This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
While we rejoice in the prosperity of our Society and the presence of so many old friends who have been spared to this day, and extend fraternal greetings to all who have come up to aid us in the promotion of our noble work, we have to mourn the loss of several who held official relations with us, and of others who have been devoted to our cause.
Robert Buist, Vice President for Pennsylvania, died at his residence in Philadelphia, in the summer of 1880, in a good old age. Few men in this country have done so much as Mr. Buist to advance and extend the taste for horticulture and kindred arts. For a long course of years he stood at the head of our florists and seedsmen, as a connecting link between the horticulturist of this and earlier generations. He took a deep interest in the dissemination of good fruits, and was present at many of our meetings. In all his dealings he sustained a character for honor and fairness; and many of the most distinguished collections in our land may trace their beginning, and much of their excellence, to his enterprise and advice. But he has done more than to raise fine trees and plants; he has trained up and sent forth throughout our land more young men to be an honor to horticulture than perhaps any other person in his profession. Charles Cotnam Hamilton, M. D., Vice President for our Society in Nova Scotia, died at his residence in Canard, Kings County, in the summer of 1880. Dr. Hamilton was a genial, gentle and Christian man, and to no one in Nova Scotia are the public more indebted than to him for the progress of agriculture, horticulture, the medical art, or whatever tends to promote the welfare of mankind.
He was a man of progressive ideas, and the frequent exhibitions of his knowledge and skill gave strong evidence of natural greatness, which won for him the respect and love of all who knew him. He was President of the Fruit Growers' Association for Nova Scotia from the day of its formation to his death. He has attended the sessions of our Society in various portions of our country, made many valuable reports, and his death was caused by exhaustion from visiting agricultural and horticultural exhibitions, which he had done for many successive weeks. He was President of the Provincial Medical Board at the time of his death, and held many other offices of honor and trust. He was born October 13th, 1813, graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1834, and continued in active practice as a physician over forty-six years.
Bernard S. Fox, Vice President of our Society for the State of California, died about the 20th of last July. He had visited several of our great cities on his way to Europe, but, failing in health, was returning home, but only reached Council Bluffs, where his life closed. He was a pioneer horticulturist and nurseryman, and known in all parts of his State for his energy and enterprise. He commenced the nursery business in San Jose, possessing considerable land, which rose in value and made him one of the richest men in his line of business. He was an Irishman by birth, and came out to Messrs. Hovey & Co., of Boston, in 1848; after a few years he emigrated to California. For many years he had been much engaged in the production of new varieties from the pear by seed. Prominent among these are the P. Barry, B. S. Fox, and Col. Wilder. In a letter which Mr. Fox wrote to the editor of the Rural Press, before he started on his late journey, he stated: "You are well aware that the list of pears is already large, and unless something extremely good is offered there is no use adding to it.
But after many years of trial here and elsewhere, I claim now that, at their respective times of ripening, there are no large pears superior to them in size, flavor and good shipping qualities." Mr. Fox's death is a great loss to California horticulture, which he has promoted in many ways, and many of us at the East will remember him on his late visit, when he was full of hope and the prospects of long life.
Dr. William M. Howsley, Chairman of our Fruit Committee many years, for Kansas, died March 7th, 1880, in the eighty-second year of his age. Few men in our country have been more desirous of promoting the welfare of our Society and the progress of Pomology in his own and the new States of the West. His reports as Chairman of our Fruit Committee for Kansas, attest to the value of his labors, especially on the classification of our fruits, and the nomenclature of the apple. He was born in Kentucky, and in his earlier years learned a trade, in accordance with the wishes of his father, but he sought for mental culture. He studied for the medical profession under the celebrated Dr. Rush, received his diploma, and practiced his profession in his native county for thirty years. His love of nature led him early to the cultivation of fruits, and he established a nursery in Kentucky in 1836, and ever since has been one of the ardent promoters of American Pomology. Well was it said of him, "that few men have ever held grander conceptions of the part horti. culture is destined to play in promoting the civilization of the human race.
To his mind, the production of improved fruits, more beautiful than flowers and attractive lawns, were only the promise of a healthier race, of happier homes, and a higher and nobler civilization."
Beautifully, indeed, did he utter these sentiments in his speech at our banquet eight years ago, in this city, when he expressed "the hope that when you and I, sir, shall have finished our work on earth (which will not be long), and these hoary locks of ours are consigned to the tomb, the friends of American Pomology, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, may clasp hands in brotherly kindness over our final resting-place."
M. B. Bateham, Chairman of our Fruit Committee for Ohio, died after a lingering illness at his home in Painesville, Ohio, August 5th, 1880. He was for nearly half a century a constant laborer in the promotion of agricultural, horticultural and kindred pursuits; especially was he interested in horticulture, a taste for which was imbibed in youth, and to which he devoted unremittingly his after-life. He came to Rochester, N. Y., in 1825; there he commenced the seed business in 1833, in connection with rural pursuits in that city. He soon became a writer for the press, and was for five years editor of the old Genesee Farmer. Here he became acquainted with our friends Ellwanger and Barry more than forty years ago, which gave him a love for pomo-logical research, which continued until his death. He removed to Ohio in 1845, and established the Ohio Cultivator, which afterwards became the Ohio Farmer. He was one of the founders, and for a long time Secretary of the Ohio Pomologi-cal Society. He was Secretary of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture for some time, and was for many years, and at the time of his death, Chairman of our Fruit Committee for the State of Ohio. Mr. Bateman had traveled much both at home and in Europe. He was a close and accurate observer of all matters pertaining to the science of the soil; especially was he interested in the progress and welfare of the American Po-mological Society, at whose last meeting in Rochester he took an active part.
He was born in England, September 13th, 1813.
Among others who have deceased since our last session, although not holding official relations with us, are the following, whom I think it proper to allude to as friends of our cause:
William Griffith, a Life Member, died at North East Pennsylvania, May 23d, 1881, aged sixty-six years. He came to this place in 1840, and when the grape interest was beginning to assume increased attention he planted a large vineyard and built a wine cellar. He gave special attention to the cultivation of the Iona grape, and was identified with everything in his region and the Lake Shore that had for its promotion the cultivation of the vine. He was President of the Grape Growers' Society, of Pennsylvania, and was appointed to represent that association at the World's Exhibition at Paris in 1867. He was much esteemed, and was connected with everything that pertained to the improvement, embellishment and prosperity of the town where he died.
William Lawton, of New Rochelle, N. Y., a Life Member, died in New Rochelle April 27th, 1881, aged eighty-five years, eleven months and twenty-seven days. He was a gentleman of great energy, enterprise and perseverance; was early interested in the proceedings of the American Pomological Society, in the culture of fruits, and was very extensively known as the introducer of the Lawton Blackberry, which was disseminated largely, and will perpetuate his name in the pomology of our time. He was a sergeant major of artillery in the war of 1812, when he was nineteen years of age; when twenty-two, he became a stock exchange broker. He helped to form the first Brokers' Board in New York, and, although retiring from business in 1867, he still retained his connection with the Stock Board, and was probably the only survivor of the original members. He was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and was present at its meeting one year ago, and greatly interested us by the recital of some important reminiscences of his life.
Aaron Erickson, of Rochester, N. Y., a Life Member, died at the advanced age of about eighty years. He came to that city a poor young man, a machinist. From that he became one of the most extensive wool merchants, having branches or agents of his house in our principal cities. He then became a banker, and in all these relations, and under all circumstances, was successful, honorable and high-minded. By study, travel and observation, he acquired information on literary and scientific subjects above the average of merchants. Horticulture always claimed much of his leisure time, in which he endeavored to keep up with the progress of the age. He kept up a good collection of our best hardy fruits, and was especially successful in his culture of the foreign grape, to which he gave special attention. Mr. Erickson took a deep interest in the growth and embellishment of Rochester, and, as a man, he was genial, generous, hospitable; in every sense of the word a true gentleman.