While Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman is generally credited with bringing apples seeds to several Midwest states, Michigan apparently obtained its apple seeds and trees from some other enterprising settlers. Apples and apple cider were important food staples in the original colonies because apple trees grew more readily than grain or barley. This meant that the growing of apple trees was almost automatic for settlers as they headed west.
Michigan's Apple History
With no legend to explain things, it is something of a mystery how Michigan obtained its apple trees. The 1873 Annual Report published by the Michigan State Horticultural Society tried to trace back the “ancient apple orchards” along the Detroit River and found evidence that:
- 1796: One variety of apple tree came to the state from Montreal.
- 1825: In the years before he became governor, William Woodbridge brought two thousand apple trees to his farm (in what is now Detroit).
- 1833: One of the state's first nurseries brought 130 varieties of apple trees to Ypsilanti from Rochester, New York in 1833. Many of the varieties introduced into the state did not grow well, but those that did -– Snow Apple, Red Calville, Pomme Gris, Green Sweet -– were shipped from the Ypsilanti nursery to counties all over the state.