This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Died, suddenly, on the 22d of October, Mr. James D. Pulton, of Marcus Hook (formerly of Philadelphia), in his forty-third year. Mr. Fulton was in New Jersey, with some of his men, collecting packing moss, when he complained of not feeling well, suddenly fell to the ground, and soon after expired. It was long known to himself and his friends that he labored under a disease of the heart, and his death, though sadden, was not altogether unexpected.
Mr. F. was one of the most active working members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the fruit committee, especially, will sustain a severe loss. Of one whose course in life had been so unobtrusive as was that of Mr. Fulton, devoid of striking incident - indeed, of variety itself - but little may be said of interest to others than friends who appreciate his worth, and lament his early death, occurring, as it did, before his plans of usefulness had been fully consummated.
James D. Fulton was born at Bainbridge, County Down, Ireland, and accompanied his parents to this country when about six years of age. His father had been bred to horticultural pursuits, which circumstance gave direction to the son's bent and inclination. Some time after his arrival in this country, his father sought and obtained employment at the nursery grounds of the late D. and C. Landreth, and was for a short period foreman of the Fifth Street branch of their establishment; the son, then a school-boy, acquired the rudiments of an English education. It is not known that he exhibited an especial tact or inclination to study, but great aptness for the mechanical effort of writing, which was not impaired by ) hardened sinews, the result of daily labor; few men with whom writing is an every-day occupation, could use the pen with greater celerity or grace.
The decease of his father, whilst he was still a mere youth, leaving his mother dependent on her own exertions, led to his being placed with the Messrs. Landreth, in the capacity of an apprentice, whilst the mother, to be near her son, resided in the family of one of those gentlemen; and it may here be observed, as an instance of long-continued connection (so unusual in this country), that though in advanced age, she still remains a useful attache of the present firm of David Landreth & Son.
On reaching manhood, James ultimately became the foreman of Mr. Thomas Landreth, in which position he so conducted'as to secure the good opinion of his employer and his customers. On Mr. T. Landreth relinquishing business, the nursery grounds passed into the hands of Mr. David Landreth, who, being otherwise engaged, interested Fulton in the concern, giving him the sole charge of the nursery, which he so managed as to secure the approbation of all persons having business relations with the establishment. On Mr. Lan-dreth's declining that branch of his profession, Mr. Fulton decided to embark in business on his own account, with the intent to confine his attention more particularly to greenhouse plants, to the propagation and cultivation of which, especially camellias, he had a special inclination, and perhaps was not excelled in successful efforts in that department of horticulture.
Mr. Fulton had, but a few months previously to his decease, removed to a small property recently purchased by him, adjoining Marcus Hook, in Delaware County, Pa., where he was surrounding himself with the means of rational enjoyment, and was giving promise of increased usefulness. He had there lain the foundation of a systematic nursery, and had his life been prolonged, his grounds doubtless would have proven of much public utility. It has been ordered otherwise, and, in his case, the emphatic declaration, " in the midst of life we are in death," was verified. Whilst out from home, on business connected with his nursery, he was suddenly stricken by an affection of the heart, and died within an hour of the attack, in the forty-third year of his age, leaving a widow, childless.
Mr. Fulton brought to his profession the aid of reading, observation, and reflection, and though, like most self-made men, he may have been at times over-confident in his conclusions and deductions, he had the merit of receiving with respect the opinions of others; and there are none who associated intimately with him but will bear witness to his integrity of purpose in every relation of life.. Like others, he. was not without peculiarities of character, one of which was his refusal, from some covenantic sentiment, to claim the right of citizenship, and, of course, he never exercised the elective franchise pertaining to that condition - in this particular, presenting a striking contrast to his countrymen in general. It is, however, with him in his professional capacity, this sketch is concerned, and the writer can conscientiously pronounce him to have possessed the best characteristic of his profession - he was reliable in every particular - no man ever intrusted his interest in his keeping, and was unfairly dealt by.
In no pursuit in life is opportunity greater or more frequent to lean to the side of our own interest than that of the nurseryman; and it may be safely affirmed, that in none where an equal measure of intelligence and industry is requisite, is compensation so illy bestowed.
He who would discharge his duty to the public in that capacity, should bring to his aid more than a mere average share of intelligence, close observation, and patient, unflagging industry. He may, as many do, get on with less, but nothing less will strictly qualify him for his post. Possessing these requisites, he may naturally expect the result to be independence, if not wealth; but, how few there are, if any, in this country who have attained it I We shall not speculate on the advantage of prolonged industry, nor moralize on the relative usefulness to the community and individuals of idleness and industry; our object is simply to call attention to a fact, with the view to impress upon the reader's mind, if he have occasion to purchase the products of the nursery, that prices apparently high, in many oases yield but inadequate return for necessary care and skill.
In concluding this brief notice of one who has so suddenly passed away, it is gratifying to bear testimony, and record the fact on pages devoted to the promotion of the pursuit to which he was so ardently attached, of his sterling worth; in every relation of life he was "an honest man".
His quiet manner, and unobtrusive mode of getting along, made the name of Fulton but little known abroad; he never advertised, and thus one of the best and most promising nurseries of the vicinity of Philadelphia, was rarely mentioned beyond a small circle. This course can rarely be as successful as one which promulgates a knowledge of what is going forward.