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Edmund Ruffin

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RUFFIN, Edmund (ruf'-fin), agriculturist, was born in Prince George County, Virginia, on January 5, 1794.  In 1810-'12 he attended William and Mary college. He served in the Virginia legislature, was secretary of the state board of agriculture, was the agricultural surveyor of South Carolina, in the 1850’s was president of the Virginia agricultural society.  He conducted many agricultural experiments which led to his discovery of the value of marl (a shell-like deposit containing calcium carbonate which neutralized soil acidity) as a fertilizer of poor soil; the use of which millions of dollars were added to the value of the real estate of eastern Virginia.  

 

Among other agricultural papers, Ruffin edited the "Farmer's Register" from 1833 till 1842, published "Essay on Calcareous Manures" (Richmond, 1831) ; "Essay on Agricultural Education" (1833); "Anticipations of the Future to serve as Lessons for the Present Time" (1860) ; and edited "The Westover Manuscripts, containing the History of the Dividing-Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; a Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1783; and a Progress to the Mines," by William Byrd, of Westover (Petersburg, 1841; 2d ed., 2 vols., Albany, 1866).

 

Alongside his agricultural pursuits he involved himself in politics; the institution of slavery was critical in the profitability of farming.  A state-rights advocate and secessionist, he left Virginia for Charleston, determined not to support the newly- elected President Lincoln.  He attended conventions in Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee to promote secession of all Southern States; in Charleston, he served the Confederate cause by serving as a member of the guard that fired on Fort Sumter on the morning of April 12, 1861 under the commander of General G.T. Beauregard.  As the oldest member he was selected by his comrades to fire the first gun.

 

After General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General U. S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, Ruffin realized his dreams of a thriving Confederate Nation would never come to pass.  On June 17, 1865 at his estate of Redmoor, in Amelia county, Virginia, he pulled the trigger on his silver-mounted gun and joined other fallen Confederate soldiers, the casualty of what some call the “last shot of the Civil War.”  His last words reinforced his defiance to Yankee rule:

"I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule -- to all political, social and business connection with the Yankees and to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living Southerner and bequeath them to every one yet to be born! May such sentiments be held universally in the outraged and down-trodden South, though in silence and stillness, until the now far-distant day shall arrive for just retribution for Yankee usurpation, oppression and atrocious outrages, and for deliverance and vengeance for the now ruined, subjugated and enslaved Southern States!

...And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my latest breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule--to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, and the perfidious, malignant and vile Yankee race."

 

 

Sources:      Dew, Charles.  Apostles of Disunion.  University Press of Virginia: Charlottesville, 2001.

Thomas, Emory M.  The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865. Harper Torchbooks: New York, 1979.

http://www.tulane.edu/~latner/Ruffin.html

                   http://www.civilwarhome.com/ftsumter.htm

                   http://www.sandiego.edu/~clawson/edmund.html
                   http://www.beachonline.com/ruffin.html

                   http://www.ibiscom.com/appomatx.htm

                   http://www.nps.gov/apco/

    

BY:  Candice Boyd - Volunteer Editor.              

 


 

 

 

APPLETON'S ORIGINAL OCR:

RUFFIN, Edmund (ruf'-fin), agriculturist, born in Prince George county, Virginia, 5 January, 1794; died on his estate of Redmoor, in Amelia county, Virginia, 15 June, 1865. In 1810-'12 he attended William and Mary college. He served in the legislature, was secretary of the state board of agriculture, agricultural surveyor of South Carolina, for many years was president of the Virginia agricultural society, and was the discoverer of the value of marl as a fertilizer of poor soil, by the use of which millions of dollars were added to the value of the real estate of eastern Virginia. He was a state-rights man and a secessionist, and was a member of the Pahnetto guard of South Carolina. At the beginning of the civil war he went to South Carolina, and, by order of General Beauregard, his company was ordered to open fire on Fort Sumter, and as the oldest mere-bet he was selected by his comrades to fire the first gun, 14 April, 1861. He shot himself because he was unwilling to live under the United States government. Among other agricultural papers he edited the "Farmer's Register" from 1833 till 1842, and he also published "Essay on Calcareous Manures" (Richmond, 1831) ; "Essay on Agricultural Education" (1833); "Anticipations of the Future to serve as Lessons for the Present Time" (1860) ; and edited "The Westover Manuscripts, containing the History of the Dividing-Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; a Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1783; and a Progress to the Mines," by William Byrd, of Westover (Petersburg, 1841; 2d ed., 2 vols., Albany, 1866).

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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