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History of Introduced Fruits into America – Native American Fruit Trees and Hybrid Fruit Tree Improvements Print E-mail
Your activity Garden & flowers
Written by Patrick Malcolm
Thursday, 16 July 2009 00:00
Copyright (c) 2006 Patrick Malcolm Ty Ty Nursery http://www.tytyga.comChristopher Columbus in 1493 introduced citrus trees into America on the Island of Haiti, by planting the seed of the sweet orange tree, the sour orange, citron, lemon, lime, and pummelo fruit trees. Records show that citrus trees were well established by the Spanish in coastal South Carolina and Saint Augustine, Florida by the year 1563.

Historical English documents show that the Massachusetts Company in 1629 sent seeds of pear trees to plant and grow into fruit trees at the American colony located at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Captain John Smith reported in 1629 that seed-grown peach trees were growing in the American colony at Jamestown, Virginia. Apple trees were grown at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1629 by William Blackstone, an American colonist, and this practice of planting fruit trees rapidly spread among many other farmers there.

Other fruit tree seeds that were sent for colonist farmers to plant and grow were: cherry, peach, plum, filbert, apple, quince, and pomegranate, and according to documents, “they sprung up and flourished.”

In 1707 historical Spanish mission documents show that fruit trees being grown by the Spanish-Americans were: oranges, fig trees, quince, pomegranates, peaches, apricots, apples, pear trees, mulberries, pecans and other trees.

General Oglethorpe, the first governor of the colony of Georgia, settled at Fort Frederica, located at Saint Simons Island, Georgia, in 1733, the same date that the city of Savannah, Georgia was founded, with the appointed purpose of introducing fruit trees that would grow valuable food sources for the Georgia farmers. John Bartram, the famous explorer and father of William Bartram traveled extensively, after the Spanish abandoned their lands, to take an inventory of plants, trees, and vines that might be useful to farmers in the American colonies.

General Oglethorpe imported 500 white mulberry trees, Morus alba, in 1733 to encourage and economically support the developing colonial interests in silk production at Fort Frederica, Georgia, colony of the English on the island of Saint Simons, Georgia.

Henry Laurens, a President of the American Continental Congress from South Carolina, introduced: olives, limes, everbearing strawberry, and red raspberry for culture in the colonies and from the south of France, he imported and introduced apples, pears, plums, and the white Chasselas grape which bore abundantly.

In 1763, George Mason recorded in his extensive fruit journal of his home orchard that he had planted an old French variety of pear tree, and he “grafted 10 black pear of Worchester.”

The Black Mission fig tree was made famous when it was found growing at a Spanish monastery in 1770.

The first American fruit tree nursery was opened in 1737 by Robert Prince at Flushing, New York who sold fruit to President George Washington, who visited the nursery. Prince Nursery advertised “42 pear trees for sale” in 1771 and “33 kinds of plums.” 500 white mulberry trees, Morus Alba, and 1000 black mulberry trees, Morus nigra, were bought by Robert Prince in 1774. Robert Prince sold an extensive list of grafted peach trees to President Thomas Jefferson, to be planted at the Jefferson home orchard at Monticello, Virginia. President Thomas Jefferson loved eating peaches, and he dried the peach slices into “peach chips” for his granddaughter and fermented fresh peaches into peach wine and distilled the mixture further into peach brandy. Jefferson also introduced the French mixture of tea and fresh peach juice called pesche (peach) tea. Jefferson experimented with the delightful “black plumb peach” of Georgia, well known today and still sold as the “Indian Blood Peach Tree.” Jefferson believed the Indian Blood Peach grew true to name from planted seed. Jefferson believed this celebrated peach tree had resulted from a natural hybrid cross between the French imported variety, “Sanguinole,” and naturalized peach trees, that were being grown by the Indians. Mulberry trees were planted at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home at a distance of 20 feet apart along with a list of other fruit trees, grapevines, and pecan trees.

William Bartram, in his book, Travels, wrote that he saw vigorous “two or three large apple trees” growing near Mobile, Alabama in 1773. These trees were likely grown from apple seed planted earlier by Indians, a gift from earlier American colonial farmers. Bartram also reported “the wild crabapple,” Pyrus coronaria, growing among the apple trees, probably a pollinator. William Bartram wrote that he visited near Mobile Alabama the remains of “ancient habitations, being there an abundance of peach and fig trees loaded with fruit.”

Bartram also reported that orange trees were grown and cultivated in large groves in 1790 and “3000 gallons of orange juice were exported.” Bartram mistakenly thought that the extensive orchards of citrus trees growing in Florida were native trees, but they had been planted by the Spanish explorers centuries before his book, Travels, was published.

William Bartram discovered the Ogeechee lime tree, Nyssa Ogeechee, growing near the Ogeechee River in Georgia, that “no tree exhibits a more desirable appears than this, in the autumn, when the fruit is ripe” and the fruit “containing an agreeable acid juice.” In his explorations, Bartram also reported seeing Chickasaw plum, Prunus chicasaw, and another wild plum, Prunus indica. In 1773, Bartram discovered fig trees planted and flourishing at Fort Frederica, Georgia, writing that after searching the ruins in the town, “only remain, peach trees, figs, pomegranates, and other shrubs, growing out of the ruinous walls of former spacious and expansive buildings, not only in the town, but at a distance in various parts of the island” of Saint Simons, Georgia.

Banana trees were introduced into America from Europe by the early Spanish explorers, and the plantain banana, that required cooking to eat, mutated from a green hard fruit to a sweet, fresh eating, yellow banana in the year 1836. A Jamaican, Jean Francois Poujot, discovered this outstanding banana cultivar growing quite distinctively different in appearance from the other plantain bananas planted in the field. Mr. Poujot multiplied this banana tree mutation into what would become the most popular and the most famous fruit tree in the world.

Apple tree orchards developed very rapidly in the 1800’s from the sale of apple seed for planting by the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

Perhaps the greatest developmental horticulturist and pomologist who ever lived was Luther Burbank, who settled in California and published a giant set of 10 volumes of books that outlined his fantastic experiments to improve fruit trees, berry plants, grapevines, nut trees, and many other perennials to include shade trees. Luther Burbank bred out the fuzz from peaches, which he stabilized into commercial nectarine trees. He also made many advances in hybridizing tasty varieties of plums and peach trees. Burbank imported Japanese, Oriental plum trees to be inbred with native American plum trees, that led to growing many commercial varieties that are top producers even today, such as: Burbank plum tree, Methley plum trees, Santa Rosa plum trees, and many others. Burbank strongly felt that the native American cherry trees that were extremely cold hardy should be intercrossed with commercial cherries in order to stabilize and inbreed the factor of cold hardiness. Burbank made numerous improvements on fruit trees involving pear trees and apple trees.

Fruit trees have provided food to wildlife, bird, and animals since the Biblical account of creation. Many birds are totally dependant on seeds of fruits, buts, berries, and grapes. Even when the pulpy, fleshy portions of fruits are gone, the seed remains preserved for months and sometimes for years to provide nourishment for wildlife birds and animals, and many of these seed being undigested germinate to grow later into pear trees, pecan trees, muscadine vines, or black raspberry bushes. The fruit trees of the world not only furnish calories for energetic living, but vitamins that are essential for growth are transplanted by the sunshine photosynthesis processes into forming fruits, berries, nuts, and grapes to insure a wonderful healthy lifestyle will continue. These fruit trees synthesize hormones and form the building blocks of proteins, fatty acids, and carbohydrates that chemically evolve into antioxidants. These antioxidants can help or suppress harmful body aging processes that often end in heart attacks, stroke, faulty blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Fruit trees, berry plants, nut trees, and grapevines are essential for man’s continued ability to maintain functional healthy bodies and to accumulate substantial agricultural wealth.

William Bartram reported in his book, Travels, the finding of fruit trees at a French plantation on an island at the Pearl River. Bartram wrote that he viewed “manured fruit trees arrive in this island to the utmost degree of perfection, as Pears, Peaches, Figs, Grape Vines, Plumbs & C.; the last mention genus, there is a native species that grows in this island, which produces its large…crimson frui…of a most enticing appearance.”History of Introduced Fruits into America – Native American Fruit Trees and Hybrid Fruit Tree Improv!9


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Okay, so I haven’t written anything in awhile.  I’ll tell you why.  On May 6, 2010, I was minding my own business driving a kid to college, being a ray of light in a dark world, so I like to think.  Well, as I’m driving on a beautiful, sunny day in Los Angeles – which is one of the few reasons for living here, mind you – traffic began to slow down.  I looked ahead and saw a black car stuck in the middle of the northbound intersection, waiting to take a left turn, blocking northbound traffic.  No worries, I’m thinking, I’ll slow to a stop and I hope whomever is behind me, if anyone, is paying attention.  Low and behold, I look in my rear view mirror and I see a man driving a Mercedes who DID NOT take Oprah’s No Cell Phone Pledge.  He looks down just as I’m looking at him!  He appeared to be texting.  I told the young man in the car, making a trek to get his young life on track and finish his education, that the man behind us was not looking up and would probably hit us.  I tried to ease to a stop, not wanting to hit my horn, out of fear the car in front of me would slam on its breaks.

Anyhoo, I tried to gain a few seconds by easing to a stop, and still give myself space with the car in front of me in case of impact.  Finally, I had to come to a complete stop – all of this taking place in the matter of about five seconds – and sure enough the DIP STICK driving the Mercedes NEVER looked up until he SLAMMED into the back of the vehicle I was driving.  His thick, beautiful car crumpled like a piece of foil.  He got out.  I got out and he said “Oh my God, how could I do this.  My life is over, I don’t have insurance.” GREAT!  You don’t pay attention while driving your luxury vehicle that you can’t afford.  Am I the only one who thinks that’s INSANE?!

I was cool until I got back into the vehicle and felt a pain in my lower back.  Then I started to feel like Mrs. Sophie in “Color Purple,” and wanted to SLAP the guy.

Needless to say, I am JACKED up.  I have back, neck, pelvis, knee and shoulder injuries, walk like I’m 70-years-old and I’ve been in PAIN for the past THIRTY DAYS! UGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  All because someone couldn’t pay attention while driving a deadly machine.

On the bright side, God blessed me with another t.v. sitcom!  I’ll be writing comedy, which I LOVE to do, so I’m seeing the light through the pain.

Have a good day – AND DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING!  Listen to Oprah.  Listen to me.  It only takes a second to take someone’s life.  Praise God no one was mortally injured.

A.M. Calberg

19th Century, Coffee

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Below is an impression about Coffee taken from the “Incidents of Western Travels,” letters written by George Pierce a Methodist Minister on a trip out to the Indian Mission in Oklahoma in 1856 and published in 1857.
A little before dark we came to an Indian cabin, and by signs and gestures made known our wish to tarry for the night. By signs and gestures we were made to understand that we could stay. We were left, of course, to wait upon ourselves; so we stripped our horses and led them to water; and when we returned, our host had brought to the lot a turn of corn and fodder, and as he let his own horses out, we put ours in and fed them to our hearts’ content. Now we marched to the house t* see about our own prospects for food and rest. There was but one room, but this was neat and comfortable, save that there was about it an undefinable odor, any thing but pleasant. It is common, I learned, to Indian habitations. The man, his wife and children, were well clad, and were attentive and polite according to their notions. Not a word of English could we get from any of the household. They could speak it, for they understood us very well in much of our talk: that was very obvious.

My good friend, McAlister, undertook to secure us a good supper by giving special directions, more particularly about the coffee—with me, when good, a favorite article. But, alas ! he succeeded better with every thing else than with this necessary beverage. By the way—pardon a little digression on this interesting theme—bad coffee is one of the afflictions of the land, and it is one of the miseries of travel. We find it everywhere—in taverns and private houses—among the rich and the poor. Often, when every thing else is clean and well prepared, the coffee is execrable stuff. Weak, or black, or unsettled, it is enough to make a well man sick. Why is this ? It is not stinginess, for there is often enough of the raw material, if it had been boiled and cleared. Sometimes, it is true, a man has to drink a good deal of water to get a little coffee ; but, generally, the difficulty is that the fluid is.muddy, the grounds all afloat; and then “the cup cheers” not, but sadly offends sight, smell, and taste.

The country needs a reform. It is more necessary to the welfare of the people than some other things that agitate the nation. In these days of Womens’ Rights I will not invade their province by pretending to give a recipe. I will only say, there must be good grains, well parched—not burnt—well boiled, and well settled; and then, as the cookery-books say, cream (not milk) and siigar “according to taste.” A lady of my acquaintance says it takes a tablespoonful of coffee to every cup; a little more would not hurt to make the article decently good. I wish the people—Indians and all—would try her proportions.

Posted by Lynn Coleman at 7:41 AM

Labels: 1856, 1857, Food, old letters

GAMBLING, 19th century England novels

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Gambling in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel: “A Leprosy is o’er the Land”

By Michael Flavin. (2003). Brighton, UK: Sussex Academic Press, 254 pp.,
ISBN 1-903900-18-2 (hardcover). Price (approx.): CA$78 or US$70.

Thou knowest, Lord, the fell disease.
Has Smitten myriads, rich and poor;
The workman’s hour, the wealth of ease
Are squandered for the gambler’s store.
Palace and cottage, works and mart
Are suffering from the fatal bane;
Prison, asylum, refuge, home,
Are peopled with the victims slain.

“A Leprosy is o’er the Land”: Winner of The National Anti-Gambling League’s hymn-writing competition, 1905 (pp. 222–223).

According to Michael Flavin, gambling was so widespread in England during the 19th century that it was considered to be the most prevalent vice of the age—a leprosy over the land. In Gambling in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel, Flavin examines the attitudes towards gambling shown in the novels of seven prominent English writers: Disraeli, Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot, Hardy, Trollope, and Moore. His examination of the content of these novels is interlaced with an examination of major historical events that shaped these views and legislation that attempted to curtail gambling throughout this period. For example, excessive gambling during the Regency period (1811 to 1820) created a strong negative reaction against gambling during the middle part of the century.

The consensus of most of the novels examined in this book is that gambling is harmful to society. Patrons of betting shops were viewed as being driven to insanity, theft, and even suicide. A strong link is also drawn between gambling and crime. To partake of one vice was to be lured into other vices. Gamblers in these novels have little self-control. Gambling was also seen as a contamination. As a result, Trollope was concerned about how people of lower classes were allowed to mix with people of higher classes at racetracks.

Attitudes were not universally negative. Dickens, for example, is characterized as advocating control rather than abolition. George Moore appeared to have negative views of gambling in most of his novels, but in his Ester Waters he presents a sympathetic characterization of a bookie, driven to his death by unfair regulation of gambling. In addition, one of the main characters in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (Rawdon Crawley) makes his living for a short while as a professional gambler.