Edwin C. Jellett
Germantown Gardens and Gardeners
(Germantown (Philadelphia): Horace F. McCann, 1914)
Available at the Library Company of Philadelphia
Jellett, Page 12:
".....Upon coming to German-Town, Pastorius located upon lot Number 16, the site of his house now being covered by the imposing building of the first Methodist Episcopal Church. South of Pastorius, upon Lot No. 15, was his former servant, Isaac Dilbeck, a man for whom it may be judged the Founder had the highest regard.....
"Upon lot No. 14 south adjoining, lived Cornelius Born, who within a year after the settlement wrote: 'I have here a shop of many kinds of goods and edibles. Sometimes I ride out with the merchandise, and sometimes bring back mostly from the Indians, and deal with them in many ways. I have no rent, or tax, or excise to pay. I have a cow which gives plenty of milk, a horse to ride around. My pigs increase rapidly, so that in the summer I had 17, where at first I had only 2. I have many chickens and geese, and a garden, and shall next year have an orchard, if I remain well, so that my wife and I are in good spirits.'
Jellett, Page 13:
"Baynton Street, and north of Doeden, upon lot No. 18, dwelt Christian Warmer.
"We have brought these characters into the fore front to present the life of the agricultural settlement, for they represent its progressive element, and the grounds upon which they lived and laboured, must be always interesting to lovers of Germantown. Cornelius Born occupied the lot [No. 14] upon which now stands the house of Major Edgar H. Butler. The 'Morris-Littell House' is upon Isaac Dilbeck's tract [No. 15]. Jan Doeden's lot [No. 17] extended from Pastorius tract, to present 'Elbow Lane,' and from this lane to Walnut Lane, was the original lot [No. 18] of Christian Warmer. In 1696, Isaac Dilbeck, 'Yeoman,' sold to Daniel Geissler, and settled near 'Blue Bell'...Upon Dilbeck's removal, Daniel Geissler and Dr. Christopher Witt, both being 'single' men, and having a good measure of human sympathy in their compositions, settled together in Isaac Dilbeck's house.
"Here then was an interesting group living and working together as neighbors and plant growers, Pastorius acting as justice, as teacher, cultivating his garden, and raining grapes; Jan Doeden farming, and growing pears and apples; Daniel Geissler, farmer and grower of garden truck; Christoper Witt serving as village doctor, and growing plants for his pleasure, edification, and for practical uses. In 1709, Daniel Geissler sold to Christian Warmer, retaining certain rights, and continuing to reside on the place. Upon Geissler's retirement, Christopher Witt came to live with Christian Warmer No. 2, who upon the removal of Jan Doeden, occupied the property, Doeden having sold to Christian Warmer, Sr., in 1711, and Christian Warmer's daughter with her husband, settled in the house previously occupied by Geissler and Witt...The Garden planted by Dr. Witt, was, so far as known, the second garden in America for the study of plants. We have no record when this garden was first planted, but of it"
Jellett, Page 14:
Francis Daniel Pastorius wrote: 'Anno 1711, Christopher Witt removed his flower beds to my fence,' and in 1716 he dedicated a poem to 'Christopher Witt's Fig Tree.' Pastorius described his own as 'a pretty little garden producing chiefly cordial, stomatic, and culinary herbs,' and of it he again wrote: 'what wonders you then, that F.D.P. likewise here many hours spends, and having no money, on usury lends, to's garden, and orchard, and vineyard, such times wherein he helps nature and nature his rhymes, because they produced him both victuals and drink, both medicine and nose-gays, and both paper and ink.'
"After settling in the house of Christopher Warmer, No. 2, Christopher Witt planted his second garden immediately north of the Pastorius garden, here as previously, Witt and Pastorius exchanging notes by tossing them over the division fence. It was this second garden of Dr. Witt, conducted by him when 'well strickon in years,' which John Bartram in 1743 visited, and favorably criticized.
"In Germantown, during its formative period, as we have seen, homes were 'few and far between,' and all known gardens were given to the growing of kitchen and medicinal plants. But as the settlement progressed, roof-covered cellars gave way to houses of logs, so these in turn gave way to others of wood and stone. From 1683 to 1707 were erected the stone houses of Thones Kunder, Jacob Telner, Isaac Dilbeck, Francis Daniel Pastorius, Jan Doeden, Jacob Schumacker, and other like, but doubtless the most pretentious house of the early settlement, was that of Hans Milan, built in 1690, and later incorporated in 'Wyck.'"
"Proceeding northward upon Main Street (Germantown Avenue), the next garden of prominence above Vernon, and much resembling it, was that of Samuel Harvey, Burgess of Germantown, whose place, named 'Rose Cottage,' is now covered by the Town Hall, and next above it was the old-fashioned box garden of Benjamin Engle, whose house was built in 1758, and wherein, John Melchior Meng died in the year 1812.
"About central Germantown, were, or are, many superior gardens which may only be referred to: The garden of.....of Lambert Lare and James Armstrong , upon East Haines Street; of Dr. Naaman H. Keyser, upon High Street; of Dr. I. Pearson Willits, upon West Walnut Lane.....each being a gem of distinct and particular worth.
"One of our quaintest gardens was that connected with the Morris-Littell house, situated at southeast corner of Main (Germantown Avenue) and High Streets. This many times has appeared in print, and has been referred to as the original Witt garden. The place has many interests, among them being its connection with the 'Mystics of the Wissahickon,' the discovery upon its grounds of the habits of the seventeen-year locusts by Miss Margaret H. Morris, and its occupancy by Miss Elizabeth Carrington Morris, a botanists, and the first woman elected to the Philadelphia Academy of the Natural Sciences. To this place came frequently Dr. William"
Jellett, Page 79:
"Darlington, a celebrated Chester County botanist, and author of Florula Cestrica.....
"It is an impossibility to properly present 'Wyck' at this time. The place is so stocked with treasures, collective, scientific, and historic, so beautiful from whatever aspect viewed, that superficially I hesitate to present it at all, yet no one may refer to Germantown Gardens without including it, for it is the gem among many. I shall therefore try to give a glimpse of it, for the garden lies west of the house, and cannot be seen from the street, and as owing to its owner's precarious health, but few are admitted to it, its worth therefore is not widely known.
"Upon March 3, 1908, Miss Haines wrote me: 'I believe my old garden was laid out by my mother, Mrs. J.B. Haines, as I have a rough sketch with notes in her hand. I presume it was about 1821, or 22, as that was the time that my parents removed to 'Wyck' permanently, having previously only resided here in the summer. I remember when the asparagus bed, surrounded by currant bushes, still occupied the plot by the street, where the hedge now is. At that time, the paths were covered with tan from Engle's old tannery.
Jellett, Page 80:
"wander through its walks without making this discovery. The beds are box-bordered, and present a wealth of wildflowers, hardy plants in variety, roses of 'long-ago,' all flourishing happily together in great profusion. Miss Haines loved ferns, and along the path nearest the house, where they might be viewed from the windows, many of our most beautiful native ferns show a luxuriance of growth, not often seen in their native habitats. Here are also several rare trees, and the memory of some that were,--memorials of Thomas Nuttal, of George Washington, and of Lafayette, for Reuben Haines, the father of Jane R. Haines, was active in the Philadelphia Academy of the Natural Science, and 'Wyck' was a resort for many friends, it being as well known to Thomas Nuttall, to Thomas Say, and to John James Audubon, as it was to Maria R. Audubon, the friend and guest of its late owner. Miss Haines once told me the old part of the house, that is the west end of the house, was built by her ancestor, Hans Milan, in the year 1690. The entrance to the original house was from a road which ran from near present Price Street, to near present Johnson Street, following the east bank of what was 'Honey-Run.' The original survey of Germantown does not show this road, and it obviously was a 'turnout' to avoid a poor part of the 'Great- Road,' for otherwise all between the points named, would have had to cross their neighbors' property to reach it. 'Wyck' Mansion is not only the most beautiful one in Germantown, but as well, I believe the oldest house in it, and I further believe it the oldest house now standing in Philadelphia county.
"Many times I had the pleasure of being taken through parts of the house, and through the garden by Miss Haines, where every object of historic interest within the house she delighted to exhibit and enlarge upon, and every flower within her garden appeared like an old friend to greet. Her knowledge of plants and of plant names was wonderful, and the beauty of her home and its surroundings, though great,"
Jellett, Page 81:
"were always surpassed by her charming personality, and by the beauty of her character.
"The first gardener to Reuben Haines was John Hart, who after was gardener at 'Loudon.' He also became a 'jobbing gardener,' and in this capacity served Bronson Alcott at 'Pine Cottage.' For a long time he had charge of 'Friends Meeting' and grounds upon West School House Lane, and at this place, I first became acquainted with him. John Hart was an investor in real estate, became wealthy, and passed his last years at his home at northeast corner of Green Street and School House Lane, where he found pleasure in the cultivation of his modest garden. He died April 15, 1885, aged 86 years.
"Passing many fine gardens upon West Walnut Lane, we stop at the Knorr House, once at northwest corner of Main Street and Walnut Lane, where lived Daniel B. Smith, a celebrated teacher, scientist, botanist, and President of Haverford College. I remember him as a very old man, and living at his son's home in 'Cottage Row.' His garden I never saw, but Miss Jane Haines told me it was a beautiful one, of the old fashioned type and gave him much pleasure.
"At northeast corner of Main Street and Walnut Lane stands the 'Button Mansion,' which is now owned and occupied by Dr. Richard W. Deaver. Here continues in a flourishing condition the finest hedge of hemlock in Germantown, planted by John Button in the year 1840. Immediately north, upon west side of Main Street, opposite Pastorious Street, was the attractive garden of Sheriff Enoch Taylor. The mansion is now occupied by the Girls' High School and it is of interest because here lived Dr. John D. Godman, when he wrote the well known and widely read 'Rambles of a Naturalist.'"
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