Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Voices from the Past: Biography of James Heddon (1900)

The following biography of James Heddon reminds us that his first love in life was not fishing or tackle, but beekeeping. From the important book The ABC of Bee Culture by A.I. & E.R Root, it covers his career in some depth. Of great interest is the description of his demeanor, which is said to be "intensely nervous."


James Heddon was born Aug. 28, 1845, in the Genesee Valley, New York. Early In life he removed to the West: and for years Dowagiac, Mich., has been a name well known to bee-keepers, because it is the home of James Heddon. Endowed by nature with a mind of remarkable vigor lie lacked the advantages of much training in schools, and possibly also its disadvantages. His entrance into the ranks of bee-keepers, about the year 1869. may probably be traced to the fact that he married Miss Hastings, the daughter of a bee-keeper, serving an apprenticeship with the father. Few have shown such faith in bee-keeping, for Mr. H. was the first in the State and one of the first in the country, to make a specialty of that pursuit, and few have shown that their faith was so well founded: for, commencing with nothing he credits his capital, amounting to thousands, entirely to the aid of the little busy bee. His apiaries have some years contained between 500 and 600 colonies. In 1879 he added the supply-business.

Mr. Heddon is slight and wiry In figure, below the medium size, of sandy complexion, and intensely nervous in temperament. This nervous tendency leaves its strong impress on his writings, and more especially on his speaking. To that, and to the state of health resulting from it, may perhaps be attributed a fierceness in controversy, especially in his earlier writings, that would hardly allow one, who had never seen him, to give him credit for the affability that he really possesses. As might be expected, both In writing and speaking, he is possessed of great vigor. He Is a prolific writer, and, when not too much carried away by controversy, eminently practical. In 1885 he published "Success in Bee Culture," a practical work, giving his plans of bee management, as also a description of the Heddon hive invented by him —a hive having the brood-chamber divided Into two sections, with the Intention of making manipulation by hives rather than by frames. He is also editor and publisher of the Dowagiac Times.

Among his inventions, aside from the Heddon hive, are the Heddon surplus case and the slat honey-board, so extensively used. He is the father of the "Pollen Theory." Mr. Heddon is by no means guided by what is merely popular, seeming rather to take a delight In the opposite, and for a time championed box hives after their general abandonment. He now prefers a carefully bred cross of Italians and blacks.

-- Dr. Todd

1 comment:

Brandon Shuler said...

Heddon Red and White Super Spook Junior is the best top water ever made, at least for speckled trout. Not to mention, in this household with hooks out, the Super Spook makes a great baby rattle and teething ring. Gotta start'em somewhere.