The Vagabond – Local 4H clubs thrived in late 1940s

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By Danny Crownover

In 1947, assistant Etowah County agent H. J. Jackson began the reenrollment campaign of the Etowah County 4-H Club, which in 1946 had 2,353 members, 1,203 boys and 1,150 girls. The club was considered to be the largest organization of its kind in the world and the most effective in carrying on farm projects.

The 4H members raised beef and dairy cattle, corn, cotton, potatoes, hogs and garden truck. They made clothing, planned and ran local recreation programs, produced general field crops and performed electrical work.

The 4H ladies canned a considerable amount of food from their own gardens, and their home improvement work was said to be outstanding.

In August of 1946 17-year-old Vivian Box of the Hokes Bluff High School 4H Club was elected president of the Alabama 4-H Council. She canned 500 quarts of vegetables from her own garden project. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B.I. Box, Vivian had been a 4H mem-ber for eight years and was an accomplished public speaker. She addressed the Alabama Farm Bureau Convention and did so well that she was invited to speak at Birmingham’s 75th birthday celebration.

Also that year, Lacey McEntyre was president of the Etowah High School 4H Club and the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. McEntyre, of Rainbow Drive. He was elected secretary of the Alabama Council, which was the first time that one county had the honor of furnishing both the state president and the state secretary at the same time.

Lacey had been a mem-ber of his Etowah club for eight years and later became president of the Etowah County Council. In 1945, he won first place in the state with his rural electrification project and was awarded a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago.

Also in 1946, Billy Street, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Street of Hokes Bluff, won first place in the state field crops contest and was awarded a trip to Chicago. He served as president of the Hokes Bluff club for two years. After graduation, Bill attended Jacksonville State University for a year before receiving a B.S. degree in pharmacy from Auburn University in 1950. He was a member of the college’s Rho Chi academic honor society in pharmacy.

Eugene Anderson of the Gaston 4H Club won first place in the district garden contest, while his sister Sarah won the district prize in the health contest.

The Vagabond may be contacted at dkcrown@bellsouth.net

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