Wednesday, April 15, 2015

APRIL 15, 1815

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory JOHN MOORE received his title to the land claim he had made in the northwest quarter of Section 13, T1N, R4E.  He was the first settler to hold title in this square mile of land.  In fact, the Stevens Centennial History relates that Moore came to the Indiana Territory in 1806. Moore’s deed from the US government indicates that he first registered his claim to his land while the area was part of Harrison County, Indiana.  Moore’s homestead today is found at  4862 S  SR 60, Pekin, Indiana which is centered on a gentle valley through which an unnamed stream courses south toward the west side of Pekin before its confluence with the Mutton Fork of Blue River.

John Moore married Elizabeth Sowder on December 3, 1818.  She was probably the daughter of Jacob Sowder who also took out a land patent in Section 13 in 1822.

The Stevens History also reports that Moore planted the first apple orchard in the area in 1808.  The apple species that he planted  then were probably the Baldwin, Pippin and Grimes Golden.  The Baldwin species was called the Woodpecker apple as birds were particularly attracted to them.  These early American apples were more suited to cider making and baking than eating raw as they were more tart and sour than today’s apple hybrids.

John Moore was a contemporary of the famous nurseryman and missionary Jonathan Chapman [Johnny Appleseed].  Although Chapman had a large estate near Fort Wayne, Indiana where he died in 1845, it is unknown whether he ever encountered our first Washington County pome producer.

                                         JOHN MOORE HOMESTEAD AND ORCHARD
                                                          GOOGLE EARTH VIEW

                                                   BALDWIN (WOODPECKER) APPLE

                                                JONATHAN CHAPMAN GRAVE
                                                        (JOHNNY APPLESEED)
                                                      FORT WAYNE, INDIANA