Just after he turned forty-four, in August 1908, George Washington Carver visited the farm where he had been born and raised, along with the two key figures of his first thirteen years—his former owner Mose Carver and Mariah Watkins. For the first and last time in his life, Carver seemed to be seeking out people and scenes of those years that he had left behind with barely a look back.


Maybe he went because Mose, whom he hadn’t seen in nineteen years, was ninety-six. Maybe he had heard that the old man was planning to pass along his mother’s spinning wheel to him. Maybe Mariah’s Watkins’ letter to him a couple of years earlier, after thirty years not seeing him, was a factor in his going.


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From Tuskegee Institute, the Alabama school for blacks where Carver headed the Agriculture Department, he rode over 750 miles of train track northwest to the small town of Neosho, Missouri, eight miles from his birthplace. There in the colored neighborhood he stayed with eighty-five-year-old Mariah Watkins and her husband Andrew, with whom he had lived for a school year after leaving home at age twelve in search of knowledge.


From an adolescent tiny for his age, George was now over six feet tall with a full brushy mustache. His eyes, full of warm kindness blended with blazing intelligence, mirrored the beauties of nature he had spent his life studying. A former schoolmate, hearing from Mariah that George had come home, came by dressed in livery for his job as the horse-and-buggy equivalent of a limo driver. He recalled George in heavy, ankle-high boots, jeans and a heavy work shirt: “I was all dressed up and had no brains and there he was in brogan shoes, jeans and a hickory shirt and all his brains. And I was ashamed. George was sitting there just as calm as an old shoe.”

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This is a slide-show Table of Contents. Leave it on and watch Carver’s life flash before your eyes.



You may also want to check out:


Peter Burchard’s 200-page study on Carver for the National Park Service


A bit of the History Channel’s Modern Marvel show “George Washington Carver Tech,” including a clip of Peter Burchard.


Peter telling of his odyssey with Carver’s legacy (video)


Way more about Peter’s Carver work than you want or need to know


A slide show of the background images on this site and their sources


Peter Burchard’s thanks to donors to the website


Stevie Wonder singing of George Washington Carver, a verse from the song “Same Old Story”


James Brown learning about and speaking of George Washington Carver on James’ own TV show



Listen to Audiobook Samples
Selected to highlight the main points of Carver’s teachings.


One way of contributing is to put down $10.00 for the audiobook of Peter’s first book, Carver: A Great Soul.




For a one-time donation of $100, you will be on a list to receive a copy of the Carver’s 150th Birthday Edition biography. Volume I is planned for release soon, with the remaining volumes to follow. For the donation you will receive all three volumes as they come into print. After donating, write to Peter Burchard at peterdburchard@gmail.com and get on the list to receive the books; or, send a letter to Peter Burchard, P.O. Box 591, Fairfax, CA, 94978-0591. Please read the excerpts here on the website and help this literal once-in-a-lifetime project if you can!





©Peter D. Burchard 2015