north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     “Better conditions in agriculture will be brought about as you boys study and apply yourselves to present day problems. The yield of corn in North Carolina is approximately fifteen bushels per acre. If you boys would like to do something about it, the Extension Service will help you organize a corn club and attempt to teach you how to increase the yield of corn.” With these words, spoken by I.O. Schaub to a group of Hertford County boys in May 1909, North Carolina’s first 4-H Club was born. Beginning in the 1890s and early 1900s, 4-H Clubs were sprouting around the country, particularly in the South. The clubs’ goal was to improve young people’s agricultural education. The Hertford County club, arranged in Ahoskie, began as a Corn Club with fifteen members. Corn Clubs originated in Mississippi with the purpose of increasing yields of corn.

     On July 1, 1909, an agreement was made by North Carolina’s land grant colleges—State College and North Carolina A&M—as well as the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the agricultural demonstration work of boys and girls clubs. Schaub was appointed the state’s first club agent. Jane McKimmon, North Carolina’s first home demonstration agent, started a Tomato Club in 1911 for girls. Also in 1911, Charles Parker, one of the Corn Club charter members produced a record-breaking twenty-five bushels of corn on one acre. The clubs became official 4-H clubs in 1918, and their focus expanded to embrace many areas of rural life including education about soil, farm animals, tools, housekeeping, and cookery. In 1919, Hertford County hosted the first joint 4-H boys and girls camp on the banks of the Chowan River at Winton. By 1939, there were 1,156 organized 4-H Clubs in the state and 2,280 in 1955.

     Today, more than 187,000 North Carolina youth participate in 4-H. The Hertford County 4-H offers services such as clubs, special interest programs, summer camps, school enrichment and after-school childcare. All programs work toward helping members develop and improve the 4-Hs: head, heart, health, and hand.

4-H Centennial Website:
Ahoskie Era of Hertford County (1939)
Franklin M. Reck, The 4-H Story: A History of 4-H Club Work (1951)L.R. Harrill, A Brief History and Summary of Thirty Years of 4-H Club Work in North Carolina (1939)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources