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W. B. Alwood

William Bradford Alwood was an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture. He was referred to by his peers during his era as father of Virginia horticulture, the savior of the Virginia fruit industry, and a worldwide expert in pomology, viticulture, enology, and pest management. At Virginia Tech he is regarded as the father of our horticulture and pest management disciplines and as one of the University's greatest scientists. Today we stand on the shoulders of this giant to further the science of agriculture.

Early Days in Ohio

William Bradford Alwood (pronounced "al-wood", not "all-wood") was born in Delta, Fulton County, Ohio on August 11th, 1859. His parents were David William Alwood and Anna Elizabeth Brailey. He was raised on the family's northwestern Ohio farm. Young Alwood attended country schools and at the age of 17, he entered Delta High School. He was forced to seek employment after two years due to family hardships. At 19, Alwood taught seven terms in the country schools and continued to work on the farm. At 22 (May 1, 1882), he was elected superintendent of field experiments at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station. This was only the fourth agricultural experiment station organized in the United States (US) at that time.

Alwood ran the station until September of 1886.  During his tenure he made the station so successful that its appropriations were doubled and its popularity among farmers soared. During this period Alwood took courses in agriculture, horticulture, botany, and chemistry at the Ohio State University. In 1886, Alwood was given the title of station entomologist. The station report for that year included extensive papers by Alwood entitled "Notes on Insects and Insecticides" and "Injurious Insects." Alwood published that information on Ohio insects as USDA bulletins a year later. In 1884, Alwood represented Ohio as the assistant commissioner to the New Orleans exposition. When the Ohio station was reorganized under the Hatch Act in 1887, Alwood was offered the position of director by the president of the Ohio State University Board of Visitors. Having just started a career in entomological research with the USDA, he declined. Alwood maintained his ties with Ohio years later because his family lived there. The family maintained a large nursery in Columbus until the lands were purchased by Ohio State University to expand their grounds. Alwood returned to Ohio on occasion including speaking to the Columbus Horticultural Society.  He was a member of record in 1895.

 

 

Copyright, 2011, M. J. Weaver. All rights reserved and protected under the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention.

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