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A Laurel Founder's Life
Laurel        Civil War     Japan

June-December 2004


Early Years (1804-1834)

Laurel Years (1835-50)

A Life In Transition 1851-1859

Civil War (1860-65)

Department of Agriculture

Japan (1871-1875)

Final Years (1875-1885)

Credits & Acknowledgements



Commissioner of Agriculture:

Horace Capron's Senate confirmation vote (Click to enlarge.)

Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Year 1870. Collection of Ken Skrivseth/Karen Lubieniecki (Click to enlarge.)


Plan for Department of Agriculture. Published in 1870 Report of the Commissioner. Collection of Ken Skrivseth/Karen Lubieniecki  (Click to enlarge.)
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Horace Capron left Illinois sometime after 1865, probably sometime around the period when he was confirmed as Commissioner of Agriculture: November 27, 1867. His Maryland and Illinois political connections were vital to getting the job and his nomination took a while to get through Congress.

Agriculture was “the foundation interest of the country.”  There were 2.6 million farms.  Farmers were 53% of the labor force.  Between 75-79% of the country’s exports were farm products.

As Commissioner Capron oversaw areas ranging from the distribution of seeds, to exports, farm tool inventions to agricultural colleges, and farming experiments.

He also tried to cut some government waste by closing down a seed packing department..

"...This involved the necessity of discharging a large number of employees—mostly females—a most disagreeable duty, particularly as most of them were protégés of members of Congress"Horace Capron Autobiography, p 147.

Front of old Department of Agriculture Building. Developed during Horace Capron tenure.  Library of Congress