LUE GIM GONG Biography - Craftmen, artisans and people from other Occupations


Biography » craftmen artisans and people from other occupations » lue gim gong


Name: Lue Gim Gong                                                                     
Born: 1859 Canton, China                                                               
Died: July 3, 1925 DeLand, Florida USA                                                 
Lue Gim Gong  (1859 Canton, China - July 3, 1925 DeLand,                               
Florida USA), was an immigrant from China and a horticulturalist. Known as "The       
Citrus Wizard," he is remembered for his contribution to the orange-growing           
industry in Florida.                                                                   
Born in Canton, China, to a family of farmers, Lue Gim Gong , was interested           
in America and the opportunities that lay across the Pacific Ocean. After his         
uncle returned from America when Lue was 12, the boy pleaded with his parents to       
let him return with his uncle to America. His parents agreed, giving him a bolt       
of silk to sell when he arrived. He lived in a heavily Chinese-populated area in       
San Francisco until the age 16 when he moved to North Adams, Massachusetts, to         
work at a shoe factory. At this factory, Lue met Fannie Burlingame, who taught         
his Sunday School class. When she learned of his skill with plants, she asked         
him to live with the Burlingames to tend their greenhouse. She converted him to       
Christianity, and helped him become an American citizen in 1877.                       
Lue had been advised to move to a warmer climate due to his recent contraction         
of tuberculosis. Due to his conversion, he was unable to return to China. Fannie       
recommended a relocation to DeLand, Florida, where she and her sister owned land.     
Lue agreed, and in 1885, he was working once again, this time in orange groves.       
Lue had learned some pollination techniques in China, with which he was able to       
develop an apple that ripened a month earlier than other varieties, and a tomato       
plant that grew in clusters. In Florida, he learned to cross pollinate citrus by       
watching bees. He produced a cold-tolerant grapefruit that was slower to drop, a       
grapefruit that grew singularly, rather than in clumps, on the branch and an           
aromatic variety.                                                                     
Wooden Fish Songs, by Ruthanne Lum McCunn, is an historical novel based on Lue's