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Nebraska Territorial Fair Premiums

Robert W. Furnas, editor of the Nebraska Farmer, in its March 1860 issue, apologized to premium winners from the first Nebraska territorial fair, held at Nebraska City in September 1859. The expected prize money was not available except in the form of territorial warrants. With some embarrassment, Furnas, then a member of the Territorial Board of Agriculture, told his readers:

"All who had anything to do with the First Territorial Fair held at Nebraska City, in September last, are aware that the receipts on that occasion were but little more than sufficient to pay the incidental expenses. Every exertion in the power of the Board to raise funds with which to pay off all premiums called for, has been made. At the last session of the Legislature, the passage of an act was secured, appropriating out of the Territorial Treasury the sum of $300, for the purpose of aiding in paying premiums awarded. The act further appropriates the same sum annually, hereafter, for the same purpose.

"As there is no funds in the Territorial Treasury, the best that can be done is to pay off the premiums in Territorial Warrants. They draw ten per cent interest; and beside can be used by those procuring them in paying taxes, thus really answering the same as money. Those to whom premiums were awarded, and who wish them, can have a Territorial Warrant, by applying by letter, or otherwise, to the undersigned.

"There is about $70 in money in the hands of the Treasurer; but it is thought unfair to pay a portion of the premiums in cash, and the balance in Warrants. The $300 Warrants will undoubtedly pay all premiums called for, and with the $70 money in the Treasury, together with the $300 appropriated next year, and the receipts of the next Fair, premiums can next year all be paid promptly on the last day of the Fair.

"The Board regret not being able to pay the premiums as promised; but as this is the best that can be done, under the circumstances, it is hoped that all interested, will at least be content.

"Papers throughout the Territory will please copy, or call attention. R. W. Furnas, Pres't Ter. Board of Agriculture."

(August 2003)



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