Champaign County Farmers’ Institute

The present Champaign County Farmers’ Institute was organized in January, 1891, more than four years before the creation of the Illinois Farmers’ Institute. The State body came into being through a legislative Act approved June 24, 1895. The original Act, with its several amendments, provides that the body shall consist of three dele-gates from each county of the State, elected annually, and that its affairs shall be managed by a board of directors, consisting of the state superintendent of public instruction, the professor of agriculture of the State of Illinois, president of the State Board of Agriculture, president of the State Horticultural Society and president of the State Dairymen’s Association. Its superintendent of institutes “shall devote his entire time to the organization, promotion and general super-vision of the farmers’ institute work in the State, under the direction of the board of directors and the executive committee. He shall organize a bureau of speakers, the same to include farmers, dairymen, horticulturists, live stock breeders, feeders anl others who have adopted scientific and practical methods secured beneficial results, and are able to tell about them, together with such instructors from the College of Agriculture and Experiment Station as may be assigned to the institute work and whose allotment of time shall be under his direction. These speakers shall be assigned work as far as possible, in accordance with the wishes of the district directors, officers of the Department of House-hold Science (where their interests may appear) and the county institute officers. He shall make recommendations as to lines of work which he believes will prove profitable for the ensuing year, together with general plans for their execution and estimates of expense.” The State body cooperates closely with the county farmers’ institutes, delegates being called together for conference who comprise one general representative from each county institute and one delegate from the Department of Household Science, when organized, as well as the county superintendent of schools. The purpose of these conferences is to arrange the times and places for holding the next county institutes and to cooperate in securing speakers. If the officers of a county farmers’ institute fail to arrange for the holding of meetings as pro-vided for in the act of incorporation, the Board of Directors of the Illinois Farmers’ Institute may furnish instructors for, and hold such meetings as may be beneficial to the agricultural interest of said county. The sum of $75 is provided for the purpose of holding one or more annual meetings of the county institute, and in 1911 the Legislature passed an Act authorizing a county board to appropriate $300 (no more) “for use of county farmers’ institutes in their efforts to promote the adoption of the latest approved methods of crop production, the improvement of live stock, the conservation of soil fertility and the improvement of agricultural conditions generally.” The membership of the farmers’ institute is unlimited. There are no initiation or membership fees, and the meetings are open to the public free of charge; anyone who wishes may be present and take part in the discussions, in the administration of the business and in the election of its officers. Through the courtesy of Mrs. H. A. McKeene, secretary of the Illinois Farmers’ Institute, the following information is furnished regarding the Champaign County Farmers’ Institute, comprising, as will be seen, the time and places of meeting of the different institutes, and the years of service of its principal elective officers: Meetings January 7-8, 1891, Champaign; January 19-20, 1892, Homer; February 4-5-6, 1893, Rantoul; February 23-24, 1894, Fisher; January 2-3, 1895, Champaign; January 2-3, 1896, St. Joseph; February 25-26, 1896, Urbana; January 21-22, 1897, Champaign; December 14-15, 1897, Urbana; January 18-19, 1899, Sidney; January 18-19, 1900, Philo; January 17-18, 1901, Rantoul; February 13-14, 1901, Tolono; January 7-8-9, 1902, Champaign; February 13-14, 1902, Mahomet; September 23-24, 1902, Philo; January 13-14, 1903, Fisher; October 7-8, 1903, Pesotum; January 13-14, 1904, St. Joseph; October 12-13, 1904, Sadorus; February 14-15, 1905, Urbana; January 16-17, 1906, Philo; October 11-12, 1906, Tolono; January 16-17, 1908, Pesotum; December 10-11, 1908, Homer; January 14-15, 1909, Ludlow; December 16-17, 1909, Fisher; January 13-14, 1910, Sidney; December 15-16, 1910, Mahomet; February 8-9, 1911, Rantoul; October 10-11, 1911, Sadorus; December 12-13, 1911, Ogden; October 15, 1912, Seymour; October 16, 1912, Tolono; October 17-18, 1912, Ivesdale; October 14, 1913, Ludlow; October 15, 1913, Gifford; October 16, 1913, Foos-land; October 6, 1914, Pesotum; October 7, 1914, Sidney; October 8, 1914, Seymour; October 9, 1914, Newcomb; March 4-5, 1915, Homer; October 5-6, 1915, South Raymond; October 7-8, 1915, Newcomb Center; September 26-27, 1916, South Raymond; September 28-29, 1916, Fisher; October 3-4, 1916, St. Joseph. Presidents C. Dyer, Mahomet, January, 1891-97; J. M. Love, Philo, December, 1897-99; Isaac S. Raymond, Philo, 1899-1911; M. 0. Stover, Mahomet, 1911-13; W. B. O’Neal, Sadorus, 1914; Wilson P. Jones, Champaign, 1914-17. Secretaries Z. E. Genung, Rantoul, 1891-97; J. A. Hossack, Champaign, 1897-1914; J. Bay Stanner, Urbana, 1915-17. Treasurers Z. E. Genung, Rantoul, 1891-97; M. A. Dewey, Urbana, 1897-99; Z. E. Genung, 1899-1915; W. B. O’Neal, Sadorus, 1915-16; J. Bay Stanner, Urbana, 1917. The Department of Household Science, to which several references have been made, was organized in 1898 as a distinct division of the Illinois Farmers’ Institute and the county organizations. Its objects are well set forth in the following paragraphs published in the year books of the State body for 1914 and 1915: “The conservation of the home is woman’s chief business, and scientific home management is the only executive plan for us to follow. Let us give to the world our experiences. History and records of home-making are as valuable to humanity and civilization as the history of any other phase of life.” “No community can rise higher than the standard of its homes. We believe the home can reconstruct better than school, better than church and better than state, but all must stand together, for whatever affects the home affects the state. To interest women in all that pertains to home-making, their highest known profession, is the object of this organization.” Another, and perhaps even a more definite conception of the scope of the Department of Household Science, may be gained by a mention of the titles of some of the addresses presented and discussed at its meetings. They follow: “A Four Course Vegetable Luncheon ;” “Com-fort and Beauty in the Home ;” “Common Sense in Dress ;” “Cooperation in the Business of the Home;” “Foods for Health;” “Millinery;” “Neighborhood Cooperation;” “The Underaveraged Child in the Home;” “The Farm Woman’s Birthright;” “Home Canning of Fruits and Vegetables;” “Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs;” “Quick Breads;” “Salads and Sandwiches;” “The Building of a Country Home;” “The Planning of Meals.”

Illinois Genealogy

Source: A Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois, by J. R. Stewart, published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago And New York, 1918.

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