Cyrus Hall McCormick

Cyrus McCormick was born in 1809 near the Rockbridge-Augusta County Line in Western Virginia.

His grandparents had moved there with their five children from Cumberland County Pennsylvania. The family owned several hundred acres and operated a blacksmith business. At the age of fifteen Cyrus had made improvements on agricultural implements and by twenty-two had invented the horse drawn reaper. The reaper was originally built by the family business but the orders rapidly exceeded the capacity of the blacksmith shop.

By the late 1840s, with his brothers, Cyrus had moved to Chicago and founded a company that was the parent of International Harvester and others. His invention revolutionized agriculture by introducing mechanization, and hastened the western expansion of the United States.

He was also a business pioneer. McCormicks Farm is a living history museum managed by the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center.