Edmund Ruffin

Edmund Ruffin III (January 5, 1794 – June 17, 1865) was a wealthy Virginia planter who served in the Virginia Senate from 1823 to 1827. In the last three decades before the American Civil War, his pro-slavery writings received more attention than his agricultural work. Ruffin, a slaveholder, staunchly advocated states' rights and slavery, arguing for secession years before the Civil War, and became a political activist with the so-called Fire-Eaters. Ruffin is given credit for "firing the first shot of the war" at the Battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861 and fought as a Confederate soldier despite his advanced age. When the war ended in Southern defeat in 1865, he committed suicide rather than submit to "Yankee rule."

Ruffin is also known for his pioneering work in methods to preserve and improve soil productivity. He recommended crop rotation and amendments to restore soils exhausted from tobacco monoculture. Early in his career, he studied bogs and swamps to learn how to correct soil acidity. He published essays and, in 1832, a book on his findings for improving soils. He has since become known as "the father of soil science" in the United States. Provided by Wikipedia