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Ruffin

Ruffin

Ruffin, Edmund, 1794-1865, American agriculturist, one of the Southern fire-eaters, b. Prince George co., Va. His interest in improving impoverished land led him to become a pioneer in soil chemistry. Against much opposition he advocated the benefits of marl and proved its value. His arguments were propounded in An Essay on Calcareous Manures (1832, 5th rev. ed. 1852). He founded (1833) and edited until 1842 an excellent agricultural publication, the Farmers' Register. An ardent supporter of states' rights and secession, he left Virginia for the more congenial political milieu of South Carolina, where on Apr. 12, 1861, he was given the privilege of firing the first shot against Fort Sumter. With the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox he committed suicide.

See his Diary, ed. by W. K. Scarborough (Vol. I, 1972).

(born Jan. 5, 1794, Prince George county, Va., U.S.—died June 18, 1865, Amelia county, Va.) U.S. agriculturist and secessionist. Educated largely at home, he managed his father's tobacco plantation from 1813. He found that overuse and poor farming methods produced an acid soil unable to retain fertilizers; in 1832 he published an influential book advocating the use of marl to reduce soil acidity, which helped restore Southern plantations to productivity. He also published the Farmer's Register (1833–42) and lectured widely on agriculture. In the 1850s he defended slavery and advocated secession. He fired one of the first shots at Fort Sumter (1861). Unable to accept the South's defeat, he killed himself.

Learn more about Ruffin, Edmund with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Jan. 5, 1794, Prince George county, Va., U.S.—died June 18, 1865, Amelia county, Va.) U.S. agriculturist and secessionist. Educated largely at home, he managed his father's tobacco plantation from 1813. He found that overuse and poor farming methods produced an acid soil unable to retain fertilizers; in 1832 he published an influential book advocating the use of marl to reduce soil acidity, which helped restore Southern plantations to productivity. He also published the Farmer's Register (1833–42) and lectured widely on agriculture. In the 1850s he defended slavery and advocated secession. He fired one of the first shots at Fort Sumter (1861). Unable to accept the South's defeat, he killed himself.

Learn more about Ruffin, Edmund with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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