer to become independent of want. There were numerous varieties of timber. Trumpet creeper, Virginia creeper, bitter sweet, and hops grew wildly in abundance. Summer grapes were found on every hillside and around all the streams. They were used principally for wine. Raw land price was from $3 to $6 per acre. Improved farmland price was from $7 to $25 per acre. Fruits included apples, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, plums, and cherries.
The principal productions were wheat, corn, oats, potatoes, barley, rye, and buckwheat. The average yield of wheat per acre was 25 bushels, corn 40 bushels, and oats 40 bushels per acre.
Cotton was cultivated by nearly every farmer for his own use. Tobacco was grown to some extent for market. The average yield was from 800 to 1200 pounds per acre.There were about 6000 fine wooled sheep in the county. Several hogs had been introduced to the area. There were cattle, horses, and mules, but very few improved breeds.
In May of 1868, Jasper County was dry and warm. The corn was growing rapidly and the wheat looked good considering the drought the summer and fall before. The fruit prospects never looked better. The sound of the locusts was almost deafening.
Price of produce corn 40 cents per bushel; flour $6.50 per 100 pounds; bacon 20 cents; farm hands $20 per month.
In 1870, the town of Carthage, as today, was the home of the fairgrounds. The grounds were situated about 2 miles south of town. The very first fair was quite a success. The attendance was large for such a scattered population and the exhibition was far beyond anything thought possible to be at a first fair. There was a shortage of good horses, perhaps the war used up too many and the new imports from Kentucky or elsewhere were few.
Some of the exhibitors
and entries were as follows:
Josiah Tilden exhibited Duke of Jasper, a seven month-old
red and white bull calf and Belle of the Valley, a red cow.
James O. Sheldon, of Geneva, NY, bred them both.
Also exhibited were Lassie, a red and white two year old,
and Red Rose, a two year-old red cow.
Mr. Tilden also showed a purebred Jersey bull calf. Mr. Lukens exhibited a four year-old purebred bull.
Other well bred cattle were also exhibited by other parties.
Mr. Tilden introduced superior Poland and China breeds.
This stock drew a crowd of farmers, and quite a number of orders
were given for pigs to be delivered in the spring.
Chester Whites and Berkshires filled most of the other pens.
There were some of the finest Spanish sheep of the Hammond-Vermont
stock that had ever been seen. M.G.
Skinner and Captain A. Foster exhibited these sheep.
It was stated they had pedigrees and photographs of the sheep on
Poultry Breeds exhibited were Creve Coeurs, Brahmas, White Bantams, very fine Black Spanish, Chittagongs, and Cayuga Ducks. The primary exhibitor was Mr. Tilden.
Housekeeping - Exhibitions included needle work, embroidery,
quilts, butter, jellies, canned fruits, and preserves
This category consisted of photographs, ambrotypes, and some of
Prangs best chromos.
Fruits I. N. Lamb exhibited eleven of his fall and winter apples.
Equestrianism Four ladies competed and two awards were
given for the best performances.
Horse Races The time made in the trot was 3 minutes 30 seconds.
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