John Gill (“J.G.”) Lemmon

Lemmon and Wife

Today is the birthday of the botanist John Gill ("J.G.") Lemmon.

Lemmon and his wife, Sara Plummer Lemmon, were both botanists. Although Sara partnered equally with her husband on their botanical work, their papers were always published with the credentials "J.G. Lemmon & Wife."
The Lemmons had found each other late in life in California. They had both suffered individually during the Civil War. John was taken prisoner at Andersonville. He barely survived, and his health was impacted for the rest of his life. Sara had worked herself ragged. She tended wounded soldiers in New York while teaching full time.
In 1881, the Lemmons took a honeymoon trip to Arizona. They called it their "botanical wedding trip." The Lemmons rode a train to Tucson along with another passenger - President Rutherford B. Hayes. When they arrived in Tuscon, the Lemmons immediately set off for the Santa Catalina Mountains.
In Elliot's History of Arizona, there are some recollections of the Lemmon’s time in the mountains that illustrate their fortitude and bravery:

"The Lemmons often sat on the stone porch of their cave and dug the thorns and spines out of their hands and feet." Once, they saw, " . . . a lion so large he carried a huge buck away without dragging feet or antlers."

When the Lemmons returned to Tucson unsuccessful and discouraged, they were told to meet a rancher named Emerson Oliver Stratton. Thanks to Stratton, they were able to ascend the Catalinas from the backside. When they arrived at the summit, Stratton was so impressed with Sara's drive and demeanor he named the mountain in her honor - Mount Lemmon. Sara was the first woman to climb the Catalinas. Twenty-five years later, in 1905, the Lemmons returned to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. When they climbed the Catalina's in celebration, Stratton was again at their side, helping them retrace the steps of their "botanical wedding trip" to the top of Mount Lemmon.

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John Gill ("J.G.") Lemmon
John Gill ("J.G.") Lemmon

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