The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged 33 fungal specimens and 8 vascular plant specimens collected (or co-collected) by Herman Harrison Braxton, who always signed his specimen labels “H. H. Braxton.” Most of Braxton’s specimens were collected in the Crawford Creek area of Haywood County, North Carolina.
To date, only a single specimen collected by H. H. Braxton has been found in another herbarium. The United States National Fungus Collections (BPI) curates a specimen of Hydnum murrillii (Banker) Trotter which Braxton collected on 5 August 1926 from Crawford’s Creek in Haywood Co., North Carolina. As herbaria across North America catalog specimens on mycoportal.org, it is possible that more specimens collected by H. H. Braxton will be found.
Herman Harrison Braxton was born on 13 November 1906 in Saxapahaw, Alamance County, North Carolina to Nettie Emma Guthrie (25 August 1873 – 1953) and James Guy Braxton (27 September 1871 – 1954). After graduating from Whitney High School in the village of Eli Whitney he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1924. While at Carolina “Brax” played dormitory & fraternity baseball and football. Most of his fungal collecting occurred in 1926, but it is unclear why he chose to collect specimens in rural Haywood County. In 1926 he co-authored with Dr. William Chambers Coker, “New Water Molds from the Soil,” (Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 42(1-2): 139-149). In 1927 he and fellow mycology students W. T. Alexander, A. B. Couch and Velma Matthews contributed to “Other Water Molds from the Soil,” authored by W. C. Coker (JEMS 43(3-4): 207-226). Braxton collected the type specimen of Brevilegnia linearis Coker “In moist clay one inch deep under lichens in an open pasture near Saxapahaw, N.C.” Braxton is also the co-author of several fungi: Brevilegnia unisperma Coker & Braxton, Brevilegnia unisperma var. litoralis Coker & Braxton (Thraustotheca unisperma var. litoralis Coker & Braxton), Allomyces moniliformis Coker & Braxton, Achlya abortiva Coker & Braxton, Achlya inflata Coker & Braxton, Achlya subterranea Coker & Braxton, and Dictyuchus pseudodictyon Coker & Braxton. He graduated from UNC-CH in 1928 with an A. B. in Botany and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Braxton earned an M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland in 1932, and was a practicing physician in Chase City, Virginia for fifty-five years.
In 1935 he married Anne Norfolk Grimm, a 1926 graduate of Goucher College. Their son, Herman Harrison, Jr. was a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill in 1958, and their daughter, Elizabeth Anne, earned her A.B. at Wheaton College. In addition to serving on the Chase City town council for eight years (and Anne serving for six), Dr. Braxton “started being a gentleman farmer in 1943 and haven’t been out of debt since that date.”(1)
Dr. Braxton died at age 82 in Chase City, Virginia on 18 November, 1988. He is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Chase City, Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
1. Herman Harrison Braxton Dope Sheet. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Alumni Records Office.
2. Find A Grave. Hermann Harrison Braxton. Memorial ID: 74181831. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/74182831/_ accessed on 15 September 2020.