William Bartram was born in Kingsessing, Pennsylvania, then near Philadelphia, on April 20, 1739, the son of naturalist John Bartram. As a boy, he accompanied his father on many of his travels, to the Catskill Mountains, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, New England, and Florida. From his mid teens, Bartram was noted for the quality of his botanic and ornithological drawings. He also had an increasing role in the maintenance of his father's botanic garden, and added several rare species to it.
In 1773, he embarked upon a four-year journey through eight southern colonies, including wild and sparsely inhabited
March 1774 found Bartram on a ship near
Bartram soon came across the captain of a small fort on Cumberland Island who offered to take Bartram and another traveler who left the ship across the channel to nearby Amelia Island, where they headed for the the plantation house.
As Bartram recounts: ‘ … After walking through a spacious forest of Live Oaks and Palms, and crossing a creek, that ran through a narrow salt marsh, I and my fellow traveller arrived safe at the plantation, where the agent, Mr. Egan, received us very politely and hospitably. This gentleman is a very intelligent and able planter, having already greatly improved the estate, particularly in the cultivation of indigo. Great part of this island consists of excellent hummocky land, which is the soil this plant delights in, as well as cotton, corn, batatas, and almost every other esculent vegetable. Mr. Egan politely rode with me, over great part of the island. “
Egan accompanied Bartram south as far as Cow-Ford, now
The attention of a traveller, should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature, to mark the distinctions of the climates he may explore, and to offer such useful observations on the different productions as may occur.
John Muir, Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of
In March of 1867, as a young man, he injured his right eye in an industrial accident, and vowed to go on a long walk if his vision recovered. By August, 1867, his vision had largely returned and he set off walking from
On October 15, 1867, he reached
”…I step onto a rickety wharf. A few steps more take me to a rickety town Fernandina. I …make for the shady, gloomy groves.”
Departing “rickety” Fernandina, Muir followeed the track of David Yulee’s railroad across
'Many good people believe that alligators were created by the Devil, thus accounting for their all-consuming appetite and ugliness. But doubtless these creatures are happy and fill the place assigned them by the great Creator of us all. Fierce and cruel they appear to us, but beautiful in the eyes of God. They, also, are his children, for He hears their cries, cares for them tenderly, and provides their daily bread.