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 first published account we have of it is in vol. 15 (1849) of Hovey's Magazine of Horticulture, by S. D. Pardee, Esq., of New Haven. The seed was planted by the late Thomas Howell, Esq., in his garden in New Haven in 1829 or '30. Mr. Howell's premises lay adjoining those of the late Gov. Edwards, some of whose seedling Pears have obtained such celebrity, and it was about the time when the Governor's first seedlings began to bear that Mr. Howell planted his seed. The variety from which the seeds were taken was called the Jonah, a hard, tough winter Pear, producing enormous crops every year - on one side of the Jonah, from which the seeds were taken, stood a Summer Bonchretien, and on the other a Virgalieu (White Doyenne); we may therefore presume the Howell to be a cross between these. The original tree, appears from Mr. Pardee's account to have borne when eleven years old, and at the present time, if alive, cannot be over twenty five years old.
The fruit has borne with us for several years, and under various circumstances; it has also borne in various parts of the country, and we have not heard a single unfavorable report of it. We are inclined to believe that it will prove to be one of those varieties which can be successfully grown in every Pear growing country and locality.
The point is large, obovate, pyramidal, very regular, and uniform in shape. Stalk about one inch and a quarter long, curved, moderately stout, and inserted without depression. Calyx open, in a shallow, smooth, regular basin. Skin very smooth, greenish, becoming pale lemon yellow or straw color at maturity, sprinkled with small russet dots, and has a faint blush on the sunny side, in some cases a clear red cheek. Flesh fine-grained, white, juicy, melting, sweet and pleasantly but not highly perfumed. In eating, from the first to the last of September, and sometimes into October.
Last season we gathered from a single graft set on an old tree in 1852, three pecks of magnificent specimens. We picked a few on the first of September, and the balance on the tenth; they were then quite green, but being exposed to the winds we feared some accident, and took them off sooner than we should have done otherwise : but they were picked just at the right time, they ripened off to the highest perfection in a cool closet off a living room, and kept a month. The tree is an upright, vigorous grower, with beautiful wood and foliage, succeeding equally well on Pear and Quince.
It was brought before the last Pomological meeting at Boston, and we extract from the proceedings the following description which it elicited:
Mr. Manice of New York. I think it is premature to place it on the list for general cultivation.
Mr. Barry of New York. I regard it as a very fine variety,and should be in favor of its adoption on the list for general cultivation.
Mr. Lines of Connecticut. It has been in cultivation for a number of years, and is regarded as a very superior pear; has all the desirable qualities of a good fruit, large in size, and is a good and uniform bearer. I do not think there would be any hazard in patting it on the list for general cultivation.
Mr. Berckmans of New Jersey. In my opinion it is one of the best of pears. I can compare it favorably with any other in my garden. The tree is vigorous enough, and the fruit possesses excellent properties.
Mr. Clark of Connecticut. I have paid considerable attention to the cultivation of this pear for a few years. I find it to grow admirably on the quince, as well as any on my grounds. It is a very early bearer. I have found the trees, two years from the graft, to produce fruit on small stocks. I consider it a very valuable variety; not, perhaps, so good as some others, but think it well worthy of being put upon the list for general cultivation.
The President. I entertain a very favorable opinion of the Howell. We esteem it one of the very best we have; having all the characteristics of an excellent, hardy tree, the fruit adhering well, and, when properly ripened, a very fine variety.
Nr. Hancock of New Jersey. I have a very favorable opinion of it. But it strikes me that it had better go on the trial list Mr. Hovey of Massachusetts. So far as that is concerned, I believe no one will Bay it is not one of our finest pears. But I would not adopt the rule of putting pears on the list for general cultivation which have been but a few years cultivated. I can say, however, that this pear is unexceptionable in regard to its general qualities, but I am not prepared to say that it is as good as the Lawrence. It comes in September, in a season when we have an abundance of pears; that is the only objection I know of.
Mr. Reid of New Jersey. I would second Mr. Hancock's motion to put it on the trial list Mr. Manning of Massachusetts. I have tested it, and have a high opinion of it. I think it rather premature to place on the list for general cultivation; but should be glad to see it on the list of those that promise well.
Mr. Walker of Massachusetts. I do not feel anxious to put pears on the list for general cultivation, unless they have been well tried; but was ready to sustain the committee who reported that as being one of the pears for general cultivation, and at the recommendation of persons well acquainted with it, put it on the list, that it might come before the convention in due form. I should feel rather better pleased to have it placed on the list of those that promise well, than to have it, at once, on the other list. As I am up, it may be well to say that it is one of those varieties that produce the fruit uniformly, and of a fair size. There are no small ones on the tree - all are large, and apparently cast in one mould; and the more I have Been of the pear, the more I am disposed to think it will be advanced among the best pears in the country.
It was unanimously voted to place this variety of pear on the list of those that promise well.