Events leading to the planting of the first soybeans in Illinois and the subsequent distribution of the seed throughout the United States are documented. In December 1850 theAuckland left Hong Kong for San Francisco. The ship came across a Japanese junk floundering on the sea. The Japanese crew was removed from the junk and placed on board theAuckland, which continued on to San Francisco. In March 1851 Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edwards obtained soybean seeds from the Japanese and brought the seeds to Alton, Illinois. Mr. John H. Lea of Alton planted the soybeans in his garden in summer 1851. These events took place 3 yr prior to the famous introduction of soybeans from Japan into the United States by the Perry Expedition.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alton Horticultural Society. 1866. Transactions of the Alton Horticultural Society from its organization, November 12, 1853 to the close of the year 1864. Daily Telegraph Steam Book and Job Printing House, Alton, IL.
Alton [Illinois] Telegraph. 1851. 2 May: p. 3, col. 4.
Alton [Illinois] Telegraph and Democratic Review. 1842. 15 Oct.: p. 2, col. 1.
-. 1845. 6 Sep: p. 3, col. 2.
-. 1849. 16 Feb: p. 3, col. 7.
Alton [Illinois] Weekly Telegraph. 1877. 3 May: p. 1, col. 9.
Anderson, W. 1853. Japan pea and Buena Vista beans. J. New York State Agric. Soc. 4:58.
Anonymous. 1853. The Japan pea. Moore’s Rural New Yorker 4:54.
-. 1882. History of Madison County [Illinois]. W. R. Brink and Co., Edwardsville, IL.
Bader, K. L., ed. 1985. Soya bluebook. American Soybean Association, St. Louis, MO.
Bailey, L. H. 1914–1917. The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture 3:1574.
Briggs, J. W. 1853. The Japan pea. J. New York State Agric. Soc. 4:59.
Browne, D. J. 1855. Preliminary remarks. Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1854. p. XV.
Cole, A. B. 1947. A scientist with Perry in Japan. The journal of Dr. James Morrow. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
Daily Alta California [San Francisco]. 1851a. 5 Mar: p. 2, col. 5.
-. 1851b. 6 Mar: p. 2, col. 4.
Davenport, E. 1897. The cow pea and the soja bean. Illinois Agric. Exp. Sta. Circ. 5:1–4.
“E.” 1846. Soy. Farmers’ Cabinet and American Herd-Book 10:379–380.
Ernst, A. H. 1853a. Japan peas. Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1852. Part II Agriculture, p. 448.
—. 1853b. Letter to B. P. Johnson. J. New York State Agric. Soc. 3:84.
-. 1854. The Japan pea. Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1853. Agriculture p. 224–225.
Evening Picayune [San Francisco]. 1851a. 5 Mar: p. 2, col. 5.
-. 1851b. 17 Mar: p. 2, col. 5.
-. 1851c. 20 Mar: p. 2, col. 3.
Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser [London]. 1777. 31 Dec: p. 3, col. 2.
Graff, H. F. 1949. The early impact of Japan upon American agriculture. Agric. Hist. 23:110–116.
“H.” 1831. Dolichos soja or soy bean plant. New England Farmer 10:145.
Hair, J. T. 1866. Gazetteer of Madison County [Illinois]. James T. Hair, Alton, IL.
Hesseltine, W. B., and L. Gara. 1953. Andrew H. Ernst: pioneer horticulturist. Bull. Hist. Phil. Soc. Ohio 11:37–41.
Hopkins, C. G. 1896. Composition and digestibility of corn ensilage, cow pea ensilage, soja bean ensilage, and corn-fodder. Illinois Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 43:181–207.
Hymowitz, T., and J. R. Harlan. 1983. Introduction of soybean to North America by Samuel Bowen in 1765. Econ. Bot. 37:371–379.
Jackson, J. J. 1854. The Japan bean. The Prairie Farmer 14:120.
Lesley, J. P., ed. 1884. Early proceedings of the American Philosopical Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge; compiled from the manuscript minutes of its meetings 1749 to 1838. McCalla and Stavely, Philadelphia, PA.
Mease, J. 1804. Willich’s Domestic Encyclopedia, 1st Amer. ed., 5:13.
Norton,W. T. 1912. Centennial history of Madison County, Illinois, and its people 1812–1912. The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago.
Nuttall, T. 1829. Soybean. New England Farmer 8:105.
Perry, M. C. 1856. Narrative of the expedition of an American squadron to the China Seas and Japan. 3 vol. F. L. Hawks, ed. House of Representatives Document 97, 33 Congress, 2 Session, Washington, DC.
Pratt, H. F. 1951. Lewis B. Parsons: mover of armies and railroad builder. J. Illinois State Hist. Soc. 44:349–354.
Probst, A. H., and R. W. Judd. 1973. Origin, U.S. history and development, and world distribution.In B. E. Caldwell, ed., Soybeans: improvement, production, and uses, p. 1–15. Amer. Soc. Agronomy, Madison, WI.
San Francisco Daily Herald. 1851a. 5 Mar: p. 3, col. 2.
-. 1851b. 18 Mar: p. 2, col. 6.
“T. E. W.” [T. E. Wetmore]. 1854. The Japan pea. Moore’s Rural New Yorker 5:22.
“T. V. P.” 1855. Japan pea. The Cultivator, Third Series, 3:159.
Wormer, M. E. (Transcriber). 1976. Madison County, Illinois, 1850 Census. Vol. 1: p. 126. Heritage House, Thompson, IL.
About this article
Cite this article
Hymowitz, T. Introduction of the soybean to Illinois. Econ Bot 41, 28–32 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02859342
- Economic Botany
- Soybean Seed
- East India Company
- Subsequent Distribution
- American Soybean Association