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.
The Osband's Summer is one of the most beautiful of all our American Summer Pears. Until about the year 1846 it was known only to a few persons in Wayne and Monroe counties of this State, but about that time it was brought to notice through the Horticulturist by Mr. Wm. R. Smith, then of Macedon, who stated the history of its origin to be as follows:
"Early in the settlement of this part of the State, a small nursery was planted by PAR-don Durfee, in the vicinity of Palmyra, Wayne county. A public road was subsequently laid out through the premises, and a part of the trees in consequence removed. During this labor, the father of my informant, accidentally passing, was accosted by the proprietor with, "Here, I will give you this," handing a Pear tree about two feet in height, with branches forking out near the ground. On reaching home, the tree was divided through the roots, and the two parts planted. Here one of them produced abundant crops for many years, and finally died, probably from the 'blight.' The other was soon removed to a farm in the north part of this town (Macedon), and last year I gathered a few specimens from it, the last which the same potent enemy will allow it to produce. The name given is at the suggestion of the family who brought it into notice".
Thus it will be seen that, like most all our seedling fruits, it sprung up by accident It has many points of resemblance with the White Doyenne, in form, color, and textare; and on this account it was called the Summer Virgalieu. Quite likely it is a cross between that and some very early sort.
The tree is distinct in appearance, of erect and regular habit, moderately vigorous. Young shoots - drab or light brown. Foliage and points of young shoots - somewhat woolly. Wherever it succeeds as well as it does here in Western New York, it may be cultivated advantageously for the market, as it never fails to bear large crops of beautiful and good fruit that will always command ready sale and good prices. It bears picking early. Indeed, it must be picked early, or it is pasty and worthless. For a long time we regarded this Pear as of indifferent quality, having usually allowed it to ripen almost fully on the tree. Of late, however, we have taken the precaution to pick it before the color has very sensibly changed from green to yellow, and it ripens off admirably, becoming melting, juicy, and excellent It lacks sprightliness, but will suit those who are partial to very sweet Pears.
Fruit - medium size, two to two and a half inches in height, and the same in diameter. Form - obovate, resembles a small White Doyenne Stalk - about an inch long, rather stout, and inserted in a slight depression. Calyx - large, open, in a shallow basin. Skin - smooth, clear pale yellow at maturity, with generally a blush, in some cases a bright red cheek. Flesh - white, melting, juicy, very sweet, and slightly musky. Ripe from 1st to 20th of August.
It succeeds well on the Quince, judging from trees of some eight years' growth, in full bearing.