Josephine County Historical Society's "Passport To History" - Haines Apple Tree - Merlin, OR
Only the trees hold the secrets of Josephine County's violent beginnings, continuing our journey through the Josephine County Historical Society's "Passport To History."
Lewis Haines planted this apple tree around 1855 with his wife Amilda and their five children in anticipation of a lifetime of eating pleasure.
Unfortunately, a massacre of American Indians by riotous gold miners and opportunists from Jacksonville, Oregon triggered reprisals in the entire region.
The next day, the Haines family was slaughtered. Mr. Haines and four of his sons were killed violently at the homestead, and only the apple tree knows what happened to Mrs. Hains and her daughter Minda.
The faithful tree remained, and bore fruit for 120 years before a descendant of Lewis Haines erected a commemorative marker near the tree in 1923.
The homestead and all signs of the family disappeared, and finally about 1973 the Josephine County commissioners held a ceremony at the tree, and the Josephine County Historical Society erected a sign at the site.
Then, immediately afterward, the tree stopped producing fruit! Perhaps it too was in mourning for its' only family. Everyone thought it was dead, but after three years it started growing fruit again. In 2009, the Josephine County Historical Society pruned and fertilized the tree, and it came alive like a new puppy!
With roots as big as a man's chest, this memorial to a brave pioneer family lives to honor them.
Please visit the Josephine County Historical Society's website for more information on the Passport To History program.
Below are the links to my earlier Josephine County Historical Society's "Passport To History" blogs.