Charles Mcllvaine

More Mushrooms for Mcllvaine

It's the birthday of Charles McIlvaine born in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

He was a captain in the Civil War, an author, and a mycologist. He was born on this day in 1840.
When he was 40 years old, McIlvaine moved to West Virginia. He started writing for magazines like Centuryand Harpers.
However, McIlvaine is best known for his study of mushrooms. He took copious notes, which he compiled into his book called 1,000 American Fungi.
What most distinguished McIlvaine is the fact that he experimented on himself, eating hundreds of mushrooms and toadstools. This is how McIlvaine came to be known as Old Iron Guts.
Since McIlvaine had a love for writing before he had a love for mushrooms when he wrote about mushrooms, his language was often very flowery.
Consider what McIlvaine wrote about the Oyster Mushroom:

"The camel is gratefully called the ship of the desert. The oyster mushroom is the shellfish of the forest. When the tender parts are dipped in egg, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried as an oyster, they're not excelled buy any vegetable and are worth of place on the daintiest menu."

Here's the Vomiting Russella:

"Most are sweet and nutty to the taste. Some are as hot as the fiercest cayenne, but this they lose upon cooking. Their caps make the most palatable dishes when stewed, baked, roasted or escalloped.”

Finally, I have to share a poem that McIlvaine wrote called Our Church Fight.

"I'm that nigh near disgusted with the fight in our old church,
Where one halfs 'g'in the t'other, an' the Lord's left in the lurch,
That I went an' told the parson if he'd jine me in a prayer,
We'd slip out 'mong the daisies and' put one up from there."

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Charles Mcllvaine
Charles Mcllvaine

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