Richmond County Agricultural Society
The Richmond County Agricultural Society’s first Fair was held on September 24, 1856 in Danville on the Commons. It was subsequently held alternately in Richmond on the Lovejoy property, adjacent to St. Francis College land, in Melbourne on the Mackenzie property and in Danville, on the Commons. In 1872, the Trustees of St. Francis College, who were supportive of the efforts of the Agricultural Society, agreed to grant the use of the College grounds for the Agricultural Exhibition, free of charge, provided the cattle be kept away from the trees at the front of the College! A few years later, the College Trustees agreed to allow a barn 30’ x 50’ to be built in the College Grove, at the expense of the Agricultural Society. The College would have the use of the Exhibition Building at times other than the Richmond Fair, provided the College kept the building secure and “free from nuisance”.
In 1875, the Danville Agricultural Society was created and held fairs or “ Cattle Days” on the Commons in Danville on the last Saturday each September until 1946. At that time, the Danville Fair was moved to the Danville racetrack near Highway 116 and became a three- day event. By 1954, interest in the Danville Fair had waned and it ceased to be held.
Meanwhile, in Richmond in 1896, at the North end of town, a permanent site was chosen for the Richmond County Fair on land overlooking the railroad yards. The Exhibition grounds were purchased from Patrick and Catherine McGauran for the sum of $1374.00. A grandstand, barns and other exhibitions buildings were erected over the years.
In 1965, the 1896 site was expropriated by the Quebec Government for the building of Highway 116 and the new bridge across the St. Francis River. The Richmond County Fair was forced to move to a new site, near Corris Pond on Highway 143 between Richmond and Windsor. The purchase price of the land was $24,500. An arena and cattle barns were built. Other buildings from the former site and seats from the grandstand were installed at the new site. Over the next 40 years, many improvements were witnessed at the Fair and it continues to thrive 150 years later.
Sources: Annals of Richmond County and Vicinity, Vol.1, Dr. C.R. Boast St. Francis College , 1854-1898 E.Healy
Richmond County Agricultural Society – 150th Anniversary
In 2007, Richmond County Agricultural Society celebrated its 150th anniversary. The following is a brief account of the first exhibition which was held in Danville on September 24, 1856 and a list of the original members of the society. This article first appeared in the Richmond Guardian, September 28, 1856 and was reprinted in the Times-Guardian on Friday, September 9, 1910.
“The Exhibition was large and the stock of a quality superior to what has been exhibited at previous shows, clearly demonstrating that the farmers of Richmond County, at least, are realizing the importance of raising good cattle, butter, cheese and sugar and were also much improved. The number of people on the ground was very numerous. The judges took great pains in their examinations and gave entire satisfaction. In the evening the Directors, Judges and others had dinner at Lynch’s when the loyal toasts were proposed and some pertinent remarks on agriculture were given by U. Aylmer, Esq.,the President and C.. N. Cleveland, Esq., the V.P., and Wm. Farwell, Esq., of the B.A. Land Company. The meeting broke up at 6:30 o’clock p.m.”
George N. Cleveland
B.A. Land Company
Wm. H. Byrd
Horace E. Cutter
Wm. H. Webb
Geo. K. Foster
J. W. Denison
W. R. Philbrick
Jas. R. Whyte
Oswald O. Williamson
I M. Gilman
W. R. Hanning
S. E. Smith
C. E. Wintle
John Ewing, Sr.
J. B. Rose
A. J. Parker