R. H. Shumway biography

R. H. Shumway

Deceased Person

1842 –


Who is R. H. Shumway?

R. H. Shumway is the name of both a mail-order seed company, onetime the largest in the world, and its founder Roland H. Shumway, most popularly known as R. H. Shumway "The Pioneer Seedsman".

Shumway was born July 26, 1842 at his family farm in Kishwaukee, Illinois. At the age of 19, he was enlisted and served in Illinois forces during the American Civil War. Two years later, he re-enlisted in the 50th Illinois Volunteer. Between enlistments, he married Emma Davis in 1864, and together they had four sons and two daughters. He was discharged in 1865.

In 1870, he founded the R. H. Shumway seed company on his farm in Rockford, Illinois. By 1981 1881 his company was expanding so the company relocated to South First street in order to accommodate larger facilities. By his death in 1925, it was the largest in the world, shipping 200,000 catalogues per year.

Shumway died in Rockford on the evening of December 30, 1925 from injuries suffered after being hit by an automobile three days prior. After his death, his son Myron Shumway assumed responsibilities of the company. M. Raymond "Ray" Shumway ran the large mail-order business until he died of heart disease on March 16, 1933.


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Jul 26, 1842

on July 23, 2013

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