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History of Early American Landscape Design

Martha Daniell Logan

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Martha Daniell Logan (December 29, 1704–June 28, 1779) was an American-born horticulturalist, educator, and writer in Charleston, South Carolina. She operated a business dealing in seeds and nursery plants, and wrote an influential gardening advice column.

History

Fig. 1, Martha Daniell Logan's signature and seal, 1721, From the collections of the South Carolina Historical Society.

Financial necessity most likely compelled Martha Daniell Logan to pursue commercial opportunities that were unusual for a woman of her social station. Her father, Robert Daniell (1646–1718), a British merchant engaged in maritime trade with Barbados and Bermuda, had immigrated to the Carolinas in 1679. Granted the status of Landgrave, he became one of the largest landowners in the colony and served in prominent military and political roles, including as deputy governor.[1] Evidently concerned with the education of Martha and her siblings, he made provisions in a will of 1709 for their “schooling, and all other things necessary for [their] education.”[2] A year after Daniell’s death in May 1718, his widow married the planter Col. George Logan Sr. (1669–1721), and in July 1719 fourteen-year-old Martha married her stepbrother, George Logan Jr. (1695–1764).[3] They lived on the Wando River, ten miles from Charleston, where both the Daniell and the Logan families owned extensive property. For reasons that remain unclear, Martha Daniell Logan began the first of several moneymaking enterprises a few years after the birth of her eighth child in 1738. On March 20, 1742, she advertised her services as a teacher of reading, writing, and embroidery for “Any Persons desirous to board their Children” with her.[4] She then relocated to the city of Charleston, where on March 6, 1750, she advertised plans to open a boarding school at her house on the green near Trotts Point.[5]

Logan soon shifted her attention from teaching to horticulture. The early Charleston historian David Ramsay described her as “a great florist, and uncommonly fond of a garden,” recalling how, in 1809, she and her friend Sarah Ward Hopton (b. 1715) had “cultivated extensive gardens” in the city.[6] Local artist Charles Fraser likewise remembered Logan’s garden for its size, noting that it “occupied a large space of ground on the north of Tradd-street” opposite “a vacant lot or green.”[7] A notice published in the South Carolina Gazette in 1751 advertised “the house that Martha Logan lives in, to be let for the summer season; also a large garden separate from the house.”[8] Before long, the garden would become too valuable to let, as Logan embarked on a career as a purveyor of botanical goods, selling seeds and plants at her house, initially under her son’s name. In addition to native plants, she dealt in imported specimens. An advertisement published in the Gazette on November 12, 1753, announced the availability of “a parcel of very good seeds, flower roots, and fruit stones of several kinds” that were “just imported from London” (view text). Logan’s principal customers were Charleston neighbors, including Ann Manigault, who recorded in her diary on November 25, 1763, that she “went to Mrs. Logan’s to buy roots.”[9]

Logan’s horizons expanded following a chance encounter with Philadelphia botanist and nurseryman John Bartram, who toured her garden during a visit to Charleston in 1760. For the next three years, Logan and Bartram eagerly engaged in a mutually beneficial exchange of seeds, plants, and information. “Her garden is her delight & she hath a fine [one],” Bartram informed his London agent, Peter Collinson, in 1762.[10] Logan sent items from her garden to Bartram, as well as rare and unusual specimens he had admired in the gardens of her neighbors, such as Alexander Garden, Mary Wood Wragg (1716–1767), and Susannah Holmes Bee (1739–1771).[11] Logan was particularly keen to send Bartram Carolina plants which “may be New to you” and “be an adision [addition] to yr Collection.”[12] In return, she asked Bartram to send bulbs and double-flowering plants that her London contacts had failed to procure or took too long to send.[13]

Logan is generally credited with writing the section on kitchen garden cultivation in John Tobler’s South Carolina Almanack, first advertised in the South Carolina Gazette on December 6, 1751, as a “Gardners Kalander [sic], done by a Lady of this Province, and esteemed a very good one.”[14] It was reprinted several times, and appeared posthumously under her name in annual editions of the Palladium of Knowledge: or, The Carolina and Georgia Almanac (1796–1804).[15] According to David Ramsay, Logan also wrote a treatise on gardening at the age of seventy. In that work, he claimed, she “reduced the knowledge she had acquired by long experience, and observation, to a regular system which . . . to this day regulates the practice of gardens in and around Charleston.”[16]

Robyn Asleson


Texts

  • South Carolina Gazette, November 12, 1753 (quoted in Manigault and Webber 1919: 205n9)[17] back up to History
“Just imported from London and to be sold by Daniel Logan, at his Mother’s house on the Green, near Trotts point, a parcel of very good seeds, flower roots, and fruit stones of several kinds.”


  • Logan, Martha Daniell, 1756, “Directions for Managing a Kitchen Garden every month of the year. Done by a Lady” (quoted in Leighton 1976: 211–15)[18]
“June . . . Straw or Stable Litter well wetted and laid pretty thick upon the Beds where Seeds are sown, in the Heat of the Day, and taken off at Night is a good expedient to forward the Growth.
“December. This Month being chiefly for the Management of the Orchard, plant and prune all manner of Fruit Trees and the like, and prepare Ground for transplanting in the Spring.”


  • Logan, Martha Daniell, February 15, 1768, describing in the South Carolina Gazette a sale in Charleston, SC (quoted in Spruill 1972: 278)[19]
“Just imported in Capt. Lloyd from London and to be sold very reasonably by Martha Logan at her house in Meeting-street, three doors without the gate:
“A fresh assortment of very good garden seeds and flower roots, also many other sorts of flower shrubs and box for edging beds, now growing in her garden.”

Other Resources

Alfred O. Halsey Map Preservation Research Project, Preservation Society of Charleston

American National Biography Online


Notes

  1. Michael K. Dahlman and Michael K. Dahlman Jr., Daniel Island (Charleston, Chicago, Portsmouth, and San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2007), 31–35, view on Zotero; Walter B. Edgar and N. Louise Bailey, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 5 vols. (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1977), 2:180–82, view on Zotero; Henry A. M. Smith, “The Baronies of South Carolina,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 13 (January 1912): 3–6, view on Zotero.
  2. Beaufort County Deed Book 1, part 1, Beaufort County, NC—Land & Deed Records, abstracted by Ysobel Dupree Litchfield and submitted to the State of North Carolina DAR for their annual GRC Reports by the Major Reading Blount Chapter of Washington. File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Janice Tripp Gurganus.
  3. Martha Daniell Logan is often confused with her mother, Martha Wainwright Daniell Logan. Robert Daniell named the latter (his wife, not his daughter) as his executrix and heir to his plantation and other properties in his will of May 1, 1718. For an abstract of the will, see Robert Daniell Descendants. See also Daniel J. Philippon, “Gender, Genius, and Genre: Women, Science, and Nature Writing in Early America,” in Such News of the Land: U.S. Women Nature Writers, ed. Thomas S. Edwards and Elizabeth A. De Wolfe (Hanover: University Press of New Hampshire, 2001), 16, view on Zotero.
  4. Hennig Cohen, The South Carolina Gazette, 1735–1775 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1953), 31, 55, view on Zotero. See also Edmund Berkeley and Dorothy Smith Berkeley, Dr. Alexander Garden of Charles Town (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969), 154 n.4, view on Zotero.
  5. Ann Manigault and Mabel L. Webber, “Extracts from the ‘Journal of Mrs. Ann Manigault, 1754–1781 (Continued),’” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 20 (July 1919): 205n9, view on Zotero. Logan may have separated from her husband, who died at Daniel Island, Charleston, in 1764. John Bartram referred to her as a widow in 1760, and his error has been compounded in recent scholarship. See John Bartram, The Correspondence of John Bartram 1734–1777, ed. Edmund Berkeley and Dorothy Smith Berkeley (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1992), 517–18, 530, 559, view on Zotero.
  6. David Ramsay, The History of South-Carolina: From Its First Settlement in 1670, to the Year 1808, 2 vols. (Charleston: David Longworth, 1809), 2:228, view on Zotero.
  7. Charles Fraser, Reminiscences of Charleston (Charleston: J. Russell, 1854), 27–28, view on Zotero. See also John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge Shecut, Shecut’s Medical and Philosophical essays. . . .The Whole of Which Are Designed as Illustrative of the Domestic Origin of the Yellow Fever of Charleston; And, as Conducing to the Formation of a Medical History of the State of South-Carolina (Charleston: A. E. Miller, 1819), 21, 42, view Zotero.
  8. Loutrel Winslow Briggs, Charleston Gardens (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1951), 28, view on Zotero.
  9. Manigault and Webber 1919, 205n9, view on Zotero.
  10. John Bartram to Peter Collinson, May 22, 1761, in Bartram 1992, 517, view on Zotero.
  11. Bartram 1992, 522, 547–48, 617, view on Zotero; Martha Daniell Logan, “Letters of Martha Logan to John Bartram, 1760–1763,” ed. Mary Barbot Prior, South Carolina Historical Magazine 59 (1958): 39, view on Zotero; Thomas Hallock, From the Fallen Tree: Frontier Narratives, Environmental Politics, and the Roots of a National Pastoral, 1749–1826 (Columbia: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 143, view on Zotero.
  12. Bartram 1992, 500, 520, view on Zotero.
  13. Martha Logan to John Bartram, December 20, 1760, and February 20, 1761, in Bartram 1992, 500, 506, 637, view on Zotero.
  14. Quoted in Mabel L. Webber, “South Carolina Almanacs to 1800,” South Carolina Genealogical and Historical Magazine 15 (1914): 73, view on Zotero.
  15. Webber 1914, 80–81, view on Zotero; see also Manigault and Webber 1919, 205n9, view on Zotero.
  16. David Ramsay, The History of South-Carolina: From Its First Settlement in 1670, to the Year 1808, 2 vols. (Charleston: David Longworth, 1809), 2:228, view on Zotero; see also Manigault and Webber 1919, 205n9, view on Zotero; see also Woodrow Wilson Harris Jr., “The Education of the Southern Urban Adult: Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia, 1790–1812,” (PhD diss., University of Georgia, 1979), 105, view on Zotero.
  17. Manigault and Webber 1919, view on Zotero.
  18. Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth-Century: “For Use or For Delight” (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976), view on Zotero.
  19. Julia Cherry Spruill, Women’s Life and Work in the Southern Colonies (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1972), view on Zotero.

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