I have long felt a confused kind of guilt about him, because his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were killed in a terrible crash back in the early 1990s near Eugene Oregon (a couple of hours south of here). Back then, grass-seed farmers used to routinely burn their fields to make the grass grow better. Smoke drifted across the freeway, resulting in the accident. I still remember his horrified and angry testimony about his tragic, and to him, totally senseless, loss. Now there are many more limits on field burning.
You can read more about William Wharton – who was also the accomplished painter Albert du Aime (Wharton was a pseudonum) – here.