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 annexed is the outline of a Duchess d'Angouleme Pear (Fig. 1) that grew last season in the garden of Thomas R. Thompson, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, on a standard tree taken from the nursery of Mr. William Reid. It was forwarded to us anonymously, and we consequently felt some doubt about the enormous proportions; but, on application to Mr. Reid, the well-known nurseryman there, we received the following note:
Dear Sir: The specimen of Duchess d'Angouleme Pear which you refer to, the outlines sent you by Chas. Davis, Junr., of this place, grown by Thos. R. Thompson, of Elizabethtown, is correctly described. The measurement was 15 inches longitudinal circumference, by 13 1/2 inches, as represented. This Pear was brought to my place by the grower, to look at before being eaten. I had heard of this Pear before I saw this specimen, but having so many fine specimens, I took no notice of it until I saw it; I at once thought the size exceeded anything I had ever seen, even putting me, as you observe, in mind of a monstrous specimen I saw at some exhibition, made out of wax. It was very solid and heavy, and, to all appearance, Juicy and perfectly melting; the weight is correct, having been weighed by several scales in town, viz: 1 lb. 12 ozs.
Yours, etc, Wm. Reid.
The Duchess is so large, that we have availed ourselves of the space to figure again that growing favorite, the Sheldon, of which Dr. Brinckl6 has kindly favored us with a better description than has yet appeared.
Bland, Huron, Wayne, Wisner. Size, large, two and three-fourths to three inches long by three to three and one-fourth broad; sometimes weighing sixteen ounces. Form, usually roundish, obovate, sometimes obovate, inclining to pyriform, occasionally truncate. Skin, green russet, becoming yellow russet, sometimes only faintly russeted, and very rarely with a brownish-red cheek. Stem, variable in size, usually five-eighths of an inch long by three-sixteenths thick, often one-half by one-fifth, occasionally one by one-eighth, inserted sometimes obliquely, in a narrow, superficial, and, occasionally, rather deep cavity. Calyx, small, segments deeply cut, usually open, sometimes closed, often partially reflexed, set in a basin rather variable, usually superficial and narrow, sometimes wider and deeper. Core, medium. Seed, small, brown, five-sixteenths of an inch long, nearly three-sixteenths wide, and one-eighth thick. Flesh, yellowish white, buttery, melting, abounding in Juice, texture granular, with some grittiness about the core, extending to the stem and calyx. Flavor, rich, perfumed, and somewhat vinous. Quality, "very good." Maturity, October. Wood - young shoots, yellowish brown; old wood, grayish brown.
The Sheldon Pear is a native of Wayne County, New York. The original tree stands in the town of Hunn, on the premises of Major Sheldon, and sprang from seed planted by his father nearly forty yean ago. Two other trees in the vicinity, one on the farm of Mr. Norman Sheldon, and the other on that of Mr. Wisner, are also said to be seedlings bearing fruit very similar to the Sheldon. They have been carefully examined by competent judges, who assure us that they present no appearance of ever having been grafted or budded. And yet, no one who has seen the fruit from these three trees, can for a moment entertain a doubt as to their perfect and entire identity. The only way of reconciling the discordant facts and statements of the case, is to adopt the more than probable conclusion, that two of them are unworked suckers from the remaining one. Such, I have been credibly informed, is now the conviction of Major Sheldon.