(From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy Page 143)
North Knox Fair Established
For those who continued farming in Hope, there was much interest in learning new methods, the development of new machinery, and the sharing of new ideas. The Farmers Club was an organization that met with other farmers in neighboring communities with speakers from the State Department of Agriculture and the new Land Grant College at Orono. Although the Granges were very strong in the mid-west, Maine was not yet as organized. It would be at least twenty years before there would be a Grange organized in Hope.
As early as 1832 formation of agricultural societies by groups in various parts of the State were encouraged by the Legislature. Under Public Laws of 1832, approval was given to Chapter 24: An Act for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Horticulture and Manufactures. Prizes were offered through exhibition.
In 1869 five small communities in rural
Maine, Hope, Union, Appleton, Warren, and Washington, then a part of the
newly formed Knox County, were incorporated by the Maine Legislature as
the North Knox Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Years later by Legislative
action it was renamed the Knox Agricultural Society, and now is better known
as the Union Fair Association.
The first president of the Fair Association was Nathaniel Alford of Hope who served for the entire decade from 1869 through 1878. Each of the five towns was represented on the board by vice presidents. Those who served for the first decade from Hope were Josiah Hobbs, 1869, 1870; William J.Allen 1872, 1876, 1877; William Hewett, 1873; B. F. Matthews, 1874, 1875;D. A. Payson, 1878. Trustees from Hope for the same period were Willard B. Robbins, 1869, 1870; William J. Allen, 1871; D. A. Payson 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875; A. M.
Crabtree, 1876, 1877, 1878.
The first fair was held in Union on October 5th and was a gala day in Union. Memories of the war years had faded into the background. For three days farm animals were shown at Union Common, farm crops in the Wingate-Simmons Carriage Shop including the vegetables and fruits as well as grains, dairy products, baked goods, canned goods, and home crafted articles.
Commercial manufactures included Wingate-Simmons
Co. single seated "sundown" wagon, an elegant top buggy with side
lamps, a common wagon, and a sleigh richly cushioned, finely ornamented,
and finished with gold plated mountings. G. H. and S. W. Jones exhibited
a half dozen plows made in their foundry-machine shop, also cylinder wood
stoves. Also exhibited were the Hawkes "cultivator", Crawford's
rock lifter and stump extractor, and Cobb and Stetson's harnesses.
Warren held the second fair in 1870. For the first time among the farm machinery was exhibited the H. M. Cole mowing machine, a machine capable of doing the work of many men using scythes.
Appleton held the third fair in 1871.