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Welcome to Descendents of John Fraser PDF Print E-mail
Written by Web Master   
Saturday, 12 June 2004

John Fraser, 1750 to 1811, Botanist, began life as a farmer’s son at Tomnacross in the Aird, Inverness-shire. He moved to London setting up a business as a linen-draper near the Chelsea Physic Garden, he gave this up to become a plant collector. John Fraser also took his son into the wild woods, mostly working as an entrepreneurial nurseryman, sending American plants back to his London business and as a commissioned botanist for the Czar of Russia.

John Fraser was one of the European plant hunters most closely associated with the Southern Appalachians. Fraser acquired an interest in plants at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London and subsequently established his own nursery business. Plans for an initial collecting trip to Newfoundland were encouraged and perhaps financed in part by William Aiton, head gardener of Kew Gardens, and Sir James Smith, president of the Linnean Society.

The most famous of the Scottish botanist’s plants today are Fraser magnolia (Magnolia fraseri), Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), and purple rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense). The beautiful Fraser magnolia is the most common of the three deciduous magnolias native to Western North Carolina. Fraser fir is an endemic species restricted to the high elevations of southwestern Virginia, east Tennessee, and Western North Carolina.

He died at Sloane Square, April 26. 1811, in his 60th year, leaving his wife, who died a few years afterwards, and two sons. John the eldest had been his companion in all his latter voyages to America and Russia and became a respected nurseryman and his younger son James Thomas who directed the American Nursery at Chelsea.

John Fraser slipped into anonymity, whereas many of his contemporaries are still celebrated today. I stumbled over this ancestor researching my family tree and this web site is dedicated to his accomplishments and plots some of his descendents to the present time.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 March 2007 )
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