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I have recently learned that the University of Washington Botanical Gardens will be planting a Whitney Crabapple on October 11th at 10:30 AM in honor of our Whitney family heritage. It will be placed in the Crabapple Meadow of the Washington Park Arboretum. Washington Park is a City of Seattle park managed by the University (http://depts.washington.edu/wpa/general.htm).
Eliza Ann Whitney was my great-great grandmother (she married Daniel Bates McKenney in 1842). Her father was Col. Nathan Whitney (Nathan/Olive, Jonathan/Jesse, Jonathan, Jonathan, Benjamin, John).
Col. Nathan's parents, Nathan and Olive, were both Whitney's (and cousins) and resided in Conway, Massachusetts until shortly after his birth, when they moved to Seneca Castle, New York. There he married Sarah Gray in 1811.
Their Whitney stock was strong. Col. Nathan lived to 100 and his brothers Luther 95 years, Theodore 7 years (killed by a falling tree), Otis 98 years, Cheeney 90 years and Jonathan 76 years. Poor Teddy! That tree cost him 80 - 90 years! Talk about being in the wrong place ...
Col. Nathan opened a farm near Albion, New York (1814 -1827), another at Elba, New York (1827 -1831) and in Unionville, Ohio (1831 to 1836). He visited Lee County, Illinois, in 1835, 1836 and 1837, his family following in 1838.
The Whitney nursery was the first north of the Illinois river. Whitney brought with him many seeds of fruit trees for planting. By 1843 he had a large orchard and in 1847 began selling fine apples and other fruit. He also perfected new varieties by grafting and he had developed numerous types of apples. One that was well known was the "Whitney #20 Crabapple." He shipped fruit and nursery stock all over the country and helped to establish other orchards. His home and orchard in Franklin Grove (1620 Whitney Road) is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been recently restored.
He was one of the commissioners to organize the county of Lee, and held the office of county commissioner.
>From De Witt Clinton, Governor of New York, he received three military commissions, those of captain, lieutenant-colonel and colonel. He served in the war of 1812 and was mentioned for brave service in the battle at Fort Erie (for this he received a pension of $8 a month from 1878 until his passing in 1891).
At the time of his death, Col. Whitney was the oldest Mason in the "Northwest" having received his first degree in 1817. During the Morgan excitement he was among the "faithless faithful found." He was tendered a 100th birthday reception on January 22, 1891, by his Masonic brothers at his home in Franklin Grove and prominent Masons from Chicago, Dixon, Ashton, Creston, Amboy, De Kalb and Sterling were present. A.B. Fich, in behalf of Nathan Whitey Chapter, No. 129, Royal Arch Masons, presented him with a solid silver platter suitably inscribed. Letters and telegrams of congratulation poured in upon Father Whitney all day. Over two hundred guests and four generations sat down to a bounteous repast. The March 7, 1891 Scientific American noted his one hundredth birthday.
He died June 11, 1891; a resident of Albion, New York, and Franklin Grove, Illinois.
Best wishes --
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