STALLINGS, WILLIAM CRIDER

Thomas W. Cutrer

STALLINGS, WILLIAM CRIDER (1842–1916). William Crider Stallings, agricultural agent and preacher, was born near Covington in Newton County, Georgia, on September 9, 1842, one of the four children of Elisha and Emily Stallings. Although offered only limited educational opportunities, Stallings read widely. With the coming of the Civil War he enlisted in Lt. Col. Duncan L. Clinch's Third Georgia Cavalry Battalion on November 17, 1861, and scouted and patrolled on the Georgia coast. In January 1863 the battalion merged into the Fourth (Clinch's) Georgia Cavalry regiment, which became a part of Gen. John Hunt Morgan's famous command. Stallings moved to Texas in December 1877 and began farming in the Smith County community of Bascomb. Before purchasing his own farm at Dixie, five miles east of Tyler, Stallings rented farms in Henderson, Decatur, and Alvord. At Alvord he also operated a blacksmith shop. He had preached in Georgia, and in September 1899 he was licensed to preach by the Pleasant Retreat Methodist Church. Stallings read widely on methods of scientific farming and was a firm believer in crop diversification. He became especially well known for his high-yield seed corn, and "Stallings white corn" was later named in his honor. He also specialized in breeding Poland-China hogs. On November 12, 1906, the Commercial Club of Tyler, with the cooperation of Seaman A. Knapp of the United States Department of Agriculture, appointed Stallings the first county agricultural agent in Texas and the first in the nation to serve a single county. After serving Smith County for a year, during which he earned $150 per month, paid on equal shares by the Federal Bureau of Plant Industry of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Tyler business community, Stallings was appointed district agent; the district comprised Smith, Cherokee, and Angelina counties. Through his efforts, the cotton and corn yields of the district increased by over 50 percent. Stallings married Modora A. Austin on June 7, 1864; Martha H. Driggers on July 1, 1866; and Ida R. Hurst on September 2, 1877. He was the father of five children by his second wife and of ten by his third. He died on January 10, 1916. In November 1971 the Texas Historical Commission placed a historical marker on the courthouse square in Tyler to commemorate Stallings's services as a pioneer farm demonstration agent. See also TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
M. R. Bently, "The Cradle of Extension Work," Bunker's Monthly, March 1928. Sidney S. Johnson, Texans Who Wore the Gray (Tyler, Texas, 1907). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Texas Co-op Power, January 1972.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "STALLINGS, WILLIAM CRIDER," accessed October 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst05.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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