William Bartram


William Bartram

Infobox Scientist
name = William Bartram
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caption = Portrait of Bartram by Charles Willson Peale
birth_date = April 20, 1739
birth_place = Kingsessing, Pennsylvania
death_date = July 22, 1823
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nationality = American
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field = naturalist
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William Bartram (April 20, 1739July 22, 1823) was an American naturalist, the son of John Bartram. Bartram was born in Kingsessing, Pennsylvania. As a boy, he accompanied his father on many of his travels, to the Catskill Mountains, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, New England, and Florida. He was noted from his mid teens for the quality of his botanic and ornithological drawings. He also had an increasing role in the maintenance of his father's botanic garden, and added several rare species to it.

In 1773, he embarked upon a four-year journey through eight southern colonies. He made many drawings and took notes on the native flora and fauna, and the native American Indians. In 1774, he celebrated Bartram's visit to his principal village at Cuskowilla with a great feast, where he met Ahaya the Cowkeeper, chief of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe. When Bartram explained to the Cowkeeper that he was interested in studying the local plants and animals, the chief was amused and began calling him "Puc-puggee," or "the flower hunter," and Bartram continued his explorations of the Alachua Savannah, or what is today Payne's Prairie.

Exploration of the Cherokee Nation

On April 22, 1776 Bartram left Charleston, SC on horseback destined to explore the Cherokee Nation.cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p306] After passing through Augusta May 10th,cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p318] Dartmouth on May 15th (coord|35.328003|-82.874571|type:landmark_region:US|display=inline)cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p324] , a few days later he left Fort Prince George and Keowee (coord|34.863616|-82.901575|type:landmark_region:US|display=inline) after not being able to procure a guide .cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p331]

In addition to his botanizing, Bartram aptly described the journey::"...all alone in a wild Indian country, a thousand miles from my native land, and a vast distance from any settlements of white people."cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p329]

:"It was now after noon; I approached a charming vale, amidst sublimely high forests, awful shades! Darkness gathers around, far distant thunder rolls over the trembling hills; the black clouds with august majesty and power, moves slowly forwards, shading regions of towering hills, and threatening all the destructions of a thunderstorm; all around is now still as death, not a whisper is heard, but a total inactivity and silence seems to pervade the earth; the birds afraid to utter a chirrup, and in low tremulous voices take leave of each other, seeking covert and safety; every insect is silenced, and nothing heard but the roaring of the approaching hurricane; the mighty cloud now expands its sable wings, extending from North to South, and is driven irresistibly on by the tumultuous winds, spreading his livid wings around the gloomy concave, armed with terrors of thunder and fiery shafts of lightning; now the lofty forests bend low beneath its fury, their limbs and wavy boughs are tossed about and catch hold of each other; the mountains tremble and seem to reel about, and the ancient hills to be shaken to their foundations: the furious storm sweeps along, smoaking through the vale and over the resounding hills; the face of the earth is obscured by the deluge descending from the firmament, and I am deafened by the din of thunder; the tempestuous scene damps my spirits, and my horse sinks under me at the tremendous peals, as I hasten for the plain."cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p341]

:"I began to ascend the Jore Mountains, which I at length accomplished, and rested on the most elevated peak; from whence I beheld with rapture and astonishment, a sublimely awful scene of power and magnificence, a world of mountains piled upon mountains. Having contemplated this amazing prospect of grandeur, I descended the pinnacles..."cite book |author=Bartram, William |title=Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida |publisher=University of Virginia Press (by arrangement with The Beehive Press) |location=Charlottesville |year=1980 |pages= |isbn= |oclc= |doi=|id=LCC|F213 .B282 1792aLCCN|73|084|685 p360] (probably Wayah Bald coord|35.1803705|-83.5604395|type:landmark_region:US|display=inline)

Return to Philadelphia

Bartram returned to Philadelphia in January, 1777 and assisted his brother John in all aspects of running Bartram's Garden.In the late 1780s, he completed the book for which he became most famous, "Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc.", which was considered at the time to be one of the foremost books on American natural history. Many of his accounts of historical sites were the earliest recordings, including the Georgia mound site of Ocmulgee. In addition to its contributions to scientific knowledge, "Travels" is noted for its original descriptions of the American countryside, which in turn influenced many of the Romantic writers of the day. William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and François René de Chateaubriand are known to have read the book, and its influence can be seen in many of their works.

In 1802 Bartram met the school teacher Alexander Wilson and began to teach him the rudiments of ornithology and natural history illustration. Wilson's "American Ornithology" includes many references to Bartram and the area around Bartram's Garden. He contributed widely, although often anonymously, to various publication projects. His most significant later achievements include most of the illustrations for his friend Benjamin Smith Barton's explanation of the Linnaean system, 'Elements of Botany' (1803-04).

Bartram spent most of the final decades of his life in quiet work and study at his home and garden in Kingsessing, refusing several requests to teach botany and declining an invitation from Thomas Jefferson to accompany an expedition up the Red River in the Louisiana Territory in 1806. He died at his home at the age of 84.

The [http://www.dot.state.fl.us/emo/ScenicHWY/designated/williambartram.htm William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway] runs along the east side of the St. Johns River from Jacksonville south in to northwestern St. Johns County on State Road 13. Bartram Trail High School in Switzerland, Florida (just south of Jacksonville) is named for William Bartram. The Bartram Trail is a hiking trail in North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina that commemorates his journeys through the area. The Bartram Canoe Trail system of canoe and kayak trails in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, operated by the Alabama Department of Conservation, is also named for William Bartram. It represents a small section of Bartram's travels by boat on the Mobile, Tensaw and Tombigbee Rivers in the summer of 1775. The William Bartram Arboretum is located within Fort Toulouse Park, near Wetumpka, Alabama and is named in honor of the 18th century naturalist, who visited the area in 1776.

Bibliography

* "Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc." Philadelphia, 1791. "Modern editions include:"
** "William Bartram: Travels and Other Writings." Thomas Slaughter, editor. Library of America, 1996. ISBN 978-1-88301111-6.
** "Travels and Other Writings: Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida..." Ronald E. Latham, editor. Penguin, 1988. ISBN 0140170081
** "Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida." University of Virginia Press, 1980. ISBN 081390871X
** [http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/bartram/menu.html William Bartram, 1739-1823: Travels etc.] "Documenting the American South," University Library, University of North Carolina.

References

* Borland, Hal. [http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1975/3/1975_3_66.shtml The Memorable Bartrams.] "American Heritage Magazine". April, 1975. Volume 26, Issue 3. Accessed March 2, 2007.
* Cashin, Edward J. [http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2179 William Bartram in Georgia.] "New Georgia Encyclopedia." Accessed March 2, 2007.
* Hallock, Thomas. From the Fallen Tree: Frontier Narratives, Environmental Politics, and the Roots of a National Pastoral. University of North Carolina Press, 2003.
* Savage, Henry Jr. "Discovering America, 1700-1875." p. 63-70. Harper & Row, 1979.
* "William Bartram" "Dictionary of Literary Biography," Volume 37: "American Writers of the Early Republic." Emory Elliot, ed. The Gale Group, 1985, pp. 31-38.
* "William Bartram 1739-1823" "Dictionary of American Biography." American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936.

Additional information

* Fishman, Gail. (2001) "Journeys Through Paradise", University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1874-9
* [http://www.bartramsgarden.org/ Bartram's Garden, long-time residence of William Bartram.]
* [http://bartramtrail.org Bartram Trail Conference.]
** [http://www.bartramtrail.org/pages/Bartram_Trail/nc.html Exploration of the Cherokee Country, 1775–85]
* [http://www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-adventures/bartram.cfm Outdoor Alabama - the Official Web site of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Bartram Canoe Trail page.]
* [http://www.ncbartramtrail.org The North Carolina Bartram Trail Society.]

Persondata
NAME=Bartram, William
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=W.B. Bartram
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American botanist
DATE OF BIRTH=April 20, 1739
PLACE OF BIRTH=Kingsessing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DATE OF DEATH=July 22, 1823
PLACE OF DEATH=Kingsessing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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