THE INGHAM COUNTY FARMERS' CLUB
"Growth is better than permanence and permanent growth is better than all"
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The Ingham County Farmers' Club is one of the established institutions of the county. Organized February 18, 1872, it has had a continuous, active and useful existence for forty-four years. It is the oldest and most successful Organization of its kind in Michigan; and one of the oldest in the United States.
Its meetings are always open to the public. In this, and also in topics considered, differing from the Grange, which bars the discussion of politics and religion, while this Club has covered the whole range of human endeavor in its papers, addresses and discussions, from the Ten Commandments to the Declaration of Independence.
During its earlier years, topics bearing upon improvements along the lines of agriculture occupied its attention chiefly, while in its later years, subjects pertaining to domestic life, temperance, morality, and live issues of the day, in which human men and women are vitally interested, have occupied the major portion of the time.
The Club membership is composed of about sixty families, largely practical farmers scattered over an area of ten miles square.
Its regular meetings are held the second Saturday of each month, at the homes of the various members. Dinner is served at noon; each family contributing thereto. A table committee of six ladies is appointed for each meeting.
For the first twenty-seven years, it existed as a men's club, hold-
ing its meetings in a public hail. When it was reorganized, to admit women, in accordance with the trend of the times, it began holding its meetings at the homes of its members.
The helpful and instructive papers and addresses presented before the Club would make several volumes, worthy of a place in any farm-home library.
The reports of the monthly meetings, published in the local papers, occupy a column of space, and are eagerly sought for by the reading public.
Year books are issued, including lists of officers, and committees, with a program for each monthly meeting, and the hosts for the day.
The naming of farm-homes is a feature which has been loyally carried out by the membership. The following are given as illustrations some feature of the home suggesting the name "Sunnyside", "Elmside Lawn", "Lone Oak", "Brookdale", 'Willowspring", 'Pioneer", and "Goodenough".
The Club is auxiliary to the State Association of Farmers' Clubs, and has furnished more officers for that organization than any other of the clubs in the State.
Among the Charter Members, and of those who, during its first years, gave to the Club their loyal support, appear the names of many of the early settlers of the country, who, for years were recognized as the representative farmers of their respective communities.
Of the charter members, but two survive, Col. L. H. Ives and Judge George W. Bristol. (1916.)
During its existence, the Club has had only two presidents. The present incumbent, Col. L. H. Ives, has entered the sixteenth year's service as president. Hon. Amos F. Wood occupied the position over twenty-five years, retiring at his own request by reason of physical disability. He was made president emeritus for the remainder of his life.
Prior to his election as president, Col. Ives was secretary for nearly a quarter of a century. For these services he was presented with a gold watch and chain. Other officers have grown gray in the service of this Club. Re-election has been the reward for faithful services.
Annual dues are fifty cents per family. Junior members are given a place on each program, and otherwise encouraged to improve their birthright privileges. No clan, order, or society in the county gives to its members so large a dividend on the investment made, as The Ingham County Farmers' Club, and no other society has ever been addressed by so many public men in various walks of life.
Evidencing the high moral character and unity of feeling of the membership, it is a matter of record that in the building of the Presbyterian Church, of Mason, the Club appropriated funds, to place a win-dow in the building, which will stand while the church stands, as a memorial of honor.
We are happy to report that the majority of members of this Club are subscribers to our Farm Journal, another evidence of the Club's standards.
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