William Haskell Neal is the King of Corn

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William Haskell Neal

William Haskell Neal changed the face of farming in Tennessee with his invention of Paymaster Corn. The two-eared dent corn breed doubled the state’s corn crops and led to several hybrid varieties.

Recognizing his achievement, a historical road marker dedicated in his memory has been placed in front of his former home on Trousdale Ferry Pike in Lebanon.

Neal was born in 1859 and began farming at the age of 19. In 1898, he started experimenting with breeding seed corn by selecting seed only from two-eared stalks. The variety helped Tennessee farmers increase their corn yields and generate millions of dollars for the state. In 1935, the year after Neal passed away, one-third of Tennessee’s corn crop came from his variety.

Visit Neal’s road marker in Lebanon, right up the road from Bethlehem Church of Christ.

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