DRUMMOND, Thomas




Author Tags: 1800-1850, Forts and Fur

Thomas Drummond was born in the rural parish of Inverarity, Forfar, in the County of Angus, Scotland, in 1793.

As the sons of the head gardener on the Fotheringham Estate, both Thomas Drummond and his older brother James studied horticulture and had distinguished careers. Prior to his arrival in Canada in 1825 as part of Rear-Admiral John Franklin’s second Arctic expedition, Thomas Drummond published his first book on Scottish mosses, Musci Scotici, two of which were named for him: Orthotrichum Drummondii and Equisetum Drummondii.

While Franklin went on to suffer his ignominious fate in the Arctic Ocean, Drummond was dispatched to explore the Canadian Rockies, crossing into British Columbia via Athabasca Pass in 1826. When he was not avoiding bears and wolverines, he narrowly escaped plummeting from a ledge of rock while encountering a herd of mountain sheep. A yellow mountain flower named Dryas Drummondii, the Drummond Icefield and Mount Drummond commemorate his time in Canada. The “Great Scottish Muscologist” returned to Scotland where he published another book about mosses, containing information about his Canadian discoveries, and he served as the first Curator of the Belfast Botanic Garden (1828–1831). Eager for more adventure, Drummond travelled to Texas and sent 750 species of plants to Professor Hooker, as well as 150 specimens of birds — the first Texas collections distributed to scientists. He wintered on uninhabited Galveston Island, almost starving to death, then returned to New Orleans. Overcoming cholera and diarrhea, he proceeded to Mexico and returned again to New Orleans in December of 1834 with a fever. Still ill in February of 1835, he explored parts of Florida before dying in Havana, Cuba, in March.

BOOKS:

Drummond, Thomas. Musci Scotici; or, Dried Specimens of the Mosses that Have Been Discovered in Scotland... (1824-1825).

Drummond, Thomas. Musci Americani; or, Specimens of Mosses Collected in British North America... (1928).

Drummond, Thomas. Musci Americani; or, Specimens of Mosses, Jungermanniae, &c. Collected by the Late Thomas Drummond in the Southern States of North America Arranged and Names by W. Wilson and Sir W. J. Hooker (1841).

[BCBW 2006] "Forts and Fur"