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.
The 24th of May, 1858, I went on the cars from Philadelphia to West Chester, Pa., distance twenty-four miles, to see Dr. Darlington, then one of the oldest botanists in the United States. He told me his age was seventy-six, and that his botanical labors were done.
I met with a cordial reception, although I had never before seen him, but we had corresponded and exchanged plants. He told me that I was the last one to whom he had sent botanical specimens. He was President of the West Chester Bank, and Townsend, another botanist, to whom Sir Wm. Hooker had dedicated a genus, had been its cashier for more than thirty years. It was remarkable to have two botanists, both of whom had genera named in their honor, in one bank; for bankers rarely give much time to scientific pursuits. There was a likeness of each genus (the Darlingtonia and Townsendia) painted in fresco in the bank over the doors of the president's and cashier's rooms. The bank was a beautiful marble structure of the Doric order.
Dr. Darlington walked with me to the Marshall Square, named in honor of a botanist whose farm was about four miles from the village. He was a contemporary of the Bartrams, and he, like them, cultivated many of our native trees and shrubs. The genus Marshallia was dedicated to him.
Dr. Baldwin, the botanist, was also a native of West Chester. He died many years ago, at Franklin, Missouri. For him the genus Baldwinia of Nuttall was named. A few years before I had been on a botanical tour in Florida, and when there I was sick with a fever at the house of a good old Spanish lady,who cared for me tenderly. She told me that a botanist named Dr. Baldwin had boarded at her house several weeks when collecting plants in Florida. She said he was one of the best of men. I believe she took extra care of me because I was also a botanist. This was at Pilatka. The memoirs of Dr. Baldwin, prepared by Dr. Darlington, had recently been published at the time of my visit to West Chester, to which we will now return.
From the top of the Reservoir in Marshall Square we had a fine view of the surrounding country of rich farming lands in a good state of cultivation. We called on Joshua Hoopes, an old and enthusiastic botanist, who had endeavored to have specimens of all the trees and plants of West Chester in his grounds. Dr. D. told me that he could never persuade his friend Hoopes to make an herbarium. My visit awakened the enthusiasm of Mr. H. He told me that if I would prolong my visit he would go with me into the country and show me some rare plants. He urged me to stay to dinner, but Dr. D. had told his daughters that we would dine at quarter past one, hence our stay with Mr. H. was necessarily short. Dr. D. was a widower, living with his two daughters. After dinner, the daughters gave us music on the piano, accompanied with the voice. Among others they sang a song in German.
The Doctor advised me by all means to visit the Bartram Botanical Garden near Philadelphia. He gave me a letter to Dr. James, of that city, requesting him to accompany me, which was done.
Dr. Darlington showed me specimens of the Darlingtonia Californica, Torrey, a description of which, with a plate, had recently been published by the Smithsonian Institution. He told me that he would rather have that genus named after him than have a marble column one hundred feet high on the Place Vendome at Paris. The Darlingtonia is a fit monument to his memory. Being one of the most singular and beautiful of the "Pitcher plants," it is a favorite in cultivation, and thus it will ever be. Dr. D. might well have said as did Horace, the old Latin poet, "Exegi monumentum" Yes, Dr. Darlington's monument is more durable than any of marble or brass. It was made by a more skilful Workman than the human race has ever produced.
Dr. Darlington has done much to create and form a taste for the study of natural science at West Chester, by talking, writing, lecturing and founding there a Natural History Society, in whose rooms were good collections of minerals, shells and curiosities. The Doctor had also placed his herbarium in an adjoining room, saying it would belong to the Society after his death. His influence has brought, and will bring, blessings to thousands living, and who will live. It has made West Chester a very desirable place of residence to all who value mental enjoyments more than physical and animal gratification. As I was about to leave at 3 P.M. the Doctor gave me his photograph, and the new edition of his Flora Cestrica.