Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 1:21 PM by Global Reach

One of the first actions taken by the Taylor County Farm Bureau board was to select a 4-H boys’ club committee. The Taylor County Farm Bureau was the only organization that actively sponsored and developed an extension program in the county during this time.

Jim Tobin, Taylor County 






Club Organization

4-H clubs were not limited to school district lines. On average there were 10 to 20 members in each of the boys and girls clubs (ranging in ages from 10-21).  Very few girls stayed in a club after they graduated from high school. There was a topic for study for each year.  It rotated through two years of nutrition, two years of clothing, two years of home furnishings and one year of home efficiency. At each monthly meeting, demonstrations or talks on a subject related to the year’s study were given by leaders and 4-H’ers.  4-H’ers learned parliamentary procedure and conducted meetings accordingly, kept record books of the demonstrations, items of clothing made, the number of rolls or cookies baked, meals prepared, the jars of fruit or vegetables canned, the pillow cases made or rooms painted and redecorated. The record books were judged and awards given on the basis of quality. Each year there were numerous county-wide events; rally day held in Bedford, county camps at Lake of Three Fires, Club Achievement Day and the Taylor County Fair, which was held for an entire week in late July or early August.

Decade of the 1920s 

1922 - Official start of Girls/Boys Clubs in Taylor County
1925 - A county club organization was set up with two club committees--one for the boys, and one for girls.  Baby Beef Club started with 15 members and finished with 17 calves. Purebred Gilt Club had 11 members enrolled and finished with 15 pigs. The Girls Canning Club had 43 members enrolled. They canned 143 quarts at a saving of $28.60. A Corn Club was formed with 10 members, and they kept a record of labor on an entire field of corn.
1927 - The purpose for the 4-H club project was implemented during this time.  For example, to give rural girls a dignified organization of their own, training in leadership, wholesome good times and provide better home economics practices. Another one of the 4-H project goals during this time was to strengthen the two existing clubs and organize five new ones.  Also they wanted to encourage girls to have club uniforms. The club project also wanted the clubs to include study and practice of parliamentary law, clothing demonstration, health, music appreciation and a good time.

Decade of the 1930s

1938 - 4-H boys and girls club organization enrollment during this time was 42 boys and 60 girls. Three girls’ clubs and four boys’ clubs were organized during this year. They included the Calvary 4-H Boy’s Club in Platte Township, the Greenwood 4-H Boys Club in Grant Township, the Gay Center 4-H Club in Gay Township and the Marshal-Grove 4-H club in the vicinity of Sharpsburg.        
1939 - Seven boys clubs were organized during the year. Each club has an adult leader that wrote a 12-month program, which included the places where meetings were to be held, and the subjects to be discussed or taken up at the local meetings. Eighty-four boys and six girls enrolled in club work and 69 of the boys and five girls actually completed projects.  Thirty-eight of these club members exhibited livestock at the county 4-H achievement day and at other fairs, and received $274.50 in premiums.
The club projects the 4-H’ers could enroll in for Taylor County included baby beef club, purebred beef heifer club, dairy calf club, market pig club, purebred letter club, sheep club and draft colt club. Some events that local 4-H’ers could participate in were Rally Day held at the Bedford Gymnasium, 4-H camp at the Lake of Three Fires and a 4-H Hobo Party at the Bedford High School gymnasium.  250 boys and girls attended. The program included games, demonstrations by club leaders and community members, and election of officers.
Three demonstration teams were trained and presented demonstrations at the county 4-H boys Achievement Show. Harold Orr and Wendell Wilson won the demonstration and advanced to the Iowa State Fair competition.

Decade of the1940s 

1940 - The 4-H program goal was to continue to help in the development of rural boys and girls and to acquaint them with the full benefits of farm living.  There were eight boys clubs organized during the fall of 1939 and early part of 1940, each with one adult leader. Each club was required to write a report about the 4-H program.  In March or April, the clubs held 4-H livestock tours. A county wide 4-H boys picnic was held at the Lake of Three Fires in August. 
1947 - Fifteen clubs had 179 girls enrolled.  The girls’ clubs put in long hours working in gardens, fields, and on this year’s project: Food Preservation. 
July found the girls preparing for County Camp at the Lake of Three Fires. Twenty-nine girls attended the camp. The following things were taught at camp: music, nature study and discussion, swimming, textile, painting, crafts, review of conservation. The special features were the twilight service, campfire ceremonial and the hamburger fry. The County Achievement Show was held in connection with the Taylor County Fair. The girls had 730 food preservations exhibits, 240 record books, expense account books, long time records and table setting scrapbooks on exhibit.
Mrs. Fay Shafar, a club leader for 17 years, was initiated as an honorary member, and Louise Wintermute attended the National 4-H Camp in Washington D.C. during June.
Some of the Taylor County 4-H Boys program goals were:
- 200 boy 4-H club members and 16 organized clubs
- A county wide leadership training school
- Summer Recreation Day of Boys and Girls Clubs--Kitten ball contest
- Each Club to hold at least 12 meetings a year
- Each member takes part in the overall club program.
- Each meeting to have some educational feature
- Local tours. Each township will conduct a tour.
- Each member must have one approved project to complete.
- Each member maintain at least 80 percent attendance record

Countywide Hobo and skating parties were held with a large number in attendance. An officer training school was held with an attendance of 100. The interstate show at St. Joseph was held in September. Taylor County had 33 exhibits. One hundred sixty-eight boys and girls were enrolled in 4-H projects in September and fed out livestock valued at over $56,000. These boys and girls were grouped in 12 organized clubs, which represented all the townships in the county.  One new 4-H club was organized. The Marshall 4-H club once again won the cup for the best group of 5 calves at the Taylor County Fair.

Decade of the 1950s

1950 - A 4-H Club Committee was formed which was composed of one member from each township, which was divided into smaller committees such as Record Book, Rally Day, Fair, Mother-Daughter Tea and Camp. Emphasis was placed on more responsibilities for the club members the past year. This helped members feel more a part of their club, and it contributed towards a more successful club. 167 boys and eight girls enrolled in the various club projects. The members were organized into 14 local 4-H clubs and were from every township in the county. New clubs were organized in Jefferson, Platte, Clayton, Mason and Washington townships.

The county 4-H officers planned a county recognition night with assistance of extension personnel. The purpose is to summarize the year by recognizing all the possible awards and achievements of club members in the county during the past year. Taylor County 4-H members, Helen Wintermute and Dean Hensley were chosen to represent Iowa at 4-H Meet.

Taylor County 4-H boys were well represented at the Iowa State Fair with three livestock exhibitors, trip award group, two demonstration teams and a judging team. The livestock exhibitors were Paul Jones, Howard Wintermute and Duane Simmons. Nine calves were shown at the Ak-sar-ben 4-H Livestock show in Omaha. Dean Hensley showed the champion shorthorn of the show, and Roger Nicholson showed a purple award Angus.

Eight local clubs held Father-Son Banquets. This provided a good opportunity for members to recognize their leaders and fathers for helping them in their local club programs. The Taylor County 4-H Mother-Daughter Tea was held with 275 mothers and daughters attending.

4-H girls clubs in Taylor County pass a trophy given to them by the Farm Bureau to the best organized club each year. Dallas Delphiniums who had the trophy in 1949 passed it to the Polk Sunshine Pals in 1950.
Many other local club events such as skating parties, box socials and parties were held.
Taylor County 4-H girls took an active interest in the International Youth Exchange.


A total of 206 Taylor County boys and girls were enrolled in the various club projects; 159 of the boys and girls completed their Agricultural 4-H projects. These members were organized in 13 local clubs. On June 6, a “Fitting and Showing Demonstration was held at the Riley Sale Barn in Lenox attended by 213 Agriculture 4-H Club members and their parents. The meeting covered fitting and showing of beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and sheep. The Agricultural 4-H Achievement Show was held July 26-30 at the fair grounds in Bedford.  4-H members entered 27 pens of swine, 13 pens of sheep, 40 head of dairy, 67 head of beef and 12 head of light horses at the Achievement Show.  The 4-H Livestock parade was held on Wednesday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. All of the 4-H cattle and horses paraded before the grandstand crowd. The 4-H livestock judging contest was held on Friday morning with 85 4-H Club members taking part. 
On March 23, 24, 25 the County Boys 4-H Basketball Tournament was held at the high school gym in Sharpsburg. Seven hundred people attended this free recreational activity.

Louise Dukes, a former Taylor County 4-H member, said, “4-H gave me an opportunity to make friends with other girls when there were almost no girls in our country school. Eventually, I got acquainted with girls from all over Iowa, some of who are still on my Christmas card list. It was an opportunity for me to travel at that time when my parents were not able to take us for vacations. It was a way for me to have many cultural experiences and see how other people in other places did things. I learned many, many skills that have been helpful all of my life.”

Decade of the 1960s

We had 140 Taylor County boys and girls enrolled in the various Agricultural 4-H Club projects. Larry Stephens, 18, of Taylor County was installed as state president at the Iowa Boy’s 4-H Short Course held at Iowa State University. Larry served as president for one year to represent 28,000 Iowa 4-H members. The Taylor County 4-H Girls set up individual goals. These included: exhibit at least two items at local achievement show, plan with your mother two breakfast, two dinners and two suppers, clear the table after eating, scrape and wash dishes after three meals, complete a 4-H record book and write a story of what 4-H has meant to them.

Taylor and Adams counties put on a Taylor Winter 4-H Camp. The camp fee was $7.00.  Forty-two campers and adults from Taylor County were in attendance. During August, Taylor County 4-H girls had a camp at the State 4-H Camp near Madrid. Forty-one girls were in attendance.  Wanda Cox was elected Spirit of Camp for 1961. Milton H. Henderson completed 11 years of being a 4-H leader.


The Taylor County 4-H program is trying really hard to focus on leadership development and decision-making. They want to give the 4-Hers a better understanding of what leadership really is and the characteristics it takes to become a good leader. They also want to give the members the opportunity to assume leadership roles in working with other 4-H members and how to make good decisions. Taylor County 4-H Leaders were recognized at the annual Leaders Recognition Day program. They were Mrs. Karl Cobb, Mrs. Virgil Kirby, Beverly A. Smith, Gail Fitzhugh and Richard Shay.

At the Taylor County 4-H Recognition Night, Mrs. Neva Crane of Bedford received outstanding recognition for her 20 years of service as a 4-H club leader. Her award was a diamond clover pin presented by Floyd Sprague of Taylor County Farm Bureau.
4-H on Air was a popular program in the area. It is our district radio program conducted over radio station KSIB in Creston each Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Rick Nelson of Clearfield and Judy Henderson of Lenox were selected as the two Taylor County 4-H members to receive the KSIB Record Book Awards for 1963. Taylor County had an excellent group of swine exhibited at the show. Of the 110 pigs sold, 65 graded “meaty,” 43 were “average” and only two graded “fat.” 4-H’ers are to conduct a citizenship project with their clubs. They are to record their service project in their record books.


4-H basketball tournament was held on April 1 at Gravity. A total of 17 teams took part in the tournament. A Junior Day Camp was held at the Lake of Three Fires. One hundred and twenty younger 4-H members attended. Taylor County held their Senior Summer Camp jointly with Decatur County at the State 4-H Camping center.  The camp activities included; recreation, campfire, hiking, singing and nature crafts. Mrs. Dean Breach serves as a lay camp leader from Taylor County. This year all 4-H market breed animals were identified during the last week in February. This year the new identification method started that used plastic ear tags rather than tattoo.

Thirty-five 4-H girls participated in the County Dress Revue, which was held in the Blue Check Rooms of the State Savings Bank. A judging contest was held on the final day of the Taylor County Fair. The top individuals were sent on to the State Fair to compete.

Decade of the 1970s

1970 - Monica McMath, Sandy and Stephanie Brown and Greg Nook gave 4-H educational presentations at the 1970 Iowa State Fair.
Boys representing Taylor County in the Livestock Judging Contest were Steve and Kevin Kerns, John Ecklin, Ron Haven and Rodney Belding. Steve Kerns of Clearfield exhibited the Grand Champion Market Pig at the Taylor County Fair. David Calhoun of New Market showed the Reserve Champion Market Pig. Judy Wilhelm of Villisca and Jim Hanson of New Market have been named for two-year terms to the Midcrest Youth Council.


Linda Gray, Bedford, was one of 28 Iowa delegates to participate in the National 4-H Congress in Chicago. Rodney Belding (Grove Mustangs) led the Taylor County Fair Sheep division by showing the Grand Champion Individual Market Lamb and Grand Champion Pen of 3. Ron Bender (Grove Mustangs) exhibited the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion horses at the Taylor County Fair. A record was set when two Taylor County 4-H’ers were elected state officers June 12 at the 1974 State 4-H Conference in Ames. Linda Gray of Bedford was elected state secretary, and Jim Tobin of New Market was elected state boys vice president.  The first Taylor County 4-H Garden Club meeting was held April 30 at the Sharpsburg Methodist Church with 23 members, two leaders and eight visitors present. Bill Nook, Georgia Titus and Joan Ecklin gave presentations about gardening.


Eight 4-H members attended the State 4-H Conference in Ames. They included; Nancy Gray, Linda Irvin, Mike Irvin, Marcia Schrader, Teresa Nook, Debbie Hinton, Brian Schuelke and Pat Bolinger. Jim Tobin of New Market, Dallas Boys 4-H Club, represented the state at the recent National 4-H Club Conference in Washington D.C. Jim also was one of four Iowa delegates to the 1975 National 4-H Conference to be held at the National 4-H Center in Washington, D.C. Paul Robinson was selected as top Junior Showman and six other Taylor County 4-H’ers placed in the 17th annual Creston 4-H and FFA District Dairy Show July 28. David Walston of Bedford received Reserve Champion Carcass at the 1975 Midcrest Beef carcass Show. David’s Lim-Sh steer weighed 1,190 pounds.

Vicki Gordon of Sharpsburg and Twyla and Marcia Schrader of Villisca placed in the 48th Annual Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show and Rodeo in Omaha, Nebraska. She showed her crossbred steer; Twyla and Marcia Schrader rode the Cleverleaf Barrel Racing in the horse show.  Out of the 193 4-H’ers in the 1975 Iowa State Fair 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, Randall Nelson scored the most points.


Darwin Beck and Twyla Schrader were named 4-H 1976 Hall of Famers. Each year one boy and one girl are chosen for hall of fame. These are youth who have given greatly to 4-H. Patsy Gray, Bedford, a 10-year volunteer leader, was one of three Iowa adults who attended the 1978 National 4-H Conference. She was the leader of the Loyal Legion 4-H Club.

Nancy Gray visited Japan as an exchangee in the Labo 4-H program. She spent three weeks living with a Japanese family near Tokyo. Nancy was honored at National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. She was named Iowa Health winner and received the trip to Chicago. She was also one of 33 Iowa 4-H’ers named State 4-H award winners and delegates to the National 4-H Congress. Two Japanese students were visiting area families for a month under the Labo Exchange program. Staying with Leo Dillon family of Blockton is Nozomi Kumo, 13, of Tokyo. Guest of Lonnie and Billie Jean Barker is Yasumasa Nihei 13, of Sandai.

Lana Walters won the Grand Champion Middleweight pen, Grand Champion Pen of Three and Senior Showman at the Taylor County Fair. David Walters won the Grand Champion Lightweight, Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb and Junior Showman at the Taylor County Fair.


Jim Tobin of New Market was one of four who represented the state of Iowa at the recent National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. 
Out of 193 4-H’ers at the 1975 Iowa State Fair Livestock Judging Contest, Randall Nelson of Clearfield scored the most points.

Decade of the 1980s

The Mormontown Trailblazers 4-H Club was a recipient of the Plant Iowa Program County Award during the annual 4-H Awards Night at Bedford High. Canada-Iowa 4-H Youth Exchange visitors arrived in the Midcrest area by chartered bus and were guests of various host families. Host families from the Lenox area were Mr. and Mrs. Jim Beck, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Rainforth, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Schofield, Mrs. Jean Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Manes, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Juergens and Mr. and Mrs. Junior Schuelke, both of Clearfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Kelly Tobin of New Market. Over 60 parents, friends and 4-H members attended the 1980 Taylor County Educational Presentations and Share the Fun activities in Bedford.


Kenny Beason showed the champion commercial ewe at the Taylor County Fair. Mark Davison won the Grand Champion Suffolk ewe, Reserve Suffolk ewe, Reserve Champion Suffolk ram, Reserve champion commercial ewe. The Taylor County Youth Program Development Committee sponsored a family poster contest open to all children in Taylor County from grades K-5. The objective of the contest was to allow youth and the community to appreciate their family and be more aware of the importance of the family in the community. John Holsapple, 16, of Blockton, was elected to the state 4-H officer team. Lonnie and Billie Jean Barker of Lenox were honored during the Taylor County 4-H leader’s banquet. The Barkers were named Taylor County Honorary 4-H members and were presented pins and a floral bouquet. The honorary membership is given to outstanding individuals in the county 4-H program. 

Jim Tobin Taylor County4-H Clubs in Taylor County included:
Bedford Downtowners    
Benton Be Square
Calvary Go Getters
Cheerful Chums    
Clayton Clover
Clayton Herdsman    
Dallas Delphinium
Dallas Boys     
Dogpatch Farmers
Gay Guss Girls    
Gay Maidens
Grant-Marshall Pals   
Grove Stockman    
Holt Lassies
Holt Buddies    
Jackson Boys
Jackson Gingerettes   
Jefferson Jays
Loyal Legions    
Lucky 4
Lucky Clover    
Marshall Grove
Marshall Pals    
Mason Meadowlarks
Mason Miners    
Mason North Starletts
Mormontown Trailblazers  
Pals for Friendship
Platte Peppy Pals    
Polk Sunshine Girls
Ross Rockets    
Ross Wranglers
Siam Boys     
Washington Farmerettes
Washington Farmers   
Washington Winners
White Rose

Information provided by:
Louise Dukes, Taylor County Historical Museum
Information compiled by BreeAnn Belding and Mandy Stoaks

Visit the Taylor County 4-H Website.

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