1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Mason County Agricultural Society
Page 443

The first movement for the organization of an agricultural society was made in the year 1854, as will be seen from the following, which we bind in the local laws of 1855: "A meeting of the citizens of Mason County was held at the Court House in Havana, on Saturday, the 14th day of January, 1854, for the purpose of organizing an agricultural society. President, J. D. W. Bowman: Secretary, J. M. Fisk. A constitution was submitted by S. C. Conwell, which, on motion of H. C. McIntire, was read and adopted. On motion of H. C. McIntire, J. M. Fisk was elected President; and, on motion of S. C. Conwell, J. D. W. Bowman, Julius Jones and H. C. McIntire were elected Vice Presidents. On motion, John Covington was elected Recording Secretary, and Francis Low, Corresponding Secretary. On motion, Alexander Gray was elected Treasurer."

Under this organization, annual fairs were held at Havana, in which the people manifested considerable interest up to the year 1858, when the Society was re-organized, as will be seen by the following record, taken from the County Court proceedings:

"WHEREAS, The Legislature of the State of Illinois did, on the 8th day of February, 1857, enact a general law for the incorporation of agricultural societies within the State for the better government of the same, therefore, according to notice, the undersigned, legal voters of Mason County, met at the Court House in the town of Havana on Tuesday, the 8th day of June, 1858, for the purpose of organizing under the act of the Legislature and adopting a constitution and by-laws for the Agricultural Society of Mason County. The meeting being called to order, A. D. Hopping was elected President, and John H. Havighorst was nominated Secretary. On motion, it was
"Resolved, That this Society be styled the "Mason County Agricultural Society."
Resolved, further. That the Constitution and By-Laws heretofore adopted by this Society be accepted and adopted without amendment.
"Resolved, further, That the person elected as officers of the Mason County Agricultural Society, at their general meeting for the election of officers, to wit: A. D. Hopping, President; A. Biggs, Samuel Rule and William Atwater, Vice Presidents: John H. Havighorst, Recording Secretary; Selah Wheaden, Corresponding Secretary, and William Higbee, Treasurer, be and remain the officers of this Society for the ensuing year and until their successors are elected.

"On motion of J. D. W. Bowman, it was resolved that the above proceedings be adopted. Carried.

"John Covington, J. P. West, J. D. Hays, Judson R. Foster, H. B. McGehe, G. Walker, J. D. W. Bowman, J. H. West, S. C. Conwell, Reuben Heniger, W. Higbee, J. S. Wilbourn, J. H. Havighorst, C. J. Dilworth, C. W. Pierce, A. H. Bower, Joshua Thomas, John B. Seat, A. Nash, R. McReynolds, A. D. Hopping.

"On motion, the meeting adjourned. A. D. Hopping, President.
"J. H. Havighorst, Secretary."

Under this new organization, the Society continued to the year 1872, when it was re-organized as a joint-stock company, with a capital of $10,000, under the name of the "Mason County Agricultural and Mechanical Association."

The officers for the year 1872, the first under the new organization, were: President, James F. Kelsey, of Havana; Vice President, R. R. Simmons, Havana; Secretary, John W. Jones, Havana; Treasurer, Thomas Covington, Havana.

The officers for the 1878-79 are: President, Samuel Bivens; Vice President, W. S. Dray; Secretary, Samuel F. Kyle; Treasurer, Thomas Covington; Superintendent, W. H. Webb.

The Society has had annual fairs from the beginning until 1860, when they were discontinued until 1866, since which time they have not failed. The most of these fairs have been very creditable to the people of the county, and the premiums have run as high as $2,000, or near that amount; and there has not been an instance where they have not been paid in full, as we are informed by the officers, showing that the affairs of the Society have been conducted in an honorable way. The grounds are situated about a mile north of the city of Havana, with one of the best tracks for trotting in this part of the State. About $5,000 have been expended on the grounds.

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