Though nominally an Agricultural College since 1863, this institution was without any instruction in agriculture until 1868, when J. S. Hougham was elected Professor of Agriculture, and taught all there was in the College of book-keeping, commercial science, general and analytical chemistry, and physics; his title being changed several times to fit his duties. This concentration in one chair of so many essential studies of the College is presumptive proof that but little could be accomplished in any of them. Under such conditions the progress would necessarily be slow.
In 1867, eighty acres of the farm were inclosed by a stone wall, a few acres having previously been broken. In 1868, an apple orchard, the same which still stands there, was planted in this inclosure, at an expense of fifty cents per tree, the planting being let by contract to Mr. Samuel Cutter, still living in Riley county. In the winter of 1868-9 the legislature made its first outright appropriation of $200 for the Agricultural Department, restricting its use to the purchase of plants, seeds and agricultural implements. As a matter of interest it may be noted that the same legislature appropriated $1,400 to furnish tobacco for the convicts in the penitentiary.
So far "No provision had been made for the grunt of pig, bleat of sheep, low of cattle, or neigh of horse, which might disturb the literary and classical repose of even a more conservative institution of learning." No cropping had been attempted. In 1869, the few acres that were broken were rented to Col. Frank Campbell, who kept the college boarding house. In 1870, Prof. Hougham planted the first crop, consisting of oats, barley and corn. The season was unfavorable. The oats and barley grew only six to eight inches tall, and the corn was all but destroyed by chinch bugs. In August of the same year, the ground was sown to wheat, and in 1871 gave a yield of forty-three and one-half bushels per acre.
In July of 1871, two valuable tracts of land were purchased. One, the so-called "Ingram place," consisting of eighty acres in the Wild Cat bottom two or three miles from the College, was never used, but sold in 1880. The other, containing one hundred and fifty-five acres, joined the town of Manhattan on the west, and is the present site of the College. Of this, forty acres were bought from Mrs. Preston, forty acres from Prof. Gale, and seventy-five from Mr. Foster. The total cost being $29,832.71 in scrip, of which sum the city of Manhattan contributed $12,000, raised by a bond election.
In 1871, Fred E. Miller was appointed Professor of Practical Agriculture, and means were provided for the purchase of stock, teams and implements. The foundation was laid for a herd of Shorthorns, which still remains the pride of the College. The "new farm" near town was put under culture, and an immense stone barn was projected and the building of the first wing begun. This wing was, however, all that was ever finished of the grand structure, and it did duty as a barn for but a few years. In 1875 the institution was removed from the classical halls of Bluemont College to the new farm near town, and the barn was converted into a temporary main building, with class rooms, laboratory, chapel, etc., and later, when the present main building was finished, it was, and still is, used for museum, armory, botanical laboratory, etc.
In April, 1874, Mr. E. M. Shelton, a graduate of the Michigan Agricultural College, was made Professor of Practical Agriculture, and remained in the chair till the close of 1889, when he resigned to go to Australia - a period of nearly sixteen years. His strong personality and energetic nature made itself felt, not only in the management of the department, but in the agriculture of the State, and established the repute of the College for practical and experimental agriculture.
During these sixteen years the department made a steady forward growth. Much attention was given to the herd. The Shorthorns were bred up, and samples of other breeds were added, namely, Galloways and Jerseys, and later on, Herefords and Aberdeen Angus, the Galloways being displaced by the latter. The constant growth of the College necessitated encroachments on the tillable land of the farm for building sites, lawns, and horticultural work, and the need of more land grew yearly more pressing. To meet this need, the college authorities purchased sixty acres from the heirs to the Beebe estate, which joined the college property on the north. Sixteen acres of this was conveyed to the College July 22, 1881, and the remaining forty-four acres in August, 1885.
A new stone barn was built in 1877, dimensions 97x48 feet, at a cost of $4,000, and in 1885 a wing was added to it, measuring 75x50 feet, and costing $4,500.
On the resignation of Prof. Shelton in 1889, Chas. C. Georgeson, also a graduate of the Michigan Agricultural College, was appointed to the chair of Agriculture, and took charge on his arrival, January 4, 1890. During that year some fine specimens of Holstein-Friesian cattle were added to the herd, and a couple of Shropshire sheep were purchased with a view to rearing a flock of that breed. Field experimenting was also much extended.
The farm department has at present one hundred and eighty-five acres under its control, one hundred and seven acres of which are in pasture, and the remainder under culture. The live stock in its possession includes Shorthorn, Jersey, Aberdeen-Angus, Hereford, and Holstein-Friesian cattle; Berkshire and Poland China swine, and Shropshire sheep. It has two good teams and all the necessary implements of tillage. The inventory taken June 30, 1890, showed the value of the assets, exclusive, of the farm, to be $26,716.70.
All of this property is used directly for instruction in the principles of agriculture, and since the organization of the Experiment Station, in 1888, has been devoted in great measure to experimental agriculture, fully reported in bulletins of the station. At present, there are some eighteen hundred plots in general farm crops under observation.
The foremen in this department have been: J. C. Mayos, T. B. Morgan, W. S. Myers, E. Gregory, W. Whitney, G. R. Wilson, and Wm. Shelton, the latter being still in charge. In 1888, when the station experiments were undertaken, Mr. H. M. Cottrell, M. Sc., was made assistant in agriculture, and retains the place at the present time.
In the act establishing the Agricultural College, it was provided that military instruction should be made a part of the course. To carry out this provision, Gen. J. H. Davidson was appointed military instructor in 1866, three years after the founding of the College. During his service the College received from the State one hundred of the inferior muskets used during the fore part of the Rebellion.
For a year or more the outlook of the department was promising, but interest in military drill soon died out, and Gen. Davidson was removed in 1870. From this time till 1881 there was nothing done in the way of military instruction, and what equipments had been acquired were either lost or destroyed.
In the summer of 1881, 1st Lieut. Albert Todd, of the 1st Artillery, was assigned to duty here by the War Department, as Professor of Military Science and Tactics. Classes in drill in the schools of the soldier, skirmisher, company and battalion were immediately organized, but no equipments were received until May of 1882. At this time the department received seventy-five stands of improved rifles from the War Department of the United States, and the board of regents provided swords for the officers.
A class was organized in military science about the same time, and the study has since been a part of the course required in the College.
In 1884 Lieut. Todd was succeeded by Lieut. W. J. Nicholson, of the 7th Cavalry, during whose administration the equipments were extended by the addition of twenty-five rifles from the government, and the purchase of sixty uniforms. At the expiration of Lieut. Nicholson's term, Lieut. J. F. Morrison, of the 21st Infantry, was appointed to the position, which he held for three years, with the addition of fifty rifles and sixty caps and blouses, and two three-inch rifled cannon, so that at present there is abundant opportunity for students to become well versed in the artillery as well as the infantry drill.
Lieut. E. B. Bolton, of the 23d Infantry, has been on duty in the chair of Military Science and Tactics since August, 1890, an the department has been furnished with a new stand of colors and trumpets for battalion drill. Although the drill has been elective in all these years, it has become more and more effective and popular with the students, so that a young man seldom goes through a year without one or more terms of regular drill, and the battalion reaches the full capacity of equipment.
The teaching of natural philosophy, physics and meteorology has been variously connected with established chairs in the College since the beginning, in 1863, and its history up to 1887 is connected with the chairs of natural sciences, chemistry, and mechanics and engineering. In 1887 F. J. Rogers was made Instructor in Physics, and taught it two years, with other studies. Upon the retirement of Mr. Rogers to pursue extended study of the physical sciences, Lieut. J. F. Morrison, Professor of Military Science and Tactics, took charge for a year, until the expiration of his detail for service here. In 1890 Ernest R. Nichols was elected Instructor in the chair of Physics, with a view to including the whole subject of electrical engineering. The department is well supplied with apparatus for general illustration, and is now gaining apparatus for accurate physical measurements, especially in electricity. The inventory of illustrative apparatus amounts to over $3,500 now, with prospect of a considerable increase another year.
Instruction in Veterinary Science was first given in 1871, in a course of lectures by Mr. Joseph Rushmore. In 1872, Dr. H. J. Detmers was made Professor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. The course was planned for four years. In 1874, Dr. Detmers resigned. In 1887, Dr. Paquin gave a course of ten lectures. In 1888, a chair of Veterinary Science and Physiology was created and Dr. Robt. F. Burleigh occupied it for one year. In 1890, Dr. N. S. Mayo was selected to fill the chair. The time devoted to the general lectures has been extended from the last two weeks of the winter term to the whole winter term of the fourth year, and the study of physiology and zoölogy is under the direction of the same professor with the purpose of making them, in a sense, preparatory to the veterinary course.
This chair is directly connected with the Experiment Station, its occupant being, ex-officio, a member of the council.
Since the organization of the departments of agriculture and horticulture, experiment has been prominent in the thoughts for development of these departments, and so far as the funds of the College permitted, work has been done in this line. Previous to 1888, reports of such undertakings were published in connection with the biennial report of the regents, and contain a considerable body of interesting matter pertaining to Kansas farming and orcharding.
In February, 1888, when the funds appropriated by Congress to carry out the provision of the Hatch Experiment Act of 1887 became available, the Station in this State was immediately organized as a department of the College. The heads of the departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Chemistry, Botany and Veterinary Science, with the president of the College were made, ex-officio, members of the council, in full control of all experiments. Rooms were assigned to the special work of the severaI departments, competent assistants were employed, extensive propagating houses were erected, apparatus was supplied, and all the farm and garden machinery, including lands and stock, were placed at the disposal of the Station for such experiments as might be most advantageous to the State. Bulletins have been issued from time to time to the number of seventeen, and the annual reports have made volumes of over 300 pages.
The Station stands in good repute with the thrifty farmers of the State, and with other investigators throughout the country. Some of its workers have been called to more prominent positions in other States, and in the Department of Agriculture at Washington.
The organization of the Station as a department of the College with a council in full direction made the office of director, held in 1888 and 1889 by Prof. E. M. Shelton, chiefly nominal, except so far as it concerned the correspondence of the Station and its publications. In January, 1890, the assistant secretary of the Board was made, ex-officio, secretary of the Station council, with direct responsibility for the accounts, the clerical work, and the issue of bulletins and reports. The Station council now stands as follows:
Geo. T. Fairchild, A. M., Chairman.
Goo. H. Failyer, M. Sc., Chemistry.
E. A. Popenoe, A. M., Horticulture and Entomology.
W. A. Kellerman, Ph. D., Botany.
C. C. Georgeson, M. Sc., Agriculture.
N. S. Mayo, D. V. S., M. Sc., Veterinary Science.
I. D. Graham, B. Se., Secretary.
Tom & Carolyn Ward