ALTON, Ill. (AP) — A marker will be placed at a site in southern Illinois where the state’s first soybeans were planted. Officials of the Illinois State Historical Society will join Lewis and Clark Community College representatives when the marker is dedicated August 23.
The Telegraph reports Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edwards traveled to San Francisco in 1849, where he helped shipwreck survivors from Japan. They reportedly showed Edwards their appreciation with a gift of “Japanese Peas.” Edwards returned to Alton in April 1851 and gave six of the peas to a friend, who planted them in his home garden.
The U.S. Agriculture Department reports Illinois’ 2018 soybean production totaled 688 million bushels. Mayor Brant Walker says commemorating the soybean planting adds a new chapter to the city’s history.