Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Marshall, Humphrey

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MARSHALL, Humphrey, botanist, b. in West Bradford (now Marshallton), Pa., 10 Oct., 1722; d. there, 5 Nov., 1801. He received the rudiments of an English education, and was apprenticed to the business of a stone-mason, which trade he subsequently followed. Soon after his marriage in 1748 he took charge of his father's farm, and about that time began to devote his attention to astronomy and natural history, building a small observatory in one corner of his residence. Meanwhile, through his correspondence with his cousin, John Bartram (q. v.), his taste for horticulture and botany was fostered and developed. He procured books and began the collection and culture of the more curious and interesting indigenous plants. A large number of ornamental trees and shrubs in the vicinity of his house long remained to show his fondness for the beauties of the vegetable kingdom. In 1767 he came into the possession of the family estate, and in 1773 he planned and created the botanic garden at Marshallton, which soon became the recipient of the most interesting trees and shrubs of the United States, together with many curious exotics; also of a large collection of native herbaceous plants. As late as 1849 a large part of these still survived, although the garden from neglect had become a mere wilderness. He held for many years the offices of treasurer for Chester county and trustee of the public loan office. In 1786 he was elected a member of the American philosophical society, and he was a member of other scientific societies. He published “Arboretum Americanum: the American Grove, an Alphabetical Catalogue of Forest Trees and Shrubs, Natives of the American United States” (Philadelphia, 1785), which “was received with marked approbation and was promptly translated into the prevalent languages of continental Europe.” See “Memorials of John Bartram and Humphrey Marshall” (Philadelphia, 1849).