Monday, December 31, 2018

Gardening Books in Early America - Owned by Richard Henry Lee 1732-1794

Richard Henry Lee. National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC.
Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), planter and Virginia statesman, the originator of the resolution for independence in the Continental Congress and a Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Lee was born at Stratford Hall, Westmoreland County, Virginia.  
Lee was educated at Wakefield Academy in England. From 1758-1775, he served in the House of Burgesses, and sat in the Continental Congress from 1774-79, 1784-85, and 1787. He also sat in the Virginia legislature in 1777, 1780, and 1785. He sat in the Virginia constitutional ratification convention in 1788 (opposing ratification), and was elected to the first U.S. Senate, serving from 1789 until 1792. 
Dating to the late 1730s, Lee's birthplace Stratford Hall and its outbuildings are remarkable examples of colonial Virginia architecture. The site of a large 18C tobacco plantation was the home of 2 signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Below is The Octagon from Stratford Hall.
Lee had 4 surviving children with his 1st wife, Anne Aylett (1738-1768) and 5 children by his 2nd wife, Anne Gaskins Pinckard. Lee died at his Westmoreland County plantation Chantilly in 1794. Listings for Lee's library are taken from the probate inventory of his estate on 1 August 1794. 

Lee's Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

The gardeners dictionary ... containing the methods of cultivating and improving the kitchen, fruit and flower garden by Philip Miller

The gardeners kalendar; directing what works are necessary to be performed every month in the kitchen, fruit, and pleasure-gardens, as also in the conservatory and nursery by Philip Miller

New principles of gardening or, The laying out and planting parterres, groves, wildernesses, labyrinths, avenues, parks, &c. after a more grand and rural manner, than has been done before; ... by Batty Langley

Clavis Anglica linguae botanicae; or, A botanical lexicon; in which the terms of botany, particularly those occurring in the works of Linnaeus, and other modern writers, are applied, derived, explained, contrasted, and exemplified by John Berkenhout

Georgical essays: in which the food of plants is particularly considered. And a new compost recommended upon the principles of vegetation by Alexander Hunter

Medicina Britannica; or A treatise on such physical plants, as are generally to be found in the fields or gardens in Great Britain ... Together with the observations of the most learned physicians ... communicated to the late ... Mr. Ray, and Dr. Sim. Pauli by Thomas Short

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - Cymling or Pattypan Squash

Cymling or Pattypan Squash (Cucurbita pepo)

Commonly called Pattypan Squash, this variety originated among the Native North Americans. Cymlings were well-known in the colonies by the 1790s and Jefferson said they were “one of our finest and most innocent vegetables.” They were frequently grown in his retirement garden as well as in the gardens of Monticello’s enslaved African Americans, and were used in soups and stews with butter, salt, and pepper.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Gardening Books in Early America - Owned by Landon Carter 1710-1778

Sabine Hall Home of Landon Carter. Landon Carter (1710-1778), was a planter from Virginia, best known for his account of colonial life leading up the American War of Independence, The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter.  Carter also wrote 4 political pamphlets & nearly 50 newspaper essays.  He was the son of Robert "King" Carter of Corotoman, Lancaster County, Va. and his wife, Elizabeth Landon Willis Carter. He was educated in England, built Sabine Hall in the 1740s, served in the local vestry, & commanded the militia.
After 3 failed attempts, Carter was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1752, & was rewarded with powerful committee appointments. He publicly defended the House in published pamphlets & newspaper essays until he was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1768. The first to raise the alarm in Virginia over the Stamp Act, Carter was chair of the Richmond County Committee (1774–1776) and a wholehearted supporter of independence during the American Revolution (1775–1783). He died at Sabine Hall in 1778. The list for his library books is based on 1) title pages of the libraries of Landon Carter and Robert Wormeley Carter at Sabine Hall, Richmond County, Virginia photographed by Colonial Williamsburg with the permission of the Rev. Dabney Wellford, Sabine Hall, September 9, 1958 and 2) Curtis, Carol Edith. "The Library of Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1710-1788." Master's Thesis, College of William and Mary, 1981. Many of these books are now owned by the University of Virginia Libraries.

Landon Carter's Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Title: The New Gardener's Dictionary
Author: John Dicks
Info: London. Printed for G. Keith, J. Johnson; J. Almon; and Blyth and Beevor 1771.

Title: Memoirs of Agriculture, and other Oeconomical Arts
Author: Robert Dossie
Info: London. Printed for J. Nourse 1768, 1771

Title: The Experimental Husbandman and Gardener
Author: George Andreas Agricola
Info: London. Printed for W. Mears and F. Clay 1726.

Title: Farriery improved: or, A compleat treatise upon the art of farriery
Author: Henry Bracken
Info: Dublin. G. Ewing 1737

Title: The Art of Hatching and Bringing up Domestick Fowls of all Kinds, At any Time of the Year
Author: Rene Antoine Ferchault De Reamur
Info: London. Printed for C. Davis 1750.

Title: The Compleat Surveyor: Containing the whole Art of Surveying of Land, by the Plain Table, Theodolite, Circumferentor, and Peractor
Author: Leybourn William
Info: London. Printed by R. W. Leybourn for E. Brewster and G. Sawbridge 1653.

Title: The Culture of Silk, or, an Essay on its rational Practice and Improvement
Author: Samuel Pullein
Info: London. Printed for A. Millar 1758.

 "The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752-1778" was edited by Jack P. Greene & published by the Virginia Historical Society in 1965.

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - Thyme

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme was first cultivated by the Assyrians and used to treat nightmares and short-windedness. Also long-cultivated for its culinary uses, it was brought to the American colonies at an early date, and Thomas Jefferson recorded it in his list of "Objects for the garden" at Monticello in 1794. This evergreen Mediterranean herb grows well in rock gardens, containers, and other well-drained garden locations, and the flowers attract pollinators.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Gardening Books in Early America - Owned by Richard Cranch 1726-1811 in Massachusetts

Richard Cranch (26 October 1726 - 16 October 1811), Massachusetts watchmaker, legislator, local official. Born at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, Cranch arrived in Boston in November 1746 and established a shop as a card-maker, but quickly became known for his interest in religious scholarship. He taught himself Latin, Hebrew, and Greek.

Cranch relocated to Braintree in 1750, and later to Weymouth, where he took up the business of watch repair. He married in November 1762 Mary Smith, the sister of Abigail Smith (later the wife of John Adams). By 1766 the Cranches had moved to Salem, but returned to Braintree in 1769. Cranch served two terms in the state House of Representatives (1779-1783) and a term in the State Senate (1785-1787), and held the office of Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County from 1779 through 1793, along with several local offices at various times. Cranch was a delegate to the Massachusetts convention to ratify the federal constitution, and supported ratification.
He was a supporter of the Harvard library, and the college granted him an honorary M.A. degree in 1780, placing him with the class of 1744. He was a founding member of the Massachusetts Charitable Society, and the Massachusetts Society for Propogating the Gospel in North America (in its 1787 iteration). He sat as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but declined membership in the Massachusetts Historical Society (he did donate a book to the Society's library).
Cranch's interests ranged widely, as his book collection makes clear. He was regarded as an authority on the biblical prophecies and the Antichrist by ministers of all stripes, and was a strong Federalist politically.

Richard Cranch and his wife died within hours of each other in 1811; their daughter Elizabeth Cranch Norton died the same year. Another daughter, Lucy Greenleaf, lived until 1846, and their son William Cranch died in 1855. The largest list of Richard Cranch's books is found in a notebook kept by his grandson Richard Cranch Norton (in the Jacob Norton Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society). RCN inventoried his grandfather's books on 18 January 1812.

The gardener's dictionary by Philip Miller

Of gardens. A Latin poem in four books by René Rapin

The herball or Generall historie of plantes by John Gerard

The new art of gardening, with the gardener's almanack: containing, the true art of gardening in all its particulars. ... To each head is added an almanack, shewing what is to be done every month in the year by Leonard Meager

A general treatise of agriculture, both philosophical and practical; displaying the arts of husbandry and gardening: in two parts. Part I. Of husbandry; ... Part II. Of gardening; ... Originally written by R. Bradley, ... And now not only corrected and properly methodised, but adapted to the present practice, ... Illustrated with twenty copper-plates by Richard Bradley

Instruction pour les jardins fruitiers et potagers by Jean de LaQuintinie

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - Scarlet Runner Bean

Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)

A Central American native that was popularized by the great 18th-century English garden writer, Philip Miller, Scarlet Runner Bean is still very popular in Europe for its edible beans. Jefferson planted this lovely annual vine with its showy scarlet flowers in 1812, noting: "Arbor beans white, crimson, scarlet, purple...on long walk of garden." In 1806 the Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon wrote that it was grown in America exclusively as an ornamental. Attractive to hummingbirds.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Gardening Books in Early America - Owned by Michigan Fur Trader John Askin's 1739-1815

Native Americans Trading Furs 1777.  John Askin 1739-1815 (or Erskine), fur trader, merchant, office holder, & militia officer; b. 1739 in Aughnacloy (Northern Ireland), son of James Askin, a shopkeeper, and Alice Rea (Rae); d. 1815 in Sandwich (Windsor), Upper Canada.  According to family tradition, the Askins were related to John Erskine, 23rd Earl of Mar, whose unsuccessful revolt in 1715 forced some of the family to move to Ireland from Scotland. John Askin came to North America in 1758, & was a sutler with the British army at Albany, N.Y. Following the capitulation of New France he entered the western fur trade.

Some time in the mid 1760s Askin had moved to Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Michigan). He ran a trading store in the settlement, was commissary for the garrison, & farmed.  In 1780, a conflict with Patrick Sinclair, who had recently arrived to take charge at Michilimackinac, may have been instrumental in Askin’s decision to move to Detroit, Michigan).
Colonial Fur Traders.  The animal population was declining & the Indians were in a state of more or less open warfare with the Americans. Fur exports from Detroit continued to drop – from 5,000 packs in 1784 to 1,900 in 1796.  In 1788, the British had opened the Great Lakes to private vessels, & Askin took the opportunity to go into the shipping business; & from 1791 to 1795, another chance of sales to the government presented itself – the furnishing of supplies to the Indians who had gathered on the Miamis (Maumee) River to make a last stand against the Americans.

Much of Askin’s hope for prosperity seems to have been pinned on his land speculations.  By 1794, the British government had agreed to evacuate the posts south of the Great Lakes that it had retained – after the 1783 treaty with the United States, & many British residents of Detroit tried to accumulate land holdings from the Indians before the transfer to American authority occurred. Over the years Askin succeeded in accumulating numerous properties in Upper Canada, which was to become his home after 1802.
Native Americans Bartering Furs for Goods at Trading Post 1800
Although Askin’s first 3 children, John, Catherine, & Madelaine, were probably born to the Indian slave Manette (Monette) whom he freed in 1766, he made no distinction between them & the 9 children of his marriage to Marie-Archange Barthe at Detroit on 21 June 1772.  His kindness extended beyond his own family. In a letter of 1778 from Michilimackinac to trader Charles Paterson he rebuked Paterson for allowing a child “that every body but yourself says is yours” to be sold to the Ottawas. Askin had retrieved the child & he informed Paterson, “He’s at your service if you want him, if not I shall take good care of him untill he is able to earn his Bread without Assistance.”

From the American Revolution to 1796, Detroit was under military government, with little civil jurisdiction. In 1789 Askin became a justice of the peace there.  In the spring of 1802 Askin moved to Sandwich, Canada. He seems to have lived in considerable comfort. An inventory of his estate in 1787 listed among other things carriages, silver plate, mahogany furniture, & a well-stocked library.

Askin's library, one of the first known collections in Michigan, is documented in annual inventories of his estate dated 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1787, & ~1808, plus an 1821 inventory of Askin's estate titled "Inventory of Property Real &Personal Belonging to the Estate of the Late John &Archange Askin, Sandwich." Each of these contains a section headed "Writing Implements, Books, & etc." - these list the books by author and/or short title & an assigned monetary value. Askin's library is examined fully in Agnes Haigh Widder, "The John Askin family library: a fur-trading family's books." Michigan Historical Review 33:1 (Spring 2007), pp. 27-57.

John Askin's Garden & Farm Books

Title: A complete body of planting and gardening Containing the natural history, culture, and management of deciduous and evergreen forest-trees; ... Also instructions for laying-out and disposing of pleasure and flower-gardens; ... To which is added, the manner of planting and cultivating fruit-gardens and orchards. The whole forming a complete history of timber-trees... 
Author: William Hanbury

Title: A compleat body of husbandry Containing, rules for performing, in the most profitable manner, the whole business of the farmer and country gentleman. ... Compiled from the original papers of the late Thomas Hale, ... In four volumes
Author: Thomas Hale

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - Costoluto Genovese Tomato

Costoluto Genovese Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv.)

Thomas Jefferson was a pioneer in tomato culture, planting the relatively unfamiliar tomato from 1809 until his death in 1826. He also noted that “tomatas” were grown in Virginia gardens in Notes on the State of Virginia (1782). Costoluto Genovese is an old, Italian preserving tomato. Although an oddity in today’s vegetable garden, this variety’s heavily-lobed and convoluted shape reflects the character of early 19th-century tomatoes. Its stellar flavor is intense and acidic.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Gardening Books in Early America - Owned by Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)

English educator, theologian, political philosopher, scientist, Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)is perhaps best known today for the 'discovery' of oxygen. A supporter of the French Revolution, he fled England for America in 1794, not long after his house was torched by a mob. Priestly fled Britain just ahead of a series of arrests and the notorious“1794 Treason Trials,”sailing to the warm embrace of America.Later the King, George III, reportedly said, “I cannot but feel better pleased that Priestley is the sufferer for the doctrines he and his party have instilled, and that the people see them in their true light.” Taking refuge in Philadelphia, he gave a series of sermons which would result in the gathering of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, the 1st church in America to claim the name “unitarian.”He was the author of more than 150 published works during his lifetime. A devoted student of languages (along with so much else), Priestley learned French, Italian, German, Chaldean, Syriac and Arabic. Priestley's friends included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, among many other leading luminaries of the day. Priestley's library is listed in Catalogue of the Library of the late Dr. Joseph Priestley(Philadelphia: Thomas Dobson, 1816). The collection was sold off by Dobson after Priestley's death; Thomas Jefferson purchased several of the books for his own library.
Priestly's Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Planting and ornamental gardening a practical treatise by William Marshall

The British fruit-gardener and art of pruning by John Abercrombie

The botanist's and gardener's new dictionary containing the names, classes, orders, generic characters, and specific ... by James Wheeler

The farmer's instructor; or, the husbandman and gardener's useful and necessary companion. Being a new treatise of ... by Samuel Trowell

The abridgement of The gardeners dictionary containing the best and newest methods of cultivating and improving the ... by Philip Miller

The complete forcing-gardener; or, The practice of forcing fruits, flowers and vegetables to early maturity and ... by John Abercrombie

The botanic garden; a poem, in two parts. Part I. Containing The economy of vegetation. Part II. The loves of the ... by Erasmus Darwin

A treatise of fruit-trees by Thomas Hitt

The propagation and botanical arrangements of plants and trees, useful and ornamental, proper for cultivation in ... by John Abercrombie

Letters and papers on agriculture, planting, &c. selected from the correspondence-book of the Society instituted ... by Bath Society for Agriculture

The complete farmer, or, A general dictionary of husbandry, in all its branches

The improvement of waste lands, viz. wet, moory land, land near rivers and running waters, peat land, and ... by Francis Forbes

A treatise on planting, pruning, and on the management of fruit trees by John Kennedy

Letters and papers on agriculture, planting, &c selected from the correspondence-book of the Society instituted at ... by Hans Caspar Hirzel

Ecole d'architecture rurale; ou, Leçons par lesquelles on apprendra soi-même à bâtir solidement les maisons de ... by François Cointeraux

The vvhole art and trade of husbandry Contained in foure bookes. Viz: I. Of earable-ground, tillage, and pasture. ... by Conrad Heresbach

A new system of husbandry. From many years experience, with tables shewing the expence and profit of each crop. ... by Charles Varlo

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - “Plane-tree” (or Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis

Thomas Jefferson's “Plane-tree” (or Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis) 

Peggy Cornett, who is Curator of Plants at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia, tells us that -

Jefferson noted “Plane-tree” (or Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis) in a list of ornamental plants in his only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia. In 1812 he sowed Plane-tree seeds in his nursery, eventually intended for the Monticello landscape. Jefferson was captivated by the quality of shade that different species afforded.

In July 1793 Thomas Jefferson wrote from Philadelphia to his daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph “I never before knew the full value of trees. My house is completely embosomed in high plane-trees, with good grass below; and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read, and receive my company. What I would not give that the trees planted nearest round the house at Monticello were full-grown.” The mottled bark of American Sycamore (Jefferson’s "plane-tree") makes a dramatic statement in the winter landscape.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Cultural Landscapes of South Carolina Churches & Meeting Houses

Artist Charles Fraser (1782-1760) painted a series of watercolors of churches & meeting houses in South Carolina. He depicts broad swipes of landscapes allowing the viewer to see the buildings in the ground planned around them. These images are from the Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.

The 1765 church was called "Punkin Hill" locally. The Parish of St. Thomas & St. Dennis was made from the union of the Huguenot Church St. Denis & the Parish of St. Thomas which had been laid off by the Church Act of 1706. In Day on Cooper River it says: “on a high bluff, raising abruptly from the bed of the river, stands the Parish Chapel, commonly known as Pompion Hill Chapel, taking its name from the hill on which it stands.” 
Charles Fraser (1782-1860) THE CHURCH IN ST. ANDREW’S PARISH, APRIL 1800.

Established on the west bank of the Ashley River in 1706, by 1722 the original church had became too small for the parishioners. The church was enlarged in the form of a cross, with a gallery at the west end designated for “people of colour.” Destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt by subscription in 1764, and it covered a great territory. It maintained a Chapel of Ease on James’ Island, which was attended by many Presbyterians on the Island; but, after 1787, the Reverend Thomas Mills states that “the inhabitants of James Island, who were nearly all Presbyterians, or Independents, had procured a minister and organized a Church of their own. After this period, in conformity with the injunctions of the Vestry, my Pastoral duties were generally confined to St. Andrew’s on the main.”
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). CHURCH IN ST. JAMES’ PARISH, GOOSE CREEK.

St. James’ Parish, Goose Creek, was laid off in 1706, and the church was completed in 1719. “So numerous was the congregation of this church that its capacity was found in a few years wholly insufficient”, and a Chapel of Ease was erected about 7 miles from the original church structure.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860) CHURCH ON JOHN’S ISLAND.

This was St. John’s Colleton, which had been a part of St. Paul’s but was separated from it in 1734, and served “John’s Island, Wadmalaw Island, Edisto Island, and the other adjacent Islands to the seaward.”

The Stony Creek Presbyterian Church built in Indian Land on Stony Creek near Pocotaligo in 1743. Fraser notes in his Reminiscences, even during his boyhood, the Presbyterian "dissenters" never called their places of worship churches.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860)A MEETING-HOUSE NEAR JACKSONBOROUGH, 1799.

This is the meeting-house of Bethel Congregation of Pon Pon organized in St. Bartholomew’s Parish in 1728 and first ministered to by the Reverend Archibald Stobo, the Father of Presbyterianism in South Carolina. One historian told of Reverend Robert Baron, sent out to St. Bartholomew’s Parish by the Society for the Propagation of the gospel in 1753: “He arrived at Charles Town June 1st and entered on the duties of his cure on the 7th of that month. Mr. Baron was soon after taken ill, and had a severe seasoning, as it is usually called. His Parishioners were scattered over a great extent of country, and were an orderly and well behaved people. The Presbyterians were numerous, but they all lived together in mutual friendship and Christian charity.”

This parish was often called Sheldon Church because of its proximity to the Bull plantation of that name. “An instance of the hospitality of Carolina, connected with the history of Sheldon Church, has been stated to us b y those who knew the fact. Stephen Bull who live in its vicinity, usually invited as his guests, on the Sabbath, the more respectable part of the Congregation who attended divine service; while his overseer, by his direction, and at his expense, liberally entertained the rest. At that time, seldom less than 60 or 70 carriages, of various descriptions were seen at the Church on the Lord’s Day. It was burnt in 1780 by the British under General Prevost, on their march from Savannah to the siege of CharlesTown.” It was rebuilt on its original lines after the Revolution.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860) THE CHURCH IN ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S PARISH, 1796.

“This part of Colleton County was made a Parish, by an act passed Dec. 18, 1708.” The first missionary, sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was a Reverend Mister Osborn, who arrived in 1713. “His cure was very extensive, and his duty laborious. It was 40 miles long, and 30 wide…He officiated at five different places for the accommodations of his parishioners…Mr. Osborn was greatly esteemed and the Church flourished under his care. This prosperity, however, was soon interrupted. In 1715 the Indian War [Yemassee] broke out and the savages destroyed all the plantations in the Parish…The Missionary with difficulty escaped to Charles Town." By 1760 two brick Chapels of Ease had been built. The Church in this sketch was the Chapel of Pon Pon, which was burnt to the birck walls by the British during the Revolution but rebuilt after the war. The locals then called it "the Burnt Church."

The parsonage stood on a slight hill and its lane led dircectly to the church door. In the woods is a small 1759 vestry building, where Parish business could be transacted and where coachmen & grooms might take shelter..

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Flowers & Plants in Early American Gardens - Turk's Cap Lily

Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium superbum)

This spectacular native lily grows from New York and New Hampshire south to Alabama and Georgia. Also known as the Spotted Canada Martagon, this lily has been in cultivation since the late 1700s, and Jefferson received roots from Bernard McMahon in 1812. Jean Skipwith of Prestwould Plantation in south central Virginia also grew it.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Gardeners - Indpendent Contractors in South Carolina

Charles Fraser (1782- 1860). Mr. Gabriel Manigault's Seat at Goose Creek, 1802. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. The estate was called Steepbrook.

Independent Gardeners Working in South Carolina

Gardeners appear in South Carolina records in a variety of ways--deeds, estates, administration records, and newspapers. Often, the identification "gardener" is all that is available about these men. They don't place ads seeking work or advertising plants, but they should not be ignored.
1796. Charles Fraser (1782-1860). The Seat of Joseph Winthrop, Esq. on Goose Creek, South Carolina. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. Joseph Winthrop was married to Charles Fraser's older sister.

Thanks to South Carolina native Charles Fraser (1782 - 1860 ) we have a chance to see, through his eyes, the homes & gardens there as he was growing up. These were some of the gardens & grounds, that the independent gardeners listed here helped plant & tend. Although Fraser was primarily known for his miniature portraits, he created watercolors of historical sites, homes, & landscapes, while also working as a lawyer, historian, writer, & politician. Today, many of Fraser's works are housed & displayed in Charleston's Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art.

The first professional gardener on record in South Carolina was a Frenchman. Mathurin Guerin was a French Huguenot who took refuge in the province and requested to be naturalized as an English citizen under the act passed on March 10, 1697, designed to grant to all aliens that were inhabitants of the Province of South Carolina the same privileges as those persons born of English parents. Mathurin Guerin was a native of St. Nazaire, son of Pierre Guerin, and of Jeanne Bilbau. His wife was Marie Nicholas, daughter of Audre Nicholas and Francoise Dunot.

While Guerin may have been the first French Huguenot gardener in South Carolina, he certainly was not the last. French gardeners and seedsmen arrived in the Mid-Atlantic and upper south after the Revolutionary War. But in South Carolina, French gardeners influenced the gardening from the beginning of the 18th century. South Carolina saw a large influx of French Huguenots – individuals who were probably familiar with the garden designs of Le Nôtre. Garden designs in South Carolina continued to have a formal aspect well into the 19th century.
1803. Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Ashley Hall near Charleston, South Carolina.The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. Fraser wrote in his Reminiscences that the oak trees were planted by a "visitor," Mark Catesby, who came to Carolina in 1722, and whose Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands was published in England a decade later.

More independent white gardeners appear in South Carolina records earlier than in the northern colonies. While most independent gardeners in the Mid-Atlantic and upper south worked in public gardens, fewer independent gardeners appear in the records at private properties in early Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia during the first half of the 18th century.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). A Seat on the Ashely River, April, 1802. Carolina Art Association The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. This house is typical of much South Carolina & West Indies plantation architecture which have a basement story of masonry and upper floors of wood. The double stairway to the semi-classic porch is also very characteristic of this architecture.

South Carolina’s next gardener of record was Bartholomew Garret who was dead in 1719, when his widow Elizabeth (Major), originally of London, declared her “love and affection” for Thomas Hayward of Charleston.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Another View of Brabants. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.

In the South Carolina Gazette of May 12, 1757, Henry Middleton placed a notice to settle the estate of his deceased gardener, George Newman.

The only knowledge of gardener Robert Hunter comes from his June 15, 1767 notice in the Gazette, "NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT frequent and repeated trespasses have been committed, at Mr. Daniel Cannon’s garden, up-the-Path, This is therefore to inform and forwarn all persons whatsoever, for the future, as they must expect to answer the consequences by a gun, or dog, or both. ROBERT HUNTER, Gardener."

In 1774, John Bert is identified as a gardener in a land transaction. George Reynolds is listed in the 1790 Charleston City Directory as a gardener at 42 George Street. He also appeared as a gardener in sureties and administrative settlements beginning in 1782.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Another View of Mepkin, May, 1803. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.

Peter Boutiton
was a fiesty French gardener who also signed his name Pierre. He was active in the Charleston area from 1776, until his death in 1783. He married he widow Mary Air on January 9, 1777 at St. Philip’s. Mary Air was the granddaughter and heir of Charleston merchant, Peter Benoist. On July 21 of that year he placed the following notice in the Gazette of the State of South Carolina in Charleston, "PETER BOUTITON, Gardener, near and wit in the town gate, having suffered…frequent robberies of the produce of his hard labour, and greatly also by loss of rest, is watching by himself and two negroes, and frequent firing of guns, with no other intent than to deter the thieves-which not having answered his purpose-He now gives public notice and warning. That whoeverhereafter shall presume to enter his inclusures in the night, must do it at the risk of their lives.” Boutiton was identified as having been a gardener in Charleston during the settlement of his estate in 1783 ,and in South Carolina court records for several years thereafter.
1797. Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Mrs. Robert Gibbe's Place on John's Island, South Carolina. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. The two sea-islands lying southwest of Charles Town were originally named after two parishes in the Barbadoes, St. James & St. John, but soon the locals were calling them simply James’ Island & John’s Island.

Anthony Farasteau
was another French gardener. His was alternately listed as a gardener and a weaver in several land transactions and at the settlement of his estate, in the Charleston papers. He was active in Charleston records from 1776, until his death in 1785. Weavers often were also gardeners who grew their own dye plants.

William Kirkpatrick appeared in 1786 in the will of a friend mentioned as a gardener to the estate of the late Colonel Maurice Simons. Philip Hartz was also mentioned as a gardener in a will in 1788.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Another View of Richmond, May, 1803. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.

Charles Gross was listed as a gardener in the 1790 Charleston City Directory at 152 King Street. He moved to Hampstead in 1792-1793 and began to garden and sell seed from there, until he died in 1802. Englishman James Sommers appears in the settlement of his estate after his death in 1794 as having been a gardener in Charleston. In his will he mentions being from Ilfondcombe in the County of Devon in England.

The will of gardener Robert Johnston noted that he came from Greenwill Street, Newtownards, Ireland, where he owned a house and land. Morris Conner was a gardener from St. Bartholomew’s Parish who died in testate in 1795. Elisha Diven was a gardener in Charleston in the same era. He is identified as a gardener in a 1797 estate proceeding and at his own death in 1798.
1796. Charles Fraser (1782-1860). A View of Mr. Linsay's in Charleston, South Carolina, Taken from Savage's Green. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. In Fraser’s Reminiscences he states, “There was Savage’s Green at the lower end of Broad Street, which, until the building of the old Theatre, was entirely vacant, and spacious enough to be used for military exercise. The old battalion often paraded and fired their pieces there.” Fraser remarks that the end of Savage’s Green was a favorite swimming place for boys. Across the creek from the Green “was the town house of Mr. Thomas Ferguson, a large planter of the Parish of St. Paul, and a prominent leader of the Revolutionary party.. His house in Charles Town long bore the mark of a British cannon ball fired into the town in 1780.”

John Hope
was listed as a gardener of Charleston at the administration of his estate upon his death in 1800. Neal McGregor (1773-1819) was a gardener who was born in Perthshire, North Britain in 1773, and immigrated to Charleston, sometime before his December 1802, marriage to Mrs. Jane Phipps. He was listed as a gardener in the 1809 Charleston City Directory and when he was naturalized in 1813. He and his wife lived on Vanderhorst Street in Charleston, until his death in 1819.

George Smith was a Charleston gardener who was born in Wicklow, Ireland, in 1784. He immigrated sometime before his 1810 Charleston marriage to Margaret Morgan in 1810. James Mair was a gardener who was born in Scotland in 1772. He immigrated to Charleston, and went into partnership with Robert Brown of Beaufort until 1801. He owned 779 acres of land on John’s Island and was listed in the 1809 Charleston City Directory as a gardener operating on King Street. He married Martha Graham, the youngest daughter of the then deceased Rev. William Graham in January of 1805, and he died in September of 1809. He was in partnership, until his death, with James Fraser, son of John Fraser, seedsman, nurseryman, and botanist of London.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860). The Seat of John Julius Pringle, Esq. on Ashley River, 1800. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. When the land was bought by John Julius Pringle in 1795, the Duke de la Rochefoucault Liancourt spent some time with him in Charleston. He wrote of a trip up the Ashley River to the new property, “We crossed the River, and stopped at a plantation lately purchased by Mr. Pringle, the former name of which was Greenville, but which he has named ‘Susan’s Place’ in honour of his lively wife…The new mansion…will be finished this summer.”

Samuel Anderson
was also listed as a gardener of Hampstead in the Charleston City Directory and appeared in several Charleston County land transactions from that time on.

James Neswitt
was noted to be a gardener of Charleston Neck in the administration of his estate in 1813. John Jarman is another gardener of Charleston identified through estate matters between 1805 and 1818.

And Daniel A. Stark was a gardener with wanderlust who preferred not to walk, according to a notice in the Charleston Times on April 19, 1819. "Caution. A MAN, who said his name was DANIEL A. STARK, and had been working as a Gardener for Mrs. Kennedy, at Gordon & Spring’s Ferry, absconded on Wednesday week last, taking with him a Gun, Shot-Bag and Powder-Flask; and on the next day a Horse belonging to Mrs. K. was missing."

Robert DuBois (1740-1823)
who was also listed as a gardener in the 1809 Charleston City Directory, working out of King Street. At the time of his 1823 will, he was living at Charleston Neck in the forks of the road of King Street.

James Waddell was another South Carolina gardener and weaver originally from Ireland. He and his wife Ann, the widow of Benjamin Wood, appear in 1783 and 1785 estate matters. In 1798 and 1799, they appear in land records as residents of Charleston Neck and members of Christ Church parish. In 1804, Waddell conveyed 1,082 acres he owned on John’s Island. The City Gazette in Charleston on June 5, 1823 reported his death.
Charles Fraser (1782-1860) The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina.

Marmaduke Jenny
was identified as a gardener “late of Charleston and the village of Washington” when he died in 1821.

Joseph Parsons (c1743-1823) was also listed as a gardener on Hampstead in the 1809 and 1813 Charleston City Directories. Parsons was born in Henrico County, Virginia. He married Alcey Goolsby in 1763 in Laurens, South Carolina, and served as an Indian spy in the Revolutionary War.

Joseph Parsons appeared in the records as a gardener in 1807, as the husband of Esther, the widow of Conrad Hook, a carpenter. They appeared in land records; until his death in 1823. His obituary in the City Gazette in Charleston on April 23, 1823 read, “Died, in the city on Monday, the 7th inst. after a long illness, Mr. Joseph Parsons, aged 40 years, formerly of Wiscasset, but for the last 20 years a resident of this state.” When he died, they were living in Hampstead “near Mr. Nell’s Rope-Walk.”.
1802. Charles Fraser (1782-1860). A View Near Charleston, South Carolina. The Carolina Art Association Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina. Fraser wrote, “A large part of Harleston (a village) and more especially the lots bordering upon the low ground and marches of Coming’s Creek, was nearly acquired by Mr. Thomas Bennett Sr., who, with Daniel Cannon, utilized the ebb and flow of the tides by establishing on these water large lumber mills. This tidal power was also used largely upon the rice-growing rivers for pounding mills, which separated the husk from the grain;…Nor was it only the waterpower which was utilized, for among the lots conveyed in 1804 by Thomas Bennett Sr. to Thomas Bennett, Jr., later Governor of South Carolina, was the lot of marshland on which the windmill stood near by a branch of Coming’s Creek.” In the Charleston Courier December 15, 1825, appeared a notice: “At Private Sale…that large Brick Wind Mill, situate on Harleston’s Green, adapted for the sawing of lumber. ” Windmills & watermills with vast undershot wheels, worked by the tides, were common in the neighborhood along the Ashley River.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Flowers in Early American Gardens - Floss Flower (Ageratum houstonianum)

Floss Flower Seeds (Ageratum houstonianum)

Peggy Cornett, who is Curator of Plants at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia, tells us that -

Floss Flower was discovered in Central America by William Houston (c. 1695-1733), a Scottish botanist, plant collector, & ship’s surgeon. Houston sent seeds to England in the early 18th century & British author Philip Miller referenced the species in a 1768 edition of his Gardener’s Dictionary. It was first documented in American gardens in 1836. This self-seeding species forms a spreading, loose-growing plant. The pale blue, & occasionally white, tassel-like flowers bloom from midsummer until the first autumn frost.

William Houstoun (occasionally spelt Houston) (1695?–1733) was a Scottish surgeon & botanist who collected plants in the West Indies, Mexico and South America.  Houstoun was born in Houston, Renfrewshire. He began a degree course in medicine at St Andrew's University but interrupted his studies to visit the West Indies, returning circa 1727. On 6 October 1727, he entered the University of Leyden to continue his studies under Boerhaave, graduating M.D. in 1729. It was during his time at Leyden that Houstoun became interested in the medicinal properties of plants. After returning to England that year, he soon sailed for the Caribbean & the Americas employed as a ship's surgeon for the South Sea Company. He collected plants in Jamaica, Cuba, Venezuela, & Vera Cruz, despatching seeds & plants to Philip Miller, head gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. Notable among these plants was Dorstenia contrayerva, a reputed cure for snake-bite, & Buddleja americana, the latter named by Linnaeus, at Houstoun's request, for the English cleric & botanist Adam Buddle, although Buddle could have known nothing of the plant as he had died in 1715. Houstoun published accounts of his studies in Catalogus plantarum horti regii Parisiensis.

When Houstoun returned to London in 1731, he was introduced to Sir Hans Sloane by Miller. Sloane commissioned him to undertake a three-year expedition, financed by the trustees for the Province of Georgia 'for improving botany & agriculture in Georgia', & to help stock the Trustee's Garden planned for Savannah. Houstoun initially sailed to the Madeira Islands to gather grape plantings before continuing his voyage across the Atlantic. However he never completed his mission as he 'died from the heat' on 14 August 1733 soon after arriving in Jamaica; he was buried at Kingston. Houstoun was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in January 1733.

Houstoun's writings & plant specimens, preserved in the botanical department of the British Museum, passed from Miller to Sir Joseph Banks, by whom the manuscripts were published as Reliquiae Houstounianae in 1781.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Garden Location--Powerful Propects

Images of many American 18th century homes sited on a the highest property available are available today without any contemporary comments, and some of the historic homes themselves remain.

These houses & grounds built on eminences & commanding grand views & prospects do seem to create an impression of a powerful owner.
The Plantation. Probably an idealized view of a Virginia plantation. 1825. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The house Druid Hill still exists within the 745 acre Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland, which ranks with New York's Central Park begun in 1859, and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, as one of the oldest landscaped public parks in the United States.

The land was originally part of Auchentorlie, the estate of George Buchanan, one of the 7 original commissioners of Baltimore City. The dwelling was rebuilt after a fire & renamed Druid Hill in 1797 by Colonel Nicholas Rogers, a flour merchant & amateur architect, who married Eleanor Buchanan who had inherited the property.

The estate of Druid Hill was purchased for use as a park in 1860, by the city of Baltimore with the revenue derived from a one-cent park tax on the nickel horsecar fares. The house is now used as the administrative headquarters for the Baltimore Zoo which is located in the park.
Francis Guy. 1811 View of Seat of Col. Roger near Baltimore, depicts Druid Hill in Baltimore, Maryland, now the administrative headquarters for the Baltimore Zoo.

Many of the existing depictions of these houses high upon the hills of the new nation come from English artist Francis Guy and from English engraver & designer William R. Birch.

London silk dyer Francis Guy (1760-1820) arrived in Baltimore in 1795, where he worked at that trade until 1799. From 1800 to 1815, he was known as a landscape painter, holding his 1st exhibit in 1803.

Guy painted country estates on canvas & furniture plus scenes from the War of 1812. Guy was also an inventor & writer of religious essays & poetry. He moved to Brooklyn, New York, about 1817, painting in that state until his death.
William Russell Birch (1755-1834) View of Montebello, the Seat of General Samuel Smith. The plan for Montebello still exists at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Montebello was designed by Birch and was probably begun in 1799. Birch may have met General Smith, when Smith was in Philadelphia serving as a U. S. Representative.
Montebello in Baltimore, Maryland, about 1899. Photograph at the Maryland Historical Society.

Englishman Birch immigrated to Philadelphia in 1794, hoping to make his living producing books of scenes of the new nation in order to promote "taste" in architecture & landscape design. His The City of Philadelphia in 1800 went through 4 editions to 1828.

Birch's 3rd publication, The Country Seats of the United States published in 1808, resulted from Birch's travels along the Atlantic coast & contained 20 views including one of New Orleans.
Francis Guy. Perry Hall near Baltimore, about 1803.

In 1774, wealthy merchant & planter Harry Dorsey Gough (1745-1808) purchased an 1,000 acre estate called the Adventure north of Baltimore. Gough renamed the estate after his family's home, Perry Hall in Perry Barr, Birmingham, England. From the 16-room mansion on the hill, Gough administered his plantation's operation, where dozens of slaves tended cattle, various food crops, and stands of tobacco.

Visitors commented on the distinctive architectural features of the home on the hill as well as the lush gardens on the surrounding grounds. The impressive wine cellars & expansive grand hall used for entertaining symbolized Gough's socially prominent, powerful life before his profound religious conversion. Gough then built a chapel near the mansion's eastern wing that allowed him to quietly pursue his worship, along with his family, servants, & neighboring landowners.

It was at Perry Hall mansion that plans for the American Methodist Episcopal Church were developed by Gough, his Birmingham neighbour Francis Asbury, & other religious leaders. In 1808, Asbury would write that "Mr. Gough had inherited a large estate from a relation in England, and having the means, he indulged his taste for gardening and the expensive embellishment of his country seat, Perry Hall, which was always open to visitors, especially those who feared God."
Parnassas Hill home of Dr. Henry Stevenson by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) about 1769. Maryland Historical Society.

An earlier Maryland neighbor, who also built high up on a hill, had helped found the Presbyterian Church in Baltimore in 1763. Irishman Dr. Henry Stevenson (1721-1814) built Parnassus Hill between 1763 & 1769 on the Jones Falls north of Baltimore, where he & his brother, also a physician, actually made their money as wheat exporters. Dr. Henry Stephenson, who had come to Maryland in 1745, also pursued medicine pioneering a smallpox vaccine.

In February of 1769, the Maryland Gazette noted, "Dr. Henry Stevenson devotes part of his mansion on 'Parnassus Hill' to the use of an Inoculating Hospital, and opens it to all who may apply." The hospital closed in 1777, as staunch loyalist Stevenson left Baltimore to serve in the British service as a surgeon in New York, returning to Baltimore in 1786, when Revolutionary tempers had cooled. The terraced gardens at the combination home & hospital were among the earliest in Baltimore.
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) painting of William Paca with the naturalized area of his garden in the background.

William Paca (1740-1799), a signer of the Declaration of Independnce & a federal district court judge, was born in Harford County, Maryland, and educated in Philadelphia and London. In 1763, Paca ensured his social & economic position by marrying Mary Chew, the daughter of a wealthy Maryland family.
William Paca's falling, terraced garden in Annapolis.

Four days after their wedding, Paca purchased two lots in Annapolis and began building the five-part mansion plus an extensive pleasure garden.
View from William Paca's house across his garden to the city of Annapolis.

Constructed between 1763-1765, the estate is known chiefly for its elegant falling gardens including 5 terraces, a fish-shaped pond, and a wilderness garden.
View from the natural area of William Paca's garden up to the house.

One of my favorite early depictions of the view from a garden out into the surrounding countryside is at Colonial Williamsburg. It is fun not only for its view, but also for the dog, its master, and the busts of busts.
William Dering painted this portrait of young George Booth between 1748-1750 in Virginia, showing the view of the countryside beyond the garden.

A much later view of the surrounding countryside just outside of the doorway of a home built on the highest prospect is below.
1835 painting by Ambrose Andrews of the Children of Nathan Starr in Middletown, Connecticut, with a beautiful view of the countryside just outside the doorway.

Falling terraced gardens and houses built on the highest property continued as a tradition, as settlers moved from the Atlantic coast down the Ohio River.