The European explorers didn’t know what to expect when they immigrated to the New World. With this in mind, John Endicott, an English Puritan, went out of his way to help welcome the other immigrants arriving in the new, strange land.
What he did next became his legacy for the centuries to follow, and the story behind it is absolutely fascinating!
In a symbolic gesture, Endicott took a pear sapling from Europe and planted it in Danvers, Massachusetts.
This was intended to remind other incoming immigrants of their old home.
Endicott planted the pear tree in his 300-acre farm. Even as a former governor, the settler worked hard to take care of the tree until he died in 1665. But he had no idea what was about to happen.
Though the tree began to show evidence of decay in 1763, it turned out to be surprisingly healthy and durable, attaining legendary status as soon as the early 1800s.
Supposedly, President John Adams himself enjoyed the pears.
Endicott’s descendants took over pear tree maintenance after he died, helping the Endicott Pear Tree become more and more famous until it became referenced in literature by popular American writers such as Lucy Larcom and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The Endicott Pear Tree has been taken a lot of punishment through the years, surviving several snowstorms and intense hurricanes. But his greatest challenge was just around the corner…
In 1964, the tree was attacked by vandals that reduced it to a single jagged stump.
This led to a public outcry of support for the famous tree, leading to the development of a sturdy fence that helped protect it. Within a year, it miraculously began to show signs of growth!
In 2011 the tree officially gained American landmark status, and now it’s looking as good and strong as ever.
In fact, it’s now America’s oldest surviving cultivated tree.
It would have been incredible enough if the tree was simply still alive at this point, but each year, amazingly, it still bears fruit!
“I hope the tree will love the soil of the old world.” Endicott said when he first planted the tree in 1630.
“And No doubt when we have gone the tree will still be alive.”
Almost 400 years later, it’s clear that the pear tree has accomplished Endicott’s original goal – and then some! What a powerful symbol.
Share this persistent pear tree with your friends!