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R. H. Price

Assistant Horticulturist at the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in the 1890s. He resigned his position in 1892.

R. H. Price was born January 16, 1864, near Price's Fork, Montgomery County, Virginia. He was brought up on the farm. He graduated at the high school, near his home, March, 1882.  Price entered VAMC in September, 1883, and studied two years in the school of agriculture. After this he taught two sessions.

He then reentered the college again in September, 1887, and graduated first in the school of agriculture on June 11, 1888.  He received a gold medal for the best essay on "Lime and its application to the soils of Virginia," and a gold medal for the best debater in the Maury Literary Society.  He was assistant under Colonel W. B. Preston when the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was organized. 


He accepted the position of assistant horticulturist on May 19,1889, at a salary of $300 per annum. He accepted the same position July, 1890 at a salary of $600 per annum and the same position at the same salary July, 1891. He constantly assisted Professor W. B. Alwood in the work pertaining to his departments in the station, and with several of the bulletins from the department of horticulture.  He helped Alwood set and care for the orchards and vineyards. He was elected secretary of the Montgomery County Farmers' Alliance July 4, 1891.

In addition to his work in the station in 1891, he took a course of study, mostly at night, for the degree of bachelor of science.


He resigned his position in 1892 to become Professor of Horticulture, Botany and Entomology in the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. He built up one of the best horticultural departments at these institutions known in the South. His scientific work in a new classification of peaches over the old classification, which had stood for more than a century, placed peach culture on a more sure basis. His experiments with a small canning factory led the way for a large number of small factories in Texas and some other Southern States. His bulletins on fruits and experimenting along horticultural lines for ten years in Texas, his health began to fail owing to an attack of malarial fever, and he resigned in June 1902, and returned to his bluegrass farm in Montgomery County, Virginia. One of his own graduates was elected to the position he left. He was a member of various scientific and horticultural organizations. He was the author of a book on sweet potato culture, which was recognized as a standard authority.

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VPI Faculty - 1900

From University Archives: Harry Downing Temple Photograph Collection - VPI faculty in 1900.


VAMC Faculty - around 1890

From Alwood Family Archives: Photo taken in 1890 by W. B. Alwood on the porch of Horticultural Hall. This was likely a significant occasion with two members of the Board of Control (BOC) Executive Committee visiting the station - possibly the dedication of the building, which was completed around this time. The Executive Committee was the Institute's administrators - among its members were the President and two BOC members. The visit may have corresponded to appointments made of two people in the photograph, W. D. Saunders (station director) and H. M. Magruder (superintendent). In the photo was David Oliver Nourse, the first station animal scientist (wrote the first station bulletin on animal management); Charles Ellis, DVM, station staff veterinarian (1888-90); J. Thompson Brown, BOV, 1889-1904 (executive committee member and later, rector, 1900-08, 1912-21); C.E. Vawter, rector of BOV - the first to be reappointed in 1890 to two consecutive terms (1889-1900); William D. Saunders, professor of dairy science and head of the experiment station in 1890, and; Henry Magruder*, station superintendent. Brown and Vawter worked as a very powerful team - they brought a great deal of change to the Institute over the years.


*This is a rare photo of Henry Minor Magruder, who was one of the agricultural experiment station's greatest critics until he was appointed by the Virginia Board of Agriculture as superintendent of farms and equipment in December 1890. His was a short tenure as he died of a heart attack in June 1891. Magruder was charged by the Board to travel the state to demonstrate practical solutions to farmers. As such he was credited for doing some of the earliest Extension work in Virginia. Although he must not have had much time in this official capacity, his concept of Extension was planted long before Seaman Knapp persuaded the USDA to initiate the first agents in the states to eventually form the Cooperative Extension Service (which came about officially in 1914). As for practicing Extension methods, W. B. Alwood had been bringing practical solutions to the public since his arrival at VAMC in 1888. The first publicly documented Extension activity by a VAMC faculty member (Alwood) was published in the Charlottesville Chronicle in 1889. The article recorded Alwood's demonstration of the use of Bordeaux mixture to grape growers gathered at the Albemarle County (VA) courthouse square.


VAMC Faculty - 1878-79

From University Archives: 1877-79 - Harry Downing Temple Photograph Collection - Sitting (left to right): President C.L.C. Minor, Charles Martin, M.G. Ellzey, V.E. Shepherd, Gray Carroll. Standing (left to right): J.H. Lane, W.R. Boggs.


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