This Day (Ruffin It Edition)

Happy birthday to Edmund Ruffin, who was born in this day in 1794 in Prince George County. Ruffin, of course, grew up to be the white-haired prophet of secession and claimed to have fired the first shot on Fort Sumter. Before he became “radicalized,” though, he was a farmer and did stuff like experiment with different soil compounds and worry about acidity. John Brown changed all that, and when things didn’t work out, Ruffin ended his life.
IMAGES: Top: Edmund Ruffin (Library of Congress); The Farmers’ Register (1834), a monthly publication edited by Ruffin (Virginia Historical Society); bottom: one of the friction primer wires used in setting off cannon charges in the bombardment on Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861 (Virginia Historical Society)


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