Justin Smith Morrill was born in
Strafford, VT on April 14, 1810 (1). Throughout his life he
developed a love of plants and a passion for landscapes. After
living Maine for a few years, he returned to Strafford and in 1848 he began to
build this house and design the landscape for this property (2). He was engaged
in agriculture and horticulture at this site from 1848-1855 and experimented
with different trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials. Additionally,
he experimented with the different placement of plants and garden designs.
In 1851 he married Ruth Swan and moved into the house.
Justin Smith Morrill had a keen
interest in plants and landscapes. This can be seen from both his
studies on design theories of landscaping as well as from
letters written to his wife when traveling. He studied methods and theories of
prominent horticulturists and agriculturists of his time. In a
letter written to his wife while visiting Kew he wrote “… their
splendid glass conservatories, lawns, trees, beds of flowers, is
altogether the finest place I have seen. The…borders and beds
of rare flowers and …trees are wonderful in extent and beauty.” (3).