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Stinking Stones and Rocks of GoldPhosphate, Fertilizer, and Industrialization in Postbellum South Carolina$
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Shepherd W. McKinley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049243

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049243.001.0001

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Antecedents, Precedents, and Continuities, 1800–1865

Antecedents, Precedents, and Continuities, 1800–1865

Chapter:
(p.10) 1 Antecedents, Precedents, and Continuities, 1800–1865
Source:
Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold
Author(s):

Shepherd W. Mckinley

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049243.003.0002

This chapter explores antebellum and wartime background issues (the evolving American fertilizer industry) and personalities (lowcountry scientists, businessmen, and slaves) of the three industries. Before 1860, northern fertilizer dealers and manufacturers created a dynamic supply system using urban waste and guano, and northern farmers were enthusiastic fertilizer consumers. International scientists and agricultural reformers refined fertilizer formulas and searched for raw materials. In the South, farmers rarely fertilized their fields, and they blamed slavery and high prices for the lack of fertilizer use. Reformers such as Edmund Ruffin preached the “gospel of guano” but only a few, including some lowcountry gentlemen-scientists, listened. Chemists Nathaniel A. Pratt and Charles U. Shepard Sr. and lowcountry natives Francis S. Holmes and St. Julien Ravenel built the foundations of lowcountry agricultural science before and during the war. High profile Confederates (C.G. Memminger and George A. Trenholm) and several cotton factors and shipping merchants (Ravenel & Company, James Adger and Company) turned blockade runners used similar international business relationships, entrepreneurial experience, and organizational skills in the postwar industries. The Civil War delayed the industries’ development but brought together the talent that emancipation would unleash after the war.

Keywords:   uano, Nathaniel A. Pratt, Charles U. Shepard Sr., Francis S. Holmes, St. Julien Ravenel, C.G. Memminger, George A. Trenholm, Ravenel and Company, James Adger and Company

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