The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., October 13, 1899, page 3


     Last Sunday the GLACIER force took a drive on the East Side, to know some of the improvements and visit several orchards in this fruitful section that are well worthy of special mention. We passed over the new grade that starts at Reynolds' place and winds around the bluffs and intersects the old road at Wm. Foss' place. This piece of new road is a great saving of time and horse flesh to the settlers on the East Side, and its promoters and those who so freely subscribed the money for its construction deserve the lasting thanks of the traveler. A few more turnouts and a railing or fence along the river side are needed to make this work complete; but we have the road and the safeguards will be sure to come later. At the top of the hill a grand view is obtained of the canyon of the Hood river with Mt. Hood in the distance. We passed the neat buildings and good orchards of Wm. Foss, S.H. Cox, M.V. Rand, W.B. Johnson, John Sweeney and Wm. Kennedy and came to the place of D.H. Sears, where we were invited to tally for the day. Mr. Sears has a branch of 100 acres, 2½ miles from town, 40 acres lying on the west side of the road and 60 on the east. Mr. Sears located on this place just seven years ago. The place then had very little or no improvements. With very little means to go ahead and make improvements, himself and son-in-law, J.C. Porter, went to work and in a few years cleared the land and transformed the wilderness into a blooming and productive home. Mr. Sears now has a commodious and comfortable dwelling, good barns and other buildings, and about 2,600 apple trees, besides other fruits. His land lies mostly on a ridge sloping gently to gulches on the other side, affording good drainage. His apple trees are well worth a day's travel to see. The trees are healthy looking and have made a good growth this season; in fact we never saw a finer looking body of trees, and in this off year his three and four-year-old Ben Davis, Yellow Newton, Red Cheek Pippen and other varieties are well loaded with large well-shaped apples, free from codlin moth. Mr. Sears has kept the spay pump going and sprayed eight times during the present season. He believes in using plenty of arsenic and lime, and by using the spray when it is about the consistency of thin whitewash, keeps his apples at all times covered with a coating of the spray. In our walk through his orchards, where we estimated his crop at at least 1,000 boxes, we found but two wormy apples, and evidently they were upon trees that did not get sprayed every time because the apples on them were not seen until they got to be a good size. He has a four-year-old Ben Davis trees that will yield three and four boxes of first class apples. Even on trees that are heavily loaded with fruit a growth of three feet was noted on some of the branches. If one of these Ben Davis trees, with its load of well developed fruit, could be taken up bodily and exhibited at the Portland exposition it would create a sensation and advertise our section more satisfactorily than it could be done in any other way. Mr. Sears is justly proud of his orchards. He knew nothing about the cultivation of fruit when he came to Hood River, but has made it a study, and now we consider that he can give pointers to some of us who had been in the business for years before he left his old home in Ohio to come west. He is a miller by trade, and followed that occupation for years in his old home in Marion county, Ohio. Mr. Sears is a veteran of the civil war, having served within a few days of four years in the 6th Ohio cavalry. He spent seven months in Libby prison. He went out as a private before he had reached the age of 14 and came home with shoulder straps. He served in the army of the Potomac and was under Phil Sheridan and others noted cavalry leaders. Mrs. Sears is a lady of refinement and is attached to her new home. The good dinner she served will not soon be forgotten and the remembrance of it will be apt to bring us back again. While in the neighborhood we visited the Thos. Lacey place, now managed by Warren Wells. Mr. Wells has also taken good care of his trees, and the fine apples he will gather in this year of partial failure will well repay him for the trouble and expense he has been put to in spraying.
     Wm. Kennedy, another near neighbor of Mr. Sears, has a fine orchard, and as he has been successful with the spray, will also have a lot of choice apples to market. After seeing these orchards the writer will have to consider his estimate made two or three weeks ago, that Hood River would not have more than 4,000 boxes of marketable apples. One-third of this estimate will be gathered in these three young orchards alone.
     What D.H. Sears has accomplished in the seven years he has been in Hood River others can accomplish in the same length of time. There is plenty of the same kind of land on the East Side offered for sale at from $30 to $40 an acre. Mr. Sears will clear this year more than $250 per acre on some parts of his bearing orchards. At this rate the land on which his four-year-old trees are growing ought to be cheap at $250 an acre. But no one should think of setting out an apple orchard unless they are prepared to attend to it properly. It takes time to spray, and the spraying always comes at a time when other work is pressing.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer