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Letter/label or iconT IS here that we draw the dividing line and proceed with the history of the Agricultural College rather than that of the University. Having seen the University established with its integral college units, it is now fitting to devote our attention primarily to the College of Agriculture, with only such references to the University as occasion demands.

   It will be recalled that one of the primary purposes of the Land Grant Act of 1862 was to offer industrial education to the people, or as the Act stated, "to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts." It was more from a sense of duty that the Agricultural College was established than because of any particular demand for that kind of instruction. It was at least thirty years before agricultural instruction received any great amount of recognition.

   During these years, it must be remembered, there was a general intolerance of "book farming" among both farmers and non-farmers. The teaching of farming in the schools was regarded as a somewhat futile task.

   It was some time before the Agricultural College succeeded in inducing students to take its regular courses. The first year of the University the Agricultural College had not come into existence. On September 5, 1871, "S. R. Thompson was elected to the Chair of Theory and Practice of Agriculture [later to be made dean], but not to enter on his duties sooner than one year from the present," according to the report of the Board of Regents of that date.

   In his report for the year ending in June, 1872, Chancellor Benton stated:



First professor of agriculture and first dean of the college



   "The Agricultural College as a co-ordinate branch of the University will also demand the attention of the Board. The requirements of the law creating these national schools make it necessary to provide for opening this College in the immediate future. It is important to determine accurately the limit of time prescribed by law, and not to allow the land grant to revert to the general government in consequence of neglect."

   On June 25, 1872, the Agricultural College was established by the regents and ordered to be opened.

   It appears that, altho the Agricultural College was formally opened for the year 1872-73, there were no regular students. That year a course of lectures was given, however. In his report Professor Thompson says:

   "A small number of students have entered for the regular course in Agriculture, but for the present year have been pursuing preparatory studies chiefly. The work of agricultural instruction proper, has consisted of a course of lectures on vegetable physiology with reference to tree growing, and a course of popular lectures on agricultural chemistry. These lectures were very well attended. In general it is our intention to furnish instruction in any department of agricultural instruction which may be demanded, without, for the present, insisting on regular courses of study; yet providing a regular course for all who wish it."

   So the second year of the University passed by, apparently without any very enthusiastic enrollment in agriculture. The third year seems to have turned out likewise, for the report of Chancellor Benton for the year ending June, 1874, stated that "the special instruction belonging to this department, has not yet been in demand, and no solicitation has been used to urge students into this course of study." Professor Thompson in his report for the same year stated:

   "But few students as yet have shown a disposition to take agricultural studies, and these only in the Preparatory department. I have seen a number of students who desire to attend the Agricultural School as soon as they can be accommodated with boarding on the farm, and can have employment so as to earn a part of their expenses. When not otherwise engaged, I have taught classes in the Academic department."




   But the following year, 1874-75, fifteen students entered upon the agricultural course of study. These students enrolled gradually during the term, Charles Brainard being the first to take up the work. The cause of this unprecedented demand for agricultural knowledge was due largely to the fact that the University had come into possession of the present Agricultural College farm at the opening of that school year and besides providing the students with an economical place to board and room actually offered them remunerative employment. In fact, Chancellor Benton stated that the enrollment in the Agricultural College would have been still greater had it been possible to accommodate the students at the farm house.


   This brings us to the subject of the college farm. It will be recalled that the Legislature in establishing the University provided "that the Governor shall set aside two sections of any agricultural college land, or saline land, belonging to the State, and shall notify the State Land Commissioner of such reservation, for the purpose of a Model Farm, as a part of the College of Agriculture, and such land, so set apart, shall not be disposed of for any other purpose." For some years it was evidently the idea that some of the state lands or land forming the endowment of the University could be set aside and used for a model farm. Some of this land was actually selected and used for a while. There is this notation in the report of the regents for June 25, 1872, the same day the Agricultural College was officially established and ordered to be opened:

   "After a report from the Land Committee, on motion of Regent Maxfield, the land selected by the Committee for a model farm was approved, and the Governor requested to set it apart for the use of the University."

   Two sections of land were set aside for the farm about this time. J. S. Dales, the present secretary of the Board of Regents and a member of the University's first graduat--




ing class, recalls that it was in at least two or three parcels, but the bulk of it was in the neighborhood of the present fair grounds.

   During the years 1872-73 something was accomplished along the line of actual farming on the original farm belonging to the college. When, on June 25, 1872, the Agricultural College was established and ordered to be opened, $1,000 was appropriated for improvements. Out of this $1,000, but $63.40 was expended on farm improvements, $44 of which went for breaking the land. Money to the extent of about $500 was expended under the direction of the chancellor, however, for "things not specially used in or belonging to the Agricultural Department, but in other departments as well," including philosophical apparatus, chemicals, etc. The balance of this first appropriation went back into the treasury, but at the December meeting of the regents another appropriation of $2,000 was made and Professor Thompson, who was now in charge, was directed to buy implements and hire a farmer to take charge of the farm.

   Anderson Root of Cass County was engaged at $50 per month as the "farmer." He began work February 1, 1873. Mr. Root was "an experienced and successful farmer, and came recommended by a large number of the leading men in his county," according to Professor Thompson. A three-horse team for plowing and breaking was purchased for $435. The starting of the work on the farm was quite an event. A number of the implement companies gave implements, or threw off part of the regular price. Individuals promised various donations. Governor R. W. Furnas and Mr. Abbey of Richardson County, and J. D. Spearman of Sarpy County gave Poland China pigs. Hon. John Taffe gave a quantity of imported sugar beet seed, while Senator Hitchcock supplied the college with eight volumes of Congressional documents and some seeds. Volumes of reports were received from the boards of agriculture in various states.




   Farming operations were under way in the summer of 1873. In his report for the year ending June 26, 1873, Professor Thompson states:

   "The land broken east of R. R. last season was plowed deeply and 61/2 acres of it sown to wheat and 41/2 planted in corn. The nine acres remaining, of that piece east of R. R. has been broken and planted in sod corn. For the purpose of keeping the team employed until the breaking season, 16 acres of land contiguous to ours was rented at $2 per acre and planted in crops. The crops now in the ground are: 23 acres of corn; 5 acres in oats. 6 1/2 in wheat; 1/2 acre in sugar beets (4 kinds), and about an acre in garden vegetables and experimental patches of wheat, barley and oats, sown with seed imported from Europe and furnished us by the National Agricultural Department at Washington. With the exception of one piece of corn, which has been injured by the squirrels, the crops are all in excellent condition. In addition to farm work, the Farmer has done considerable team work, plowing, dragging and cultivating on the 'University campus."


   This year, 1873, marked the beginning of agricultural experimental work, now carried on on such a large scale at the Agricultural College. The sugar beet industry which was many years later to become of great importance in the North Platte Valley was the subject of much inquiry, even at this early date. In his report Professor Thompson states:

   "During the spring and summer I have taken it upon myself to secure a thorough and extensive trial of the capabilities of our State for the production of beets suitable for the manufacture of sugar. With this end in view, I presented the subject to the attention of the State Board of Agriculture at its last meeting, where I met with a cordial response and instant co-operation. Gov. Furnas, President of the Board, immediately ordered a quantity of seed from Europe, notice was given through the press and in response to requests I have distributed seed to something over 100 different persons in twenty counties.




   "I have written a number of articles for the papers, and in every way in my power endeavored to bring the value and importance of this experiment to the attention of the general public.

   "Persons receiving seed agree to cultivate, and report to the State Board, sending specimens of beets to the Agricultural College for analysis. It will be seen that this arrangement will bring a large amount of additional labor upon the faculty of the Agricultural College, but in view of the great importance of the experiment, it has seemed to me that it ought to be undertaken. In sending out this seed, I paid $6.32 postage, which I have not charged in my account, since I was not certain that it was a legitimate expenditure under my department or not. I would be pleased to have the Board instruct me on this point."

   The following year Professor Thompson was obliged to report that the results achieved from distributing the sugar beet seed had been so meager that the State Board of Agriculture did not think it wise to continue it another year, altho he personally believed ultimate success would greet the experiment. The half acre in sugar beets on the farm yielded at the rate of ten tons an acre. "Of the various new kinds of small grains which we tried last year, but one kind of oats was thought worthy of trial again this year," Professor Thompson stated in his report for the year ending June 23, 1874. "We have now growing and in good condition, small plats of two new kinds of oats, one of barley and one of wheat. . . . The six acres we had in white Mediterranean wheat produced 101 bushels of superior wheat. Part was sowed again the present year, and the remainder sold at an average price of fifteen cents above the ordinary wheat. Some of it which we had ground produced flour not inferior to winter wheat."

   In the grasshopper times of the seventies Prof. Samuel Aughey was giving some attention to the injurious insects of the state, laying a foundation perhaps for the economic entomology of today. Among the insects with which he concerned himself were the Rocky Mountain locust, the chinch bug and the Hessian fly.





   There was at this time considerable discussion as to just what kind of a farm the college farm should be. This same question was to prove a troublesome one for years. In his report for 1873 Professor Thompson raises the question:

   "In planning our future work in the Agricultural College, the first question to be settled is, shall we aim to present a model farm, beautiful in its location, harmonious in its arrangements, exact in its divisions, neat in its keeping, and profitable in its working, or shall we arrange for an experimental farm, where it shall be our main business to discover new agricultural truth, rather than to exhibit what is old. The model farm will make the best showing to the general public and will incur less expense, but in the long run the latter will be of more real service to the State."


   The land set aside for a "model farm" was not considered particularly desirable, and efforts were being made to secure another farm. About September 1, 1874, the college came into the possession of the present college farm by purchase from Moses M. Culver. Professor Thompson's question as to the kind of a farm which should be built up was apparently not entirely settled. Experimental work was to be carried on, but it was the hope that the farm should also be made entirely self-sustaining. Regarding the purchase and development of the new farm there is this notation in the report of the Board of Regents for 1874:

   "At its session, June 23, 1874, the Board of Regents deciding that no sufficient portion of the two sections of saline land, which had been set apart by the Governor for a model farm was suitable for that purpose, a committee was appointed by the board to secure, if possible, a suitable farm for the college, to be paid for from the proceeds of the two sections named.

   "A purchase of a well improved farm at a moderate distance from the University was effected. The farm contains 320 acres, for which $55 an acre was paid. The farm is well adapted to the purposes of the College, and is in a high state of cultivation, having over four miles of Osage Orange hedge, four to five years old; twenty




five acres of young timber three and four years old; three hundred apple trees, fifty peach trees; a good stone house of ten rooms; a good frame barn, granary, etc.

   "The provision made for the payment of this farm was by the sale of a portion of the saline land set apart for the use of a model farm. Of this land sale was made to the amount of $22,500, on such terms as the committee thought would enable the board to meet the payments on the land purchased for the College Farm.

   "For improving this farm, furnishing teams, utensils, and well-selected breeds of cattle, and thus to enable the Agricultural College to accomplish effectively the work for which it was organized, the Board have appropriated during this year $6,800, which, with a former appropriation of $2,500, will furnish this department with ample appliances for experimental purposes, and after the present year, it is expected to make it entirely self-sustaining."

   More light on this transaction is found in the regents' report for the two years ending December 1, 1876:

   "That there may be a clear understanding of the farm, the cost of the same, and how paid, the following statement is submitted:

   "It is doubtless well known that according to the law under which the University was organized, the Governor was authorized to select two sections of the public land for a model farm. This was accordingly done. The Regents, however, deeming no sufficient part of said land suitable for the purposes of a farm, decided to purchase a farm of 320 acres of M. M. Culver, east of Lincoln, for the agreed sum of $17,600. In part payment of such amount they traded a portion of the said two sections of land at an agreed price of $5,700, and also a certain lot in Lincoln, of which by some means they had become the owner, for $350 more, thus reducing the amount to be paid to Mr. Culver to $11,550. This latter amount they agreed to pay within five years from the time of purchase--June, 1874--with interest at 10 per cent, payable annually, and executed written obligations, in the form of notes, accordingly. The interest on these obligations has been paid as required.

   "The remainder of the two sections of land, except about twenty acres, hereafter mentioned, was by them sold to other parties on five years time, with interest and time of payment the same as stated above, for the agreed sum of $16,800. The interest on said sum falling due annually has been paid to the extent of $720 only, as shown by the statement of the Treasurer. The said remaining twenty acres of land, together with the improvements thereon, was conveyed in part payment for the house erected on the farm during




the autumn of 1875, at the agreed price of $2,500. The house cost the sum of $3,895, and is commodious and substantial, very much enhancing the value of the farm."

   The house mentioned above stood on the campus for nearly fifty years, being torn down in the fall of 1923. A note to posterity was discovered by workmen tearing down the house. The note was written on a block of wood and the block had been placed in the wall above one of the doors. It read:

   "To whom it may concern: Know ye that this 15th day of December, 1875, that the sun shines bright and the roads are dry and you can work out in your shirt sleeves.--J. W. Beatty."

   J. W. Beatty, it was recalled at the college campus, was one of the carpenters employed when the building was erected half a century ago by M. L. Hiltner.

   There seems to have been considerable difficulty in collecting the money due for parts of the original model farm that were sold, and some of the contracts were cancelled, and the land resold. The report of the Board of Regents for the two years ending December 1, 1880, straightens the matter out. "The debt which matured June 25th, 1879, was paid," says the report, "and the title to the farm has been made perfect. The appropriation made by the legislature of 1879, with other funds realized from the sale of lands set apart for that purpose, was applied in discharge of the debt, and the funds and securities remaining in the hands of the Regents were transferred to the State Treasurer, as directed in the act of the Legislature making the appropriation." The Legislature had appropriated $8,000, which together with $5,984.50, evidently received from the sale of parts of the old farm, was sufficient to wipe out the debt on the Culver farm. Securities, presumably representing mortgages on the parts of the old farm which had been sold, were transferred to the State Treasurer, to reimburse the state for the legislative appropriation.

   In June, 1875, Professor Thompson reported that there were 171 acres of crops "now in the ground," including 55




acres of wheat, 18 1/2 acres of oats, 19 1/2 acres of barley, 68 acres of corn, 3 acres of broom corn, 1 acre of sugar beets, and 6 acres of miscellaneous crops. "These all, except the sugar beets, which the grasshoppers twice destroyed, are in a highly promising condition at this writing," he stated.


   The "thorough-bred" cattle owned by the college included a Shorthorn bull named, "Excalibar," a Shorthorn heifer "Hasty," a Devon bull "Oxus," a Devon heifer "Dianthus," an Ayrshire bull "Haylord," an Ayrshire heifer "Nettie," a Galloway bull "McNeil," and a Galloway heifer "Snowflake."

   Hogs were represented by the Essex, Poland China, and Berkshire breeds, about twenty-four in all. In poultry there were "fair specimens of buff Cochins, dark brahmas, light brahmas, Houdans, black-red game bantams, and white bantams."

   The new farm demanded a number of improvements. In his report Professor Thompson stated:

   "The farm was found to be in a fair state of cultivation, but excessively weedy, and most of the inner hedges grown up with grass. A systematic war of extermination has been begun upon the weeds, and a portion of the hedges put under cultivation. There were not funds at command to justify more. The piggery which was on the road front, and in plain sight from the farm house, has been removed to the grove west of the orchard. . . . A pasture containing about fifteen acres, lying near the farm, has been enclosed by a four-board fence. Cost $283.45. A cattle shed, twelve by forty, has been built adjoining the barn, and the small barn-yard enclosed by a high board fence. Cost $97.30. The poultry house on the old farm was moved up and supplied with a spacious yard, surrounded by a lath fence six feet high. Cost $119.73. The stone kitchen, attached to the farm house, but hitherto unfinished, was floored and plastered outside and inside, a chimney built to it, and a bedroom partitioned from one end. This arrangement adds largely to the capacity of the house. The spouting on the main building was repaired and extended to the kitchen. Cost $161.35. A coal house, twelve by sixteen feet, adjoining the kitchen, was put up and




divided into small compartments for the use of students and the farmer. Cost $48.28."

   A large well, six feet in diameter, was dug at the rear of the farm house, and water, drawn by a windmill pump, was piped to the piggery, pasture and farm house. A 75-barrel tank was placed at the well, to insure a supply of water at all times. "The whole scheme is a complete success, and practically solves the water problem for all time to come," said Professor Thompson in his report. "Entire cost, $591.23."

   Among the articles of "illustrative apparatus" purchased for the department were a dynamometer, for testing the draft of plows and other agricultural implements, skeletons of a horse and a cow, "for use in studying the anatomy and physiology of domestic animals," and hay and stock scales, together with some books. It will be recalled that the large dwelling house, torn down in 1923, was added to the farm campus in the fall of 1875.


   But in the same way that Professor Thompson was in doubt as to whether the college farm should be simply a model farm or an experimental farm, Chancellor Benton was worrying himself as to what kind of a college the Agricultural College should be. Plainly, the first few years, there was not a great demand for agricultural instruction, and this same situation was to continue for many years. Whatever attraction the college farm had for students seemed to be due to the fact that it was a cheap place to live, and one could be furnished employment enough to pay at least a good part of one's college expenses.

   The first agricultural courses offered in the College of Agriculture endeavored to strike a happy medium between a technical school and the arts college. There were, in fact, two courses of study, one a four years' course, running parallel with the scientific course in the University and leading to the same degree, and a shorter course which


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