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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter III: Tobacco,   pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 155

                         CHAPTER III.
   Although tobacco is rated as a crop belonging to the later, or
 diversified period of Wisconsin agriculture, it had its beginning
 at an early date. The Indians had raised it for a century at
 least, and it is sometimes held by old settlers that it was from the
 red men that the notion of growing tobacco in the state originated.
 This can hardly be proved or disproved; it seems reasonable to
 suppose that the suggestion might have thus been given, but
 beyond this the Indian cannot be implicated in the matter.
 When and by whom, then, was the first tobacco raised in Wis-
 consin? It is pretty safe to predict that no final answer to the
 question is to be given. At all events the testimony is abundant
 and conflicting.
 The names most often mentioned in connection with early to-
 bacco growing are those of two brothers, Ralph and Orrin Pome-
 roy. The facts concerning their history are easily obtainable, and
 while it seems reasonably certain that they did not raise the first
 tobacco in the state, they did in all probability raise the first in
 Dane county, and it was they who gave the industry its perma-
 nent footing as a farm crop in the heart of the tobacco section.
 It is reported that tobacco was found growing wild on both
 sides of Lake Koshkonong about 1847.5u This must have been
 the remains of Indian tobacco patches as the plant is by no means
 indigenous here. The earliest date claimed for the introduction
 of the crop is 1838. Hon. E. W. Keyes of Madison, in a letter
published in the Wisconsin Tobacco Reporter, November 13,
1885, states that his brother Abel brought some seed from Bing-
"Hiatory of Madison, Dane County, and Surrounnings, p. 331.

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