Reverend John Samuel Huggins, Inventor

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 5 June, 2014 at

John Samuel Huggins is my paternal great-great-great-grandfather. He was born in  Darlington, South Carolina in March of 1810. Sometime around 1829 he married Zylphia Ham. They had six sons and seven daughters between 1829 and 1850. He died on April 3, 1879, in Williamsburg, South Carolina, at the age of 69. I know from research that John was an ordained minister of  the Methodist Church. He served as the pastor of the Methodist Church at Muddy Creek, South Carolina until his death.

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One thing that caught my eye about John: among his accomplishments was the invention of the first mechanical cotton planter. According to lore, the design was used throughout the South and still influences the design of seed planters today. Some refer to it as a “horse” planter. When researching this fact, I wondered if John had ever filed a patent on the design. The United States Patent Office was officially formed in 1836,  well before John invented the device.

As it turns out, I was correct. A patent was filed by John and a co-patentee, Rowland Chapman! Patent Number 20,432, “Improvement in cotton seed planters” was issued in June of 1858. In it, John and Rowland lay out the design and rationale for the invention. Included are schematics, which I thought were cool enough to display in my post. 

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The patent in its entirety is available here. Sometimes you find family history data in the most unexpected places.

Sources:
  • John Huggins I of Sea Wee Bay by Otis Prince 1965.
  • J. S. HUGGINS AND R. CHAPMAN, IMPROVEMENT IN COTTON-SEED PLANTERS. No. 20,432. Patented June 1, 1858.
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