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Frederick Traugott Pursh

 

Frederick Traugott Pursh

Frederick Traugott Pursh (or Friedrich Traugott Pursch) (February 4, 1774 – July 11, 1820) was a GermanAmerican botanist.

Born in Großenhain, Saxony, under the name Friedrich Traugott Pursh, he was educated at Dresden Botanical Gardens, and emigrated to the United States in 1799. From 1802 to 1805, he worked in Philadelphia as the botanical manager of the extensive gardens of William Hamilton, Esq., "The Woodlands." By 1805, he was working for Benjamin Smith Barton on a new flora of North America, under whom he studied the plants collected on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. is work with Barton allowed him to travel farther afield. In 1805, he traveled south from Maryland to the Carolinas and, in 1806, he traveled north from the mountains of Pennsylvania to New Hampshire. He made both trips principally on foot, with only his dog and a gun, covering over three thousand miles each season.

Barton's proposed flora was never written, but Pursh, who then moved to alcoholism.

He was so destitute when he died in Montreal that his funeral expenses had to be defrayed by his friends. His remains lay in the Papineau Road cemetery until 1857, when they were moved to the Mount Royal Cemetery. A proper monument was paid for by subscription. It read as follows:

Frederick Pursh,
Obt.
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