Correspondence of Charles Mohr and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
July 22, 2003
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The Correspondence of

Charles (Carl) Theodore Mohr (1824‑1901) and

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)





[no note of receipt]

Vol 12 no. 47 [K 84]

Mobile, Ala., August 26th, 1878. Hon. G. W. Clinton

My dear friend!


Many thanks for the Buffalo Courier of 25th [?] inst., which bring to me the sad news of the death of Mrs. E. Atwater. With her demise indeed a sunbeam has gone, that warmed and enjoyed the many friends whom she ever tried to please and did give occasion, to partake in the joys that filled her heart in her enthusiasm for all the beautiful and true in nature. If I have not been able till since a good long time, to contribute some thing from our flora to Your herbarium, I hope you will not think that I have grown lazy or indifferent to the science we both love so well; I have done some work in Botany but in a different direction; I have in the hours after business during the first 3 to 4 months of the year worked up our indigenous materia medica, after that I have given my time to a critical study of the Graminea of our state, so as to enable me to make correct list and one as full as possible of the same for a handbook of Alabama, with an article on its forage plants and an other one on its Forrests and their products. The very few excursions I could make have been devoted to the efforts to get sufficient supplys of our wild grasses for analysis, according to a request of the Agricultural Departments in Washington; I did with some excursion trips to the islands along the shores of our coast a good chance for the study of their intresting flora, of plants rare and new to me I have found Eragrostis nitida, Euphorbia pilulifera, Euphorbia inaequilatera, Leptochloa polystachya, Eleocharis melanocarpa, Sabbattia calycosa, Cyperus dissitiflorus, and that new Panicum with its creeping tuberculous roots [crossed out: "Ipomoea ... ... ... ...litoralis?], harsh distichous awlshaped leaves and short pale panicle of flowers, certainly one of the most striking species of the genus. I am sorry to see its publication connected with so many difficulties; Prof. Vasey has the plant now for more than one year in hand; I cannot venture to introduce the plant myself as new to science; as I am not able to find out if it occurs and is perhaps described from countries South of this coast, and I would not like to be found quilty of the sin to have increased the number of spurious species. My expectations to spend a week in botanizing on the shores of our bay and along the Gulf shore has been destroyed by the apprehension the epidemic of yellow fever in .. .. into the country west of us, .... all railroad communications in that direction have been stopped by the Quarantine; and it  will not do for me now to be absent one single day from my post of duty. At present the state of health in our city is very good, and we begin now to breath freer in the hope to be spared from a visitation of the Scourge. Our salvation depends on the possiblities to see our Quarantine regulation not violated. Our authorities do all they can, money is spent lavishly to attain that object, and the Enforcement of all the necessary hygenic measures; Should the fever break out, I am bound to send my sons out of the city; as my oldest boy has been living in a Northern clime for the last 2 years and by that more liable to take the disease;


However, we can cherish the hope, that all will keep well with us. ‑ I have a line of investigations on hand in connection with others similarly engaged on a co‑operative plan to solve the problems of finding the best formulas and method for the preparation of fluid extracts, with a view of their introduction in the new Pharmacopia a work that will keep me occuppied for some months yets. My health did hold out better than many a summer before, in spite of a heat of 90 ‑ 93* during the day and 80‑83 in the hours before midnight, which I with very few exception spend in work at home away from the store. ‑ Please give my best regards to Miss Wilson and remember me kindly to your esteemed Lady. ‑ In the hope that his will find you in the enjoyment of best of health, and to have the pleasure to hear from you soon


I remain very truly

Your sincere friend,

Carl Mohr

[no note of receipt]


[Eleocharis melanocarpa, Torr. Many inclusions, words written later above the line, indicate he reread his letter and edited it. It is known now that yellow fever is a mosquite‑borne disease, first theorized by C. J. Finlay and proved by a commission established in 1900 with Walter Reed and others. Control of this disease was central to the success of the Panama Canal construction at the turn of the 20th century. During the time of Mohr, the fatality rate of a yellow fever outbreak was 85 percent. Quarantine was thought to be essential to containment of this disease. Elizabeth Atwater of Chicago, Illinois, was a correspondent of both Clinton and Mohr.]