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Sandy, Thomas O. (Thomas Oldham), 1857-1919


Biographical Note

Thomas Oldham Sandy (better known as T. O. Sandy) was born February 22, 1857, in Essex County, Virginia. He matriculated at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Tech) in 1875 but did not complete a degree and departed the following year. He married Sallie Thweat Miller, and the couple settled at "Locust Grove, her Nottoway County ancestral farm located a few miles from Burkeville. With their two sons--T. O. (Oldham) and E. S. (Scott)--the Sandys raised Holstein cattle, Burkeshire hogs and Plymouth Rock chickens. Sandy also served as rector of the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute's board of visitors.

In 1907, Sandy was appointed Virginia's first county farm demonstration agent. Working from the state's first extension office in Burkeville, Sandy served a three-county region and hired other agents to assist him. Under his leadership, boys' corn clubs and girls' canning clubs were developed. In 1914, the agency's administration was transferred to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, becoming the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Sandy served as a demonstration agent until 1917, when illness and his sons' absence from the farm forced him to retire. Thomas O. Sandy died on June 7, 1919. Sandy Hall, on the Virginia Tech campus, is named in his honor.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Thomas O. Sandy Papers,

Identifier: Ms-2006-022

The collection includes correspondence, receipts, farm records, and other papers of Thomas O. Sandy, a farmer in Nottoway County, Virginia and the first state demonstration agent for agricultural extension in Virginia. The papers relate to Sandy's farm, extension work, and estate.

Dates: 1910 - 1928