Apple trees were the most popularly grown fruit tree in colonial America and practically every settlement farm and backyard gardener planted this easily grown fruit tree, or easier, the seed of the apple could be planted to establish a permanent food supply. Growing these apple tree products could be eaten fresh or could be dried and preserved in many different ways to eat at a later time. Historical instances on the existence of apple trees are documented from folklore, legends, stone images on carved tablets, petrified slices of apples on plates for tomb offerings, and overwhelming numbers of references from Hebrew Bible scriptures and innumerable writings from poetry, songs, literary publications, and many other surviving accounts of all civilizations in the ancient world. One of the earliest archeological evidences of apple tree fruit comes from the remains of excavations from Jericho, Jordan, that has been dated 6500 BC by radiochemical analysis of carbon atoms.
The petrified remains of apple slices that were found in a saucer of an ancient Mesopotamian tomb, the burial site of royalty dates back to 2500 BC and was uncovered in southern Iran. In the ancient historical accounts of the fruit of the apple tree, there appears to be an incomprehensible trail of evidence that no other fruit could match. The interest shown in apples by the Greek and Roman philosophers, poets, historians, and literary masters was even extended to Renaissance painters, royal chefs to the Tsars of Russia and too many other references to mention.
In colonial America, apple trees were grown and planted from seeds in orchards by William Blackstone at Boston, Massachusetts in the 1600’s. Early documents on file at the National Library in Washington, DC suggest that all land owners in Massachusetts had begun growing apple trees by the 1640’s.
William Bartram, the famous explorer and botanist, wrote in his book, Travels, “I observed, in a very thriving condition, two or three large apple trees” in 1773, while traveling near Mobile, Alabama. It is important to realize that these large apple trees found growing in Alabama in 1773 could very easily have been grown from the seed planted by Creek Indians. Those seed may have been obtained by the Indians from American colonists on the Eastern coast of the United States at a much earlier time or from French farmers who settles in areas of agricultural land grants north of Mobile. General Oglethorpe planned in 1733 to plant “various plants, subtropical and temperate, which might prove valuable for Georgian farms and orchards,” according to William Bartram in his book Travels, published 40 years later. William Bartram’s father, John Bartram, trip to “East Florida” (Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas) was, in part at least, an attempt to inventory the plant resources of England’s new acquisition
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