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)





Vol. 12 no. 87 [K 41]

Mobile, January 7th, 1879. Hon. G. W. Clinton,

Buffalo, N.Y.

Dear friend!


Many thanks for your kind and esteemed letter of 20th of Debr.; Your kind words are a great encouragement and comfort to; and I will ever recall them, when those moments of despondency loom up, wich ever and anon are encountered in my struggle through life. ‑


If I am late in tendering you by this my best and sincere wishes to the commencement of a new year, I hope you will regard the same as not less warm and heartfelt; After the long series of years devoted to the service of Your state and the welfare of its citizens, I hope you will enjoy many more to come free from the arduous labors and I can well imagine after harrowing cares connected with the discharge of the duties of your exalted office, in sweet happiness, and to the joy of all who are connected with You by the affections of love and the ties of friendship.


The old year closed rather gloomy for many of us here; and every one has to take his share in the generally prevailing depression of business. However light we of this place have been touched by the late epidemic, we never the less are as heavy affected as places more severly stricken from its affects upon trade and prosperity. After a period of absolute stagnancy, caused by the absence of a very large part (and the most substantial) of our people, ..s from August to December combined with the quarantine, the season of our trade upon which the whole population has to depend for the rest of the year has been cut unusually short, and great part of the trade regarded as tributary to this place been diverted to other channels.


But we have cause to be deeply grateful, and to find my beloved ones, happily around me again at Christmass to enjoy the evening I found the fondest of my desires and wishes gratified.


By the end of this week I hope to be able to send you a little package of some rare and intresting plants I collected in the early part of the season on our sea coast; I had a chance to make without much loss of time 2 trips to the islands ...ting our coast and in the few short hours I could ramble over the pin..ed plains, sandy downs and through brackish marshes and lagoons I felt happy, in spite of a broiling July sun. I found there that new Panicum littorale in abundance, which I discovered last summer a year ago on our Eastern Bay Shore. You will find it described by Vasey in the lst number of the botanical Gazette. I could not risk to bring it under my name, being afraid that it might have come from the West Indies or the coast regions south of this and been already described. I abhore the sin of multiplying synonyms, to gratify ambition. I encountered for the first itme Cyperus dissitiflorus, Torr. described by Chapman in his additions to the flora of Fla. (Bot. Gazette), Cyperus microdontus, Lycopodium cernuum, and the rare Sabbatia calycosa, Batatas littoralis and Ipomoea Pes Capra, with Eragrostis nitens, and a single specimen of the Aeschynomea viscidule and Eragrostis nitens and Euphorbia cordifolia, other plants new to me from other localities in this region. I found Dicerandra linearifolia, Euphorbia pilulifera and Andropogon tetrastachys. As you see the old year passed by with many joys to the botanists hearts. I was thinking about where the strickingly pretty Mitromyces Ravanelii was brought me by a friend from the pinewoods, I send specimens to Prof. Peck who did name it for me, and was highly pleased with as he never saw this intresting Gasteromycet before. Please give my best regards to your esteemed Lady.


Hoping to have the pleasure to receive your kind messages during this ensuing year I remain very truly your sincere friend


Chas Mohr.

[no date of receipt]


[Note that there is a reference to Mohr in a letter sent to Clinton from E. S. Miller of Wading River, New York on Jan. 18, 1879:


"I have all of Curtiss 2 casic.s [?] and am to have the third, have many of Garbers plants, all of Pringles, and have the promise of a set from Chas. Mohr, Mobile. Next winter I hope to publish a catalogue of plants of L.I. [= Long Island] to include the Cryptogamia." George Vasey (1822‑1893) studied medicine and had a practice in Illinois from 1848 to 1866. He was the botanist taken along on the Powell Colorado Expedition of 1868. He worked then in the Department of Agriculture in Washington from 1873 until his death, specializing in the study of grasses. ]



Vol. 12 no. 110 [K 13]

Mobile, Ala., Febr. 21st, 1879. My dear friend.


A few days ago I had the pleasure to send to you a small package containing a few plants which might intrest you. ‑ I am sorry that I could not add the desired Bromus Schraderi to it. I had not a single specimen left of it; The spec'm of Panicum jumentorum is very poor; I shall suply with good specimens during the course of the coming season.


The Panicum littorale Vasey seen for the first time & July 1879 [sic] on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay I recognized primo viso as new, at least not described in our floras of Eastern U.St. I suggested the name of P. littorale from its habitat when I did send it to Dr. Vasey, to find out if the grass is known from the West Indies or the Gulf shores south of this.


It was only in the beginning of this year that he published a description of it in the Bot. Gazette (Jan. '79). The species possesses a strongly marked character and it seems that Vasey encountered the same difficulties as myself in assigning to it the proper place amongst the numerous species of that difficult genus; In the inflorescence of the spiklet and its forms it is similar to P. amerum, with whom it shares the same habitat but the difference in habitus is so very great. This year I observed for the first time that the grass in the later part of the season produces long runners taken root from the short joints in the quicksand like the Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon [Pers.] ) covered also with short upright or depressed rigid leaves; So that that during the fall and winter season in that state it easily taken for the later which disputes its ground in its struggle to cover the dunes of quicksand with vegetation.


This fall a friend brought me from the marshes of the delta of Mobile river amongst a bucketful of aquatic plants a few withered fruiting stems of a Cyperaceous plant, which by closer examination I found to belong above all doubt to the Brazilean genus Oxycaricum perhaps specifically different from the species I found in the Ridellian herbar. collected by Dr. Carpenter in brackish lagoons in the delta of the Mississippi river, and which you handed years ago over to Prof. Torrey for determination years ago, he naming it after his discoverer O. Carpenteri; The description of it however was never published. The month of August or Sept. will be the proper time to collect the plant in perfection, and I shall certainly not neglect to take care to secure specimens in good time. In correspondence lately with Sereno Watson, I sent him a few of the over ripe capituli of spikes but have heard nothing from him since, but the remark that he will examine it with Prof. Gray when he finds time to do so.


I felt quite happy and satisfied at the close of the old year, the state of my health having been beter than many a year before; The cold spell coming over us shortly after the advent of the new, all my bright hopes have been blasted; I got very sever attacks of my old rheumatic complaints and I had to loose since many a day by disability to do any work; this loss of precious time is what hurts me more than all the pains. ‑ I took the liberty to add a bottle of my Cologne for your esteemed Lady, which I beg her to accept with my respectful and sincere regards.


The season of early spring is allready upon us, the bluets and white Houstonias adorn with their delicate flowers the carpet of fresh verdure that overspreads our plains. The student of Cryptogamic Botany finds a rich and inviting field in the budding and development of the many musci & hepatica, now mostly in their nuptials. My good wife is busy early and late fixing up her flower garden, clearing up where the shrubbery planted 18 years ago has grown to dense, excluding light and air from the front of our dwelling. There was not a little opposition on my part, as I feel sore to cut down a tree; But like in many other things the good wife was right, and I rejoice in her improvements. Hoping to hear from you soon that you with Mrs. Clinton enjoy good health I remain very truly yours


C. Mohr.


[no date of receipt]


[Sereno Watson (1826‑1892) was assistant curator at the Gray Herbarium, Harvard starting in 1871. He was curator of the herbarium from 1874 until his death. With W. H. Brewster and Asa Gray he published in two volumes, from 1876‑1880 the "Botany of California."]


[End of correspondence. ]