This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Died, at Bloomsdale, near Bristol, on the anniversary of Washington's birthday, Feb. 22d, 1880, David Landreth, one of nature's noblemen, and a gentleman in all that makes society of interest. Inheriting a good name from an excellent and industrious father, he was one of those Americans who delighted in progress. His name is a household word " from India to Japan." In his efficient labors to introduce the best vegetables he had no rival. Generous to all who would advance horticulture, he combined so many qualities that all who had the great privilege of approaching him, were charmed by his dignity, suavity, and simplicity of character. From a few acres he developed a business of many thousands, selecting climates to suit each product. But we do not dwell especially or only on his successes, which were world-wide: rather would we draw a picture of his mild government of great enterprises for the good of his country, which have benefited thousands. We are happy to say that his influence, co-extensive with the onward in our American history, will not stop by reason of his lamented demise; he has left sous, who in all respects have benefited by the wise counsels of their excellent father.
When the best person was wanted to superintend and manage the great interests of the agricultural department of the National Exhibition, the office sought naturally his son, Burnet.
At the time of his decease, and for some previous years, his firm, under his directions, was engaged in a most interesting enterprise to which we desire to give prominence. It is generally lamented that useful trees and even forests are disappearing from the surface of American lands, till danger exists, that like Spain, our country will be so far denuded as materially to deface it, and destroy its future abundance. Mr. Landreth, with forseeing knowledge, observed this prospect increase: but it was of no use to argue the point with lumbermen, who take no thought of the future. He reasoned thus: Nothing will stop this desecration but by showing that to plant is to make money, if not immediately, in so near a future that the children of the living may greatly profit by the labors of the fathers. With this ascertained, a percentage of the population will be induced by the pleasure that comes to the planter, and by the prospect of reaping much of what he has sown, to plant extensively. To do this successfully, easy access and transportation are requisites. With patriotic intentions, no sooner was this thought-out thoroughly than large tracts of land in Virginia, on its navigable rivers, were purchased at surprisingly low prices, and the work was begun some years ago.
Nuts and seeds were purchased in vast quantities: the ground, where worn out, was resuscitated by fish and other manures found ready at hand. A forester was selected, and Virginia is now growing wood for useful purposes on a scale little known to many inhabitants of the State. Formerly - we give it as one instance - Walnut wood was found in sufficient supply in most of the Northern States, but fashion soon demanded more. Next, the banks of the Ohio were exhausted, till now the coveted wood is transported to the East from beyond the Mississippi at great cost, for houses and many other uses. So with most of the useful and ornamental woods. The ties of railroad foundations soon exhaust a State of particular woods; house and car builders and a thousand others are daily hacking away our beautiful surroundings. It is stated that the Pine tree, Pinus strobus, is already barely found in sufficiently accessible quantity to feed even the maw of the lucifer match maker: furniture requires a never-ceasing supply. Mr. Landreth's foresight will assist, only partially, it is true, to remedy all this; but his example will induce increased planting. For this he deserves and will receive the thanks of his countrymen. But his example is valuable in the fact that his large means were used without ostentation.
He valued the best, and lived on the product of his knowledge of what all should seek - the wholesome and good. His hospitable table, to which he welcomed the governing minds of his country, was an example of refinement and elegance.
It may truly be said that the world is better for Mr. Landreth's life. Sincerely his departure is regretted. Long will his example be found useful and worthy of following. "Requiescat in pace".