Nebraska State Horticultural Society
The organization of the Nebraska State Horticultural Society
took place at a meeting held on the 29th day of September, 1869,
on the State Fair grounds at Nebraska City. At this early day
there had quite a sentiment spread over the State in the
interest of fruit culture. Tests had been made in various
localities, especially in and around Plattsmouth and Nebraska
City, which established fruit growing, as not only a possibility
but a certainty.
Among those early day advocates of horticultural development
were' the following persons, who were listed as charter members
of the State Association, and whose names go down in the State's
history as founders of this most worthy enterprise:
R. W. Furnas
F. A. Tisdel
J. B. Weston
Des Moines, Iowa
Wm. D. Wilson
J. H. Masters
O. P. Mason
J. H. Gregg
J. B. Merton
J. Sterling Morton
J. M. Taggart
H. K. Raymond
J. H. Croxton
P. W. Hitchcock
Geo. B. Graff
L. A. Walker
J. W. Hollingshead
J. W. Pearman
President, J. H. Masters
Secretary, R. W. Furnas
Treasurer, O. P. Mason
The next meeting was held at Brownville on January 5, 1870, at
which time a constitution and by-lays were adopted, and the
annual winter fruit show was introduced as a feature of the
Society, which has been carried down to the present time. The
varieties of fruits exhibited at this show, which was held
thirty-three years ago, were Winesap, Rome Beauty, Rawles Jenet,
Dominie, Milam, Ben Davis and a few others. The selection of a
recommended list of both large and small fruits was taken up as
a part of the work of the Association, and a committee was
appointed for tills purpose, it being deemed wise to at once
benefit by the experience and tests already made by various
members. Thus the intelligent planting of orchards commenced in
Nebraska at an early day, which explains why there are now so
many commercial orchards in the southeastern part of the State,
that produce their annual crops of fruits with such marked
regularity in yield and quality.
The orcharding and tree planting industry has been carried
forward by later advocates and specialists until the
horticultural conditions of Nebraska are a recognized leading
feature in our general agriculture. The State Association has
been a powerful factor in this work, and deserves the well
merited commendation of forcing land owners to kelp themselves
to the benefits and riches that fruit growing aids to the
improved farm and home. The orchard improvements, on the farms
of Nebraska, have added millions of dollars to their value, and
millions more will follow, as time moves on and the orchard
acreage increases. At a meeting held at Omaha June 15, 1870, the
Society was honored by the presence of Marshal P. Wilder of
Boston. Charles Downing of Newburg, N. Y., and Messrs. Elwagner
and Barry of Rochester, N. Y.
Officers Elected from 1872 to 1904
H. Masters, President, 1872, '73, '86; Vice President.
J. T. Allen, Vice President, 1872, '73; President, 1874,
'75; Secretary, 1883. '84, '85.
R. W. Furnas, Secretary, 1872, '73; President, 1877,
'78, '79, '80.
D. H. Wheeler, Treasurer, 1872, '73, '74; Secretary,
1875, '76, '77, '78 '79, '80, '81, '82.
J. W. Moore, Secretary, 1874.
E. N. Grennell, Vice President, 1875, '77, '80;
John Evans, Treasurer, 1875, '76, '77, '78.
S. B. Hobson, President, 1876.
Hiram Craig, Vice President, 1876.
Charles Mathewson, Vice President, 1878, '79.
Chris Hartman, Treasurer, 1879 to '87.
S. Barnard, Vice President, 1881; President, '82, '83,
'84, '85; Secretary, '86, '87, '88.
R. N. Day, Vice President, 1882, '85, '86; President,
'87, '88; Secretary, '91.
Mrs. R. H. Stratton, Vice President, 1887.
W. R. Harris, President, 1888; Vice President, '89, '90.
Peter Youngers, Jr., Treasurer, 1888 to 1904.
F. W. Taylor, President, 1889, '90, '91; Secretary, '92,
E. F. Stephens, President, 1892 to '96.
D. U. Reed, Vice President, 1892, '93, '94; Secretary,
G. A. Marshall, Vice President, 1895, '96; President.
'97, '98, '99, '00. '01.
J. H. Hadkinson, Secretary, 1396; Vice President, '97,
C. H. Barnard, Secretary, 1897 to 1902.
L. M. Russell, Vice President, 1900, '01; President,
'02; Secretary, '03, '04.
G. S. Christy, Vice President, 1902; President, '03,
W. J. Hesser, Vice President, 1903, '04.
These last officers were elected at the January meeting, 1903,
and hold office until June, 1904. The Society holds its annual
exhibition of fruits in the Horticultural Hall, State
Fairgrounds, and gives to fruit growers $1,000 to $1,300 in
premiums each year. Five experiment stations in different parts
of the State are maintained at the expense of the Society, that
are bearing excellent "fruits" for the horticultural interests
of the State. An annual report is published containing the
proceedings of the Society for the year. These reports were
printed as a part of the agricultural report until 1884, but
since then they have been published in a separate volume of from
200 to 300 pages, and a file of all the reports makes a very
complete horticultural library, as nearly everything pertaining
to horticulture has been discussed at these meetings by the best
posted men in this and neighboring states. Among the charter
members of this Society the name of J. Sterling Morton is found,
a citizen of Nebraska who won a world-wide reputation as "Father
of Arbor Day," and as a member of Cleveland's cabinet. Four
members, Furas, Saunders, Butler and Crounse, have occupied the
Governor's chair in Nebraska; while Mason was one of the most
noted judges in the early history of the State.
A Condensed History of Nebraska for fifty years to date,
Compiled by Geo. W. Hervey, Editor, and Published by Nebraska
Farmer Co., Omaha, Nebraska, 1903.
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