Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Remember: Dr. William Darlington

The Remembrance Series: When I walk among old graves, I think about the voices struggling to endure. Someday not even stone will hold our memory.

We can give these voices a little more life in a way they never could have imagined. So please take a moment with me to remember....

Born April 28th 1782.
Died April 23rd 1863.

Plantae Cestrienses,
dilexit atque illustravit,
super Tumulum ejus
semper floreant

(My translation: Pitcher plants, which he loved and drew, will always bloom over his grave.)

Plate: By kind permission of his descendants,
the grave of
Dr. William Darlington
is under the care of
the Chester County Medical Society,
which was founded by him
in the year 1828.

Noted physician and botanist, Dr. William Darlington life's adventures included traveling to the East Indies, fighting in the War of 1812, establishing a natural history society, publishing books of botany, and serving as a Congressman. One of those eerie convergence moments came when I read that Dr. Darlington gave "the right and privilege to occupy his land for picnic purposes or pleasure grounds" to Judge Thomas Mellon, owner of the Ligonier Valley Railroad. That land eventually became Idlewild Park, an amusement park in western Pennsylvania that was a favorite place to visit not only for me, but also my parents as children. The park would not exist but for him.

Dr. Darlington had a pitcher plant named after him called a Darlingtonia. It looks like the carving on his gravestone.

Quite a bit came from this random find in a cemetery near West Chester, Pennsylvania.


JaneyV said...

It is so lovely that you do this. You have enriched my day by sharing the life of this truly remarkable man with me. I love that he had the rare foresight to put aside land especially for families to share their leisure time together. It's also an inspiration to see just how many achievements can be packed into this life.
Thanks for remembering.

Miladysa said...

Wonderful post and he seems to have been quite a character.

I adore walking through old cemetries - my favourite being Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh where my 4 x great grandfather is buried and also the doctor whom Sherlock Holmes is believed to be based upon.

Sarah Hina said...

I like the Latin here. And the engraving. Dr. William Darlington sounds like a hero's name. And it would seem he lived a heroic life.

SzélsőFa said...

What an interesting piece of information in a single gravestone.
Thank you for the moment in the cemetery, Jason.
We used to have a flytrap, and the kids loved to play with it :)
Unfortunately, it died a week after we had bought it :(((

anne frasier said...

very interesting, jason!

Anonymous said...

Janey, it was fascinating to learn so much about him. Strange how you can stumble across these things seemingly at random.

Miladysa, I've love to see some of the cemeteries over there! Here, anything prior to 1700 is extremely rare.

Sarah, he was a ship's surgeon on the East Indies trip. That was certainly a different, more adventurous time.

Szelsofa, yeah, touching a flytrap too much will do it in. When I was a kid, I got one and couldn't stop feeding it. That's not good either. Thanks for the kind words about the post!

Anne, I'm looking forward to learning more about your ghost town!

kathie said...

Fantastic post. I adore cemeteries. My best friend and I spent the duration of our sixth grade school strike which lasted two months rounding the cemetary, marveling at the ages of people, names, etc. I'm very familiar with West Chester though in my young adulthood there, I never toured a cemetary. Thanks a bunch.--did you actually get permission to post that grave?

kathie said...

ps. sorry for spelling cemetery four different ways in one post!

FANCY said...

Hello Jason Evans

Thank you for the warm comment in my cottage ;)

First I thought it was something sad I was looking into, but, you write with so warm words that I went really touch,

Thank you for sharing :)

Now I will go to your other side And take a look ;-)

Bridget Jones said...

Hi JE, what a wonderful and thoughtful post. Very evocative.

I love old tombstones too. Went and visited my great-great-grandparents' in Montrose. If you're into this kind of thing, that town's well worth the trip. It's like going back 100 years or so.

Thanks for dropping by my place.

Geraldine said...

I agree with Janeyv, it is so lovely that you take the time to do this Jason. I have always been fascinated by gravestones, thinking about the lives past, the dreams and accomplishments of the people now passed; recorded on a stone tablet for eternity to reflect upon and hopefully for someone to remember and miss.

Vesper said...

Very interesting, Jason. Thank you for sharing this.