Humphrey Marshall

The Father of American Dendrology

Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist Humphrey Marshall who died on this day in 1801.

The Marshalls were cousins to the Bartrams - their mothers were sisters. John Bartram was known as the "Father of American Botany, and he ignited Humphrey's love of native plants. John had established the country's first botanical garden.
In 1773, after Marshall inherited his family estate and a sizable inheritance from his father, he created the country's second botanical garden. He incorporated natives, naturally, but also exotics.
Marshall forged a friendship with the British botanist John Fothergill who paid Marshall for his plant collecting. Fothergill was a collector and a connector, introducing Marshall to many of Europe's top botanists and a growing list of customers. Marshall's contacts helped him source new plants for his botanical garden.
And Twenty-five years before Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark on an expedition to the west, it was Humphrey Marshall who first made the suggestion - in 1778, 1785, and 1792. He really wanted the United States to sponsor an expedition to explore the west.
A fellow friend, Quaker, and botanist, Joseph Trimble Rothrock wrote this about Marshall:

"The earth abounds in beauty, all of which is open to his chastened senses. He revels in the sunlight and the breezes. The songs of the birds fall, welcome, into his ear. The colors of the flowers attract him."

Marshalltown Pennsylvania was named in honor of Humphrey Marshall. In 1785, Marshall published the very first American essay on trees and shrubs. Humphrey Marshall is also known as the "Father of American Dendrology" (or the study of woody plants, trees, and shrubs).
The genus, Marshallia, is named in honor of Humphrey Marshall.

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