Return to History of St. Augustine in
the 1920s

Hastings Potato Growers Association
Charter Members of the Hastings Potato Growers Association
August 8, 1922 to January 4, 1924

J. P. Appleby, East Palatka
R. G. Arnett, Hastings
Carroll E. Badger, Hastings
Chas. H. Badger, Hastings
George B. Badger, Hastings
W. H. Ballard, Hastings
J. D. Cooper, Hastings
R. L. Bothwell,
James Bradbury, Sr., Hastings
A. E. Campbell, Hastings
C. H. Campell, Hastings
A. G. Carter, Hastings
Chandler & Ivey, Elkton
Dennis Dorsey, East Palatka
Joe F. Flake, Hastings
J. F. Flake, Hastings
T. R. Goodwin, Hastings
J. M. Goodwin, Hastings
Hagan Brothers, Hastings
H. O. Hamm,
Orange Millls
R. T. Hewitt, Hastings
Isabel Holding,
East Palatka
Frank Johns & Son, Hastings
V. A. Lane, Federal Point
M. & T. Leahy, Hastings
H. C. McKinney,
Federal Point
A. J. Maltby, Hastings
B. J. Masters, Elkton
L. J. Messervey,
Chas. A. Middleton, Hastings
Jas. L. Middleton, Elkton
George M. Miller, Hastings
J. T. Minton, Hastings
J. L. Morrison, Hastings
M. J. Murphy,
Orange Mills
J. W. Parrish, Elkton
A. G. Pellicer, Hastings
W. E. Pellicer, Orange Mills
Geo. H. Proctor & Son, Hastings
Russell F. Proctor, Federal Point
C. C. Robshaw, Hastings
Geo. W. Scoville, Elkton
John T. Scoville, Elkton
Wm. H. Scoville, Elkton
Mrs. E. H. Shields,
Smith Bros. Farm Co., Hastings
C. H. Smithdeal, Hastings
A. M. Stevens, Hastings
Lee L. Thigpen,
N. E. Thigpen, Hastings
Mrs. Tillie Thigpen, Hastings
C. W. Turner, Hastings
Charles Weigel, Elkton
Ludwell Williams, Hastings
P. D. Williams, East Palatka
George Wilton, Elkton
M. C. Worden, Hastings
James G. Yeagley,
Orange Mills
Paul R. Yeagley, Orange Mills
J. H. Yelvington, Hastings

N. D. Benedict, Hastings
S. R. Bowen, Hastings
Bradbury Brothers (R.C. & F.E.), Hastings
J. M. Bradbury, Potatoville
R. W. Carrington, San Mateo
Howard Carter, East Palatka
E. H. Dowdy, Hastings
Charles Dorwart,
Federal Point
L. B. & F. P. DuPont, Federal Point
R. H. Emerson, Hastings
O. H. Fay, Hastings
J. H. Flake, Hastings
N. L. & W. S. Fry, East Palatka
J. E. Gauzens, East Palatka
A. M. Harrison, Spuds
G. H. Heath, Hastings
W. H. Higginbotham, East Palatka
S. J. Howart, East Palatka
A. W. Kennard,
S. I. Killingsworth, Hastings
W. H. King, Hastings
W. K. Langford, Orange Mills
Ellard W. Leather, Hastings
Mrs. T. L. McDuffie, East Palatka
Walter McClaim, Spuds
H. E. Maltby, Federal Point
A. R. Masters, Elkton
C. J. Massters, Elkton
C. W. Masters, Elkton
J. A. Masters, Jr., Elkton
Stanley S. Masters, Elkton
P. J. Messervey, Elkton
L. Heisterhagen, East Palatka
James Nolan, Elkton
W. J. Pellicer, Hastings
H. C. Ragin East
J. H. Reid, Hastings
R. W. Waite, Spuds

History of the Organization and Growth of Association
Makes                                    Interesting Reading for All
Organized in 1922 With Membership of 67 -- Has Grown to 167 With More Than
Three                                                               Times Original Acreage
                                          The Hastings Herald April 1, 1927

The Hastings Potato Growers Association was organized in the early fall of 1922 by a small group of farmers, many of
who had a taste of cooperative marketing in the old Florida Potato growers Association.

The charter board of directors was composed of C. H. Campbell, of Hastings, president; R. T. Hewitt, of Hastings,
vice-president; R. L. Bothwell, (deceased) of Elkton, H. O. Hamm, of Palatka, A. G. Pellicer, of Hastings, Russell F.
Proctor, of Federal Point, J. L. Middleton, (deceased) of Elkton, A. M. Stevens, of Hastings, and Chas. A. Middleton, of

The first offices of the Association occupied two rooms in the Byrd Building, however, business increased to such an
extent that the Association leased a large room in the new building in the Hotel Block which it occupied until a few weeks
ago when the offices were removed to its own handsome building.

The first year found only 62 members signed up, but they liked the cooperative method of buying and selling so well that
now the membership numbers 167.

The season of 1923 found the Association doing business for the first time. It represented 2702 acres and shipped a
total of 605 cars. In 1924 there were 4647 acres signed up and a total of 1105 carloads were shipped. In 1925 the total
had reached 4989 acres and a total of 1211 carloads were shipped. In 1926 a total of 5039 acres were signed up and
1453 carloads were shipped to market. For the season of 1927 there is a total membership of 167 representing an
acreage of 6781, and thus each year the Association has shown remarkable growth.

The Association is one of the most unique in the United States in that it has been very successful in both cooperative
buying and selling for its membership who are the sole owners. It operates on a plan unique in the annals of American
agriculture, which were devised and worked out by the management without outside aid.

Upon organization of the Association, nine directors were elected for a term of one year each. However, at the first
annual meeting of the membership which is held each year at the close of the season, the constitution and by-laws were
changed so that three directors were elected for a term of three years, three for a term of two years and three for a term
of one year, and each succeeding year three directors are elected for a term of three years, giving a board of nine
directors as originally planned.

The Association was organized without capital, but by a method worked out by the management a reserve fund of more
than $200,000 is now in the treasury. This reserve fund has been built up through savings made in the purchase of
seed, fertilizer, selling of crops, etc. The Association pays cash for all supplies and therefore is able to purchase them at
a great saving. Part of this saving has been used in building up the reserve fund. A small service charge is also made in
the selling and which has been added to the reserve fund. This fund belongs to each individual member as he has done
business with the Association. A man with 100 acres in the Association naturally has more in the reserve fund than a
man with 50 acres.

The organization is thoroughly cooperative in every sense of the word. Daily shipments are pooled and in this way each
grower receives the same price for the same quality of potatoes as his neighbor who shipped in the Association in the
same pool. The pool system of which so many cooperatives have been afraid to try has been a great success in the
local organization.

Many features of the organization such as the pooling of sales, cooperative buying of supplies and the building up of a
reserve fund, have attracted nation-wide attention. Farmers and business men interested in farmer organizations in all
parts of the world have asked for the operating plan of the Hastings Potato Growers Association and hundreds have
journeyed to Hastings to get first hand information and see the Association in actual operation.

It has been often the success that the Association now is able to obtain money from the Federal Agricultural bank at a
low rate of interest to finance the crop of its membership each year. Headquarters of this bank are in Columbia, S. C.,
where the Hastings Agricultural bank at a low rate of interest to finance the crop of its membership each year.
Headquarters of this bank are in Columbia, S. C., where the Hastings Agricultural Credit Bank, subsidiary of the Hastings
Potato Growers Association is held in the highest esteem as a solid business organization of farmers.

The board of directors meet often and be it said to their credit that each meeting is nearly always 100 per cent perfect in
attendance. This board of directors have given much of their time and ability to the study of the needs of the
membership and their keynote is service. Service is the keynote of the Association from the office boy to the board of
directors and this is believed to account for the great prosperity and success that has come its way since organization.

All employees are well paid, the board of directors taking the position that a cheap employee is a high priced one in the
end, and in this the board has showed good judgment for a more loyal or efficient office force cannot be found than
those in charge of affairs at the office.

Handsome New Building is Credit to Membership and
Monument                               to Successful Farmer Organization
The beautiful new Hasting Potato Growers Association Building erected and equipped at a cost of approximately
$40,000 was formally opened for the transaction of the business of the Association at a membership meeting held on
Monday night, March 21, over which President H. O. Hamm, of Palatka presided.

Mr. Hamm recited a brief history of the organization following which he introduced Rev. L. H. Howell, of Jacksonville, who
delighted the large gathering with a splendid speech. Others delivering addresses were W. H. Nobles, vice-president of
the First National Bank of St. Augustine, Hon. Frank Upchurch, of the law firm of MacWilliams, Perry & Upchurch, of St.
Augustine, Hon. W. A. MacWilliams, H. L. Robinson, manager of the Association, L. A. Braswell, county commissioner
and H. C. McKinney, secretary-treasurer.

The speakers all extended congratulations to the membership upon the completion of such a splendid building. The
huge crowd thoroughly enjoyed the evening interspersed with speeches and music by the Scoville orchestra, of Elkton,
as they listened amid a beautiful decoration of flowers of the season.

The new building is of hollow interlocking tile with stucco on the outside. The interior is of plaster and hardwood. The
lower floor plan contains a ladies writing and rest room on the right as you enter and on the left is a lounging room for
men. From the hall you enter the secretary-treasurer's and his assistants offices. This floor is so arranged that it can
immediately be thrown into an auditorium with a seating capacity of more than 300. The furniture is of the latest and
such conveniences as extension office and outside telephone system are found not only on this floor but the entire
building. A small stage is built between this office and the store room is built between this office and the store room
which is only one story high in the rear, to the right of the state is a specially constructed vault and to the left is the
heating and water plant. The store room might as well be called a warehouse for it is that large. Here supplies such as
labels, etc., are kept in such a manner that each grower can immediately place his hands on his supplies.

Two stairways lead to the second floor. One from inside the auditorium and one from the hall near the front entrance.
On the second flour is found the private office of the manager, the auditor and bookkeeper, office for the secretary to
the president and offices for the telegraph operator of the private wires of the Association.

On the second floor is also found a modern vault for keeping the records of the growers as well as storage places for
stationary and supplies of all kinds. Ample room is provided for the extra help that is used during the shipping season.

The building was designed to meet the needs of the organization and an inspection shows nothing is lacking. The
building is located on the Boulevard, just across the F. E. C. Railway from the Hotel Hastings. It makes an imposing
picture for the visitor or passing motorist and has been the subject of much favorable comment since its completion.

It is one of the finest buildings in the city and is believed to be the finest building of its kind in the United States. It stands
as a monument to the successful farmer-owned and controlled cooperative market organization of the Hastings Potato
Growers Association.

Manager Robinson Touches On Various Phases of Organization
(by H. L. Robinson)
We are told by scientists that a few thousand years ago, the world was ruled by the most horrible race of monsters
history has yet revealed. Nothing has ever compared to the fierceness or the natural equipment to prey and defend
itself has since appeared. Later the saber tooth tiger roamed ruthlessly through pre-historic forests. Fossils of other
creatures more terrible than leopard or lion and much more predatory than jaguar or tiger, hunted and killed everything
that came in contact with them.

All those monsters roamed, fought and hunted alone; therein lies the reason for their disappearance and decadence.
Gradually species by species, they vanished, and in their places came the gregarious animals, the creatures who
instinctively learned that in union was strength. Animals that traveled in hordes and swarmed in flocks gradually
dominated the world; then came man, the most gregarious of all, and commenced his reign.

All philosophies, creeds and doctrines have elaborated on this need for more co-operation. Dependence upon and
co-operation with one another is a lesson taught us by the experiences of all ages.

Suggestions From Labor
Organized labor has been criticized by some of the most influential interests in the country, but they "attend to their own
business" and seem to thrive on criticism.

Farmers organizations have also been held up to ridicule by certain selfish interests; have been forced to withstand
baseless and unscrupulous criticisms; and farmer members must come to know that any weakling or chronic knocker
can spread baseless rumors, but it takes a man to stand up and defend an organization which he knows is working for
him as well as for the general good.

Not a Political Issue
That the general agricultural situation and condition of farm credits are not what they should be, needs no argument. It
is a generally conceded fact that if the whirlwinds of hot air and impassioned oratory, uncorked by politicians in
Congress --- not to mention the treacherous political intriguing of cheap politicians-- during the past few years had
resulted in the enactment of ever so small a percentage of the laws proposed for "The Relief of the Farmer," the
condition of that self same farmer would, doubtless, be worse than it is now. The unbiased opinion of close observers is,
that the present condition of the farmer is due to economic causes and effects beyond his INDIVIDUAL control.
Economic laws work with ruthless precision, without regard for the dictates of Potentates and Kings, and it is reasonable
to assume that even the Congress of the United States, powerful as we believe it to be, cannot hope to overcome these
inevitable laws, by Statutes of their own construction. Legislation might point the way whereby farmers might find it
easier to help themselves, but it is an unsound theory to assume, that any character of legislation will provide
permanent relief.

What the farmer needs most is the friendly assistance and unselfish guiding influence of other branches of industry and
business, that he may have the self confidence to enter into an honest whole-hearted co-operative agreement with his
neighbor and brother farmer, to scientifically work out his and their common problems.

When "Farm Relief" comes with any degree of stability, it will be brought about by the farmers themselves, not by
Legislation. When the greater majority of farmers, in any commodity producing area, come to realize the importance of a
full-hearted loyalty to the principals of true co-operation, that community or area becomes a bright spot on the
agricultural map, and the farmers successes can be measured in exact proportion to their loyalty to, and support of that

The farmer, in this country, generally speaking, is paying a tremendous penalty for being one, in an unorganized
industry. He is forced to sell his products and buy his equipment and supplies from other highly organized branches of
business. It has been aptly said, "The farmer plows in hope, plants in faith, harvests in prayer, and markets by accident."

Functions of a Co-Operation
To function successfully, farmer co-operatives like any other successful business organizations, must be founded on
sound business principles; it must utilize the best of fair business methods impartially; never tire in its efforts to help its
membership improve their methods of growing, harvesting, grading, and packing their products; it must serve as the
direct medium of contact between producer and consumer through the established legitimate channels to trade, giving
to each an impartial, honest conscious service that will insure the continued confidence of both.

Why The Potato Growers Association
To any unbiased observer, the Hastings Potato Growers Association, organized less than five years ago, has been
successful; it is a non-profit, non-stock, farmer owned and farmer controlled co-operative business organization,
operating on a basis that insures the farmer full returns for his crops, less actual operating expenses.

The policies of the Association are shaped and controlled by a board of directors whose honesty is above reproach and
whose integrity cannot be questioned; they are well chosen, responsible men who make a business of farming. They
have the best interests of the Association at heart.

The Association is rich in resources, credits, and good will; transacts the business of its members in an impartial, fair,
and honest manner. It is a recognized factor in the distribution and marketing of the Irish potato crop in this section,
exercising a pronounced influence in the stabilizing of market values that is recognized value, not only to the farmers,
but to the legitimate distributing trade as well. It has rendered a distinctive service to the potato farmers in this entire
section, and its power and influence is sure to grow through the coming years.
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H. O. Hamm
C. H. Campbell
H. L. Robinson
Manager from the founding
1927 Picture
H. C. McKinney
Started with the Association in fall
of 1922
1927 Picture
C. B. Ivey
C. A. Middleton
S. R. Bowen
G. Walter Proctor
C. E. Ryman
A. G. Pellicer
Delbert Johns
Edward Lewis
Robert C. Evans
J. D. Hamilton
Hastings Founding to 1910
Hastings 1910 - 1920
Hastings 1920 - 1930
Hastings 1930-1940
Hastings 1940 - 1950
Hastings Potato Growers
Hastings High School
Hastings Vocational High
Hastings Masonic Lodge
Stanton Motor