McIntyre’s agricultural expertise pays big dividends to Hannibal
Charles Wesley McIntyre graduated in 1920 from Dowagiac Union High School, Dowagiac, Michigan. (Yearbook photo accessed via Ancestry.com)
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
By 1918, agricultural experts in Michigan had made a clear connection between black stem rust on grain and the common barberry bush.
The bush was originally introduced into the state as a landscape plant, and in 1918, efforts had begun in earnest to eradicate the invasive bush from the state of Michigan, and consequently improve the wheat harvests of the state’s farmers.
Charles Wesley McIntyre, the oldest son of John Sherman and Leona Stewart McIntyre, took part in this eradication program.
Wesley (as he was known growing up) was born in 1904, and raised on the family farm in Cass County, Mich. He graduated from Dowagiac High School in June 1920, with an ambition to attend the nation’s first land-grant college: Michigan Agricultural College. The school was located just 118 miles northeast of his family’s farm, in Lansing, Mich.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in agriculture in June 1924. During the summer of 1925, he joined a group of 42 college men for a summer of barberry eradication.
The Lansing State Journal of June 27, 1925, described the scene: “Michigan State’s army of barberry eradicators left the college early Saturday in a fleet of 21 Fords for their season’s work in the northern part of Michigan.”
Teams of three men canvassed each farm in the participating counties. The work initiative was under the supervision of the United States department of agriculture, the confederation for the prevention of grain rust, and Michigan State College.
In 1923 Sarah Rhodes Hatch, daughter of long-time Missouri Congressman William Henry Hatch, bequeathed her father’s 116-acre farm, located to the west of Hannibal along what is now known as U.S. 61, to the state of Missouri. By 1930, the University of Missouri had taken over management of the rolling hills and valleys, and plans were under way to establish The Hatch Experimental Farm, which would open in the fall of 1930.
In preparation for the operation of the farm, it was announced in the Palmyra Spectator of April 2, 1930, that “A fine team of draft horses was recently bought from the Berkley farm, of just south of Palmyra. Ed. H. Meyer, manager of the Berkley farm, said that the horses weighed 3100 pounds and the purchase price was $300.”
Endowed by the state and federal government, the farm was designed as a memorial to the late William H. Hatch. The primary focus of Hatch’s work in Congress was supporting bills aiding agriculture. During his tenure, he was recognized as the first national lawmaker to promulgate legislation in the aid of agriculture.
Plans were announced to hire a resident manager for the farm.
Meanwhile, C.W. McIntyre had relocated from Michigan to Independence, Mo., accepting a job as a dairy extension agent with the Jackson County farm bureau. During his three years in Jackson County, he not only made a name for himself as a dairy expert, but he also met and married Georgia Belle Donaldson.
During his tenure in Jackson County, McIntyre also served as assistant superintendent of cattle at the American Royal Show in Kansas City.
On July 30, 1930, the Weekly Kansas City Star made the announcement that McIntyre had resigned from his extension post, and would become assistant manager of the National Dairy Exposition in St. Louis.
His role was to develop educational features for the show, which was held Oct. 11 to 19, 1930, at the Arena.
On Dec. 1, 1931, McIntyre assumed duties as the first superintendent of the experimental farm at Hannibal.
For the next 14 years, he and his wife, plus their growing family of three children, would occupy the first floor of the historic Hatch home.
In 1945, the Palmyra Spectator reported that under McIntyre’s management:
A milk house and milking parlor were built in 1932 and were rearranged and rebuilt in 1937.
A cow barn was built in 1930 and remodeled in 1937, using tie lines and pens with special mangers and no stanchions, a 32-cow capacity building.
A calf barn built in 1934 was lost by fire in 1938.
A new straw loft calf barn for 56 head was designed and built in 1939; a hay barn, 360 ton capacity of loose hay, was built in 1939; a machinery shed, mule barn and shop were built in 1934; a bull barn for four bulls, with four lots, was built in 1933; the farm was completely fenced, water lines and portable concrete water tanks in each lot and pasture were installed, and all cultivated land was terraced.
Approximately $30,000 of CWA and PWA grants were used in part of the above construction and in grading lots and building roads. The main and small residence buildings were remodeled and septic tanks built in 1938. Rat and mouse proof storage rooms for grain were built in the cow and calf barns.
The herd production average at the farm over a period of 13 years from 1932 to 1944, was 7,178 pounds milk and 390 pounds butterfat, including all experimental animals. The herd average in 1933 was a state record, which stood for eight years. It was also second that year in Jersey herd improvement association registry for herds of over ten cows.
Bob Yount memories
In 2011, Bob Yount shared his childhood memories of growing up at the Hatch farm with the Hannibal Courier-Post. His father, Paul Yount, was a hired hand for the state, and the Younts lived in a small house on Westover Road, on the northern parameter of the Hatch farm.
“The old Hatch house had a great big living room,” Bob said. "That was our playroom. It had a great big porch that faced south. “There was an office on the north end of the house for Mr. McIntyre. John (McIntyre) and I were the same age, but (the McIntyre kids) went to Mark Twain School. I walked (across the highway) to Tilden school until fifth grade.”
At the farm, “They milked cows three times a day: 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. “They went to work at 5 a.m., came home for breakfast, went back at 9 and worked 'till 12; had lunch; went back and milked from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; then off till 9 o'clock at night, and worked from 9 to 12." Bob's dad got one day off a month, and they spent this day traveling to Philadelphia, Mo., where Bob's mother grew up. "They always had a young man from the University of Missouri working (at the farm); he's the one that washed the cows before they milked them. The cows got a bath before they were milked, every time. They brought the cows out of the big barn into the washing stalls, then washed them, then cows came into milking parlor; three people could be milking at the same time. The cows were on a platform so the men could stand up and milk them. They had little half-pint bottles, they checked the butter fat and so forth, and cooled that milk down to 38 degrees. It was cold milk and it was good. Then it would go into 10-gallon cans and put in a water cooler. Once a day they took the milk to Midland Dairy." When Bob was growing up, the two-lane U.S. 61 divided the farm, with the houses and barns on the west side of the road, and pasture on the east side, where the Missouri Visitors Center is now located. There was a tunnel going under the highway, Bob said, so the cattle could get to the other side to graze. "There was a cattle guard at the farm's entrance (where you turn to go into the state highway office today) so the cows wouldn't get out on the highway. You didn't have to open the gate to get in," Bob said. "You'd have to be from a farm to know what a cattle guard is." Bob and his older brother spent their idle hours playing with the McIntyre kids, including David, John and Nancy. "We used to play in the hay barns and play in the hay. I can remember exactly how it all laid out. One, two, three, four more buildings to the farm. There was the mule barn and the machine shed. There was a pony that was mean, and two mules. They kept the pony in there with the mules and he had to fend for himself. “There was the bull house, where they kept three or four bulls, and they were always mean bulls. Jersey bulls, really mean. "West of the calf barn, they put the young calves, across from it was the hay barn." The barns were two-story structures with lofts. Bob remembers oak hard wood floors in the lofts, where the kids loved to slide.
Hard day's work "Dad made good money," Bob remembers. "I don't know what he was making when the Depression started, but we got our house, utilities and all the milk we wanted to drink" plus a salary of $60 per month. "I drank milk like water. I remember that real well." As part of the Works Projects Administration (WPA) program during the late 1930s, workers made an addition to the little house where the Younts lived. Included in the addition were a kitchen and an indoor bathroom. "While we lived there, they had men out there with the WPA clearing brush. The Younts left the farm in 1941, when Bob's father found other employment.
Bob Yount died in 2017.
C.W. McIntyre resigned from his post at the Hatch farm in August 1945. He established McIntyre and Sons Excavating and Grading Company, which he operated with his wife and son David on Route MM.
Georgia McIntyre died in 1992.
C.W McIntyre died in 1994 at the age of 89.
David Wesley McIntyre died in 2009.
Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. She can be reached at Montgomery.firstname.lastname@example.org Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com