This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
But while I congratulate you on the prosperity of our institution, on its increasing influence, and on the lively interest manifested in its objects throughout our country, I am reminded of the absence of some who have labored with us for the promotion of our cause. Since our last session, there have been removed by death the following persons, who have held official positions in the Society: Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, of Missouri; William Blanchard Towne, of New Hampshire; Bartlett Bryant, of Vermont: Dr. Edwin S. Hull, of Illinois; Daniel W. Coit, of Connecticut; and Dr. John S.Houghton, of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, of Kirkwood, Missouri, held the office of Vice-President for that State from 1867 to '69, and again in 1875 and '77. He was born in Darnestown, Maryland, July 2, 1797, and died at his beautiful residence in Kirkwood, April 27, 1877, at the. ripe age of eighty years. His love of horticulture and kindred pursuits commenced early in life. He was intimately associated in the culture of the grape with Mr. Longworth, of Ohio, receiving cuttings from him of all the native and foreign grapes, which he scattered among the most enterprising of his numerous patients, and which made Madison county one of the first in the State in grape culture. He established a large vineyard in Jefferson county, on the German plan of close planting, having fifty varieties of grapes, which he eventually reduced to four: the Concord, Ives, Norton and Herbemont. His interest in all matters pertaining to horticulture continued through life. Dr. Edwards had lived in Kentucky and Illinois for a time, but he finally removed to St. Louis, with a great reputation* as a physician, which in after life he fully maintained.
Even in his busy profession, he constantly sought to promote all benevolent and Christian enterprises, believing"that what he had belonged to God, and was given to him to be used for His cause".
He was carried to his grave in a full old age, universally beloved and respected. Many of us well remember his introduction as the oldest Vice-President at Chicago, and his appropriate reply; also his affectionate speech at St. Louis, as he placed a wreath presented by the ladies of that city, on the head of your presiding officer.
William Blanchard Towne, a Vice-President of this Society for New Hampshire, was born in Bow, N. H., October 12, 1810, and died suddenly in Boston, April 10, 1876, aged 65. He was in early life employed in farming; afterwards a merchant in Boston. He was Treasurer of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, and one of its Vice-Presidents, and an active member of the New Hampshire Historical Society; President of the Skowhegan National Bank, and the Milford Five-Cent Savings Institution, and member of the New Hampshire Legislature in 1872-73. Some years ago he purchased his father's homestead in Milford, and took a deep interest in the exhibitions of his State and county. Mr. Towne was a very useful man, and universally respected.
Bartlett Bryant, a Vice-President of this Society for the State of Vermont, was born at Hanover, New Hampshire, Feb. 26,1822, and died at Derby Centre, April 26, 1876. He was from early life attached to the cultivation of fruits, and feeling the need of hardy fruits in his region he established nurseries in Stanstead, Canada and in Derby Centre and Enosburg, Vermont, introducing new fruits, and doing a large business in the distribution of hardy trees in the north and north-west, especially with regard to our colder regions. No man, says a friend, has done more in the last twenty-two years in the promulgation of choice, hardy fruits than Mr. Bryant, for which his name will he honored in our north-eastern boundaries. His success in grafting the apple on the crab stock, to prevent injuries by frost, and the planting of large orchards of the crab varieties, and other very hardy apples, is well known. He was also much engaged in stock raising, especially of fine horses, possessing nine farms, and at the time of his death, large nurseries of fruit trees.
He was a benevolent man, having made donations for schools, orphan children, etc., and his loss was much deplored.
Dr. Edwin S. Hull, of Alton, Illinois, was born in Connecticut, May, 1810, and died at his residence Nov. 8, 1875. In 1844 he removed to the famous Hull farm, near Alton. He planted large orchards of fruit trees and soon became a leader in this line. As frequently is the case in new enterprises, he met with disappointments in his culture, but, never discouraged, he contended with the evils of insects, blight, etc., ever looking forward to better results which made him an authority on such subjects He gave much study to the character and depredation of insects, especially the curculio, and invented methods for its destruction. He wrote extensively on the causes of pear blight, and his efforts by root-pruning to prevent it. He aided largely in founding the Alton Horticultural Society, of which he was President; was State Pomologist; a member of our Committee on Foreign Fruits for 1867 and 68, and President of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, and for several years was horticultural editor of the Prairie Farmer. Many of us will remember how courteously, as President of the Illinois Horticultural Society, he welcomed us at Chicago two years since, when he said,"these meetings bring us together from the North, South, East, West, and British Provinces, to form friendships stronger than any political ties," and expressed the hope that at no distant day we should meet again.
These hopes were blasted, for in a few weeks he passed into the spirit world.
Daniel Wadsworth Coit, at the time of his decease, was the oldest person who had held membership or office in our Society. He was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1787, and died in that city on the 18th of July, 187G, in the 90th year of his age, under the majestic elms where his widow now resides. Early in life he was engaged in New York in commercial pursuits, and highly respected as a merchant. In 1819 he went to Peru, where he resided for some seven years, in business relations with England, America and Spain, having more than once crossed the Andes, visiting the mountains and the ruined cities of the Ineas. He repeatedly visited Europe and particularly Spain, in whose schools of art he took a great interest. In 1840 he returned to his native home; but just before the breaking out of the war with Mexico he went to that city, where he was established in business for awhile. From Mexico he went by way of Acapulco to California, where he was for some years engaged in business. On his return to his home at Norwich, he devoted the remainder of his life to horticultural pursuits with as much energy and enterprise as he had given to mercantile affairs.
As a cultivator of fruits and flowers he was one of the most scientific and successful of our times, proving all of the novelties and retaining only those in his opinion most worthy. He was formerly Chairman of the Fruit Committee for Connecticut. His good taste and discrimination made him an authority in the selection of the finest fruits. Mr. Coit was somewhat distinguished as an artist, and during his wanderings exercised his skill in making sketches which are of great merit. These, together with those which he had collected in Europe and America, he left to his family, among which are views in Lima and Mexico, the ruined cities of the Incas, of the Cordilleras, and especially sketches of San Francisco, then only a group of rough huts. His skill he retained to the close of life, and his works are prized not only as mementoes but as works of art.
Dr. John Skillin Houghton, of Philadelphia, was born in Dedham, Mass., Oct. 18, 1816, and died suddenly in Philadelphia, Dec. 11, 1876. Dr. Houghton was an active worker in the field of pomology and horticulture, and was chairman of the State Committee for Pennsylvania from 1869 to 1873. For many years he was a zealous experimenter in fruit culture, and although he failed to make it profitable he exerted an influence that was widely felt. His pear orchard consisted at one time of many thousand trees. He experimented extensively on the cutting and pinching-in system with pears, for the production of fruit, even at the expense of the vitality of the I trees. He was a great worker and an invaluable member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society - full of enterprise, energy and despatch and his death was much regretted.
Nor can I close this record without recognizing the sudden death of one of our members at Chicago, whither he went to attend our meeting. I allude to Mr. Samuel H. Colton, delegate from the Worcester Horticultural Society of Massachusetts, who died at the Grand Pacific Hotel in that city on the 13th day of September, 1876. Mr. Colton was largely interested in horticultural pursuits, and formerly in the nursery business. He was an influential member of the above named society, and for many years its treasurer. He took great pleasure in discussing and disseminating native fruits, was a frequent correspondent of horticultural journals, and for some years editor of the Massachusetts Spy. He was also a director in the Quinsigamond Bank, and treasurer of the People's Fire Insurance Company, and was a gentleman of sterling worth, most amiable in his disposition, and upright in all the relations of life.
Thus, three Vice-Presidents, and three others who have held official relations, have been removed since our last meeting. They have gone before us, their places have been made vacant, and are now filled by others. How long we shall remain, is only known to Him who holds the issues of life in his hands. Some of our lives are wellnigh spent, and ere we meet again our sun will have set below the horizon of this world. Let then these lessons of mortality prompt us to greater diligence for the promotion of our cause.