Charleston's Connection with Madder

When the first European settlers arrived  in North America, they attempted to grow all manner of crops, dye plants included. In the book “History of Agriculture in Southern United States to 1860”, Lewis Cecil Gray mentions that as well as indigo, madder and woad were planted. In 1609, madder is listed as one of the plants that was grown at the Jamestown Colony. In 1639, it's mentioned again along with saffron, woad and flax. Madder root was included in a list of exports to Great Britain from the Pensacola, Florida area from 1774-1778/9. I won't bore you with any other dates from history, but madder was grown as a cash crop as well as being grown for personal use.

In looking for historical indigo cultivation information, I came across an article that was published in “The South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal” on October 18,1774, where Mr. Aaron Loocock offered detailed growing instructions for madder and offered madder plants for sale. I like one of his comments, “It will grow very well in old indigo or corn fields, and as it is a meliorating crop, will bring these old field into good heart again.” At the end he states “that more particular directions from ten years observations will be given with each thousand of plants sold”. That particular pamphlet was called “Some Observations and Directions for the Culture of Madder”. Hum.....I wonder if any madder plants have survived?