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Professor Roy B. Clarkson was the historian of West Virginia’s timber industry and one of the state’s most prominent botanists. Clarkson was born October 25, 1926, and raised in Cass, Pocahontas County, still a major lumber boom town at that time. After service in the U.S. Army near the end of World War II, he began his college education at Davis and Elkins College, from which he graduated with a degree in mathematics and biology. Clarkson soon narrowed his concentration to biological studies and earned a Ph.D. in botany from West Virginia University. He joined the Department of Biology faculty there in 1956 and retired as professor emeritus in 1992.

Clarkson authored Tumult on the Mountains: Lumbering in West Virginia, 1770–1920 (1964) and On Beyond Leatherbark: the Cass Saga (1990), both of which detail the history of the timber industry. He co-authored four books on botanical subjects, authored numerous articles, and was the recipient of several research grants. His honors included election to membership in Sigma Xi and Gamma Sigma Delta; receipt of the Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award from the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society; and election to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.

He died at his home in Westover on September 12, 2022, at age 95.

This Article was written by Kenneth R. Bailey

Last Revised on December 19, 2022

Related Articles


Clarkson, Roy B. Tumult on the Mountains: Lumbering in West Virginia 1770-1920. Parsons: McClain, 1964.

Cite This Article

Bailey, Kenneth R. "Roy B. Clarkson." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 19 December 2022. Web. 18 June 2024.


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