From the Annals of the Pests – In 1984, Charles W. DeRyee, a druggist in Corpus Christi, mentioned in a letter that the boll weevil was in Texas. This was the first known reference to the pest being in Texas. The tiny insect was one of the most devastating pests ever to effect American agriculture. By the 1920’s, the BW was present in ever cotton producing region of the state. Eradication programs have been somewhat successful, but the BW remains a problem to this day.
From the Annals of Unclaimed Prizes – In 1903, the Texas legislature chose to offer a $50,000 prize for discovery of a way to rid Texas of the boll weevil. The proclamation was made from the steps of the Capitol in Austin. A Boll Weevil Commission was appointed by Gov. S.W.T. Lanham to evaluate the claims and claimants to the prize. The prize offered by the legislature made both themselves and the boll weevil a figure of fun for newspapers throughout the nation, and this episode is sometimes found in civics or government texts as an illustration of the foolishness of lawmaking bodies. No one ever came forth to make a claim for the prize – an enormous sum in its day.