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History of Early American Landscape Design

Moses Marshall

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Moses Marshall (November 30, 1758-October 1, 1813), a physician and botanist in Chester county, Pennsylvania, assisted his uncle, Humphry Marshall, with the collection of indigenous plants and seeds for exchange with European correspondents, with the preparation of Arbustum Americanum, and with the cultivation of his uncle's botanic garden.

History

Moses Marshall, son of James Marshall (the younger brother of Humphry) was born in West Bradford, Chester County. He received a tolerable education, both English and classical, and studied Medicine with Doctor Nicholas Way, in Wilmington, Delaware, from 1776 till 1779. He had an extraordinary opportunity of being initiated into Surgery, in attending the soldiers who were wounded in the battle of Brandywine, September 11th, 1777. After practising Medicine a short time, he seems to have become an inmate in the family of his uncle Humphry, devoting his time and services, exclusively, as an aid to his uncle, in the business of collecting and shipping plants and seeds to Europe. He made several long exploring journeys, in that pursuit, through the wilds of the West and Southwest. He was a good practical botanist, well acquainted with most of our indigenous plants, and rendered valuable assistance to his uncle, in preparing the Arbustum Americanum. On the 6th of April, 1796, Governor Mifflin appointed him a Justice of the Peace; in which office he did excellent service, as a peace-maker, in the community around him. In all his acts he was a remarkably cautious, upright, conscientious man. The editor had the happiness to know him well, and passed many pleasant, instructive hours with him, investigating the plants in the Marshallton Botanic Garden. Dr. Marshall discontinued the business of sending plants and seeds to Europe, soon after his uncle's death, and the garden, in consequence, has ever since been almost wholly neglected. Dr. M. died on the 1st of October, 1813, aged fifty-four years and ten months. Darlington 1849: 545-46

--Author

Texts

  • Marshall, Moses, May 7, 1788, letter from Bradford, Chester county, to John Coakley Lettsom (Darlington 1849: 545-48)[1]
"In a corner of the box, are a few small plants, which I believe are yet undescribed, viz., a species of Sedum; a species of Portulaca, the root perennial, the stem short, thickly set with cylindrical succulent leaves standing somewhat erect ; from the centre shoots forth a very slender, naked, reddish stem, four or five times the length of the leaves, branching at top, and supporting reddish flowers, which expand about noon, and continue open about three hours. Also a species of Veronica, and a small Evergreen from the mountains, the characters of which I have attempted drawing though from the dissection of but a single flower: ...[Linnaean description follows]

"To this plant, should it prove to be a new genus, I had some time since designed the appellation of Lettsomia, with this provision, that it might not be unpleasing to thee, and that, in the interim, I should not be able to discover a plant more exalted, conspicuous, and worthy.

"I have, indeed, had a design highly favourable to discoveries in view,— a journey to the Mississippi, westward ; but have not yet been at leisure to prosecute it. I have, therefore, at present, but this humble offering to make.

"The autumn will be more favourable for sending of plants, &c, at which time we shall endeavour to find something to furnish thy garden, or cabinet. In the mean time, I should wish thee to send [[Carl Linneaus|LINNAEUS'S Genera and Supplementum Plantarum, the latest and best edition. Also, a surgeon's pouch, or case of pocket instruments.....

"Residing with, and writing by direction of, my uncle, HUMPHRY MARSHALL."***************


"[William] BALDWIN had become intimate with the late Dr. MOSES MARSHALL,— nephew and heir of HUMPHRY MARSHALL, the well-known author of the Arbustum Americanum, and founder of the Botanic Garden at Marshallton. This gentleman was a respectable Botanist, and had materially assisted his uncle, — both in the establishment of his Garden, and in the prepartion of his work on American Forest Trees and Shrubs. In the society of Dr. MARSHALL, BALDWIN had his taste for the studyo f the vegetable creation first awakened; and the means of gratifying it were amply afforded by the rich collection of indigenous plants, then growing in the Marshallton Botanic Garden. This circumstance undoubtedly gave a decided bias to his future pursuits; and illustrates well the happy ifluence of such institutions, and opportunities, in developing the latent powers and aptitudes of ingenuous Youth."


"After practising Medicine a short time, he [Moses Marshall] seems to have become an inmate in the family of his uncle HUMPHRY, devoting his time and services, exclusively, as an aid to his uncle, in the business of collecting and shipping plants and seeds to Europe. He made several long exploring journeys, in that pursuit, through the wilds of the West and Southwest. He was a good practical botanist, well acquainted with most of our indigenous plants, and rendered valuable assistance to his uncle, in preparing the Arbustum Americanum.... The editor had the happiness to know him well, and passed many pleasant, instructive hours with him, investigating the plants in the Marshallton Botanic Garden. Dr. MARSHALL discontinued the business of sending plants and seeds to Europe, soon after his uncle's death, and the garden, in consequence, has ever since been almost wholly neglected."

Images


References

Buffington-Marshall Papers, Chester County Historical Society

Notes

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Darlington
  2. Darlington, 1843
  3. Darlington, 1849

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