From Nicholas Fitzhugh
Ravensworth April 1 1799
I send you by the Bearer some Seed of the Hughs’s Crab apple which I have lately received from a Gentleman in King George County in whose Care and attention I have the greatest confidence and am therefore satisfied that they may be depended on as being genuine. The fruit of the seedling crab is considerably larger, more juicy & supposed to make as good Cyder & a greater quantity than the grafted fruit—another circumstance which will render it preferable to grafting is that the Tree from the seed is more flourishing & hardy.1 With respectful Compliments to Mrs Washington, Mr & Mrs Lewis I am Yours with Esteem
Nicholas Fitzhugh lived at Ravensworth in Fairfax County with his wife, Sarah Ashton Fitzhugh, the daughter of GW’s niece Ann Washington Ashton.
1. In answer to an inquiry, Thomas Jefferson wrote James Mease on 29 June 1814: “of the history of Hughe’s crab apple I can furnish nothing more than that I remember it well upwards of 60. years ago, & that it was then a common apple on James river” (Betts, Jefferson’s Garden Book, description begins Edwin Morris Betts, ed. Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824: With Relevant Extracts from His Other Writings. Philadelphia, 1944. description ends 533). L. H. Bailey identifies the Hughes crabapple as Malus toringoides, a white-flowering tree with yellow to reddish fruit, from China (Bailey, Manual of Cultivated Plants, description begins L. H. Bailey. Manual of Cultivated Plants Most Commonly Grown in the Continental United States and Canada. New York, 1951. description ends 517).