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.
On the 22d of June last Mr. F. R. Elliot, of Cleveland, Ohio, invited his pomological friends to a Cherry Festival, on which occasion the famous seedling varieties raised by Dr. J. P. Kirtland were to he served up before the critical guests. The holding of a local horticultural exhibition, and some other circumstances, deprived us of the great pleasure of attending, but a private note from one of the guests has given us a lively account of the proceedings. A large number were in attendance, chiefly from the west, and spent two days and one evening, not only in tasting cherries, and discussing their merits, but in various other modes of enjoyment, which had been liberally provided for them. Dr. Kennioctt has kindly furnished us the following off-hand notes, showing how the affair was conducted, and what the results were:
Friend Barry : We all regretted your absence at the Cherry Festival, but your excuse was a sufficient one. We are bound to attend to the affairs of our local societies in preference to distant interests; and yet, as the editor of our Horticulturist, you ought to have been excused by your association, for of all others you should have seen and been enabled to give a just and reliable account of the great show of Cherries, to which we were introduced by Professor Kirtland and F. R. Elliott.
Tour letter to Mr. Elliott was handed to me, and I would gladly comply with his request to act for him in giving you "some account of the matter;" but a week's absence leaves little leisure from needful business and correspondence, and I had to prepare matter for my own paper forthwith, and any thing for yours must go this mail, or reach you too late for "August number".
It is well known to the old readers of the Horticulturist, that Dr. Kirtland has been long engaged in testing seedling Cherries from the old Yellow Spanish, fertilized by Black Tartarian, American Amber, May Duke, and Arch Duke, and, possibly, other varieties; though these sorts grew beside the tree of Yellow Spanish that furnished the seeds of these Kirtland Cherries, (which F. R. Elliott has occasionly described,) and many others, not yet brought into notice on account of the great reluctance of the Doctor to permit a fruit, not fully equal to the best, to get abroad before the produce of years has given repeated testimony in favor of the claims of the new candidate for notice.
The way the Doctor managed with us showed both sensitiveness and confidence. Mr. Elliott took us all up to Rockport before showing us the Cherries of his own planting; and there we found Dr. Kirtland, prepared to get a candid opinion from every one, not capable of determining the identity of a variety, when placed along side of others the most nearly resembling it Some twenty or thirty dishes of Cherries were arranged, designated by numbers alone; and as the variety passed round, we were required to enter the number, and write down our opinions against it; and at the conclusion of this examination, a number was called and we read off our remarks in succession - no one being excused - and then Dr. Kirtland announced the name of the Cherry, and gave its history; and though (as we knew) there were some half dozen sorts of the best old Cherries artfully arranged, so as to escape detection if possible, yet, in nearly every instance, the Kirtland Seedlings were the ones selected as "best!" And what must have pleased the old Doctor better than this unbiased testimony in favor of his Cherries, we all selected as the best those sorts which are most esteemed by himself and F. R. Elliott.
In my blind notes, Mammoth and Delicate are set down as the very best; but the majority rated about as follows: Of the reds - Gov. Wood, Delicate, Kirtland's Mary, and Rockport Bigar-reau; Belle d'Choisy being ranked as "best" in one instance only. Of the blacks - Black Hawk and Osceola were entirely ahead of any of the old blacks. The Doctor, and Logan, and also Jockosott, are down on my list: the "Doctor" is a very sweet Cherry, and all the blacks, are, in some way, superior; but, unfortunately, very few of them were ripe; and so of some of the red*. And, by the way, there are some forty varieties in all, not one of which but is more worthy of cultivation then an a large portion of the old world varieties.
And now, for the great point of worth, and the wonder of all - except my first favorite, the Mammoth, which is a poor bearer, and possibly two or three others, not yet before the public - all of these thirty or forty seedlings are the most prolific of Cherries, beating the old sorts out of all comparison, in many instances, and beating them sufficiently in every case. The limbs were literally massed with fruit - and such fruit! Oh I you should have been there, friend Barey, for - although you are not in the habit of going off in ecstasies over every new thing - you are capable of appreciating excellence, and giving others just and sensible notions of the worthies of the day - among which I am inclined to rank the Kirtland Cherries pretty near the head of the list in pomology. I feel grateful to friend Elliott for the chance of seeing (and eating to repletion) these delicous productions of the West, and I assure him - as I now do you - that should his forthcoming book not go beyond the Cherries, even, it can not fail of interesting nomologists, the Union over.