Drummond, Thomas (ca. 1790–1835)

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: May 27, 2020

Thomas Drummond, naturalist, was born in Scotland, probably in the county of Angus, around 1790. Little is known of his formal study of botany; he was perhaps encouraged in his scientific interests by an older brother who at one time was director of the Botanical Gardens at Cork, Ireland. In 1825, upon the recommendation of the eminent botanist Sir William Jackson Hooker, Drummond accompanied Sir John Franklin's second overland expedition to Arctic America. As assistant naturalist, he was assigned to make botanical explorations of the mountains of western Canada, where for two years he collected bird and plant specimens. In 1830 he made a second trip to America, this time to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. While in Missouri he learned of the work Jean Louis Berlandier was doing in Texas, and in March 1833 he arrived at Velasco to begin his collecting work in that area. Despite the great floods of the spring and summer of 1833 and sickness from both cholera and diarrhea, Drummond spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers. His collections were the first made in Texas that were extensivelydistributed among the museums and scientific institutions of the world. He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds, a feat that stimulated the later studies of suchbotanical collectors as Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer and Charles Wright. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in March 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.

S. W. Geiser, Naturalists of the Frontier (Dallas: Southern Methodist University, 1937; 2d ed. 1948).


  • Peoples
  • Scots
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Drummond, Thomas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/drummond-thomas.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 27, 2020