Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Mease to Thomas Jefferson, 24 May 1814

From James Mease

Philadelphia May 24th 1814—

Dear Sir

The “Philadelphia Soc: for promoting Agriculture,” are about publishing a third vol: of Memoirs, and in it will be contained a paper by Judge Wynkoop of Buck’s County on making Cyder from the Hughe’s Crab—and another on a Crab apple that originated on the farm of Col: Roan of Virginia and which is preferred by many to Hughe’s Crab for Cyder.—

Being anxious to Collect all the facts respecting our native fruits, and especially our Cyder apples, I take the liberty to apply to You for Some account of the Crab, called The Gloucester white, Taliafero, a Robinson apple, which Mr Coxe of Burlington, a zealous orchardist,1 lately informed me, he had heard in Washington you had praised very much for the excellent Cyder it produced.

I have tried to procure the history of the Hughe’s Crab, but without effect

I Sincerely hope you enjoy good health, and that your life and energies may be long preserved.—

Accept My perfect respect.

James Mease

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Honble Thos Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 June 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

James Mease (1771–1846), physician and author, was a native of Philadelphia. He received an A.B. from the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1787, and five years later he was awarded an M.D. by the University of Pennsylvania. Mease served as a hospital surgeon during the War of 1812. Though he did not establish a private practice, he was an acknowledged expert on rabies and offered courses privately on medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Mease was heavily involved in Philadelphia’s intellectual community and published on a wide range of topics, including agriculture, geology, medicine, and prisons. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1802, serving as a curator about 1824–30 and a councillor, 1832–39. Mease was also a member and sometime secretary of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture and a founder of both the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He corresponded sporadically with TJ for many years on agricultural, historical, and scientific topics. Mease died in Philadelphia (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , esp. 23:620; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 16 Jul. 1802, 2 Jan. 1824, 6 Jan. 1832 [MS in PPAmP]; Philadelphia North American, 15 May 1846).

In its memoirs (3 [1814]: 43–9, 392–5), the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture printed an article by Henry wynkoop on making cider from the Hewes (hughe’s) or Virginia crab apple and Timothy Pickering’s account of the apples cultivated by John Roane (roan).

1Manuscript: “orchadist.”

Index Entries

  • alcohol; cider search
  • apples; Hewes Crab search
  • apples; Taliaferro (Robinson) search
  • cider; apple search
  • Coxe, William; as orchardist search
  • food; apples search
  • Hewes Crab apple search
  • Mease, James; identified search
  • Mease, James; letters from search
  • Mease, James; on apples search
  • Memoirs of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture; Memoirs search
  • Pickering, Timothy; and apples search
  • Roane, John; and apples search
  • Taliaferro apple (Robinson apple) search
  • trees; apple search
  • Wynkoop, Henry; and cider search