[NAFEX] George W. Bush and the Giant Butternut w/o permission
breen at fedcoseeds.com
Sun Nov 21 12:54:13 EST 2004
Okay, I have typed out the other story from last year's Burnt Ridge Nursery
George Washington Bush was born the son of a free black man and an Irish immigrant
mother, in Philadelphia. It was 1790, the year if Benjamin Franklin's death. Over
200 years later and 3,000 miles away, a living legacy grows on as a champion of
it's species and a memorial to it's planter.
As a teenager, Bush became indentured to a pioneer nurseryman who emmigrated
through the Cumberland Gap to settle in the wilderness of Tennessee, where he
learned how to grow trees.
During the war of 1812, Bush fought under Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New
Orleans. Bush roamed the West as a mountain man, explorer and trapper during the
1820's, amassing enough money to start a farm in Missouri, marrying and raising a
By the mid 1840's Bush was a prosperous man, well liked and highly regarded in
Clay County, Missouri. But, the politics of race, and slavery were such in Missouri
that Bush joined the great Westward migration in 1846, only the 2nd year of the
Oregon Trail, hoping to find greater freedom further west.
Bush had two wagons for the journey. One for his large family, their provisions
and their worldly goods; an one wagon filled with fruit and nut trees. After an
incredibly ardous, 9 month journey across the Great Plains, deserts, over the
Rockies and down the Columbia River, they arrived at Fort Vancouver in December.
Only to be told that the newly formedf Oregon Territorial Legislature had just
passed a law excluding blacks from settlement in the Willamette Valley.
At this time, Fort Vancouver has a Hudson's Bay Trading Post owned by Great
Britian. The British were actively discouraging any American settlementin waht is
now Washington State, hoping to claim it for themselves. Excluded from Oregon, Bush
and his friend Michael Simmons explored North to the Puget Sound country, found a
spot to their liking and blazed a trail through the wilderness to return with their
families and wagons. Michael Simmons went on to found the town of Tumwater,
building a sawmill and a gristmill. George W. Bush built up a prosperous farm and
was widely loved for his kindness, generousity, and hospitality.
These men helped to open the floodgate of American settlement which overwhelmed
the British outposts and determined what is now Washington Statebecame part of the
Many fruit trees from the Bush pioneer farm still live. Remarkably a butternut
tree that survived the trek West in 1846 still stands an the homestead site.
This butternut is among the biggest of its species recorded, with a trunk nearly
20ft in circumference. Some of its branches are 4 feet thick. Most of the Bush farm
is now the Olympia Airport and this tree has been topped over the years, as it is
on the flight path to approaching planes.
The property is for sale, and is zoned industrial, yet the tree is recognized for
its historic value and hopefully will be preserved for generations to come. It
still produces a crop and we ( Burnt Ridge Nusery ) are pleased to be growing
seedlings from this tree.
A monument to the Bush Family survives at the Southeast corner of the airport.
Here's an example of why NAFEX should ADD money to its coffers. To buy, preserve,
disperse and celebrate these kind of discoveries takes more than monied
individuals. But regardless, I would love to see this George W. Bush recieve the
Milo Gibson Award, post-mortum.
Maine, zone 4
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