Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny

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Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny

Avery Island, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 8 Aug 1949 (aged 77)
Avery Island, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
Memorial ID 97693091 · View Source
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Edward Avery "Ned" McIlhenny (1872 – 1949), son of Tabasco brand pepper sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny, was a Louisiana businessman, explorer, and conservationist.

Born in 1872 at Avery Island, Louisiana, McIlhenny was educated by private tutors before attending Dr. Holbrook's Military School in Sing Sing (now Ossining), New York. McIlhenny enrolled at Lehigh University, where he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity, but he dropped out of school to join Frederick Cook's 1894 Arctic expedition as an ornithologist. In 1897 he financed his own Arctic expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska, where he helped to save over a hundred stranded whaling fleet sailors (including Japanese adventurer and entrepreneur Jujiro Wada).

On his return to Louisiana, McIlhenny assumed control of McIlhenny Company, overseeing Tabasco sauce production as president of the organization until his death fifty-one years later. During his tenure, McIlhenny expanded, modernized, and standardized sauce production, as well as experimented with new ways of promoting the world-famous product, such as advertising on radio. McIlhenny also introduced the now ubiquitous modern screw-top Tabasco sauce bottle, which replaced the original cork-top Tabasco sauce bottle that had been used from 1868 to 1927; he also redesigned the iconic Tabasco diamond logo trademark, largely creating the version known today.

McIlhenny founded the Bird City wildfowl refuge on Avery Island around 1895, which helped to save the snowy egret from extinction. Enrolling the help of businessman and conservationist Charles Willis Ward, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Sage Foundation, McIlhenny was instrumental in securing nearly 175,000 acres (710 km2) of south Louisiana coastal marshland as wildfowl refuges. He banded over 285,000 birds during his lifetime and ran a game farm on Avery Island that experimented with breeding new animal varieties. He helped to introduce the nutria to Louisiana, although — contrary to popular belief — he did not import the creatures to Louisiana, nor was he the first Louisianan to set them loose in the wild on purpose. McIlhenny also holds the Louisiana state alligator record, catching a gator just over 19 feet in length.

McIlhenny used his 170-acre (0.69 km2) personal estate, known as Jungle Gardens, to propagate both Louisiana-native and imported plant varieties, including azaleas, irises, camellias, papyrus, and bamboo. He wrote numerous academic articles, mainly about birds and reptiles, oversaw the publication in English of two European botanical treatises, and edited Charles L. Jordan's unfinished manuscript The Wild Turkey and Its Hunting (a book often mistakenly attributed to McIlhenny). He also wrote books about alligators, egrets, and African-American gospel music, including Befo' De War Spirituals (1933), Bird City (1934), The Alligator's Life History (1935), and The Autobiography of an Egret (1940).

McIlhenny died in 1949, three years after suffering a debilitating stroke; he is buried on Avery Island. Today, Jungle Gardens and Bird City continue to serve as havens for bird and plant species; they are also popular tourist destinations. Furthermore, the nearly 175,000 acres (710 km2) of coastal marshland he helped to set aside as wildfowl refuges continue to exist as state wildlife areas. McIlhenny's illustrated and written documentation of plant and animal life on Avery Island was donated as a collection to Louisiana State University. The E. A. McIlhenny Collection of natural history books at the Louisiana State University Libraries is named in his honor.

--From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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  • Created by: Grave Sheriff Pooyie
  • Added: 24 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 97693091
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny (29 Mar 1872–8 Aug 1949), Find A Grave Memorial no. 97693091, citing Avery Island Cemetery, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Grave Sheriff Pooyie (contributor 47934964) .