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.
Hebron: This originated, as near as can now be ascertained, in the town of Hebron, in this State; when, I cannot learn; but it was introduced into this neighborhood many years since. Mr. Paphro Steel informs me that he obtained grafts of it from Mr. Normand Knox, about 1826, and Mr. Knox told him that he himself went to Hebron for them many years before. Mr. Samuel Kellogg, of East Hartford, tells me that he went to Hebron for grafts as many as forty years since, and that there is a tradition in the family that the pear was brought from Raynham, Mass., more than a hundred years since, by Rev. Elijah Lathrop, his grandfather. I cannot learn from Hebron that this was the case, and do not fully credit it, but intend to investigate further. It is thought to be a native, by our cultivators here, and it is stated in the Homestead, August 26, 1858, that the original tree stands, or did stand, a short time since, in the town of Hebron. From that paper I copy the following description:
"Fruit obovate, depressed, pyriform; skin thin, generally smooth, yellow (cinnamon) russet, thickly covered with obscure brown dots, especially upon those parts least russeted; stem three-fourths of an inch to an inch and a half long (curved), inserted.somewhat obliquely in a moderate depression; calyx nearly closed in a very shallow basin; flesh (coarse) melting, juicy, sweet, and slightly musky, aromatic; ripe July 20th to August 10th." It is a thrifty grower, a great bearer, and of "very good quality;" like all summer pears it is necessary that it should be picked before ripe.
Pinneo: This is an old Connecticut variety, ripening about the first week in September, and although long known in the eastern part of the. State, seems not to have been long recognized out of it. I became acquainted with it about sixteeen years since, and the first printed account, as far as known, was in the Albany Cultivator for 1845, by John S. Yeomans, of Columbia, Conn. Mr. Yeomans in a recent communication to the Home-stead, states that the original tree is still living.
1. Pnntso. 2. Hebron.
A friend writes me from Gilead, Sept. 17, 1857: "Last evening I called on Deacon Hutchinson and obtained definite and reliable information (as I have no doubt) of the origin of the Pinneo pear. More than fifty years ago, Deacon H. said, he went to Columbia on purpose to get of Esquire Pinneo some pear sprouts for himself, etc.
At that time Esquire Pinneo told the Deacon that he was once mowing bushes on the out lot, and found a small pear tree, which he spared. In the proper time for setting out trees, he dug up the little bush, and set it out near his dwelling, thinking to have it grafted some day; but he finally concluded to let it grow as it was, and see what fruit, if any, it would bear.
Well, it bore very good fruit, and he did not wished it changed. The sprouts also came up, and were in turn set out, and bore the same kind of pears. I do not know if Esquire Piuneo gave them a name, but as the sprouts were widely scattered, the fruit came by common assent to be called the Pinneo pears".
This is the name by which the pear is generally known in the eastern part of the State, where it is considerably disseminated.
Fruit of medium size, obovate, skin yellow, with numerous russet dots, and patches of russet about the stem, which is. long, curved, rather stout, and obliquely inserted in a small depression; calyx open in a shallow basin; flesh melting, juicy, and sweet, with slight astringency; seeds long, black, many abortive; quality "very good".
This is the pear which has been sent out within a few years by Messrs. Hovey, under the name of the Boston, which has been exhibited by them at the Exhibitions of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as " a new native pear," and which has received premiums from the Society repeatedly. Trees were offered for sale, with extensive puffing, at five dollars each, and the general impression was, perhaps without any distinct assertion of their's, that it was a fruit of their own raising; it has been published as a fruit raised by Mr. Hovey, and no efforts were made to contradict it, nor am I aware that the source from whence it originated was ever named in print, or verbally; the origin seems studiously to have been concealed, and its introducer into a new locality appeared willing to receive the credit of its origin. Perhaps, commercially, he expected to turn a penny by it.
Now, Mr. Editor, I put it to you, and to every horticulturist, if this is not decidedly rich. Only think I here is a Connecticut fruit, cultivated for more than half a century, so long that through an extensive region the name is well established, which turns up in a distant locality, under a new name, is generally understood to be a new fruit, and is advertised with all the show of new fruits, large type, large price, and great excellence.
The identity was not discovered until a little more than a year ago, when specimens grown in Boston were compared with some grown in this State; there had been no previous suspicion of their identity, and as Mr. Hovey had not published a description, no one had been able to institute a comparison; for the trees which he had sent out had not yet come into bearing. The operation was a bold one, and probably a profitable one; if it is to be defended as a "fair business transaction" it is not to be defended upon its morality.
Nor can it receive the sanction of any nurseryman who entertains a love and respect for his business; of any amateur who expects truthfulness in his dealings with nurserymen; or of any society which expects its opinions and decisions to be respected. This matter, and others of a kindred character, may have troubled the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Often enough before now, but the best endowed society in the Union cannot expect to maintain a character for justice and honesty, when such transactions as the above are allowed to pass without rebuke. The unfairness of the thing is so apparent that much more need not be said; this doubtless was the view taken of it by the American Pomological Society at its late session in New York, when, after a lengthy and excited debate, it, by a decisive vote declared that this pear of which we have been writing should be called Pinneo, refusing even to tolerate Boston as a synonym; that was a pretty effectual rebuke, which somebody must have felt. I do not think that horticulturists will be satisfied with the attempted apology, that this is only one of the "tricks of trade;" I have no doubt but that the fraternity would indignantly deny it, as being contrary to those principles of common honesty which should govern all men in their transactions.
Horticulture is now taking with them, as it is now taking with the people, an important and exalted position, and it becomes their horticultural societies, and private gentlemen also, to see that it receives nothing of detriment at their hands.
And now, Mr. Editor, I must beg your pardon, and the pardon of your readers also, for having obtruded upon them what may seem so much of a personal matter. But I have no feeling about it, except that of placing it in its true light; and as I first exposed the imposition upon the public in the Homestead of last year, have felt bound to see that a proper defence should be made against some statements and insinuations in the "magazine of horticulture" for November last. Our "Connecticut cultivators" do not pretend to know anything more than others in the same field, but they are smart enough to detect some of the impositions which are allowed to circulate, and having detected, to expose them.
If there is anything more ridiculous in this whole transaction than another, it is, that the Pinneo should be pronounced identical with the Hebron; they are very different as every one knows who is acquainted with them, and as any one will see who will read the descriptions - different in form, color, flavor, and time of ripening; and yet one is placed as the synonym of the other, by Mr. Hovey, and he refers to his own pages for evidence of this identity. They are not the same, have never been thought to be the same by any one here, or by any one elsewhere, who was familiar with both the fruits.
In the reports of the Proceedings of the Pomological Convention, I am made to say that the Pinneo ripens in December; this is incorrect; it ripens during the first part of September.
It is a matter of congratulation that the rapidly advancing state of Pomological science, will not permit an imposition to remain long undetected. Dr. Russell gives a very clear statement of the case in point, and 1 think expresses the general opinion pretty accurately.
The remark of Professor Henry, (187,) extracted from the patent office report - " We have no sympathy with the cant of the day, with reference to 'practical men,'" etc. has my sincere acquiescence. I do not know of any term in horticultural literature which has been more abused. I know "practical gardeners" who are theoretical ones also, and who are intelligent, modest and gentlemanly men. To such the remarks of Prof. Henry or myself do not apply. I am speaking of those self-styled " practical men," who seem to claim an inherent right to know more than, and to sneer at, any person with whom they happen to differ in opinion, merely upon the ground that he is not "practical;" or, in other words, that he does not choose to disbelieve everything that his own eyes have not seen, or ignore the excellence of everything that his own hands have not planted.
The old prejudice against gentlemen farmers and book farming is not quite extinct, nor is it confined to farmers alone; instances might be cited from your pages, Mr. Editor, of gardeners of sufficient standing and intelligence to be superior to such prejudices, who have endeavored to protect themselves by a "practical" shield, from the weapons of an adversary, who may combine practice with theory.