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Aiken, D. Wyatt (17 March 1828–06 April 1887), agricultural editor and congressman, was born David Wyatt Aiken in Winnsboro, South Carolina, the son of David Aiken, a merchant and planter, and Nancy Kerr. Descended from an Irish family that had prospered in the United States, Aiken received an excellent education at Mount Zion Institute in his hometown and, as was common for the sons of planters, attended South Carolina College. He graduated in 1849 and taught mathematics for two years at Mount Zion. After traveling to Europe in 1851, he returned home to marry Mattie Gaillard in 1852. Before her death in 1855, they had two children. Aiken married Virginia Carolina Smith in 1857; they had eleven children. The following year he purchased a plantation from the estate of Virginia’s father in Cokesbury, Abbeville District. As the proprietor of “Coronaca” plantation, he became involved in the agricultural reform movement and in states’ rights politics. He fervently believed that “agriculture climbs high in the scale of science: it develops thought, matures judgment, and requires for the execution, untiring energy, perseverance, and industry.” He was instrumental in the formation of the Abbeville Agricultural Society and was a member of its executive committee. In 1858 he attended the Southern Commercial Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, a meeting that quickly became a forum for disunionist politics....

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Bromfield, Louis (27 December 1896–18 March 1956), novelist, experimental farmer, and newspaper columnist, was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Charles Bromfield, a banker and local Democratic office holder, and Annette Marie Coulter. His father was from an old New England family, and his mother was the daughter of a pioneer family of Richland County, Ohio; both ancestries would influence his later fiction. Bromfield attended Mansfield public schools, spending summers on his mother’s family’s farm. In 1914–1915 he studied agriculture at Cornell University and then briefly attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. He then studied journalism at Columbia University until his enlistment in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service in June 1917. He served with Section 577, attached to the French army, from December 1917 to February 1919. He participated in seven major battles during World War I and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was discharged in June 1919 while still in France....

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Louis Bromfield Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1933. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103721).

Article

Burt, Struthers (18 October 1882–29 August 1954), poet, prose writer, and rancher, was born Maxwell Struthers Burt in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Horace Brooke Burt, a Philadelphia lawyer then in Baltimore on business, and Hester Ann Jones. From the age of six months, Burt grew up in Philadelphia, attended private schools there, and became the youngest reporter in Philadelphia, working on the ...

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Chamberlain, William Isaac (11 February 1837–30 June 1920), agriculturalist and editor, was born in Sharon, Connecticut, the son of Jacob Chamberlain and Anna Nutting, farmers. When Chamberlain was only fifteen months old, his parents moved from Connecticut to Hudson, Ohio, where they purchased and maintained a 147-acre farm. He received an A.B. from Western Reserve College (located in Hudson) in 1859 and an A.M. from the same school two years later. For three years he taught Greek and Latin at Shaw Academy in East Cleveland, Ohio, then became a member of the Western Reserve College faculty teaching the same languages. In 1863 he became superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, schools, a position he held for two years, but with a decline in his health and his elderly parents needing more care Chamberlain resigned that position to teach languages at Western Reserve College and to maintain the family farm, which he had purchased in 1863. Also in 1863 he married Lucy Jones Marshall, daughter of publisher David Marshall, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had five children....

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Cobb, Cully Alton (25 February 1884–07 May 1975), agricultural educator, editor, and publisher, was born in a log cabin on the farm of his paternal grandfather near Prospect, Tennessee, the son of Napoleon Bonaparte Cobb, a farmer and rural minister, and Mary Agnes Woodward. Cobb attended public school in Giles County, Tennessee, and Decatur, Alabama. He entered Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Mississippi State University) in 1904 and graduated in 1908 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. From 1908 to 1910 he served as principal of Chickasaw County Agricultural High School at Buena Vista, Mississippi. The first of fifty such institutions established in the state between 1908 and 1920, the school afforded rural youths a college-preparatory education as well as practical training in farming. In 1910 he married Ora May “Byrdie” Ball, with whom he had two children....

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Colman, Norman Jay (16 May 1827–03 November 1911), agricultural journalist and first secretary of agriculture, was born near Richfield Springs, New York, the son of Hamilton Colman and Nancy Sprague, farmers. He attended local academies and soon was teaching school himself. In 1847 Colman left home for Kentucky, where plans to open a school in Owensboro were ended by an illness. He recovered and directed a public school in Brandenburg before enrolling at the University of Louisville Law School, earning a degree in 1849. He opened a successful law office in New Albany, Indiana, married Clara Porter in 1851, and in 1852 was elected district attorney. A year later they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and purchased a farm, although Colman continued to practice law and was elected an alderman within two years. The couple had two children before Clara Colman died in 1863....

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Dymond, John (03 May 1836–05 March 1922), planter, publisher, and politician, was born in Canada (exact location unrecorded), the son of Richard Dymond, a Methodist minister, and Anne Hawkens. During his early childhood Dymond’s family moved to Zanesville, Ohio, where he was educated in the local public schools and the Zanesville Academy before entering Bartlett’s College, a business school in Cincinnati. Following his graduation from Bartlett’s in 1857 he took a job as a clerk with his father, who had by that time established himself in the mercantile trade. He then toyed with the cotton manufacturing business in partnership with Homer White (trading under the name White & Dymond) before moving to New York City, where, on the eve of the Civil War, he took a job as a traveling salesman with a firm whose name has not survived. He returned to Zanesville on 3 June 1862 to marry Nancy Elizabeth Cassidy; they had six children....

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Gresham, Newt (20 February 1858–10 April 1906), labor organizer and editor, was born Isaac Newton Gresham in Lauderdale County, near Florence, Alabama, the son of Henry Gresham and Marcipia Narcissa Wilcoxon, tenant farmers. The family moved to Kaufman County, Texas, in 1859 (though some sources claim they moved after the Civil War). After his parents’ deaths in 1868, Gresham lived with his older brother Ben....

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Heard, Dwight Bancroft (01 May 1869–14 March 1929), investment banker, farmer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Bradford Heard, a wholesale grocer, and Lucy Bancroft. His father died in 1882. After Heard finished high school in Brookline, Massachusetts, his mother moved the family to Chicago, where Heard began work at the hardware sellers Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett. The wife of the firm’s president, Adolphus Bartlett, was a distant relative of Heard, who quickly became Bartlett’s protégé. Heard was the company’s specialist in credit sales in Wisconsin and much of the Midwest. In 1893 he married Maie Pitkin Bartlett, Adolphus Bartlett’s daughter; they had one child....