hay while the sun (of grangerism) shone brightly. As the annual state meetings fell due, the membership annually doubled until, in 1874, nearly 600 delegates were in the hall with their credentials, and from each grange in the state.
   At the annual meeting in December, 1873, the state grange decided to move in the matter of obtaining the staple commodities of their business from first hands, thus hoping to save to their members the profits and commissions they paid to agents and dealers in agricultural implements, household utensils, and some of the more staple cloths and groceries. Accordingly the office of state purchasing agent was created, his compensation provided for, and the mistake committed of electing the secretary of the order, William McCaig, to the agency, he at the same time holding his position as secretary. McCaig had exalted ideas on the wonderfulness and permanency of the order; and hence of its resources, and concluded that the true way for the Patrons of Nebraska to get implements was to manufacture them; and whether correct or not, certain it is that two factories were started, one at Plattsmouth for the manufacture of corn plows, cultivators, and harrows, and one at Fremont for constructing a header, under the patents of one Turner.
   The factories seem not to have paid as was anticipated, and parties who had become security for the material used soon found themselves unpleasantly involved. The sureties included a few sound and well meaning men in this and Cass counties, and one or two others who meant well for themselves. The two brothers of the agent were also interested in the enterprise, and when it was discovered that in some way there had been a miscalculation, and the Plattsmouth factory especially was calling for more money than it produced, it was charged that money sent to the agents in considerable sums for the purchase of machinery, was never afterwards heard from nor any equivalent sent. The matter was touched upon somewhat at the annual meeting in 1874, but so little was then known that no suspicion of wrong was allowed to rest on anyone. The biennial election occurring at that meeting, Mr. Porter was reëlected master, and Mr. E. H. Clark, of Blair, secretary; but the purchasing agency was left in Mr. McCaig's hands, he asserting his ability to clear everything up if given a little more time to devote thereto.
   It may be only just to remark in parting that all these ventures and complications were woven together during the memorable grasshopper raid of 1874 when the agricultural community were nearly prostrated in their resources, and that had ordinarily good times prevailed, the factory venture might not have failed and the temptation to misappropriate moneys on hand, might not have existed.
   Everything was now thought to be serene in the secretary's office, as the new incumbent held the respect and confidence of all who knew him, and hence the affairs of that office passed for a long time unnoticed, while the frequent attention of the executive was called to the business transactions of the purchasing agency which resulted in the relief of Mr. McCaig from the position in July, 1875, and the appointment of P. E. Beardsley, Esq., in his place. This office Mr. Beardsley has filled ever since; his work, however, having been mainly the thorough overhauling and classifying of his predecessor's accounts.
   At the fifth annual meeting held in Fremont, in December, 1875, Worthy State Master Mr. William B. Porter resigned his office, for prudential reasons, and Hon. Church Howe, of Brownville, was elected his successor.
   Meantime all was lovely in the secretary's office at Blair. A faint suspicion began to exist that the new secretary was shaping his bookkeeping in such a manner as to cover up questionable transactions of the old. The executive committee (the general committee of safety for the order) took occasion to look over his books, and the result of their investigation led to the resignation of Mr. Clark, and Mr. Beardsley was immediately installed as his successor, the secretary's office was moved to Lincoln, and Mr. Beardsley has attended to both offices for the past eight or nine months. As if the measure of their misfortune was not yet full, eventful fate has ordained that several suits, growing out of irregularities (not to use a more expressive term) of the first secretary and purchasing agent, have been commenced by injured parties against the "State Grange of Nebraska," being the body composed of delegates who voted to appoint Mr. McCaig to be their agent. As purchasers they are doubtless to some extent liable, and what that extent may be will be decided in due time by the district and state courts. It will devolve upon the body assembled here today to consider thoroughly, carefully, and logically, the events of the past and note well their causes and effects. It will be well for them to bear constantly in mind that on their action depends solely the life and future usefulness of the order, or its speedy dissolution in the state. They should not work in haste for



they cannot afford to execute one reckless or ill considered act. They should profit by the lessons of the past, and entrust their future to none but able and trusty officers. They should in a great degree be bold, self-reliant, and enterprising, exercising the while good judgment and discretion. Every proposition should be critically weighed, examined, and adjusted, and no legislation blindly accepted, nor indeed blindly rejected. With deliberate councils and wise legislation we believe the Nebraska State Grange can recover its credit, strengthen its membership, regain public confidence, reclaim its old friends, and casting off the load of rascality and incompetency that has well nigh been its ruin, rise in its renewed strength, and eventually accomplish the great mission of its existence, the elevation and ennobling of the profession of the farmer.
   The twenty failures of national banks occurred in the period from 1891 to 1898 inclusive, except one in 1886, while there have been 136 failures in the country at large since that time. No state bank failed in 1890 but there were ten failures from 1891 to 1900 inclusive. Of the twenty national banks, the Capital National of Lincoln, the First National of Ponca, the First National of Red Cloud, the First National of Alma, and the First National of Neligh were wrecked through embezzlement and other frauds of their officers; nine failed through "imprudent" management; the rest of the failures, presumably, may be attributed to the hard times, but whose most important effect was to disclose dishonesty and bad management. The failure of the Capital National of Lincoln occurred January 21, 1893, and it caused great disaster and inexpressible suffering. Its president, Charles W. Mosher, whose exploits as lessee of convict labor at the penitentiary have already been recounted, ruthlessly gutted the bank. By an astonishing perversion of Justice, as the public generally felt and believed, by pleading guilty he was let off with a term of only five years in the penitentiary. The officers of the First National bank of Ponca and the First National bank of Neligh were also prosecuted and three of them were sent to the Penitentiary. The Capital National bank of Lincoln paid dividends to the amount of 17.71 per cent of the loss, $220,126 in all. A prodigious amount of litigation grew out of this. failure and there was much criticism on account of the large sum expended in it. The legal expense of the receivership of this bank was $54,496. The First National bank of Ponca was a good second to the Capital National in the rascality of its officers. It paid 22.40 per cent of its losses. The First National bank of Alma, also a "criminal" bank, paid 3.70 per cent; the First National bank of Holdrege nothing at all. The First National bank of Grant, which failed August 14, 1894, paid 100 per cent; and the First National bank of Blair which failed in 1886, also paid out in full.2

   The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, held at Omaha June 1 to October 31, 1898, was a splendid and very impressive exhibit of the products and resources of the section west of the Mississippi river and especially of the trans-Missouri part of it, and also of the great creative and executive capacity of citizens of Omaha who conceived and, in the main, carried it to a successful issue. The exposition was projected at the annual meeting of the Trans-Mississippi Congress held at Omaha in November, 1895. William J. Bryan presented the preliminary resolution declaratory of the intention to hold the exposition and requesting the federal Congress to give the assistance usual in such cases. At a public meeting held in Omaha December 27, 1895, it was decided "that the project of an exposition should be carried out." On the 6th of June, 1896, the Congress of the United States appropriated $200,000 for the purpose of erecting a building and making an exhibit on the part of the federal government therein.

   2 The records of the state banking board show the following banks closed, with the amount of deposits in such banks:


No. Closed





no record

 See page


































   The Nebraska legislature of 1897 appropriated $100,000 for a similar purpose on behalf of the state and authorized the governor to appoint a board of six directors -- one from each congressional district -- to expend the money appropriated in conjunction with "the board of directors of the corporation known as the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition Association." Douglas county appropriated a like amount to promote the enterprise; and the city of Omaha expended about $30,000 in parking and otherwise ornamenting the grounds. Other states made appropriations as follows: Georgia, $10,000; Illinois, $45,000; Iowa, $30,000; Montana, $30,000; New York, $10,000; Ohio, $3,000, Utah, $8,000; Arizona territory, $2,000; total public appropriations, $338,000. The sum of $175,000 was raised by private subscription of citizens of Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Los Angeles county, California. The states of Georgia, Illinois, Iowa. Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, and Wisconsin erected creditable buildings for their exhibits and social convenience, on the exposition grounds. The other states which contributed exhibits were Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. The territories of Arizona, Indian Territory, and New Mexico were also represented.
   At a meeting of citizens of Omaha held January 18, 1896, articles of incorporation of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition Company were adopted. The articles provided for capital stock to the amount of one million dollars in shares of ten dollars each. At this meeting eleven directors were elected, namely: Gurdon W. Wattles, Jacob E. Markel, W. R. Bennet, John H. Evans, Dudley Smith, Daniel Farrell, jr., George H. Payne, Charles Metz, Isaac W. Carpenter, Henry A. Thompson, Carroll S. Montgomery. January 20th the directors elected officers as follows:
   Gurdon W. Wattles, president; Jacob E. Markel, vice president; John A. Wakefield, secretary. December 1, 1896, the corporation was reorganized and the number of directors increased to fifty. On the 16th, Gurdon W. Wattles was elected president; Alvin Saunders, vice president; John A. Wakefield, secretary; Herman Kountze, treasurer; Carroll S. Montgomery, general counsel. An executive committee was chosen as follows: department of ways and means, Z. T. Lindsey; of publicity, Edward Rosewater; of promotion, Gilbert M. Hitchcock; of exhibits, E. E. Bruce; of concessions and privileges, A. L. Reed; of grounds and buildings, F. P. Kirkendall; of transportation, W. N. Babcock. July 9, 1897; Mr. Hitchcock resigned the office of manager of promotion, and that department was thereupon, consolidated with the department of publicity under the management of Edward Rosewater. James B. Haynes was superintendent of this department. The total cost of the buildings on the grounds, exclusive of state buildings, was $565,034. The total stock subscription collected was $411,745; total donations, $141,670.20; earnings of the exposition, $1,389,018.38. After the settlement of the business of the exposition ninety per cent of the stock subscription was returned to stockholders, an unprecedented incident in exposition experiences and which leaves nothing to be said in praise of the managerial skill of President Wattles and his directory.
   The general architectural effect of the exposition deserved the praise it won on every hand and the electrical display of it, at night, was notably fine. This great enterprise was of material benefit to Omaha and Nebraska; but its chief justification lay in the enjoyment it afforded to the vast number of people to whom it was accessible and who had theretofore been out of range of great exhibitions of its kind. The resulting awakening and improvement of popular taste and insight into the mechanical and industrial genius of the country were incalculably beneficent.
   In the year 1910 a comprehensive illustrated history of the exposition was published by the authority of its board of directors.

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