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Roy B. Clarkson


Professor Roy B. Clarkson is 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 has co-authored four books on botanical subjects, has authored numerous articles, and has been the recipient of several research grants. His honors include 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.

Written by Kenneth R. Bailey


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