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Home North Carolina Scotland County City of Gibson Historical Markers James Lytch

James Lytch

West Boulevard, Gibson, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Invented Lytch cotton planter (patented 1878), a favorite in the South, and other implements. Shops were 1/4 mile S.W. This was his home."
     Scotland County inventor James Lytch is credited with a number of patents. Born on July 24, 1814, to Archibald and Flora McEachin Lytch, James Lytch had ingrained in him values which reflected the traditions of his Scottish Presbyterian family. Lytch’s most successful mechanical invention was the Eclipse Lytch Cottonseed Planter. Contrary to the text on the marker, the planter was not patented in 1878. Recent research reveals that Lytch actually received a patent for his planter on May 31, 1870. Exhibited at agricultural fairs in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, Lytch’s planter became the instrument of choice in the South. The planter could be purchased for twelve dollars. In 1872, Lytch received a medal from the Cape Fear Agricultural Association for his work with cotton planting. He also received an award at the International Cotton Expo in Atlanta in 1881. According to the inventor, 1,000 of his planters were in use by 1880.

     Among Lytch’s other inventions were a cotton scraper, cider mill, and fertilizer distributor. He also developed a door check for stopping doors, gates, and window shutters, as well as a greaser for buggy axles. In addition to inventing and farming, Lytch operated a gristmill at his home. Lytch married Sarah James Shaw on March 16, 1837, and together they had eight children. He attended Gum Swamp Presbyterian Church. James Lytch died on July 24, 1890, when he was thrown from his wagon into Gum Swamp. He is buried in the Lytch family cemetery near his home.

Joyce Gibson, Scotland County Emerging (1995)
R. Neil Fulghum, North Carolina Patents, 1790-1873 (1979)
Scotland County Website: http://www.scotlandcounty.org/History.htm
United States, Subject-Matter Index of Patents for Inventions Issued by the United States Patent Office from 1790-1873 (1976)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 114—sketch by Walter Richard Bullock Jr.