Fulton County Agricultural Society. - In another part of this volume mention has been made of the fairs held
at Johnstown in Sir William Johnson's day, where undoubtedly the earliest premiums were ever awarded for superiority
in production or manufacture, in the Mohawk valley. These fairs, however, instead of being public efforts were
under the patronage of one man-the baronet alone furnishing the premiums, in order to incite the tenant farmers
to increased efforts to produce improved and varied crops. The early agriculturists of old Montgomery county were
mostly Germans, and their principal crop was wheat, of which great quantities were raised; indeed they were entirely
dependent upon their own production, as transportation in those days was expensive, and instead of railways and
canals, their avenues of commerce consisted of foot paths and Indian trails through the woods. The great interest
manifested by Sir William in behalf of these agriculturists and his desire to see them include in their culture
some other crops than wheat (which at that time was often unsalable), is shown by the following extract from one
of his letters to the English Society for the Promotion of Arts, dated February 27, 1765. "Before I set the
example, no farmer on the Mohawk River ever raised so much as a single Load of Hay, at present some raise above
one Hundred. The like was the case in regard to sheep, to which they were entire strangers until I introduced them
and I have the satisfaction to see them at present possess many other articles, the result of my former Labors
for promoting their welfare and interests."
It is not known at what date the fairs at Johnstown were discontinued, but this must have taken place soon after
Sir William's death, which occurred in 1774.
A record is found of an agricultural fair at Johnstown, October 12, 1819. It was held by a society organized that
year, of which Henry F. Cox, was president and James McIntyre secretary. Premiums of money were awarded, accompanied
in each case by finely executed diplomas. Fairs have been held nearly every year since that time, the Fulton County
Society coming into existence in 1837, just prior to the division of the county.
In 1867 this society purchased from David D. Miller and others eighteen acres of land, which now form their present
fair grounds. The purchase was made by Henry R. Snyder in behalf of the society and more than $2,000 was at once
expended upon the property for fences and buildings, and in 1877 an exhibit hall was erected at a cost of $1,000.
Other buildings have been added from time to time, the grounds and race track having been raised and improved in
1890 at an expense of $1,100. What a contrast this affords to the early fairs which were held in the court house!
The fair of 1892 will be the fifty fifth under the auspices of the Fulton County Society. A report of the treasurer
in 1848 shows the receipts to have been $170.55. In 1891 they were $9,007. The presidents of the society since
1867 have been as follows: Henry R. Snyder, 1867-68; Jocob Boshart, 1869-70; Isaiah Yauney, 1871-72; Richard Fancher,
1873; Charles Prindie, 1874-75-76; Nicholas H. Decker, 1877-78-79-80; Jacob Boshart, 1881; William S. Northrup,
1882-83-84; James I. Younglove, 1885-86; Charles Prindie, 1887-88; William S. Northrup, 1889-90; Oliver Getman
The present officers are: President, Oliver Getman; first vice President, James I. Younglove; second vice president,
George W. Hildreth; third vice president, M. B. Northrup; treasurer, William T. Briggs; secretary, Eugene Moore;
directors, William Potter, James H. Roberts, Jacob P. Miller, John Dewey, James P. Argersinger, Charles Prindle.