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Obituary of George Ellwanger

July 24, 2009

Gardening Header George Ellwanger SrGEORGE ELLWANGER.

On Monday, November 26, George Ellwanger, the senior member of the firm Ellwanger & Barry, died at his home in Rochester, N Y., which he had cherished so much for more than on ordinary lifetime. Here he had surrounded himself with his pets, the choicest and rarest trees, shrubs and flowers of all descriptions. He saw these trees grow into magnificent specimens, samples of his own skill, which even today stand unsurpassed.

George Ellwanger was born December 2, 1816, in Gross-Heppbach near Stuttgart, Wurtemberg, Germany, as the son of a vineyardist, and there, under the guidance of his father, received the first lessons in practical horticulture. But the vineyards alone afforded no opportunity to satisfy his eager desire for a thorough and complete knowledge of horticulture in all its various branches and while a mere boy, he was apprenticed to a nurseryman and florist in Stuttgart, where every opportunity was given him to acquire the extensive knowledge for which he was famous in after life

The Late George Ellwanger

The Late George Ellwanger

In 1835 Mr. Ellwanger came to America and soon found employment in Rochester with Reynolds & Bentham which firm conducted a nursery and seed business. Three years later, in 1838, he bought out his employers and started for himself, but soon after found an able associate in the person of the late P. Barry, and in 1840, the first eight acres of ground were bought to establish the well known Mount Hope Nurseries. On this original ground the office building, greenhouses and trial grounds are still located. From this rather small beginning the nurseries have grown rapidly. Over 1,000 acres are now planted to young trees and shrubs.

Mr. Ellwanger has always paid personal attention to details in the nursery department. For a life time he himself selected all the scions for budding and grafting to avoid the mixing of varieties. He was up early and late. Where ever gangs of men were at work in the fields, often many miles apart and away from the home grounds, Mr. Ellwanger would be sure to pay them a daily visit, to see how the work progressed.

For more than a year old age compelled him to stay away from business cares. Last summer he was at times able to be out in his own spacious private grounds, enjoying the grand old trees, which he had planted and nursed with his own hands years ago. But as the cooler autumn days approached, and the leaves one by one began to fall, his strength, too, failed visibly, and when at last the storms had shaken the last remnants of foliage to the earth, from whence they sprang, he also got ready to pay his tribute to mother earth. Mr. Ellwanger had four sons, three of whom died before him. The fourth son, William D. Ellwanger, is the one surviving him. J. B. K.


At a meeting of the directors of the Rochester Trust and Safe Deposit Company held November 27, the following memorial was adopted: “Seldom has the span of human life given a record of accomplishment equal to that of our late associate, George Ellwanger, whose death occurred November 26, in the ninetieth year of his age. One of its charter members, this Institution owes its existence and In large measure its success to the foresight and energy of Mr. Ellwanger and a few of his associates. Those of us who have served with him on this board for these many years v/ell know the value of his business Judgment and counsel, while his uniform courtesy and kindness of heart has endeared him to all. The history of his life for nearly 70 years is almost inseparable from that of the city of Rochester. His contributions of time, money and thought toward the city’s beauty, its material and moral advancement, have been equaled by few and exceeded by none of her many public spirited citizens. Out of respect and reverence for his memory, It is ordered that this slight tribute be spread upon our minutes and a copy be sent to his family and the public press.”

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