William Bartram was born and raised in this house (left) on the bank of the Schuykill River in what is now Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and would live there for his entire life, spending much of his time in the beloved gardens started by his father John.
In 1773 the young Quaker left his home and embarked on a journey that included Georgia, North and South Carolina, Florida, The Creek and Cherokee Nations and portions of present-day Alabama. The journals he kept not only give us great insight to America's first inhabitants, they also provide a unique view of nature as whole, applying an almost lyrical tone when describing flora and fauna, men and women, and the natural beauty of the Southeast.
His work would continue to influence both American and foreign writers for the next 100 years. He explored in depth the still remote northeast corner of present-day Georgia, visiting Rabun Bald, now the second highest point in the state. His journey also took him along the Chattooga River and he was one of the first whites to visit Tallulah Gorge.
In addition to preserving some of the earliest documented encounters with Native Peoples, the diaries also told of his encounters with the remnants of an early civilization known as Moundbuilders.
Many of America's founding fathers passed through the Bartram home. Among them were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. Even George Washington took time from a busy schedule as President to visit the home of this modest Quaker.
John and William Bartram were recently honored by the United States Postal Service with a stamp showing the Franklin Tree, which they named for their friend and fellow Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin.
After World War II a blended whisky named Philadelphia did a series of promotional
advertising that tied into the famous landmarks of the City of Brotherly Love
called "A Heritage to Remember." One of the ads featured Bartram's Gardens
in a somewhat romanticized setting.