Early Americans knew that Apples were not just for Eating

Agriculture Yearbook 1925, USDA, Page 120.

The first immigrants to the new world brought seeds from their homes. Hence the first fruits grown by them were seedlings. As the apple, it was seemingly prized for cider above all else. At least it is recorded that as early as 1674 a single individual in Virginia made 20 butts (a cask holding 126 gallons) of it. But the early Bostonians were doing likewise, for in 1721 a small community of 40 families near there is said to have made about 3000 barrels (31.5 gallons) of cider. Moreover, in 1644, Governor John Endecott, of the Massachusetts colony, wrote to John Winthrop as follows: “My children burnt mee at least 500 trees this spring by setting the ground on fire neere them; ‘ and in 1648 he traded 500 three year old apple trees for 250 acres of land. IN 1817 Coxe could list “one hundred kinds of the most estimable apples cultivated in our country.”

In 1823, William Prince, from his nursery at Flushing, Long Island, offered 114 varieties of apples including, SUMMER ROSE, MAIDEN BLUSH, FALL PIPPIN, NEWTOWN, SPITZENBERG, ESOPUS SPITZENBERG, LADY, YELLOW BELLFLOWER, VANDEVERE, SWAAR, RHODE ISLAND GREENING, YELLOW NEWTOWN, WINESAP, YELLOW HARVEST, AND RED BALDIWIN PIPPIN (BALDWIN). In 1825 William Prince offered 116 apple varieties at 371/2 cents apiece. Seventeen of these were deemed especially good for cider, while 61 of the number were considered to be of American origin. It is interesting to note that some of these varieties were old even in Prince’s time. The BALDWIN tree traces back to 1740, RHODE ISLAND GREENING to 1748, YELLOW NEWTOWN to 1759, by which date is must have been well established since in that year Benjamin Franklin received specimens of it in London.

Other varieties not named by Prince include: ROXBURY, supposed to have originated early in the seventeenth century in Massachusetts, to have been taken into Connecticut soon after 1649, and to have gone from there to Ohio in 1797; WESTFIELD dates from 1791; and THOMPKINS KING, TOLMAN, RALLS, RED CANADA, WINE, HUBARDSTONE, NORTHERN SPY, ORTLEY, and still other have definite histories going back to that time.

Pome News, Fall 1996, The Spread of Apples in America, Agriculture Yearbook 1925, USDA, Page 120.