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´╗┐Title: Jethro Wood, Inventor of the Modern Plow. - A Brief Account of his Life, Services, and Trials, Together - with Facts Subsequent to his Death, and Incident to his - Great Invent
Author: Gilbert, Frank
Language: English
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[Illustration: JETHRO WOOD.]



    JETHRO WOOD, INVENTOR OF THE MODERN PLOW.

    A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE, SERVICES, AND TRIALS; TOGETHER WITH
    FACTS SUBSEQUENT TO HIS DEATH, AND INCIDENT TO HIS GREAT
    INVENTION.

    "No citizen of the United States has conferred greater
    economical benefits on his country than Jethro Wood--none of her
    benefactors have been more inadequately rewarded."--_Wm. H.
    Seward._

    BY FRANK GILBERT.


    CHICAGO:
    RHODES & McCLURE.

    1882.


    Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1882.
    By I. U. KIRTLAND,
    In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


    STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED
    BY
    THE CHICAGO LEGAL NEWS CO.


[Illustration: FAC-SIMILE OF THE ORIGINAL WOOD PLOW.]


EXPLANATION OF THE FOREGOING FAC-SIMILE.

SIDE VIEW of Plough. _A_ Mould-board, the form of which is claimed as
new. _B_ Share claimed. _C_ Standard claimed. _DD_ Screw-bolt, and not
confining the beam to the Standard. _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, the 1st,
2d, 3d, 4th and 5th sides mentioned in the specification. _g_, _g_.
Excavation at the fore part of the mould-board to receive the share
which fills it up and forms an even surface. _h_ Hole to receive the
knob or head cast on the under side of the share, which, on being
shoved up to its place, nooks under the mould-board at the upper side
of the hole, and is held in its place by a wooden wedge driven between
the knob and the lower side of the hole. _f_ Notches in the Standard
to receive the latch i in elevating or depressing the beam. _s_, _t_,
_v_. Straight diagonal lines touching the mould-board the whole
distance. _u_ Vertical or plumb line touching the mould-board from top
to bottom. _H_ Reverse side of the share. _x_ Knob to hold it fast to
the mould-board. _y_ Side view of knob. _zz_ Shiplaps fitting under
the point and edge of the mould-board. _k_ Another form of standard
keyed on top of beam. Fig. 2d, landside view: _E_ The "landside". _F_
part of landside cast with mould-board. _mm_ Cast loops to hold the
handles claimed. _n_ Head of screw-bolt held by a shoulder made by a
projection from the mould-board and standard, through which the bolt
passes up to the beam. _o_ Share claimed. _p_ Shiplap claimed. _G_
Inside view of landside. _r_ Tennon at forward end to fit into a
dovetailed mortice on the inside of that part which is cast with the
mould-board.



PREFACE.


The immediate occasion of this little volume was a malignant
misrepresentation from the pen of Ben: Perley Poore. With slight
variation from the original text, the words of Thomas Jefferson about
Benjamin Franklin and his maligners, quoted in the body of this
monograph, apply to this case: I have seen with extreme indignation
the blasphemies lately vended against the memory of the father of the
American plow. But his memory will be venerated as long as furrows are
turned and soil tilled. The present object, however, is not so much to
refute falsehood as to establish the truth, and make it a part of the
permanent knowledge of the public. To the extent that this object
shall be attained, will these labors be rewarded.

It is not the design of this publication to disparage any one; on the
contrary, it is desired to give ample credit to all who contributed to
the solution of the plow problem. If only brief mention is made of
others, it is because they really deserved but little credit, or their
merits are forever buried in obscurity. It is proposed to set forth
without exaggeration, the claims of the supreme inventor in this line
to the grateful remembrance of the public. And by the public is meant
not only the American people, but all who are fed from the ample
granaries of this country, or share the benefits of the improved
tillage, whether on this continent or in Europe, made possible and
actual by the inventive genius of Jethro Wood.



JETHRO WOOD;

INVENTOR OF THE MODERN PLOW.


The last words ever penned by John Quincy Adams were these, written in
the peculiarly tremulous hand of "the Old Man Eloquent:" "Mr. J. Q.
Adams presents his compliments to the Misses Wood, and will be happy
to see them at his house, at their convenience, any morning between 10
and 11 o'clock." This note was found upon his desk when he was
stricken down with paralysis, February 21, 1848, in his seat in the
House of Representatives. The Misses Wood here referred to were the
daughters of Jethro Wood, then deceased. They were at that time
engaged in a labor of love, and the venerable Ex-President was their
friend therein. Prompted more by filial affection than by hope of
gain, they were making a final effort to secure from Congress a proper
recognition of their father's claim as an inventor. It is entirely
safe to say that if Mr. Adams had been spared to the end of the
Congress then in session, that claim would have been then duly
recognized, and the name, services and genius of Jethro Wood become
familiar to the American public.

Jethro Wood was born at Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on the sixteenth day
of the third month of 1774. His parents were members of the Society of
Friends. His mother, Dinah Hussey Wood, was a niece of Ann Starbuck, a
woman of remarkable ability and high standing in colonial annals. Ann
Starbuck was virtually governor of Nantucket. The niece was a woman of
excellent intellect, and most winsome character. Her conversation
sparkled with genial wit and good cheer. Her husband, John Wood, was
a man of sterling worth, calm, self-poised, strong willed, and
eminently influential. Jethro was their only son. On New Years Day,
1793, he was married to Sylvia Howland, at White Creek, Washington
County, New York. The fruit of this marriage, every way a happy one,
was a family of six children, namely: Benjamin; John; Maria, wife of
Jeremiah Foote; Phoebe; Sarah, wife of Robert R. Underhill; Sylvia
Ann, wife of Benjamin Gould. Of these children the only survivor is
Mrs. Gould, who with her sister, Phoebe, were the Misses Wood of the
Adams note. So much for the domestic setting of this diamond of
inventive genius.

Even as a boy, Jethro Wood showed plainly the drift and trend of his
mind. The child was indeed "father of the man," and almost from the
cradle to the grave, he was an inventor. In his childish plays he
seemed busied with the idea which he ultimately perfected. Many
curious incidents and memories are treasured among the traditions of
his neighbors and friends. "When only a few years old," writes a
venerable man whose recollection spans two generations, "he moulded a
little plow from metal, which he obtained by melting a pewter cup.
Then, cutting the buckles from a set of braces, he made a miniature
harness with which he fastened the family cat to his tiny plow, and
endeavored to drive her about the flower-garden. The good
old-fashioned whipping he received for this 'mischief,' was such as to
drive all desire for repeating the experiment out of his juvenile
head."

Such innate and ruling passion might be suppressed, but could not be
subdued. As his mind matured, his thoughts took definite shape. His
home was always upon a farm, but he was never a farmer, in the sense
of Poor Richard's homely couplet:

    "He who by the plow would thrive,
    Himself must either hold or drive."

Born in comparative affluence, blessed with a good education, an ample
library and a well equipped workshop, enjoying the correspondence of
such men as Thomas Jefferson and David Thomas, he was unremitting in
his endeavor to realize his ideal. "His chief desire," to quote
further from our venerable correspondent, "was to invent a new
mold-board, which, from its form, should meet the least resistance
from the soil, and which could be made with share and standard,
entirely of cast iron." To hit upon the exact shape for the mold-board
he whittled away, day after day, until his neighbors, who thought him
mad on the subject, gave him the soubriquet of the "whittling Yankee."
His custom was to take a large oblong potato which was easy for the
knife, and cut it till he obtained what he fancied was the exact
curve.

The manhood home of Jethro Wood was at Scipio, Cayuga County, New
York, a purely agricultural town, with nothing in its later history to
distinguish it; but in its palmier early days of the present century,
it must have been a nursery of invention. Roswell Toulsby, Horace
Pease, and John Swan, of that town, each took out letters patent for
improvements in plows, and that prior to the issuance of any patent to
Mr. Wood. Their improvements were of no practical value, and played no
part in the development of this branch of mechanism, but their efforts
serve to show the state of the intellectual atmosphere breathed by the
man who was destined to solve the knotty problem which underlies the
very foundation of scientific agriculture.

Of the cotemporaries of Mr. Wood, who wrought at the solution of this
problem, the most illustrious was Thomas Jefferson, statesman,
philosopher and farmer.

In one of his letters to Jethro Wood, Mr. Jefferson spoke of his own
labors in that direction, as the experiments of one whiling away a few
idle hours, but herein he did himself injustice. His efforts, however,
were far from exhaustive in their results, and it was with good reason
that he urged Mr. Wood to go forward in his undertaking, and no doubt
he was perfectly sincere in wishing him success. His correspondence,
as published in nine large volumes, attests his long and deep interest
in the problem, which it was reserved for Jethro Wood to solve. Having
carefully examined those volumes, to glean all there is in them on
this subject, I herewith append the observations found, for besides
being in themselves interesting, in view of their authorship, they
throw important light upon the general subject.

Under date of July 3, 1796, Mr. Jefferson wrote to Jonathan Williams:
"You wish me to present to the Philosophical Society the result of my
philosophical researches since my retirement. But, my good Sir, I have
made researches into nothing but what is connected with agriculture.
In this way I have a little matter to communicate, and will do it ere
long. It is the form of a mould-board of _least resistance_. I had
some years ago conceived the principle of it, and I explained it then
to Mr. Rittenhouse. I have since reduced the thing to practice, and
have reason to believe the theory fully confirmed. I only wish for one
of those instruments used in England for measuring force exerted in
the drafts of different ploughs, etc., that I might compare the
resistance of my mould-board with that of others. But these
instruments are not to be had here. In a letter of this date to Mr.
Rittenhouse I mention a discovery in animal history, very signal
indeed, of which I shall lay before the society the best account I
can, as soon as I shall have received some other materials collecting
for me.

"I have seen, with extreme indignation, the blasphemies lately vended
against the memory of the father of American philosophy. But his
memory will be venerated as long as the thunder of heaven shall be
heard or feared."

March 27, 1798, Jefferson wrote to Mr. Patterson: "In the life time of
Mr. Rittenhouse, I communicated to him the description of a
mould-board of a plough, which I had constructed, and supposed to be
what we might term the _mould-board of least resistance_. I asked not
only his opinion, but that he would submit it to you also. After he
had considered it he gave me his own opinion that it was
demonstratively what I had supposed, and I think he said he had
communicated it to you. Of that however, I am not sure, and therefore,
now take the liberty of sending you a description of it, and a model
which I have prepared for the Board of Agriculture of England, at
their request. Mr. Strickland, one of their members, had seen the
model, also the thing itself in use on my farm, and thinking favorably
of it, had mentioned it to them. My purpose in troubling you with it
is to ask you to examine the description rigorously, and suggest to me
any corrections or alterations which you may think necessary. I would
wish to have the idea go as correctly as possible out of my hands. I
had sometimes thought of giving it into the Philosophical Society, but
I doubted whether it was worthy of their notice, and supposed it not
exactly in the line of their publications. I had therefore
contemplated sending it to some of our agricultural societies, in
whose way it was more particularly, when I received the request of the
English board. The papers I enclose you are the latter part of a
letter to Sir John Sinclair, their president. It is to go off by
packett, wherefore I wish to ask the favor of you to return them with
the model in the course of the present week, with any observations you
will be so good as to favor me with."

Writing from Washington, July 15, 1808, to Mr. Sylvestre, in
acknowledgment of a plow received from the Agricultural Society of the
Seine (France), he adds: "I shall with great pleasure attend to the
construction and transmission to the society of a plough with my
mould-board. This is the only part of that useful instrument to which
I have paid any particular attention. But knowing how much the
perfection of the plough must depend, 1st, on the line of traction;
2d, on the direction of the share; 3d, on the angle of the wing; 4th,
on the form of the mould-board; and persuaded that I shall find the
three first advantages eminently exemplified in that which the society
sends me, I am anxious to see combined with these a mould-board of my
form, in the hope it will still advance the perfection of that
machine. But for this I must ask time till I am relieved from the
cares which have more right to all my time--that is to say, till next
spring;" _i. e._ until after the expiration of his second term as
President of the United States.

The importance of any step in civilization can be understood only in
its relations, antecedent causes and actual results.

The _Scientific American_, which is certainly good authority in such
matters, ranks Jethro Wood with Benjamin Franklin, Eli Whitney, Robert
Fulton, Charles Goodyear, Samuel B. Morse, Elias Howe, and Cyrus H.
McCormick, and these are certainly the great names and this a just
classification. Each in his way laid the foundation on which all
inventors in his respective line have built, and must continue to
build, and none of them all came so near perfecting his grand idea as
Mr. Wood. His now venerable daughter stated the exact truth when she
remarked in a letter not designed for publication: "My father patented
the shape and construction of the plow. He took the iron and shaped
the plow that turns the furrow for every product of the soil in
America. His plow has never been improved. It came from his hand
simple and perfect, as it now is, and there is no other plow now in
use." It was not the use of cast iron that he invented, although the
use of "pot metal" by him occasioned a great deal of hostility to the
original Wood plow.

Jethro Wood took out two plow patents, and those who wish to belittle
his work, descant upon the first as if it were his only claim to
credit. That first patent was issued in 1814. It fell far short of
satisfying the patentee's ambition. The plows made under it must have
been a great improvement on any then in use, for although he
abandoned it almost from the first, a great many of them were sold
during the period between the first and the second patents. The second
patent dates from 1819. The natal day of the modern plow may be fairly
set down as September 1, 1819. The original specifications in this
plow deserve to be given in full, and may well be inserted in this
connection. The document was the handiwork of Mr. Wood himself, and
runs thus:

"The Schedule referred to in these Letters Patent, and making part of
the same, containing a description in the words of the said Jethro
Wood himself of his improvement in the construction of Ploughs.

"Considering the manifold errors and defects in the construction of
Ploughs, and the inconveniences experienced in the use of them, the
petitioner and inventor hath applied the powers of his mind to the
improvement of this noble utensil, and produced a Plough so far
superior to those in common use, that he asks an exclusive privilege
for the same from the government of his country.

"The principal matters for which he solicits Letters Patent, he now
reduces to writing, and explains in words and sentences as appropriate
and significant as he possibly can. But, being perfectly aware of the
feebleness and insufficiency of language to convey precise and
adequate ideas of complicated forms and proportions, the said Jethro
Wood annexes to these presents, a delineation upon paper of his said
new and improved Plough, with full and explanatory notes; urging with
earnestness and respect that the delineation and notes may be
considered as a part of this communication. The said petitioner and
inventor also, being perfectly convinced, as a practical man, that a
model of his inventions and improvements will convey and preserve the
most exact and durable impressions of the matters to which he lays
claim, he sends herewith a model of the due form and proportion of
each, as a just exhibition of his principle and of its application to
the construction and improvement of the Plough, requesting that the
same may be kept in the Patent Office, as a perpetual memorial of the
invention and its use.

"In the first place, the said Jethro Wood claims an exclusive
privilege for constructing the part of the Plough, heretofore, and to
this day, generally called the mould-board, _in the manner hereinafter
mentioned_. This mould-board may be termed a plano-curvilinear figure,
not defined nor described in any of the elementary books of geometry
or mathematics. But an idea may be conceived of it thus:

"The land-side of the Plough, measuring from the point of the
mould-board, is two feet and two inches long. It is a strait-lined
surface, from four to five and one-half inches wide, and half an inch
thick. Its more particular description will be hereinafterwards given.
It is sufficient to observe here, that of the twenty-six inches of
length on the land-side, eighteen inches belong to the part of the
Plough strictly called the land-side, and eight inches to the
mould-board. The part of the mould-board comprehended by this space of
eight inches is very important, affording weight and strength and
substance to the Plough; enabling it the better to sustain the
cutting-edge for separating and elevating the soil or sward, and
likewise the standard for connecting the mould-board with the beam, as
will hereinafter be described more at large.

"The figure of the mould-board, as observed from the furrow-side, is a
sort of irregular pentagon, or five-sided plane, though curved and
inclined in a peculiar manner. Its two lower sides touch the ground,
or are intended to do so, while the three other sides enter into the
composition of the oblique, or slanting mould-board, over-hanging
behind, vertical midway, and projecting forward. The angle of the
mould-board, as it departs from the foremost point of, or at, the
land-side, is about forty-two degrees, and the length of it, or, in
other words, of the first side, is eleven inches. The line of the
next, or the second side, is nearly, but not exactly parallel with the
before-mentioned right-lined land-side, for it widens or diverges from
the angle at which the first and second sides join towards its
posterior or hindermost point, as much as one inch. Hence, the
distance from the hindermost point of the mould-board, at the angle of
the second and third sides, directly across to the land-side, is one
inch more than it is from the angle of the first and second sides,
directly across. The length of this, the second side, is eight inches.
The next side, or what is here denominated the third side, leaves the
ground or furrow in a slanting direction backward, and with an
over-hanging curve, exceeding the perpendicular outwards from three to
six inches, according to the size of the Plough. The length of this
third side is fourteen inches and one-half. The fourth side of this
mould-board is horizontal, or nearly so, extending from the uppermost
point of the third side, to the fore part, or pitch, eighteen inches.
The fifth, or last side, descends or slopes from the last mentioned
mark, spot, or pitch, to the place of beginning at the low and fore
point of the mould-board, where it joins the land-side. Its length is
thirteen inches.

"Besides these properties and proportions of his mould-board, the said
Jethro Wood now explains other properties which it possesses, and by
which it may be and is distinguished from every other invented thing.
The peculiar curve has been compared to that of the screw auger; and
it has been likened to the prow of a ship. Neither of these
similitudes conveys the fair and proper notion of the invention.

"The mould-board, which the said Jethro Wood claims as his own, and
which is the result of profound reflection and of numberless
experiments, is a sort of plano-curvilinear surface, as herein-before
stated, having the following bearings and relations: A right line,
drawn by a chalked string or cord, or by a straight rule, diagonally
or obliquely upwards and backwards from a point two inches and a half
inch above the tip or extremity of the mould-board to the angle where
the third and fourth sides of the mould-board join, touches the
surface the whole distance, in an even and uniform application, and
leaves no sinking, depression, hole, cavity, rising, lump, or
protuberance, in any part of the distance. So, at a distance half way
between the diagonal line just described, and the angle between the
first and second sides, a line drawn parallel to the diagonal line
already mentioned will receive the chalked string or cord, or the
straight rule, as on an uniform and even surface without the smallest
bend, sinuosity, or bunch, whereby earth might adhere to the
mould-board, and impede the motion and progress of the Plough, under,
through and along the soil.

"In like manner, if a point be taken one inch behind the angle
connecting the second and third sides, and a perpendicular be raised
upon it, that perpendicular will coincide with the vertical portion of
the mould-board in that place; or, in other words, if a plumb line be
let fall so as to reach a point one inch behind the last mentioned
angle, then such a plumb line will hang parallel with the mould-board
the whole way; the line of the mould-board there, neither projecting
nor receding but being both a right line and a perpendicular line.

"Moreover, if a right line be drawn from a point on the just described
perpendicular, an inch, or thereabouts, above the upper margin of the
fourth side, and from the point to which the said perpendicular, if
continued, would reach; if, the said Jethro Wood repeats, a right line
be drawn downward and forward, not exactly parallel to the diagonal
herein already described, but so diverging from the same that it is
one inch more distant or further apart, at its termination on the
fifth side of the mould-board, than at its origin or place of
beginning; such line, so beginning, continued, and ended, is a right
line parallel to the mould-board along its whole course and direction,
and the space over which it passes has no inequality, hill, or hollow
thereabout.

"Furthermore, an additional property of his mould-board is, that, if
it be measured and proved various ways, vertically and obliquely, by
the saw in fashioning it, by the rule in meeting it, and by the
chalk-line in determining it, the capital and distinguishing character
of right lines existing on, over and along the peculiar curve which
his mould-board describes, is always and inseparably present. This
grand and discriminating feature of his mould-board, he considers as
of the utmost importance.

"He therefore craves the aid and elucidation of his drawing, and of
his model, in their totality and in their several parts, to render
plain and sure whatever there may be, from the abstruse and recondite
nature of the subject, uncertain or dubious in the language of his
specification.

"In the second place, the said Jethro Wood claims an exclusive right
and privilege in the construction of a standard of cast iron, like the
rest of the work already described, for connecting the mould-board
with the beam. This standard is broad, stout, strong; and rises from
the fore and upper part of the mould-board, being cast with it, and
being a projection or continuation of the same from where the fourth
and fifth sides meet. Its figure, strength, and arrangement are such
as best to secure the connexion, and to enable the standard thus
associated with the beam, to bear the pull, tug, and brunt of service.
By a screw bolt and nut properly adjusted above the top of the
standard and acting along its side, assisted, if need require, by a
wedge for tightening and loosening, the beam may be raised and
lowered; and the mould-board, with its cutting edge, enabled to make a
furrow of greater or smaller depth, as the ploughman may desire, and a
latch and key fixed to the beam, and capable of being turned into
notches, grooves, or depressions on one edge or narrow side of the
standard, serves to keep the beam from settling or descending. By
means of these screw bolts, wedges, latches, and keys, with their
appropriate notches, teeth, and joggles, the Plough may be deepened or
shallowed most exactly.

"In the third place, the said Jethro Wood claims an exclusive
privilege in the inventions and improvements made by him in the
construction of the cutting edge of the mould-board, or what may be
called, in plain language, the plough-share. The cutting edge consists
of cast iron, as do the mould-board and land-side themselves. It is
about twelve inches and one half of one inch long, four inches and one
half of one inch broad, and in the thickest part three quarters of an
inch thick. It is so fashioned and cast, that it fits snugly and
nicely into a corresponding excavation or depression at the low and
fore edge of the mould-board, along the side herein before termed the
first side. When properly adapted, the cutting edge seems, by its
uniformity of surface and evenness of connextion, to be an elongation
of the mould-board, or, as it were, an extension or continuation of
the same. To give the cutting edge firm coherence and connexion, it is
secured to the mould-board by one or more knobs, pins or heads in the
inner and higher side, which are received into one or more holes in
the fore and lower part of the mould-board. By this mechanism, the
edge is lapped on and kept fast and true, without the employment of
screws. That the cutting edge may be the more securely and immovably
kept in its place, it has a groove, or ship-lap of one inch in length,
below, or at its under side, near the angle between the first and
second sides, for the purpose of holding it, and for the further
accomplishment of the same object, another groove or ship-lap, stouter
and stronger than the preceding, is also cast in the iron, at or near
the point of the mould-board, so as to cover, encase, and protect it
effectually, on the upper and lower sides, but not on the land side.

"After the cutting edge is thus adapted and adjusted to the
mould-board by means of the indentations, pins, holes, ship-laps, and
fastenings, it is fixed to its place and prevented from slipping back,
or working off, by wedges or pins of wood, or other material, driven
into the holes from the inner and under side, and forced tight home by
a hammer.

"In the fourth place, the said Jethro Wood claims the exclusive right
of securing the handles of his plough to the mould-board and land-side
of the plough by means of notches, ears, loops, or holders, cast with
the mould-board and land-side respectively, and serving to receive and
contain the handles, without the use of nuts and screws. For this
purpose one or more ears or loops, or one or more pairs of notches or
holders are cast on the inner side of the mould-board and land side,
toward their hinder or back parts, or near their after margins, for
the reception of the handles of the Plough. And these, when duly
entered and fitted, are wedged in, instead of being fastened by
screws.

"In the fifth place, the said Jethro Wood claims an exclusive right to
his invention and improvement in the mode of fitting, adapting and
adjusting the cast iron landside to the cast iron mould-board. Their
junction is after the manner of tenon and mortice; the tenon being at
the fore end of the land-side and the mortice being at the inside of
the mould-board and near its point. The tenon and mortice are joggled,
or dove-tailed together in the casting operation, so as to make them
hold fast. The fore end of the tendon is additionally secured by a
cast projection from the inside of the mould-board for its reception;
and if any other tightening or bracing should be requisite, a wooden
wedge, well driven in, will bind every part effectually, and all this
is accomplished without the assistance or instrumentality of screws.

"The said inventor and petitioner wishes it to be understood, that the
principal metallic material of his Plough is cast iron. He has very
little use for wrought iron, and by adapting the former to the extent
he has done, and by discontinuing the latter, he is enabled to make
the Plough stronger and better, as well as more lasting and cheap.

"He also claims, and hereby asserts the right, of varying the
dimensions and proportions of his Plough, and of its several sections
and parts, in the relations of somewhat more and somewhat less of
length, breadth, thickness, and composition, according to his judgment
or fancy, so that all the while he adheres to his principle and
departs not from it.

"Regarding each and every of the matters submitted as very conducive
to the reputation and emolument of the said Jethro Wood, he relies
confidently upon a benign and favorable construction of his petition
and specification, by the constituted authorities of his country.

"Given under his hand, at the city of New York, this fourteenth day of
August, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen (1819), in the
presence of two witnesses, to wit:

    "SAM'L L. MITCHELL, }
    "J. G. BOGERT.      } JETHRO WOOD."

This patent expired by its own limitation in fourteen years, when it
was renewed or continued for another term of fourteen years. In view
of the comparative ease and speediness with which the inventors of the
present day, or their assigns, utilize really valuable patents, it
would be inferred, in the absence of specific knowledge to the
contrary, that twenty-eight years constituted a sufficiently long
period for the enjoyment by Mr. Wood, of "the full and exclusive right
and liberty of making, constructing, using and vending to others to
be used," the plow which he had invented. No doubt some members of
Congress in refusing to continue the patent for a third term, acted
from conscientious motives. But in point of fact, the period was
occupied in a series of struggles calamitous to the inventor, to the
history of which we must now turn. These struggles were unlike those
in the lives of some other great inventors, notably, Goodyear and
Howe. It was not a warfare for existence, the wolf of poverty staring
him in the face. The broad fields which he had inherited from his
father were adequate immunity from the sad fate too frequently
allotted to inventors. But no benefactor of mankind in the domain of
mechanism ever experienced more iniquitous treatment than Jethro Wood
did.

Before the year 1819 closed, his mission as an inventor was an
accomplished fact. The popular name given his implement, "The Cast
Iron Plow," from its entire abandonment of wrought iron in its
construction, needed no change to be the noblest gift ever made to
agriculture. In the ideal, hope had ripened into full fruition. And
now, at this day, looking at the matter in the light of the past,
seeing the absolutely incalculable benefits of the invention, it seems
almost incredible that the American people, then even more than now, a
nation of farmers, should not have hailed the new plow as an
unspeakable boon, especially the community in which he dwelt, for
Cayuga county then, as now, under a high state of cultivation, was and
is peopled by a population of much more than average intelligence. But
an inventor, like "a prophet, is not without honor save in his own
country." His neighbors gravely shook their heads at "Jethro's folly."
With almost entire unanimity they agreed that the new contrivance
would never work. His trials and difficulties at this stage of
progress are told as follows, by one who wrote largely from personal
recollection:

"He immediately began to manufacture his plows, and introduce them to
the farmers in his neighborhood. The difficulties which he now
encountered would have daunted any man without extraordinary
perseverance and a firm belief in the inestimable benefit to
agriculture sure to result from his invention. He was obliged to
manufacture all the patterns, and to have the plow cast under the
disadvantages usual with new machinery. The nearest furnace was thirty
miles from his home, and, baffled by obstacles which unskillful and
disobliging workmen threw in his way, he visited it, day after day,
directing the making of his patterns, standing by the furnaces while
the metal was melting, and often with his own hands aiding in the
casting.

"When, at length, samples of his plow were ready for use, he met with
another difficulty in the unwillingness of the farmers to accept them.
'What,' they cried, in contempt, 'a plow made of pot metal? You might
as well attempt to turn up the earth with a glass plowshare. It would
hardly be more brittle.'

"One day he induced one of the most skeptical neighbors to make a
public trial of the plow. A large concourse gathered to see how it
would work. The field selected for the test was thickly strewn with
stones, many of them firmly imbedded in the soil, and jutting up from
the surface. All predicted that the plow would break at the outset. To
their astonishment and Wood's satisfaction, it went around the field,
running easily and smoothly, and turning up the most perfect furrow
which had ever been seen. The small stones against which the farmer
maliciously guided it, to test the 'brittle' metal, moved out of the
way as if they were grains of sand, and it slid around the immovable
rocks as if they were icebergs. Incensed at the non-fulfillment of
his prophecy, the farmer finally drove the plow with all force upon a
large bowlder, and found to his amazement that it was uninjured by the
collision. It proved a day of triumph for Jethro Wood, and from that
time he heard few taunts about the pot-metal.

"It was soon discovered that his plow turned up the soil with so much
ease that two horses could do the work for which a yoke of oxen and a
span of horses had sometimes been insufficient before; that it made a
better furrow, and that it could be bought for seven or eight dollars;
no more running to the blacksmith, either, to have it sharpened. It
was proved a thorough and valuable success. Thomas Jefferson, from his
retirement at Monticello, wrote Wood a letter of congratulation, and
although his theory of the construction of mould-boards had differed
entirely from the inventor's, gave his most hearty appreciation to
the merits of the new plow."

In this connection may be told a curious episode, one in itself worthy
of record, and strikingly illustrative of the perversities of fortune
to Mr. Wood in those gloomy days. It is the story of a Czar and a
Citizen.

All uncertainty as to the feasibility of the new plow having been
removed, and actuated by that broad philanthropy which was one of the
peculiar charms in the character of Mr. Wood, he desired to extend as
widely as possible the area of his usefulness, and concluded to make
the Czar of Russia, so long the chief grain exporting country of the
world, the present of one of his plows. During the Revolutionary war,
then fresh in the American mind, that great sovereign, Catherine of
Russia, had been the staunch friend of this country, and that, too,
without being impelled by jealousy of Great Britain. It seems to be a
peculiar trait in the Romanoff family to admire liberty in the
abstract, however absolute in practice. Sharing the prevailing good
will toward Russia, Mr. Wood conceived this happy thought of making a
truly substantial contribution to Cossack civilization, a civilization
ever ready, with all its crudeness, to adopt foreign improvements.
That gift, in one point of view slight, proved of great benefit to
Russian agriculture. It is impossible to state the extent of actual
advantage derived by Russia from that truly imperial gift. It was in
effect giving to that country, second only to the United States in
area of tillage, in proportion to population, the free use of the
perfected plow. In an old copy of the New York _Tribune_, in its palmy
days of Horace Greeley and Solon Robinson, the tale of the Plow and
the Ring is unfolded. It runs thus:

"During the year, 1820, Jethro Wood sent one of his plows to Alexander
I, Emperor of Russia, and the peculiar circumstances attending the
gift and its reception formed a large part of the newspaper gossip of
the day. Wood, though a man of cultivation, intellectually as well as
agriculturally, was not familiar with French, which was then as now
the diplomatic language. So he requested his personal friend, Dr.
Samuel Mitchill, President of the New York Society of Natural History
and Sciences, to write a letter in French to accompany the gift.

"The autocrat of all the Russias received the plow and the letter, and
sent back a diamond ring--which the newspapers declared to be worth
from $7,000 to $15,000--in token of his appreciation. By some
indirection, the ring was not delivered to the donor of the plow, but
to the writer of the letter, and Dr. Mitchill instantly appropriated
it to his own use. Wood appealed to the Russian Minister at Washington
for redress. The Minister sent to His Emperor and asked to whom the
ring belonged, and Alexander replied that it was intended for the
inventor of the plow. Armed with this authority, Wood again demanded
the ring of Mitchill. But there were no steamships or telegraphs in
those days, and Mitchill declared that in the long interval in which
they had been waiting to hear from Russia, he had given it to the
cause of the Greeks, who were then rising to throw off the yoke of
their Turkish oppressors. A newspaper of the time calls Mitchill's
course 'an ingenious mode of quartering on the enemy,' and the
inventor's friends seem to have believed that the ring had been
privately sold for his benefit. At all events it never came to light
again, and Wood, a peaceful man, a Quaker by profession, did not push
the matter further."

Perhaps another and quite as potent a reason why Friend Wood did not
follow up this matter was that weightier affairs demanded his
immediate and entire attention. One difficulty was overcome only to
develop another. No sooner had he silenced the cavils of the farmers
and demonstrated the value of his patent, than infringements upon his
rights threatened to, and actually did, rob him of the fruits of his
invention. "Uneasy rests the head that wears a crown" of genius.

The patent laws of that day were very imperfect, and there was a
strong prejudice against their enforcement. The cry of "no monopoly"
was raised. Mr. Wood had expended many thousands of dollars in
perfecting his patterns and getting ready to supply the demand which
he felt sure would arise for his plows, many of which, during the
first few years, he gave away, that their value might be established
to the satisfaction of the public. The stage of probation over, the
plow makers of the country, defiant of patent law, engaged in their
manufacture. His patent had fourteen years to run. In an incredibly
short time their use by the farmers in all parts of the land became
almost universal, and had he been allowed a royalty, however small, he
would have realized a vast fortune. Instead of that he very nearly
exhausted all his property in unavailing endeavors to establish
through the courts his rights as inventor and patentee.

In 1833, when his patent expired, Congress granted a renewal for
fourteen years. He was now bowed with the burden of years, and debts
incurred in trying to protect himself against infringers. His
remaining days were spent in vain efforts to maintain his rights. His
broad and kindly nature had conceived noble plans for the use of the
wealth which at one time seemed so nearly within his reach. He had
always been deeply interested in education, and had fortune smiled
upon him it is not too much to say that in spirit, however different
in detail, Jethro Wood would have anticipated Stephen Girard, Ezra
Cornell and John S. Hopkins, in nobly founding a great institution of
learning.

In private life Jethro Wood was a model man. If he had faults it is
impossible to ascertain them, for it would seem, from the concurrent
testimony of all who were acquainted with him, that

    "None knew him but to love him,
     None name him but to praise."

Although a consistent member of the Society of Friends, Mr. Wood was
extremely liberal in his religious views, and did not conform to the
peculiar dress of the sect. He had that truly Catholic spirit so
admirably characteristic of the great Quaker-poet, John G. Whittier.
Not even the cruel wrongs he sustained at the hands of dishonest
infringers could turn the sweetness of his kindly temper. Nature had
endowed him richly in every way, and no gift had been abused.
Physically, his was the highest type of manly beauty. Six feet and two
inches in height, perfect in proportion, courtly in manner, his
presence was worthy his character.

We will not linger over the closing scene of his eventful life. That
belongs to the sacred secrecy of private grief. His death occurred at
the very threshold of a new conflict, and upon it his son and
executor, Benjamin Wood, entered with intelligent zeal. The closing of
it being reserved for two of his daughters.

The story of these new labors was well told several years ago by a
journalist familiar with the facts, and we cannot do better than to
unearth the record from its musty file, and by transcribing it to
these pages, give it a kind of resurrection worthy its importance.

"After the death of Jethro Wood, his son Benjamin, who received the
invention as a legacy, continued his efforts to wrest justice from the
unwilling hand of the law. Nearly all his father's failures had
proceeded from the inadequacy of the patent laws, which were almost
worthless to protect the rights of the inventor. Even now a patent is
worth little until it has been fought through the Supreme Court of
the United States. In those days so many obstacles were thrown in the
way of inventors, and the combinations against them were so
formidable, that Eli Whitney, in trying to establish his right to the
cotton-gin in a Georgia court, while his machine was doubling and
trebling the value of lands through the State, had this experience,
which is given in his own words: I had great difficulty in proving
that the machine had been used in Georgia, _although at the same
moment there were three separate sets of this machinery in motion
within fifty yards of the building in which the court sat, and all
so near that the rattling of the wheels was distinctly heard on the
steps of the Court House_.

"Similar difficulties had met Jethro Wood in _his_ suits; so his son
resolved to strike at the root of the evil by securing a reform in the
laws. He accordingly went to Washington, where he remained through
several sessions, always working to this end. Clay, Webster, and John
Quincy Adams, all of whom had known Jethro Wood and his invention,
aided his son powerfully with their votes and counsel, and he
succeeded in securing several important changes in the patent laws.

"Then he returned to New York, and commenced suit to resist
encroachments on his right, and the wholesale manufacture of his plow
by those who refused to pay the premium to the inventor. The
'Cast-Iron Plow' was now used all over the country, and formidable
combinations of its manufacturers united their capital and influence
against Benjamin Wood. William H. Seward, then practicing law, was
retained as Wood's counsel, and the plow-makers engaged all the talent
they could muster to oppose him.

"Heretofore it had never been contradicted that Jethro Wood was the
originator of the plow in use, but now his right to the invention was
denied, and it was alleged that his improvements had been forestalled
by other makers. Again and again the case was adjourned, and Europe
and America were ransacked for specimens of the different plows which
were declared to include his patent.

"Mr. Wood also obtained from England samples of the plows of James
Small and Robert Ransom. He searched New-Jersey to find the Peacock
plow which was said to have a cast-iron mould-board of exactly similar
shape to his father's. Everywhere in that State he found 'Wood's plow'
in use, but he could hear nothing of the one he sought. At length
riding near a farm-house he discovered one of the old 'Newbold-Peacock
plows' lying under a fence, dilapidated and rust-eaten. 'We don't use
it any more,' the farmer replied to his inquiries, 'we've got one a
good deal better.' 'Will you sell this?' asked Wood. 'Well, yes.' And
Wood, glad to get it at almost any price, paid the keen farmer, who
took advantage of his evident anxiety, two or three times the price of
a new plow, and added the old one to his specimens.

"This motley collection of implements was brought into court and
exhibited to the judges. At last, after the case had dragged its slow
length along, through many terms, and the plaintiff was nearly worn
out with the law's delay, the time for final trial and decision
arrived. The combination of plow-makers feared that the case would go
in Wood's favor, and made every effort to keep him out of court, that
he might lose it by default. During his long entanglement in the law,
he had contracted many debts, and one of his opponents had managed to
purchase several of these accounts. Just before the case was to be
heard for the last time, this worthy plow manufacturer, attended by a
sheriff, and armed with a warrant to arrest Wood for debt, appeared at
the front door of his house. Fortunately Wood had had a few minutes
warning, and slipping out at the back door, he made his way under
cover of approaching darkness to a house of a friendly neighbor. There
he procured a horse and started for Albany, 150 miles distant, hearing
every moment in fancy the clattering of hoofs at his heels.

"As if fortune could not be sufficiently ill-natured, his horse proved
vicious and unmanageable, and thrice in the tedious journey threw the
rider from his saddle upon the frozen earth, so injuring him, that he
was barely able to go on.

"On arriving at Albany he found himself not a moment too soon. The
case had an immediate hearing, and after three days' trial the Circuit
Court decided unequivocally that the plow now in general use over the
country was unlike any other which had been produced; that the
improvements which rendered it so effective were due to Jethro Wood,
and that all manufacturers must pay his heirs for the privilege of
making it.

"This was a great triumph; but it was now the late autumn of 1845, and
the last grant of the patent had little more than a year to run. Wood
again repaired to Washington to apply for a new extension, but the
excitements of so long a contest had been too much for him. Just as he
had recommenced his efforts they were forever ended. While talking
with one of his friends, he suddenly fell dead from heart disease, and
the patent expired without renewal.

"The last male heir to the invention was no more. On settling the
estate, it was found that while not a vestige remained of the large
fortune owned by Jethro Wood when he began his career, _less than five
hundred and fifty dollars had ever been received from his invention_.

"The after history of the case is a brief one. Four daughters of Jethro
Wood alone remained to represent the family. In the winter of 1848 the
two younger sisters went to Washington to petition Congress that a
bill might be passed for their relief, in view of the inestimable
services of their father to the agricultural interests of the country.
Webster declared that he regarded their father as a 'public
benefactor,' and gave them his most efficient aid; Clay warmly
espoused their cause, and the venerable John Quincy Adams, with his
trembling hand--then so enfeebled by age that he rarely used the
pen--wrote them kind notes, heartily sympathizing with them. On one
memorable day, while they were in the House gallery, Mr. Adams, at his
desk on the floor, wrote them briefly in relation to their case. A few
minutes later he was struck with the fatal attack under which he
exclaimed, 'This is the last of earth; I am content,' and was borne
dying to the Speaker's room. The tremulous lines, the last his hand
ever traced, were found on his desk and delivered to Miss Wood.

"A bill providing that in these four heirs should rest for seven years
the exclusive right of making and vending the improvements in the
construction of the cast-iron plow; and that twenty-five cents on each
plow might be exacted from all who manufactured it, passed the Senate
unanimously. But Washington already swarmed with plow manufacturers.
The city of Pittsburgh alone sent five to look after their interests.
Money was freely used, and the members of the House Committee who
were to report on the bill were assured that during the 28 years of
the patent, Wood's family had reaped immense wealth, and wished to
keep up a monopoly. The two quiet ladies, fresh from the retirement of
a Quaker home, where they had learned little of the world, were even
accused of attempting to secure its extention through bribery. It was
the wolf charging the lamb with roiling the water. So ignorant were
they of such means, that, though the Chairman of the Committee plainly
told the younger lady in a few words of private conversation that a
very few thousand dollars would give her a favorable verdict, she did
not understand the suggestion till after an unfavorable report was
presented, and the bill killed in the House.

"When they were about to leave Washington, some friendly members of
Congress advised them to deposit the valuable documents which had been
used in their suit, including the letter from Thomas Jefferson to
Jethro Wood, in the archives of the House, where they could only be
withdrawn on the motion of some member. They did so, and left them for
some years uncalled for. When at last they applied for them they could
not be found. Nor from that time to the present has any trace of them
been discovered by any of the family. Thus perished the last vestige
of proof relating to this ill-fated invention."

This is a fair and candid statement, one fully sustained by
unimpeachable documentary evidence. Especially by the somewhat
voluminous pamphlet entitled "Documents relating to the improvements
of Jethro Wood in the Construction of the Plough." A careful
examination of the testimony therein embodied, and of the
Congressional Reports on the subject, warrant the foregoing
statements.

It is not strange that in an early annual report of the United States
Commissioner of Agriculture, that official should have remarked with
some bitterness that "Although Wood was one of the greatest
benefactors to mankind by this admirable invention, he never received,
for all his thought, anxiety and expense, a sum of money sufficient to
defray the expenses of his decent burial." The time long since passed
forever to seek pecuniary indemnity; but a debt of gratitude never
outlaws, and it is due to the great inventor that his countrymen
should gratefully cherish his memory. Every year adds to the debt we
all owe him. As the area of cultivation widens, the obligation
deepens. Already America is the foremost nation of all the earth in
the production of wheat and provisions, the latter being in reality
corn in meat form. In exchange for our food supplies, the United
States is draining Europe of its gold at an enormous rate, and the
fundamental element in the production of American wealth, is our great
implement of tillage. American prosperity is the monumental glory of
Jethro Wood and his plow.

"The Balance Sheet of the World" shows that the United States can
boast more acres of tillage, in proportion to population, than any
other country on the globe; and in grain production, outstrips all
competitors. Of such a record every American citizen may well be
proud, and it should be remembered that without the genius of Wood
such a record could not have been made, even approximately. But in
order to a just appreciation of the importance of the modern plow and
the usefulness of the inventor of it, one should take a retrospective
glance, tracing, as best we may without tedious details, the steps
which led from the use of a forked stick to the present implement for
fallowing the ground. The _Scientific American_, which ought to be
good authority on such a subject, in speaking of the Wood patent,
says: "Previously the plow was a stick of wood plated with iron." If
this does sound like an exaggeration, but is really a plain statement
of fact, consider for a moment what the plow really is in its relation
to civilization.

The savage lives by the chase and upon the bounty of untilled nature.
The first steps toward civilization are to domesticate animals, and
cultivate the soil with a rude kind of hoe. Both are alike primitive.
The next step is to press the beast into service by supplementing the
hoe with a plow. In that implement we see what might be called the
original strand in the mighty cord which binds in co-operation man,
brute and earth. By means of this agency of agriculture the beast of
the field is made to toil, and purchases the benefits of human
kindness at the expense of idleness and industry. It is not too much,
then, to say that the plow is at once "the tie that binds," and the
tap-root which nourishes the world. If by some miraculous calamity
this one implement were forever swept away, universal and unappeasable
famine would be inevitable. And that occasional famines of a local
character are disappearing from the civilized world, is very largely,
if not chiefly, due to the improved tillage resulting from improved
plows.

We might well say, in paraphrase of a familiar saying attributed to
Napoleon: Let me make the plows of a nation, and I care not who makes
their laws.

The primitive plow was and is (for the barbarian of to-day is
substantially the same in his agricultural methods as the barbarian of
antiquity) simply a forked stick, to which is attached by a strip of
rawhide or a wisp of grass, a beast, often the patient cow. As the
prong passes over the ground, held down by the bowed form of the poor
tiller, it barely scratches the face of the earth.

The first improvement was to reverse the stick and notch the forward
end. By that means the animal could be more securely fastened to the
plow, the thong being tied around the crotch of the stick. The shorter
limb ran along the surface of the ground, the notch in front being the
only reliance for stirring the soil. In the absence of a compact turf,
such plowing would do a little good in rendering the ground fallow,
and would at least have the merit of not being so difficult to operate
as its predecessor.

The third plow had three parts. It consisted of a beam, a handle and a
share, all constructed by simply trimming the natural wood selected
for that purpose. In the first plow the prong which served as a share
was slanting, while in the third it rested flatly upon the ground,
projecting forward, instead of backward, as in the second plow. It
could have required no very difficult search to have found small
trees and broken limbs, needing no mechanical skill in fashioning, to
render them serviceable for such crude uses. They may be termed
nature's contribution to the art of plow-making.

Without going further into details, it may be stated that a standard
authority on the history of mechanism asserts that "the ancient
Egyptian, Etruscan, Syrian, and Greek plows, were equal to the modern
plows of the south of France, part of Austria, Poland, Sweden, Spain,
Turkey, Persia, Arabia, India, Ceylon and China; at least such was the
case until the middle of the present century." The Roman and Gallic
plows were better than those of the modern countries named. The Gauls
had mould-board plows. Pliny is our authority for this statement. That
eminent Latin author of eighteen centuries ago, in speaking on the
general subject, says:

"Plows are of various kinds. The colter is the iron part which cuts
the thick sod before it is broken into pieces and traces beforehand by
its incision the future furrows, which the share, reversed, is to open
with its teeth. Another kind, the common plowshare, is nothing more
than a lever furnished with a pointed beak; while another variety,
which is used in light, easy soils, does not present an edge
projecting from the share-beam throughout, but only a small point at
the extremity. In a fourth kind, again, this point is larger and
formed with a cutting edge by the agency of which it cleaves the
ground, and by the sharp edges at the side cuts up the weeds by the
roots."

Pliny adds that the broader the plowshare the better it is for turning
up the soil. These excerpts from the great Roman may serve to show the
utmost reach of invention in that line, until a new impulse, begun in
the Netherlands in the eighteenth century, was brought to perfect
development in the next century by an American citizen who died the
poorer for his invention.

The highest of all authorities upon this and cognate subjects is
"Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary," and Knight says of Jethro
Wood, "He made the best plows up to date." He adds, "He met with great
opposition, and then with much injustice, losing a competency in
introducing his plow and fighting infringers." The same writer defines
the peculiarities of the Wood plow with remarkable clearness and
brevity: "It consisted in the mode of securing the cast-iron portions
together by lugs and locking pieces, doing away with screw-bolts, and
much weight, complexity and expense. It was the first plow in which
the parts most exposed to wear could be renewed in the field by the
substitution of cast pieces." Considering the source of this passage,
it may be said that literature could hardly pay a nobler tribute to
the memory of Jethro Wood than this. It is doubly significant, from
the fact that Knight's publishers, Houghton, Osgood & Co., are also
the publishers of the _Atlantic Monthly_, in the May number of which
magazine a _habitue_ of the National Capital tried to belittle the
invention of Jethro Wood, and malign as iniquitous the attempt of his
daughters, championed by John Quincy Adams, to secure for that
invention proper recognition. It would be quite superfluous to follow
this maligner in the details of this, and a subsequent attack in an
agricultural journal. He disclaims any design to defame the claimants,
but insists that other and earlier inventors deserve the credit for
the modern plow. The opinion of Knight's Dictionary upon the Wood
patent has just been given, and the following extract from the same
great work sets forth in their proper relations to the modern plow the
inventions of those for whom this _habitue_ makes preposterous
claims:

"The modern plow," says Knight, "originated in the low countries,
so-called. Flanders and Holland gave to England much of her husbandry
and gardening knowledge, field, kitchen and ornamental. Blythe's
'Improver Improved,' published in 1652, has allusions to the subject.
Lummis, in 1720, imported plows from Holland. James Small, of
Berwickshire, Scotland, made plows and wrote treatises on the subject,
1784. He made cast-iron mold-boards and wrought-iron shares, and
introduced the draft-chain. He made shares of cast-iron in 1785. The
importation of what was known as the 'Rotherham' plow was the
immediate cause of the improvement in plows which dates from the
middle of the last century. Whether the name is derived from Rotterdam
cannot be determined.

"The American plow, during the colonial period, was of wood, the
mold-board being covered with sheet-iron, or plates made by hammering
out old horseshoes. Jefferson studied and wrote on the subject, to
determine the proper shape of the mold-board. He treated it as
consisting of a lifting and an upsetting wedge, with an easy
connecting curve. Newbold, of New Jersey, in 1797, patented a plow
with a mold-board, share and land side all cast together. Peacock, in
his patent of 1807, cast his plow in three pieces, the point of the
colter entering a notch in the breast of the share."

It will be observed that the credit given these improvers of the plow
is very considerable, without at all trenching upon the exceptional
credit due to Jethro Wood. With such an authoritative refutation, the
slander may well be dismissed as beneath further notice.

In no way more appropriately can final leave be taken of the subject
in hand than by presenting the apostrophe to Jethro Wood from the pen
of Edward Webster, formerly associated editor of the _Rural New
Yorker_:

    No jeweled diadem or crown
      E'er glittered on thy manly brow--
    No slave would tremble at thy frown,
      Nor at thy footstool bow;
    For thou wert pure in heart and mind,
    And strove to _raise_--not crush mankind!

    As famed Prometheus of yore,
      In aid of our lost, wretched sires,
    Stole from the flaming-sun, and bore
      Down to the earth those fires
    That fill with light and life all space,
    And mark the Day God's glorious race--

    So thy inventive genius found
      For man the bright and polished share,
    That bids the willing fields abound
      With fruits beyond compare;
    And from the seed that falls like rain
    Crowds full our barns with bearded grain!

    Eternal may the honors shine,
      We yield with grateful hearts to thee;
    May children's children round thy shrine--
      Sons of the brave and free--
    With reverent lips pronounce thy name,
    And build for thee a deathless fame!





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