Lue Gim Gong

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Lue Gim Gong (呂金功, pinyin: Lǚ Jīngōng; born 1860, Canton, China — died July 3, 1925 DeLand, Florida, U.S.) was a ChineseAmerican horticulturalist. Known as "The Citrus Wizard," he is remembered for his contribution to the orange-growing industry in Florida.

Life

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 the 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 garden. She converted him to Christianity, and helped him become a United States 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.

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