We now can get a glimpse of the life and times of Uriah and Eliza Vargason from the digital newspsper archive at the Kalkaska County Library, http://history.kalkaskalibrary.org. Here we find Uriah, the fruit grower, ambitious farmer, and family man, and Eliza, the supportive wife and mother. Special thanks to the Kalkaska library for preserving and sharing this information.
The earliest edition available is from 1879, when Uriah was 42 years old, and Eliza was 35. It appears that not all issues of the newspaper have been preserved. However, it’s enough to give us a good picture of their daily life. In chronological order, here is the news as reported by…
October 8, 1879–The first fair was held in Kalkaska County. The paper declared, “Everyone pleased, and pronounce it a great success!” Uriah entered corn, spring wheat, snow apples, russets, a collection of apples, and a plate of white peaches. The following week, the newspaper tells us that Uriah was awarded a first place for peaches, White Russian spring wheat, and Red Glaze corn.
October 14, 1880–Winners were announced from the second fair. Uriah took first in “amber sugar cane” and peaches. He took both a first and second for summer apples, and second for fall apples, crab apples, and collection of apples or fruit.
October 6, 1881–Entries were announced for the 1881 Kalkaska fair. In the Fruit category, Uriah entered winter Pippins, gravenstein, Ben Davis, baldwin, jonathan, wagner, grindstone, fall pippins, maiden blush, and autumn strawberry. He also entered a collection of apples and a collection of peaches. He entered white turnips in the Vegetable category and Clawson wheat in the Grains & Seeds category. Two weeks later, it was announced that Uriah took first place for winter apples, first and second for fall apples, first for collection of apples. He also took second place for white turnips and Clawson wheat.
July 6, 1882–More research is needed to find out whether or not Uriah had any takers for this offer. What was his motivation?
May 10, 1883–
January 6, 1887–Uriah and Eliza were probably proud parents on this day. Both Clifford and Myrtle Vargason received a grade of 80% or more for the month ending December 31. Clifford went beyond and received a grade of 95% upon examination.
November 26, 1891–Myrtle, Grace, and Clifford Vargason appeared on the roll of honor for the school. Both Myrtle and Grace had an average scholarship of 90% or more at examination.
September 21, 1893–The Pioneers of Kalkaska held their third annual picnic. Eliza helped to prepare the table.
April 16, 1896–
August 18, 1898–Big news; short article.
October 18, 1906–Uriah was president of the “Pioneers” and was elected vice-president for the coming year.
September 29, 1910–Uriah is still winning at the fair! He took first prize, and it appears that he won awards of $3.00, $2.00, and $1.00 for the largest and best exhibit of fruit by an individual. In addition, he won a special premium award of a $3.50 pair of shoes from The Irishman and the Jew for the best exhibit of fruit.
Uriah passed away from bronchial pneumonia on December 15, 1919. While this was probably reported in the newspaper, The Kalkaska Leader from 1919 is not available on this database.