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.
About six years since I sent to Hovey's Magazine an account of the Hartford Prolific Grape; it may be found in No. CCVII. page 114. At'the time it was thought to be too modest a statement by those who were acquainted with the Grape; but as it is not a common fault to underrate a new fruit upon its introduction, it may be pardoned in this instance. I write you now to say that the experience of subsequent years has impressed me more favorably with its good qnalities. I have never pretended, nor has any one else who is acquainted with it, and able to judge, that it is superior to the Isabella, for it is not; but it approaches to it in quality, and ripening, as it does, two or three weeks earlier. It is a very valuable variety for those localities where the Isabella does not ripen; and it is also valuable anywhere for those who desire this fruit in succession.
If it has any fault it is that the berry does not adhere to the stem with as much tenacity as some other varieties. I have not known it to drop from the vine before maturing, or when mature, but from the cluster some time after it has been picked.
In the history which I gave of this variety I stated that it was an accidental seedling in the garden of Mr. Paphro Steele, of this town. A number of vines came up together, and were allowed to fruit; all were so inferior except this, that they were destroyed; they were supposed to be destroyed, but one of the worthless ones remained. This fact I did not learn when I obtained the materials for its history, and was not aware that two different vines had ever been sold for the Hartford Prolific until about three years since, when I saw, at an exhibition of the Rhode Island Horticultural Society, at Providence, a collection of grapes labelled "Steele's Seedling" - which name has sometimes been applied to the Prolific - but so unlike in quality that when I returned home I made further and more thorough inquiries of Mr. Steele. I was satisfied that in a few instances, when first brought into notice, one of the inferior seedlings had been sold for the true Hartford Prolific, not by design, but by mistake, and possibly this will account for the slowness of unbelief of some in this variety.