Sketches of Students of Second Decade.
PROFESSOR XERXES A. WILLARD is a native of Herkimer County, New York, and was born in 1820. His father, Dr. N. S. Willard, a well-known physician, was a lineal descendant of Colonel Simon Willard, one of the Puritans who emigrated from England and settled in Boston in 1634. The family traces its ancestry back to the times of William the Conqueror, A.D. 1085. Dr. N. S. Willard died in 1827, leaving the subject of our sketch an orphan at six years of age. In 1836-37 Mr. X. A. Willard commenced his academic studies at Fairfield, New York, under the charge of Rev. Dr. Chassell, but a large share of his preparatory course was obtained at Cazenovia Seminary under Professor Bannister and Rev. Dr. Hapgood. He entered Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, in the third term of the freshman class of 1841. He graduated with his class in 1845, and immediately thereafter commenced the study of law at Little Falls, New York, in the office of Loomis & Nolton. In 1848 he was married to Miss Harriet Hallett, of Fairfield. Soon after he abandoned the law and engaged in farming, purchasing the farm of the late judge Wharry, who was his maternal grandfather. The farm is located near Little Falls. Mr. Willard having a taste for science, soon began a series of experiments with milk, and in dairy farming which have proved of great value to the dairy industry of the country. In 1855-56 he organized the Farmers' Club of Little Falls, one of the earliest clubs in the State.
From 1858 to 1861 he was the editor of the "Herkimer County Journal." In 1859 he published the first of his works, "Essays on Agriculture," and began writing for the magazines and other publications. In the same year he was employed by the New York State Agricultural Society to prepare a pamphlet on " Cheese Dairying in Herkimer County." He was canal collector at Little Falls from 1860 to 1862. In 1861 he wrote another pamphlet on "Dairying," and in 1862 his work on the "Associated Dairies of New York" was issued by the Society. This was the first published account of the new dairy system, now so generally adopted over the continent.
In 1864 Mr. Willard became one of the editors of the "Utica Morning Herald," and opened an agricultural department in that paper, which he continued to conduct for five years. He was one of the leading workers in organizing the American Dairymen's Association.
In 1866 Mr. Willard was sent to Europe, as the representative of the American Dairymen's Association, to examine the dairy industries of the old world and report upon their merits. He traveled extensively over England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Switzerland. A report of his investigations abroad was published by the Agricultural Department at Washington. In 1869 he was employed by the Royal Agricultural Society of England to write works on dairying, and he furnished the society with one on "American Butter Factories," and one on "Condensed Milk Manufacture." These were issued by the Royal Society, and printed also in the journal of the society.
In January, 1859, Mr. Willard resigned his editorship of the "Utica Morning Herald," and accepted the position of dairy editor of the "Rural New Yorker," of New York City, and he has continued to occupy the chair up to the present time. In 1871 he published his large work, entitled "Practical Dairy Husbandry," an octavo volume of nearly six hundred pages, and which has been recognized at home and abroad as the standard authority on this subject. In 1875 he brought out his "Practical Butter Book," which at once became the standard on this branch, and has been extensively introduced among dairymen.
Mr. Willard inaugurated the system of "Dairy Boards of Trade." He organized the New York State Dairymen's Association, of which he has for several years been the president; and from his numerous publications and addresses has a well-earned European reputation. The "London (England) Milk journal," in reference to his "Practical Dairy Husbandry," says: "Mr. X. A. Willard is equally well-known on this side of the Atlantic as he is in America by all those who study the literature of the dairy, and is certainly the chief exponent of all that is sound in theory and practice in the production of milk, and its conversion into other popular foods. It is the most valuable work on dairy husbandry that has ever been published. It is most complete and exhaustive." The late Dr. Edward Smith, F.R.S., referring to Mr. Willard's work on "Milk Condensing Factories," published by the Royal Agricultural Society of England, says, in the London "Standard:" "There is no description on record which, in clearness, detail, and correctness, can be compared with it."
In 1870 Mr. Willard gave a course of twelve lectures on agriculture at the Maine State Agricultural College; and he is still retained as one of the lecturers at that college. In 1871 he delivered a course of lectures at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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