Thursday, May 15, 2014

Toussaint L'Ouverture, Sinclair and Moore, and the Baltimore Gardens

The firm of Sinclair and Moore came to my attention today as I went looking in my piles of collected stuff for something besides pansies to blog about.  I had images of a Sinclair and Moore catalog cover and an ad.  Baltimore businessmen in the early 1800s, Sinclair and Moore served the prosperous estates supplying trees, among other things, for their landscaping.   They also had seeds and equipment for farmers.  I might be completely wrong, but they may have started as seed and plant dealers and morphed into a wheelwright and blacksmith business by 1833.  This is based on snippets of info I have not followed up on (and don't intend to...maybe).  Baltimore seems to be crawling with Sinclairs so I suppose it might be another pair on Pratt Street.

Here, check these first two out...

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has this 1826 catalog to view.

In the catalog there are both English and French seed lists.  
(Nasturtiums were offered in the vegetable lists.)

I was playing with Google Translate on these names.  
Could our Morning Glory be the French Beautiful Night

I read in Gardens and Gardening in the Chesapeake, 1700-1805 by Barbara Wells Sarudy why Sinclair and Moore published their 1925 catalog in French as well as English. It was due to Toussaint L'Ouverture's slave uprising in the French colony of St. Dominque. The upheaval of the island people made many leave and arrive in Baltimore.  Many of these immigrants became gardeners and introduced more exotic plants and fruits to the estates around Baltimore.

Sinclair and Moore had a store at the Pratt Street Wharf.

The following house was built in 1826 and was the sort of place that could afford to buy trees and so forth from Sinclair and Moore.  Not bad!   Go look at the interior images.

Just found a bit more info that expands on Mr. Sinclair's history, but it is almost 9 PM and time for teachers to hit the wooden trail.  His first name is Robert. 
to be continued :-)