Correspondence of Joseph Williston Grosvenor and G. W. Clinton
P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
March 17, 2014
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The Correspondence of

Joseph Williston Grosvenor (1837–1929) and

George William Clinton (1807–1885)

 

Some specimens of J. W. Grosvenor in the collections of the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York (digitization of collections incomplete) and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

 

 

P. M. Eckel, P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; email: patricia.eckel@mobot.org


 

File:Morris Island.jpg

 

Lighthouse on Morris Island, S.C. where Grosvenor collected.

 

From Wikipedia: Morris Island Lighthouse, 2007.

 

 


 

A year before the War ended, on April 19, 1864, while Grosvenor was still serving, he, together with a number of other botanical correspondents, received a request by George Clinton to provide specimens to the New York State Herbarium. It was likely that the specimens sent in the next year (1865), were a response to this request.

 

Grosvenor was mustered out of Rhode Island 3d Heavy Artillery in April 1865. In the previous year, during May, June and July, Grosvenor collected specimens from Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island, where he was stationed. Other specimens listed from New York State, may derive from exchanges with other New York botanists.

 

Tybee Island, Chatham County, Georgia, is one of the Sea Island, a chain of over one hundred tidal and barrier islands along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Vegetation would have been organized along the sand beaches on the island’s eastern side, a tidal salt marsh on the western shore with maritime forest and freshwater sloughs in the island’s interior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tybee_Island ).

 

It would have been interesting to Grosvenor as a Doctor as the island had been used by the nearby city of Savannah as a resort, place of healthy fresh air, during the unhealthy summers in the interior.

Fort Pulaski, now Fort Pulaski National Monument, is also in Chatham County, and also lies on islands. but in the south channel of the Savannah River just south of the river’s debouchment into the Atlantic Ocean. It commands the seaward approaches to the City of Savannah, Georgia. The Fort was surrendered to Union forces in April 1862. The Monument is northwest of Tybee Island. The Monument resides on areas of Cockspur and McQueen’s Islands where Grosvernor could explore tidal salt marshes and mud flats, with coastal hammock forest, shrub communities, grasslands with smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) which today “stretches almost as far as the eye can see.” Today the salt marsh around the Fort occupies over 4800 acres (http://www.nps.gov/fopu/naturescience/plants.htm )

 

Carex foenea Willd.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island [Sea Islands chain]

J. W. Grosvenor May, 1864

 

Carex stipata Muhl.

USA Georgia, Chatham. Tybee Island.

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Cyperus esculentus L.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island.

J. W. Grosvenor July, 1864

 [Cyperus repens, Ell.]

 

Cyperus ovularis Torr.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island

J. W. Grosvenor June, 1864

 

Cyperus virens Michx.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor June, 1864

 

Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Richt.

USA Georgia. Tybee Island.

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Dichromena leucophaea Michx.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island.

J. W. Grosvenor May, 1864

 

Fimbristylis spadicea (L.) Vahl.

USA Georgia. Tybee Island, Geo. [=Georgia]

J. W. Grosvenor July, 1864

 

Hordeum nodosum L.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor May, 1864

 [Hordeum maritimum]

 

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Lam.) Trin.

USA Georgia or S. Carolina.

ex coll. G. W. Clinton, Buffalo, N. Y.

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Panicum anceps Michx. "?"

USA Georgia or South Carolina.

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Panicum scoparium Lam.

USA Georgia. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor May, 1864

 [Panicum vicidum, Ell.]

 

Panicum scoparium Lam.

[USA] [Georgia]

Ex Herb. David F. Day. Herb. Buffalo Botanic Garden.

Dr. Grosvenor

 [Panicum pauciflorum]

 

Panicum virgatum L.

USA Georgia. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor Aug., 1864

 

Paspalum distichum L.

USA Georgia. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor June, 1864

 

Phalaris intermedia Bosc.

USA Georgia. Chatam. Fort Pulaski.

[two illegible words]

J. W. Grosvennor

 

Polypodium polypodioides (L.) Hitchc.

USA Georgia. Tybee Island, Geo. [=Georgia] Near [...]

[label hand written]

J. W. Grosvenor

 [Polypodium incanum Swartz]

 

Polypogon maritimus Willd.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor May, 1864

 

Sacciolepis striata (L.) Nash.

USA. "South Carolina or Georgia"

G. W. Grosvenor

 [Panicum gibbum, Ell.]

 

Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl.

USA Georgia.Chatham. Fort Pulaski.

[annot. Mark J. McDonnell, Hodgdon Herbarium,

University of New Hampshire, Feb. 15, 1979]

J. W. Grosvenor July, 1864

[Spartina juncea, Willd.]

 

Spiranthes praecox (Walt.) Wats.

USA New York

unspecified

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Spiranthes vernalis Engelm. & Gray

USA New York

unspecified

on same herb. sheet as 8222

J. W. Grosvenor

 

Sporobolus Berteroanus (Trin.) H. & C.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island, in Charleston Harbor.

Dr. J. W. Grosvenor

 [Sporobolus indicus, Brown]

 

Sporobolus virginicus Kunth.

USA Georgia. Chatham. Tybee Island.

J. W. Grosvenor July, 1864

 

Uniola paniculata L.

USA Georgia. Fort Pulaski.

J. W. Grosvenor

 

 


 

There are 28 specimens collected by J. W. Grosvenor in the herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden (MO). They are all mosses and all collected in the United States. These specimens were part of a transfer of bryophyte specimens from the Buffalo Museum of Science to that of the Missouri Botanical Garden some eleven years ago. These are specimens given to or exchanged with George W. Clinton.

 

In 1859 Grosvenor received his A. B. degree from Dartmouth College (White 1898), his home town, at least for the first three years of his studies at Dartmouth, was Barre, Massachusetts. Apparently, immediately after receiving his degree in 1859, he came to Lockport, New York, perhaps for the fall semester, “and took charge of the scientific department of the Union school” for one year, arriving to teach in Buffalo, New York, in 1860 (White 1898), also probably beginning with the fall semester.

 

The following are moss specimens from 1859, but note they are all from his home town in Barre, Mass. in November of 1859.

 

Climacium americanum Brid. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Moist ground. Nov. 1859.

Dicranum scoparium Hedw. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Stones in dry weeds. Nov. 1859.

Hedwigia ciliata (Hedw.) P. Beauv. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Nov. 1859 [no substrate].

Hedwigia ciliata (Hedw.) P. Beauv. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. no date, no substrate. [probably Nov. 1859].

Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Swamps. Nov. 1859.

Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Swamps. November 1859.

Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Foot of trees. November 1859.

Hypnum imponens Hedw. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Stones in woods. Nov. 1859.

Hypnum imponens Hedw. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester Barre. Logs in woods. Nov. 1859.

Plagiomnium cuspidatum (Hedw.) T.J. Kop. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Stones in woods. Nov. 1859.

Rhodobryum ontariense (Kindb.) Kindb. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester. Barre. Stones in wood. Nov. 1859.

Sphagnum palustre L. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Swamps. Nov. 1859.

Thuidium tamariscinum (Hedw.) Schimp. Nov. 1859. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester  Barre  Stones in woods.

Ulota hutchinsiae (Sm.) Hammar Nov. 1859. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. trunks of trees.

 

It is probable that all Grosvenor’s specimens from 1859 were collected in Lockport, Niagara County, New York while he was teaching science at the Union School. Perhaps he learned to identify mosses during a botany course at Dartmouth. Many of the 1859 label designations on Grosvenor’s specimens showed they were all collected in November of that year (in the fall).

 

In 1860, possibly beginning with the fall semester, Grosvenor was teaching in Buffalo, New York. Grosvenor “had charge of the classical department of the Central High School” (White 1898). Before September in 1860, he collected nearly throughout the growing season in January, March, April, May, and August, conspicuous by his collection of four species in the Polytrichaceae, but no Hypnums or Hylocomiums.

 

1860.

 

Atrichum angustatum (Brid.) Bruch & Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. On ground. 1860. no substrate.

Atrichum angustatum (Brid.) Bruch & Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. no date, no substrate.

Atrichum angustatum (Brid.) Bruch & Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Pioneer Hill. April 1860.

Aulacomnium heterostichum (Hedw.) Bruch & Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Stones in woods. April 1860.

Bryum argenteum Hedw. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Exposed ground. January 1860.

Hedwigia ciliata (Hedw.) P. Beauv. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Stones. March 1860.

Polytrichum commune Hedw. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Roger’s Woods. May 1860.

Polytrichum formosum Hedw. United States, Massachusetts, Worcester, Barre. Exposed ground. April 1860.

Ptilium crista-castrensis (Hedw.) De Not. United States, New Hampshire, Cheshire, Mt. Monadnock. Sis. L. Rocks. Aug. 1860.

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus (Hedw.) Warnst. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport. Ground. April 1860.

Thuidium tamariscinum (Hedw.) Schimp. United States, New York, Niagara, Lockport, Stones in woods.  April 1860.

 

NOTE: there is one specimen of Juncus of interest at the Missouri Botanical Garden that did not derive from Buffalo:

 

Juncus maritimus Lam. United States, South Carolina, Morris Island. 1864. “Mounted with Anonymous s.n. J. [Juncus] roemerianus and Baldwin s.n. J. [Juncus] acuatus, Florida.”  [perhaps sent to Engelman by Clinton]

 

In 1864, a specimen of Juncus maritimus Lamarck in J. Lamarck et al., the Seaside Rush, was noted as having been part of Grosvenor’s herbarium in the Missouri Botanical Garden. This Juncus flowers and fruits in the summer and inhabits salt marshes along maritime coastlines, saline meadows and sand dunes. The species is not native to North America, but is native to Europe, Asia and Africa. “It is believed that this species has not been collected in North America since the late 1800s, when it was known to occur on Long Island, New York” (Brooks & Clemants 2000).

 

It indicates on the label that the specimen was collected on Morris Island, Charleston County, South Carolina. Grosvenor was still in the United States service at this time, in the Department of the South. It is likely that the specimen was a duplicate derived from one of George Clinton’s or some other of Grosvenor’s botanical correspondents. Given the tendency of mass collections for distribution, it is likely that this introduced species was recognized, collected and exterminated.

 

Morris Island is an 840 acre (3.4 km²) uninhabited island in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina, accessible only by boat. The island lies in the outer reaches of the harbor and was thus a strategic location in the American Civil War.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Island ).

 

File:Morris Island Union battery Charleston.jpg

From Wikipedia:  View of the mortar battery manned by

Union troops, Morris Island, off Charleston, South Carolina, 1865.

 

 

 

LITERATURE CITED

 

Brooks, Ralph E. and Steven F. Clemants. 2000. Juncus pp. 211 - 255. Flora of North America, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. Oxford University Press, New York.  Vol. 22.

 

 


 

The proper citation of this electronic publication is:

 

Eckel, P. M. 2014. Correspondence of Joseph Williston Grosvenor (1837–1929)) and George William Clinton (1807–1885). Res Botanica, a Missouri Botanical Garden Web site.