May 25, 1937: William Kendrick, Pioneer of West Virginia’s 4-H Program, Dies at 55

May 25, 2018

On May 25, 1937, William Kendrick, a pioneer of West Virginia’s 4-H program, died at age 55. “Teepi,” as he was nicknamed, was born in Alabama and moved to Morgantown to attend West Virginia University. In the decade before World War I, WVU had established corn clubs for boys and canning clubs for girls as a way to teach modern agriculture. Kendrick became the state agent in charge of these groups and adopted the 4-H name. He soon broadened the scope of the clubs beyond agriculture to emphasize various aspects of youth development.

Kendrick was enthused by a local 4-H camp he visited in Randolph County in 1915. He envisioned a statewide 4-H camp and selected the site of “Stonewall” Jackson’s boyhood home in Lewis County. Jackson’s Mill would become the first state 4-H camp in the United States. Kendrick also cofounded the 4-H All-Stars to recognize outstanding leaders in the movement. This concept eventually spread to other states.

“Teepi” Kendrick inspired a generation of young West Virginians to be the best at whatever they did. A shrine at Jackson’s Mill is dedicated in his honor.