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:

Nemaha County
R. W. Furnas
F. A. Tisdel
Benton Aldrich

Lancaster County
David Butler

Gage County
J. B. Weston

Des Moines, Iowa
Wm. D. Wilson
Otoe County
J. H. Masters
Oliver Horner
O. P. Mason
J. H. Gregg
J. B. Merton
J. Hoagland
J. Sterling Morton
J. M. Taggart
H. K. Raymond
J. H. Croxton
Douglas County
P. W. Hitchcock
Geo. B. Graff
Alvin Saunders
L. A. Walker

Dodge County
Jonathan Edwards

Pawnee County
J. W. Hollingshead

Davenport, Iowa
J. W. Pearman

First Officers

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

J. H. Masters, President, 1872, '73, '86; Vice President. '83.
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; President, '81.
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, '93, '94.
E. F. Stephens, President, 1892 to '96.
D. U. Reed, Vice President, 1892, '93, '94; Secretary, '95.
G. A. Marshall, Vice President, 1895, '96; President. '97, '98, '99, '00. '01.
J. H. Hadkinson, Secretary, 1396; Vice President, '97, '98, '99.
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, '04.
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.

Nebraska AHGP

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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