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 Church Pear is believed to be a seedling raised by an old Huguenot settler at New Rochelle. The original tree stands on the premises of L. P. Miller, Esq., and is presumed to be nearly a hundred years old. It bears, annually, from fourteen to twenty bushels of fruit, is uncommonly healthy and vigorous, having no decayed limb about it, and spreads its lordly head over three or four square rods. The trunk, two feet above the ground, is six or seven feet in circumference.
Size, medium, 2 and 3-16th inches in length by 2 and 5-16ths in breadth. Form, short-turbinate, largest in the middle, and tapering both ways. Skin, greenish-yellow, russeted at the base and crown, with occasionally russet markings on other portions of the exterior. Stem, long, from 1 to I 3/8 inches by 1/7 in thickness, of a cinnamon color, and inserted without depression. Calyx, closed, with short segments, set in a moderately wide, plaited basin. Gore, medium. Seed, brown, ovate, with an angle at the obtuse end, one-third of an inch long, one-fifth broad, one-eighth thick. Flesh, of fine texture, and buttery. Flavor> mild, pleasant, and sufficiently saccharine. Quality, "very good." Maturity, commences ripening about the middle of July, and continues till the end of September. Future observation will determine whether or not the Clark Pear, of Connecticut, the Bergamot of Dr. Blood-good, of Flushing, the Sallaignac, of Germantown, and Carr's Autumn Bergamot, are synonymous with the Church of New Rochelle.
Some one has been good enough to show me a scrap of the Rural New Yorker respecting the Church Pear, pretending that it was not a seedling but a Bergamot, known in Flushing, if I remember, and much like it. I had no occasion to compare the wood or the fruit, but that the Church-tree is an original seedling, I have not the least doubt. Why should that old tree be the only one of that Flushing variety grafted sixty or seventy years ago in New Rochelle, among scores of old, all of them wild pear-trees, either of the same age, or thereabout? There would bo another tree grafted with that variety, if it was so much esteemed as to have attracted notice over Long Island Sound; this would seem a natural proceeding, but no grafts were made. Moreover, the original Church bears no mark of ever having been grafted.
I asked Mr. Carpenter to take up a piece of the root, which I shall plant, and if the foliage should prove different from the large parent tree, I shall give up my opinion, in which I have no interest. Till then, I think the large, fine Church-tree to be as original a seedling as I ever saw before. The close resemblance of both fruits is no proof to the contrary; hybridization is the general lav with apple, pear, and other seedlings, but It in not such a stringent law as to admit of no exceptions. I have witnessed several reproductions iden-tical with the parent seed, and if it was proved to me that the Long Island Bergamot and the Church were one and the same variety, it would not surprise me as a wonder, nor as a lusus naturas. It seems rather surprising that some seedlings differ so widely from their parents. I can show, in thousands of mine, the offsprings of a carefully noted pedigree.
Truly yours, L. S. Berckmans, Plainfield, N. J.
Hollidaysburg, Pa., August 5,1857.