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.
N the month of September, 1848, the first general meeting of fruit growers was held at Buffalo, in connection with and under the auspices of the New York State Agricultural Society, of which Lewis F. Allen, Esq., of Buffalo, was then President. This gentleman was one of the principal movers in the matter, and participated actively in the proceedings of that meeting. Delegates were present from fifteen States and the Canadas; large collections of fruit were presented; and the discussions, which continued during three days, were quite as interesting and instructive as those of any subsequent meeting of the kind. The delegates and all who took a part in the proceedings were pleased with the result, and felt perfectly satisfied that association and assemblage for the interchange of views and opinions, and to compare specimens as well as experience, were to be the most effectual means of advancing the science of pomology, in all its branches. In October, of the same year, the "American Pomological Congress" assembled at New York under the auspicies of the American Institute. This was a large meeting - some twelve States were represented by the most intelligent and active cultivators in the Union. The display of fruits was magnificent, and the proceedings passed off to the entire satisfaction of all who.were present or participated in them.
Here we had two societies, each claiming to be national in their scope and purposes, and both well organized.
Next year (1849), the Buffalo organization met at Syracuse, and there adopted the title, "North American Pomological Society." This meeting was well attended, and the discussions of the session, together with the State and local reports presented to it, formed a very valuable pamphlet. At the close of that session, a committee with Dr. Wendell of Albany, as Chairman, was appointed to confer with the American Pomological Congress in regard to a union or consolidation. On the following month this latter society met in New York, and the union was there effected. Thenceforward we have had but one national organization - the "American Pomological Society." It has held five sessions: two in New York, one in Cincinnati, one in Philadelphia, and one in Boston; and the next will be held in Rochester, in 1856. There is not at this day in the world an organization of this kind so efficient, or that extends its influence over so wide a range of territory as this. It has its committees and gathers its reports from the most northern limits of the United States to the shores of the Pacific.
Besides this great national society, we have others of a nearly local or sectional character; such, for instance, as the Society Of Ohio; the Northwest, embracing Illinois, Iowa, etc.; and the Wisconsin Society. All are powerful auxiliaries, and are really exerting a great influence. Confining their investigations to sections or territories having nearly similar climates, and where culture is influenced by the same causes, they are able to enter into greater detail than the national society can. Thus we see the Northwest and Ohio Societies discuss the comparative merits of different modes of propagation, the influence of certain soils or particular varieties, comparative success of budding at various seasons, etc. We therefore desire to encourage the organization of local and sectional societies of this kind. Every State should have one, and every district of a State even, where a sufficient difference of climate and soils exists to give it a peculiar character. Horticultural Societies are too general in their purposes to be efficient in collecting pomological information.
Such a Society as that of Massachusetts or Pennsylvania can accomplish much, because they have ample means; yet even these seldom do more than offer premiums for particular objects, they do not induce investigations over the whole State. The influence of small, local Horticultural Societies is generally limited to the towns or villages in which they are located. Societies formed for the sole purpose of advancing fruit culture can operate effectually without great loss of time in exhibitions; they can have a common center to which specimens, reports, etc., can at all times be transmitted, and the work can go on through the members and committees at all seasons and every day in the year. It is very plain that these local Societies will be more thorough in their work than State Committees of the National Society can be.
All these societies will be so many aids to the National Society, and will enable it to carry forward its great plans with much greater rapidity, and will render them infinitely more reliable. So far we apprehend that our State reports have been too local and have not conveyed an accurate idea of the whole territory represented. With the cooperation of local societies, this evil would be obviated.
The information which has already been collected within the space of seven years, is of great value to all classes of cultivators. So far the investigations have been chiefly directed to ascertain the best varieties, - the discussions of our National Society have scarcely touched upon anything else. But this is one of the most important points, and it is well to give it early attention. When the question is asked, What are the most popular varieties of fruits under culture in the United States ! are we able to return a tolerably accurate reply ! In our last number we gave a list of the most popular varieties in Illinois, Iowa, etc., according to the reports of the Northwest Association, and also a list recommended for Ohio by the Ohio Society. Now we have examined all the reports that have appeared, and have made out the following list To each variety we have affixed the States in which they have been recommended by fruit committees, and we enumerate those only which have been recommended by at least three States, our object being to make a list of such as have proved successful over a wide area.
We had this arrangement prepared for our own information and convenience, and we believe that as a table of reference it will be found valuable to all who are engaged in fruit culture, or who are collecting information on that subject: