Anyone growing the Ayer pear from Kansas? Its not the same pear as Ayers

A link to the Ayer pear can be seen here
“See plate 52 in USDA Yearbook for 1911. Originated as a chance seedling on the farm of O.H. Ayer, Sibly, Kansas, 1880. Fruit medium in size, resembling White Doyenne in form and coloration. Flesh fairly fine, buttery, moderately juicy. Mild, pleasing flavor but lacks distinctive dessert quality characteristics. Earlier than Bartlett in season. Tree moderately vigorous, reasonably productive, of fair resistance to fire blight. – H. Hartman, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, 1957.”

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Interesting another pear was developed by OH Ayer which is Douglas also developed in Kansas Sounds like the same pear breeder to me even though locations were different. I found both locations listed when I cross referenced the information The first Ayer links OH Ayer to both locations as where he lived. Wish I new more about OH Ayer
PI 541723
Pyrus hybr.
Developed from: Kansas United States
Maintained by: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Corvallis
NPGS received: 01-Feb-1983
PI assigned: 1990
Inventory volume: 199
Backup location:
Life form: Tree
Pedigree: Kieffer x Duchess d’Angouleme (probably)
Improvement status: Cultivar

Raised as a Kieffer seedling by O.H. Ayer, of Lawrence, Kansas. First propagated in 1907. Believed a cross of Kieffer and Duchesse d’Angouleme. Fruit resembles Kieffer in form but inclined to be smaller in size. Skin greenish-yellow in color, reasonably free of blemish. Flesh fairly tender, quite juicy, not very gritty. Sprightly, pleasing flavor, although at times fairly acid. Superior to Kieffer in dessert quality. Midseason. Tree fairly vigorous, productive, highly blight resistant. - H. Hartman, 1957.
In regions where blight and heat make pear-growing precarious, and pears with oriental blood, as Kieffer, Garber and Le Conte, must be grown, Douglas, which belongs with the pears just named, might well be tried. It is better in flavor than any other variety of its class, The trees come in bearing remarkably early, and are as productive as those of Kieffer, though hardly as large or vigorous. The trees are inclined to overbear, in which case the fruits run small. The variety has little to recommend it, but those who grow Kieffer might put it on probation with the hope of growing a fruit passably fair for dessert. Douglas is a seedling of Kieffer crossed, it is believed, with Duchesse d’Angouleme by O. H. Ayer, Lawrence, Kansas, about 1897. Tree medium in size and vigor, upright, very produc-tive; trunk slender, smooth ; branches slender, dull brownish-red. Leaves 3 1/4 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide, thick ; apex taper-pointed ; margin glandless, finely and shallowly serrate; petiole 1 5/8 inches long. Flowers 1 1/4 inches across, white or occasionally with a faint tinge of pink, 11 or 12 buds in a cluster. Fruit matures in October; large, 3 1/4 inches long, 2 3/4 inches wide, obovate-pyriform, tapering at both ends like the Kieffer; stem 1 5/8 inches long, slender; cavity deep, narrow, compressed, often lipped; calyx small, partly open; basin furrowed; skin thick, tough; color pale yellow, heavily dotted arid sometimes flecked with russet dots numerous, small, light russet or greenish; flesh tinged with yellow, firm but tender, granular, very juicy, sweet yet with an invigorating flavor; quality good; core closed, axile; calyx tube short, wide; seeds long, plump, acute. – U.P. Hedrick, The Pears of New York, 1921.


Action Date By Old Name New Name
RECEIVED 31 Jul 1989 Pyrus spp. Pyrus hybr.

Source History

Accession was developed. 1902. Kansas United States
Ayer, O.H.,

Comment: Cultivar introduced in 1902

Accession was donated. 01-Feb-1983. West Virginia United States
Bell, Richard L., USDA, ARS

Comment: Received from Bountiful Ridge Nursery, MD to Kearneysville WV to NCGR-Corvallis.


Kieffer x Duchess d’Angouleme (probably)

Corvallis makes growing these old varities possible. If not for their excellent program pictures and scions could not even be found in this case. The information about these varities is hardly mentioned elsewhere.

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Why isn’t everyone growing Ayer? Since O.H. Ayer apparently lived in both Douglas & Sibly county Kansas I would guess there was at one time many other unknown cultivars with similar growth and form which were lost to time. This guy raised rows of pears. Perhaps it will lack the flavor of comice but I’m not convinced anyone has tested this variety in Kansas for awhile now which might change everything. In my experience Kansas grows good pears for lots of reasons with the hot Sun and relatively long growing season (MARCH-NOVEMBER) being very important.

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Wanted to give an update on my research. Found a catalog in the archives
"AYER — Originated about thirty years
ago, as a chance seedling, on the farm
of O. H. Ayer, Douglas County, Kans.
Rather slow, upright grower, similar to
Bartlett, but the foliage is like Seckel.
Mr. Ayer thinks it is a seedling of
Seckel, as a tree of this variety stood
only a few rods distant from where the
original Ayer tree first appeared. Form
obovate; size medium to large, slope
gradual, with color greenish or pale
lemon with light scarlet blush on ex-
posed side covered with russet dots;
flesh yellowish white; fine grain, but-
tery, melting, juicy. Mild sub-acid,
rich and fine. So far the tree has
shown no tendency to blight, and we
believe this is a pear of special merit
for the Middle West. Season last of
July and first of August; two weeks
earlier than Bartlett.

INCE — ^We give here descriptions of Ince
and Estella pear just as given us by
A. W. Ayer, son of O. H. Ayer, orig-

inator of Ayer, Ince and Estella pears.
The Ince pear started from seed about
16 years ago on my father’s place. It
is one of many trees that father and
myself gathered from under pear trees,
where they came up from fruit of the
previous year. We set them in nurs-
ery rows and here the Ince pear, when
but a small tree, began to bear and
early gave evidence of having many
good Qualities. We therefore began to
propagate from it. We have found it
to be a very young bearer, beginning
to fruit at times the second year; very
prolific, bearing almost every year and
over-loading most years. It seems to be
blight-proof thus far. The fruit is good
sized and a bright yellow with an occa-
sional red blush, handsome and showy,
melting and delicious in its season,
which is about the last of October.

ESTELLA — The Estella is also a pear
started from seed on my father’s farm
under about the same conditions as the
Ince pear. It early gave evidence of
being a good pear. It is a very thrifty
sturdy-growing tree and thus far has
shown no signs of blight. Its fruit is
about the same size of the Bartlett; is
very dark green until almost ripe, when
it gets somewhat yellow; is a very de-
licious eating pear, the flesh being rich
flavored, melting and creamy colored;
has no grain, core hardly noticeable,
few seeds — altogether a most excellent
pear. Season about the last of Sep-
tember. A. W. AYER. " -


I’m not sure if this is the same Estella
But it would be consistent with pears he was breeding at the time which were kieffer crosses . The Ince pear appears to be completely lost unfortunately. I suspect as mentioned many other valuable pears were produced and lost after O. H. Ayers death. A. W. Ayer appeared to not continue breeding pears. It appears O.H. Ayer died in 1904 an avid nursery man and beekeeper His farm was 6 miles outside Lawrence so it’s possible old farms in that area may still have some of these trees growing. No doubt his family is still located in the area. This is what the article says

" We are enjoying good for i on lith, Mr. Mr. er. and Bank 700 Mass. St r ors bor- jroad END OF ACTIVE LIFE OMAR H. AVER PROMINENT IN LOCAL AFFAIRS Defended State From Trice’s Raiders Was a Leader in Horticultural t Progress In the death of Omar II. Ayer on April 4th, Douglas county, lost another of her early and most substantial" citizens. Mr. Ayer was born December. 22d, 1823, in Clinton county, New. York, where he grew to manhood. He was the oldest of a family of three sons and two daughters. Mar. 7, IS52. he wa3 united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ayer of Buffalo, New York. To them eight children were born. A baby girl died in infancy and their little boy, Charlie, aged five years, died soon after they came, to Kansas. They lived at Plattsburg, rew York, until they started west. They stopped one winter at Williams-ville. New Yotk. while Mr. Ayer made hi first trip to Kansas in the fall of j- j t a. M lbui. in April, wun me iamny of tfour small 'children they moved to Lawrence locating on a farm six miles south of town where Mr. Ayer has lived continuously these fifty- three years. At the time of rrice’s raid, in the fall of ‘64 he joined the militia and went to the eastern border to help prptect the state. He went through the stirring times ofHhe early settlers in a new country and saw the state grow and develop. He was interested not only in the cultivation and improvement of his farm and home, but was public spirited and always took an active part in"all affairs and activities that were for the good of the community. 5Ir. Ayer was an enthusiastic mem-bet- of the Horticultural society and wKen in the seventies the society decided to put out trees at the University, he gave liberally of his trees and time, and set out many of the trees now on the University Campus. It was only about ten days ago he gave fifteen young evergreen trees taken from his farm, to be planted around the Fairview Church. Aside from the regular farm work the raising of fruit trees and bees occupied much of his attention. He originated several varieties of pears the Douglas, Ayer, and others. The government was so favorably impressed with the good qualities of these pears that it recommended them to the public in the government year books. " Each year, he put out new kinds. Hi3 interest did not lessen with the years as he said a few years ago when he put out some pecans and English Walnut trees. ul will not be here but some one will enjoy them." He never lost interest in his bees and was authority on. Bee Culture. Up to last fall he cared for his one hundred hive3. Mr. Ayer was well read on many subjects and interested in all national issues, with which he kept closely in touch by daily reading the papers and magazines. Accounts of scientific investigations, researches, new improvements always held his attention. During the last few years of Mr. Ayers life, when his health was failing and h had to give up some of life’s activities he still took an active interest in all about him, and reading was a’favorite pastime. .March 7th. 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Ayer ctlebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Two years later, March 1st, 1904, Mrs. Ayer passed away after fifty-two years of love and devotion to each other. In the early days, when many of the Eastern people were coming West, fifteen relatives of both Mr. and Mrs. Ayers families including their parents, brothers and sisters came from New York and located here and in Nebraska. Of this number Mr. O. H. Ayer is the last to go. He was always a loyal Kansan, but was deeply interested in his native State and made several trips back to his old home. .It was a long full life that passed ca last Wednesday. How long and full it is hard to realize until on? analyzes the events and conditions wjth which his life was connected. Mr. Ayers character was simple, sincere, honest and straIght-forward-a singular devotion to his own loved ones, April 10, Ottawa University at Lawrence. April 12, Baker University at Bald- win. April 18, Bethany College at Law- rence. tT. , April 25, Bethany College atLinds- borg. M , . , April 26, Bethany uouege at unas- April 27, Hays Normal at Hays (tentative). April 28, St Marys at St. Marys (tentative). May 4, Baker University at Lawrence. May 18, Warrensburg at Warrens- burg. May 19, Warrensburg at Warrensburg. May 22, Warrensburg at Lawrence. May 23, Warrensburg at Lawrence. May 25, Ottawa University at Ot tawa. aes’ M vere and me aumnnffl Sells Bicycles and Tires 944 Mass. St. A Big Class to Go Through Reunion Beginning Tomorrow Is the Thirty-Seventh Semi-Annual Reunion of Scottish Rite Masons It is expected that fifty or more candidates will be in the class of Masons who will take the work to secure Scottish Rite degrees in Lawrence this week. The reunion opens tomorrow afternoon with a special meeting of Lodge of Pe, e .on - TVciock -D-rtirm at r-x i ana win tun- . . .- . m i when ’ 'heir ioi ladies. . - The Lawrence Consistory is one oi the 'youngest in the state and yet its growth has been so rapid that it now n11T,wc nhout 400. and is adding to . . membership at the rate of about Tomorrow’s program will be as f oi- 10 5:30 p. m. Special Meeting Lodge of Perfection. 6:30 p. m. Supper. 7:15 p. m. Class Organization; Elec-toin of Officers. 7:30 p. m. 4, Secret Master. 8:00 p. m. 5; Perfect Master. 8:45 p. m. 6, Intimate Secretary. Card of Thanks To our many friends who showed thv in our recent bereave- ment by their kind words, acts, and flnuws. we wish to extend heartfelt thanks, ouR AND MRS. C. B. RUMSEY. MR. AND Glass. C. Friend. Phones 42. Interurban Makes Payment The county commissioners . Saturday received $750 from the Kansas oiio-r Tnterurban Com- Held For Desertion Edgar C. Freemole was yesveiu arresfed on the charge of wife deser- tion. He was taken to ieioii uy m w Hayes, sheriff there. Freemole was superintending ithe. installation excavation for the .filtering plant at the water works. Windshields put In at C. E. Matthews Lumber Company. e A Fine Young Bull One day last week F. S. Butcher tt at fhnmnev received by ex press a registered Holstein bull from East Syracuse, East Syracuse, in. i. n;mai of best breeding and will be used to improve the dairy herd of the owners. Arrest German With Maps VnrV TTarhor. Me… April 9. A Ger- suspicious character. After maps of the coast with marginal notes m German had been found in his possession he was locked up to await an examination b yfederal officials. ; Laptad’s inriis. Hogs Sale, Wednesday, - . roi-ranm Remembers Friends Mexico City, April 9.-General Car- , o nprsonal trift of 10,- r t of Hermoisillo Ti.-rr " v, r 4-V -faf tViflf. t.hlS m recognition ui n . city was the first to receive mm in a friendly and hospitable way when he took the field against the late General Huerta inl913- Cement. C. Friend. Phones 42. Infant Mortality Low London, April 9. The infant mortality in England last year was the lowest in the history of the country. 1 .000 births. Based on an estimated population of 36,250,000 in England and vvaies, Kirf.h mte last year was 21.6, the death rate 14.0 and tne imixs 15.4 per 1,000. Ask Laptad for Hog Sale Catalogue. Italy Has Six Billion Debt Rome, April 9 With the last fourth war loan Italy has cntribued hner expenses in this war over $6,000,000,-000, including new taxes and agumen-tation of old ones. After Easter use colorite. New hats all the summer. 25c a pkg. Dick Bros. m Miss Nettie Graham of Coffeyville was the guest of friends here yesterday. Enel Camp and Auxiliary to Meet TVi R Fne-el Camp No. 78 and Auxiliary 78 will meet tonight at eight o’clock in the Post Hall. Ask Grandfather g.S,S. A Von would not work get rusty Wthe bodyT t 4ty ind gleanse the S S S proven fonts? wl dVo TODAY andtoke of tt . tia man, who said he was Frank Baker University at Bald- man, ted here today as a was big enough to encircle many. Mr. Ayer was well preserved for a man of his years, and had a very retentive memory and retained all his faculties. He was not a man to live in the nast. but kept his youthful in terests to the last. While Mr. Ayer could not make the trips to town this last year as often as he wished, the few times he was in Lawrence he was anxious to see the improvements especially did he watch Ihe progress of the new bridge in construction. It was great satisfaction to him to be able to cast his vote at the presidential election last fall. His health has been gradually failing and for some time he had to be very careful, although he was confined to his room only the last two months. He died at his home south of town, April 4th, 1917, at the age of ninety-one years and three months. A short service was held at the house before going to the Fairview Methodist Church where the minister, Rev. Rist, conducted the service. He was laid to rest in the family lot at Oak Hill Cemetery-He is survived by six children Mrs. Anna Lothrop, Mrs. William Miller, Mrs. V. L. Reece, A. W. Ayer, and Miss Evelyn Ayer, of Lawrence, and O. E. Ayer of Albuquerque, New Mexico; eight grandchildren A. H. Lothrop, Roy Lothrop, Lena Miller, Vanroy Miller, Vanera Miller, Cyst-rene Ayer, Mildred Ayer, and Estella Ayer; five great grandchildren Ruba, Goldie, and Virgil Lothrop of Burr Oak, Kansas; Hazel and Nora Eber-hart of Lawrence. "

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Clark, you seem to know your Kansas fruit! I’m kind of into Kansas (and KS history) and your posts have me thinking about fruit here. Do you have a compilation of your research, or is there a history of KS fruit type of webpage out there? I would love to start growing some fruit that has a history here, and to know that background would be cool too.

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I picked up things here and there. Stayman winesap might be an interesting apple if you want an apple grown in Kansas as an example. Definitely do my research to better understand the growers. Ayer was straight forward with his intentions and the world loses something when those guys are no longer around.

I have some reading to do (when I get time…). I’ve heard of Ayer and Winesap but never new their history to KS.


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I grow Ayers and it looks nothing like those pics, and it’s also a quality
“dessert” pear.

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The names being so close causes confusion . I have Ayers . I have seen it listed as self fruitful , pollen sterile , zone 5 and hardy to -50 . No idea which of these are true .


I’m glad you brought up the ayers pear for comparison and I do grow it for the same reasons you do. It’s said to be an excellent pear though I’ve never eaten any fruit off my tree yet. My tree is fairly young. Here is a brief history on ayers and other classic southern pears

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Ayers has been reported to be self-sterile, requiring a pollinator.

This makes no sense, and I disagree with many of the comments made
about Maxine, Pineapple, and Moonglow. Don’t believe everything you
read, especially these comments.

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Wanted to make a note regarding ayer pear - its proved highly difficult to graft on callery with some grafts failing right away and others delayed but all failed eventually. For those grafting this one in the future try to use an interstem of something easier to graft like douglas, clara frijs, small yellow pear etc…

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The joke was on me on ayers i had eaten fruit off of ayers for 20 + years but was sold to me as red bartlett. Ayer did not take on any of the callery i tried it on long term. I will need to try again.

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2021 was good for ayers. Yes same tree as in so many of the pictures I take. Ayers produces hundreds and hundreds of pounds on a good year like this. Ayer unfortunately was incompatible in all cases where I grafted it. Still I don’t have an Ayer. Many were delayed failures. I happen to know the breeder of Douglas was also the breeder of Ayer he just moved to Lawrence when he developed the Douglas pear. So you might wonder what my plan is to grow Ayer and what I plan to do is use Douglas as an interstem. If you are searching for ayers these pictures are ayers but not my goal when i made this post. I hope to post a harvest of Ayer at some point.


More photos of Ayer from ars grin website.

ayer4 ayer3 ayer2 ayer1

Anyone growing this variety?

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