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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information


Source:  Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Vol. II.
  By Benjamin F. Shambaugh, Ph. D.
Des Moines. Conaway & Shaw, Publishers, 1899.
Pages 135-137
BUDD, Professor J. L. [Joseph Lancaster], the distinguished horticulturist, has been the means of bringing as much good to his state as any other man who ever lived in it, and probably more than any other man in his line ever can do. He is the man who has hewn a path through this state, and particularly the northern part of it, for horticulture. It is only a modest statement of the truth to say that Professor Budd is today the highest authority on horticultural subjects in this country, and that he is so recognized by all except those who, following theories of their own, do not agree with him. The best part of Professor Budd's work is that it has stood the test of time, and those who have followed his advice, especially those who do it now, have good orchards. His knowledge upon this subject is simply complete. It is a most interesting thing to watch him in a horticultural meeting, where he is a very oracle. Questions by the score are fired at him and he answers them in his quiet, modest way, so thoroughly and so accurately that when he is done there is nothing more to be said on the subject. He has steadily argued that fruit could be raised in northern Iowa and that Iowa, as a whole, is a splendid fruit growing country. Time and his experiments have proved him correct, as it attested by the victories won by the state at the World's Fair and elsewhere. His investigations into these conditions, begun in his Benton County orchard and conducted for more than twenty years in the Iowa Agricultural College, have provided a storehouse of information for horticulturists, not only in this state and the United States, but in Europe, where his fame has spread. The experiments have been of a practical nature and have been in the direction of giving to the farmers and home owners, as well as the professional fruit growers, the right kind of advice that would enable them to make the most of their opportunities.

He was born near West Point, New York, in 1837, on the old farm owned by his parents, Joseph and Maria Lancaster Budd. The parental ancestry was French, the original name being Bude. On the mother's side he comes of English stock, the Lancasters having come from that country and settled on the Hudson in Queen Ann's time.

The education of Professor Budd was acquired in the state of his birth, where he passed from the common schools through the high school to the normal institutes. He came west in 1857 and taught the first academy in West Rockford, Illinois. He later became principal of the schools at Wheaton, where he was very successful with the work. In 1858 he purchased a farm in Benton County, Iowa and established the well known Benton County Orchards and Nursery. He was elected secretary of the Iowa Horticultural Society in 1873, and this position was held, with an intermission of but three years, until 1896, at which time the press of other duties made a change necessary. He was elected to the chair of Horticulture and Forestry in the Iowa Agricultural College in 1876. In this responsible position he has not only introduced many valuable varieties of the orchard fruits, small fruits, ornamental trees and shrubs, but his class room work has developed many leaders in horticultural lines of work and professors of horticulture in the agricultural colleges and experiment stations of the United States and Canada. Three of his students and assistants, Professors Keffer, Hansen and Schule, occupied very responsible positions in the Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C. Professor Hansen is at the head of the horticultural department of the South Dakota State Agricultural College.

Professor Budd's resignation from the professorship of Horticulture and Forestry was accepted in 1899 after twenty- three years of faithful service to the college. He retired with the title of Professor Emeritus, and is now devoting his time to the American Horticultural Manual. During the winter of '99-'00 he published a Handbook of Horticulture, which will be a textbook in its line. He spent the summer of 1882 in Russia in the interest of the fruit growers of the United States. His large experience and extensive knowledge enabled him to make a study of the different fruits of the far East, which resulted in placing before the horticulturists those varieties which would prove most profitable in this country; also much information in relation to the care and growth of the same, which saved thousands of dollars from being spent in costly experiment. His valuable horticultural library was enriched by the will of the late Charles Downing and in that bequest the Iowa Agricultural College shares, for both libraries are now in that institution. Professor Budd's right to his place at the head of American horticulturists was recognized by Mr. Downing in another way. He was the greatest horticulturist in the country, so recognized universally. He lived in New- burg on the Hudson and he made Professor Budd his literary legatee. Downing's "Fruits and Trees of America" is the standard reference book of the country, and all the notes by the author were bequeathed to Professor Budd with the request that he carry on the work, and prepare a revised edition of the work, which Professor Budd intends to do. He is one of the few great men who live to see their work appreciated and its good results being enjoyed. His kind and generous nature keeps down opposition, making him as much loved for the personal qualities of heart as for his scientific achievements.

Professor Budd was married in 1860 to Miss Sarah M. Breed, a direct descendant of the Breeds of Revolutionary fame. They have two children. Allen J., is a successful farmer and horticulturist on the old homestead in Benton County, Iowa, and Etta M., who has given much attention to art and is well known as an art teacher.

The Professor will continue to reside at his comfortable home in Ames, where as an ex- office member of the college faculty, a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity and among long time friends, he proposes to take life easier than in the past.

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