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Starting an Orchard -
The Old Apple Tree

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 373-374, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



The honor of starting the first orchard belongs to Mrs. Sarah A. Lambirth. When they came here from Morgan County, Ill., in the spring of 1836, Mrs. L. brought some apple-seeds among her collection of garden-seeds. In time and season she planted the seeds, which took root and grew nicely. She says she remembers remarking to her husband when planting them, that she supposed she would never live to see them mature into bearing fruit-trees; that she would never be permitted to pluck an apple from them and give him to eat, as Eve did to Adam in the garden of Eden. He replied, "Oh, yes, you will: you will live a long while yet -- longer, may be, than I will." Neither of them thought anything more about the matter at the time, and the conversation passed out of mind and was not recalled till a tree from one of the seeds commenced bearing apples, when, as the fruit ripened, it was plucked and eaten, and the circumstances and conversation attending the planting were recalled to mind and talked and laughed aobut. Children had been born unto them, and had grown with the growth of their fruit-trees. Both of them lived to see the wild prairie upon which the settled converted into well-cultivated and renumerative farms. The prediction of the husband that the wife would outlive him was verified; for, after living on his claim for nearly a quarter of a century -- every year of which was full of usefulness to his family, his neighbors and the community generally, Thomas Lambirth, the poor man's friend and helper in all times of need, was called from "labor to refreshment" on the 12th day of May, 1857. His death was universally lamented in the neighborhood which he had lived so many years, and where his example left impressions and influences that are feelingly cherished not only by the fathers and mothers of his time, but even by the young generation who have learned to reverence his memory from hearing their parents tell of his industry, honesty and open-handed benevolence. Mrs. Lambirth, his widow, is still living and in the enjoyment of good health and unimpaired mental faculties. At the age of sixty-one years, she is ready and waiting for the summons to join her husband in a world of eternal delight.

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