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Old Merlin Apple Tree Receives Historical Marker

The sprawling branches of the old apple tree shaded members of the Grants Pass Commercial Club in 1909 while they listened to its story.

Speaker Charles E. Short said the tree had been planted in 1853 in a Merlin industrial area.  Short said a longtime resident, Mrs. Caroline Sexton, whose family settled at the base of Sexton Mountain, told him Lewis Haines and her husband bought trees when nursery stock came through from the Willamette Valley.  She said the Haines family settled along a creek about six miles south of the Sextons.

Two years after planting the apple tree, the Rogue River Indian War broke out.  Haines took his wife and children to stay at the Sexton's place, while he went back to finish building a fence. Two weeks later, with no sign of trouble, Haines took his family home, where Indians seeking revenge for attacks on their tribe killed Haines and his son and kidnapped his wife and daughter.

In March 2016, the Umpqua Joe Chapter of the fraternal organization known as E Clampus Vitus installed a permanent historical marker at the site of the Haines Family Apple Tree, just in time for its 163rd blooming.


Source: "Merlin Reception and Banquet." Rogue River Courier 2 July 1909 [Grants Pass Oregon] : 2. Historic Oregon Newspapers. Web. 14 Mar. 2016. .

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.