View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:11 pm

This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 3 posts ] 
 April 16, 2007: 160th Anniversary of Pacific NW FruitTrees! 
Author Message

Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:25 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Woodland, CA
Post April 16, 2007: 160th Anniversary of Pacific NW FruitTrees!
FYI, this Tuesday past was the 160th birthday of an important event for Oregon, Washington, California and probably other Western states. On April 16, 1847, Henderson Luelling launched his Traveling Nursery, from Salem, Iowa bound for the Pacific Northwest. A few wagons set forth (one with 700 grafted fruits trees, nuts and berries) bound for the Willamette Valley. Three families, including eleven children between them, began their long walk to the West. It took them 7 months to the day to make it, and they did! Now here we all are enjoying the fruits of their labor. Thank you very much, Ancestors. And thank you HOS for perpetuating the tradition.


Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:36 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Van, if I remember right from meeting you at our scion exchange … don't you look very much like Henderson..(a linked photo below)? Next question: I see a "Newtown" apple listed as having been aboard, was this the same apple that became famous in Hood River, Ore., called the Newtown, or Newton Pippin? ... age&pID=91 (of which I hear they're now replacing :cry: )

Here's what you get from a rainy inside Saturday - I hope it's of interest? I believe Jessie Webster of the Home Orchard Society, and founder of the Luelling Memorial Chapter included the most detailed and fascinating description of the Luelling trek to Oregon in a past issue of our Pome News; maybe on another rainy Saturday I'll find it!

OK, here we go!

History of Fruit Growing in the Pacific Northwest Henderson Luelling and Seth Lewelling: (I'm not sure about the different spelling of Seth's last name… but it 'wasn't me.')

Here are the apples brought along:
Bellflower (Yellow Bellflower)
Blue Pearmain
Early Harvest
Gloria Mundi
Golden Russet
King (Tompkins King)
Northern Spy
Red Astrachan
Red Cheek Pippin (Monmouth)
Rhode Island Greening
Seek-no-further (Westfield Seek-no-further)
Spitzenburg (Esopus Spitzenburg)
White Winter Pearmain

Wow! Some of the best!

The following 'confirms' what I'd read about there being two wagons; it makes good sense - as I believe they lost one in a river crossing! Fortunately, they'd spilt the load into duplicates with an equal number of varieties in each wagon!

From Million-Dollar Wagon:

"It's likely that only one emigrant wagon ever carried a million dollars worth of goods, but this wagon wasn't filled with gold or silver--instead, it carried fruit trees."

"Henderson Luelling took his family to Oregon from Iowa in 1846. He brought two extra wagons filled with apple, cherry, pear, plum and black walnut trees. It was an odd sight, the covered wagon filled with dirt and with trees sticking out. Throughout the trip, Luelling pampered his prized cargo. His daughter, Eliza, wondered if he cared more about the trees than about her."

"Luelling's plants thrived in fruit-bare Oregon, and his orchards were an immense success. Trailblazer William Barlow once estimated the resulting value of Luelling's trees at well over $1 million."

Here's some interesting information from: Early Days and Ways ... s&ie=UTF-8 [I've inserted some paragraphs for easier reading]

"Along with Whitcomb in the building of Milwaukee, then the rival city of Portland, were the Kelloggs, father and sons, Orrin and Joseph, and the brothers, Henderson and Seth Luelling, mentioned above. The Luellings brought the first cherry trees to Oregon. Henderson it was, who took the initial step in bringing that first good variety of grafted fruit trees, the details of which are interesting.

Henderson, planning to come to Oregon in the spring of 1846, secured the cooperation of a neighbor, by the name of John Fisher, for his plan. First, they procured a stout wagon, then they made two boxes, 12 inches deep and of sufficient length and breadth that when placed in the wagon-box, side by side, they filled it completely. The boxes were then filled with a compost, or soil, consisting principally of charcoal and earth, and in this 700 small trees were planted. The trees were from 20 inches to four feet high, protected by light strong strips of hickory bolted on to posts, set in staples on the wagon box. For that wagon alone three yoke of oxen were detailed. Can't you see those men working and planning to the utmost detail, that Oregon might have in time the wonderful cherries and other fruit for which it is now famous? And there are those today who dare to say the pioneers had no vision, that they were mere adventurers.

Well, to go on with our story. The Luelling caravan, which consisted of three wagons for the Luellings, one for the Fisher family, two for Nathan Hockett's family, and the Nursery Wagon itself -- seven wagons in all -- started on its long journey across the plains, on April 17, 1846. It traveled about fifteen miles a day, and every day, no matter how scarce the water, nor how far the distance between watered camps, each and every one of those little 700 trees were carefully sprinkled with water. Each little tree was a saga in itself. The Dalles was reached about October 1st. Two boats had to be constructed to bring the families and their goods, not forgetting the cherry trees, down to the Willamette Valley. It was November 1st, when they left The Dalles. They got down as far as Wind River, where the boats were unloaded and reloaded (north bank), until finally, at the Upper Cascades, the wagons were again set up and everything hauled to the Lower Cascades (north bank). Meanwhile, the boats had been turned adrift and went bumping down the current to the Lower Cascades, where they were captured, reloaded, and poled and paddled to Fort Vancouver.

At The Dalles, the fruit trees had been taken out of their boxes and wrapped in cloths to protect them not only from the handling but from frost. They were nursed carefully the next six months and more, until their owner found what he thought the proper place for their final planting. About one-half of the original 700 trees survived and grew.

Some idea of the importance of fruit in those days may be realized from the fact that a box of apples brought by Mr. Luelling to Portland, in 1852, sold as high as $75.00. Four bushels shipped to the California gold mines brought $500.00. Before leaving the story of the Luelling fruit trees, while it was Henderson Luelling who instigated the bringing of the first fruit trees, it is to his brother Seth that we are indebted for the toothsome Black Republican, Royal Anne and Bing cherries.

Henderson left Oregon for California, in 1854, where he started the fruit industry of that State, dying in San Jose in 1878. But Seth remained true to his first love. He stayed in Oregon. A great admirer of Abraham Lincoln, Seth belonged to the "Black Republican" party, and, saying he would make the people relish Black Republicans, he gave his newly propagated cherry that name. The Bing cherry he named in honor of his faithful old Chinaman, Bing, who cultivated the test rows of his nursery. The old home of Seth Luelling still stands on Front Street of Milwaukie, shaded by the great Babylon weeping willow, that Seth's first wife, Clarissa, planted as a cutting so long ago; a cutting that, tradition says, was brought originally from Mount Vernon."

This is interesting, from: History and Legends of Apples:

"1847 - Henderson Lewelling (1809-1879), an Iowa nurseryman, traveled the Oregon Trail to Oregon with four wagons, his wife, and eight children. Three yoke of oxen were required to pull the lead wagon in which were the approximately 700 one-year old grafted fruit trees. During most of the trip, the family traveled alone or with small companies as its slow pace irritated those traveling with them. Eliza Lewelling, one of the daughters, late related that a Christian Indian told her father that the nursery saved the lives of the family when they camped near a large band of Indians:

"He said that the Indians believed that the Great Spirit lived in trees, they thought that he must be under the special care of the Great Spirit, and so they did not harm him."

"Along with his future son-in-law, William Meek, form a partnership and planted a nursery in the spring of 1848 near Milwaukie, Oregon. Today, in front of a military building in the city of Vancouver, a historic apple tree with a plaque on it, records the following story:

In 1847, Henderson Lewelling (known for promoting the fruit industry in Iowa, Oregon, and California) came to Oregon in a covered wagon with his wife, children and 350 fruit trees that had survived the long journey. It is said that he took such good care of those trees on the trip that they were watered every day and only water that was left was given to his family. He brought apples, pear, quince, plum and cherry trees. He went into partnership with William Meek, who arrived with a bag of apple seeds and found a nursery. By 1850, their first crop produced 100 apples. It was the time of the Gold Rush in California, and when they rushed to San Francisco with the apple crop, prospectors were so hungry for fresh fruit that he sold them for $5 each. They used the money to build more orchards."

There it's "confirmed" that only half the 700 trees made it, one of two wagons full!

...and more: "The following recollection by Honorable Ralph C. Geer concerning his emigration to Oregon in 1847 was published in the following source: Oregon Pioneer Association (1880), "Occasional Address for the Year 1847," Transactions of the Ninth Annual Re-union of the Oregon Pioneer Association" ... s&ie=UTF-8

"Mr. Henderson Luelling by bringing that splendid assortment of apples, pears, plums, cherries, quinces, grapes, berries and flowers in his "Traveling Nursery" to Oregon in 1847, gave to Oregon the name of "God's country, or the Land of Big Red Apples," a name that every Pioneer of Oregon feels proud of. I never thought Mr. Luelling received the reward that his enterprise merited. I have dealt with him to the extent of thousands of dollars, from one dollar to two thousand dollar transactions, and always found him honest. Being honest himself he trusted too much and consequently was victimized to a fearful extent. The conception and carrying out of that enterprise was not the sudden conviction as to the importance of the fruit business, but was the result of a train of circumstances, the most controlling of which was his long and successful engagement in the nursery business."

"In the fall of 1845, he began to prepare to start to Oregon, but could not dispose of his land in time to start until it would be quite late, so he concluded to wait another year and bring the "Traveling Nursery." He planted his nursery thus: He made two boxes 12 inches deep, and just wide and long enough to fill the wagon bed, and filled them with a compost consisting principally of charcoal and earth, into which he planted about 700 trees and shrubs, from 20 inches to 4 feet high, and protected them from the stock by a light though strong frame fastened to the wagon box. He left Missouri River the 17th of May. On the Platte, Mr. Luelling took charge of the nursery wagon and team to bring it through in his own way and time, for it was already pronounced by some of his friends a very hazardous undertaking to draw such a heavy load all the way over the Rocky mountains; but every discouraging proposition, he invariably answered, that as so long as he could take it without endangering the safety of his family, he would stick to it. The last time that any one tried to discourage him about the nursery wagon was on the North Platte. Rev. Mr. White suggested that it would be better to leave it, as the cattle were becoming weary and foot sore, and that owing to the continued weight of that load, it would kill all his cattle and prevent his getting through; but his answer was such an emphatic "no" that he was allowed to follow his own course after that without remonstrance."

"The nursery reached The Dalles about the 1st of October, and the trees were there taken out of the boxes and securely wrapped in cloths to protect them from frosty nights and the various handlings that they had to undergo in the transit down the Columbia. That load of trees contained health, wealth and comfort, for the Old Pioneers of Oregon. It was the mother of all our early nurseries and orchards, and gave Oregon a name and fame that she never would have had without it. That load of living trees and shrubs brought more wealth to Oregon that any ship that ever entered the Columbia River. Then, I say, hail, all hail to the traveling nursery that crossed the plains in 1847."

"Excuse me, when I tell you that I brought one bushel of apple, and one-half bushel of pear seeds, which went far towards supplying this coast with trees, especially pear trees, for I furnished Luelling with stock and he furnished me with buds from his traveling nursery, which enabled both of us to furnish cultivated trees in great numbers at an early day, and certainly that traveling nursery was a God-send to me and mine."

Ok… it can stop raining now ~

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Sat Apr 21, 2007 5:05 pm

Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:25 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Woodland, CA
Post Great Clips!
Hey sounds like Henderson and Geer also established the first scion exchange in Oregon!

Also the HD Lambert recollection of the varietal list for the Traveling Fruit Tree Nursery (in Oregon Historical Society Archive) shows 24 different apples

Given all the different ways the stories get told....there's no getting around the point that the guy (Henderson L.) was the point of the spear that when tossed from Iowa to the Pacific Coast, brought with it a whole lot of wealth, flavor, and livelihood for a whole lot of folks.

Thanks for the additions. More will follow.



Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:14 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.   [ 3 posts ] 

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: