Benjamin Dann Walsh
Image courtesy of Bill Kemp
The marker is located behind the building at the I-74 Krisdale Baka Eastbound Rest Area.
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society
Benjamin Dann Walsh, Illinois state entomologist from 1867 to 1869, was a pioneer in the application of insect study to agriculture. Born in England in 1808, he earned his Master’s Degree from Trinity College in England in 1833. Though intended for the ministry, he chose the literary field and wrote for newspapers and magazines for several years. A man of varied interests, he published a pamphlet on university reform and a translation of The Comedies of Aristophanes. In 1838 he married Rebecca Finn and came to the United States.
From Chicago he moved to a farm near Cambridge where he remained for thirteen years. In 1851 he moved to Rock Island and engaged in the lumber business until 1858. Thereafter, he devoted himself to his long time hobby of entomology and was soon a recognized leader in the field. His first published entomological work appeared in 1860. In his lifetime he published 385 titles plus an additional 478 in collaboration with Charles V. Riley, another well-known entomologist. Walsh contributed regularly to the Prairie Farmer, Valley Farmer, and Illinois Farmer, was an editor of the Practical Entomologist, and was co-founder and editor of the American Entomologist with Riley. His private collection numbered 30,000 insects. His insect studies impressed scientists and, perhaps more important, agriculturists. He was one of the first to advocate that farmers use scientists’ methods to control insects.
His death on November 18, 1869 resulted from a railroad accident near Rock Island.
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