The “Hessian” Apple Tree

The Hessian Apple Tree, from the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives During the research into Conrad Crebs for the 2014 Holiday House Tour, there was a badly discolored newspaper clipping of a so-called “Hessian” apple tree in PHW’s Revolutionary War files. It was not able to be worked into the House Tour, but the story remained intriguing. When it again entered the PHW radar in relation to research on the local apple orchards, specifically the Bond Brothers, it was clear it was time to talk about the tree.

The tree was “bearing its first fruit when the Hessian Soldiers worked in this area [Apple Pie Ridge, near the foot of Gold’s Hill on the Bond land] after the Revolutionary War.” It was still bearing a small amount of fruit until the 1930s, when the photo was taken (reported as 1936). By the time the article ran in the Winchester Star on July 2, 1965, the tree had been cut down. No one was sure which stump on the Bond land was the remains of the tree in the photograph, but the tale and the photo of the Hessian apple tree was “still in circulation.”

The story of the Hessian apple tree may be fading from popular memory as Winchester moves farther away from its agricultural heritage, but this once-famous photograph is still available at the Stewart Bell, Jr. Archives.