Little Old Letter: Big Piece of History

100 years old and still intact, read a big part of Stark Bro's history: the letter from A. H. Mullins about what would become the Golden Delicious Apple.

When you are a part of a company that has been around for just about 200 years, every once in a while you come into contact with a piece of its history that makes you stop and say, "Wow." This happened to me last week when I went to speak with Stark Bro's Chief Production Officer, Elmer Kidd. He was going through some old Stark files and happened upon a small handwritten letter. The page stapled to the letter had a stamp on it that said Return to Mullins File. "Would you like to read a piece of Stark Bro's history, Sarah?" Elmer asked. "Sure, what is it?" I replied, feeling intrigued. "It's 100 years old, take a look," Elmer said as he passed the letter my way. The letter had to be no bigger than 4x6 inches and it was a little worn in spots. It also looked like someone had jotted down some notes first and then had written a letter on top of those notes. I picked it up and read the date. October the 20, 1914. I'd say it was in pretty good shape for something over a hundred years old! My eyes skimmed the cursive body of the letter down to the signature: A H Mullins. "'A H Mullins', why is that name so familiar?" I asked Elmer. I knew I should have known that answer, but it wasn't coming to me. "He's the man who sent Stark Bro's the first Golden Delicious apples to try. That's the letter," Elmer said in a casual tone. Wow. Suddenly, I felt like I should have been handling the letter with gloves in a controlled environment. Wow! I looked back at the paper and read over the handwriting more carefully. Here's what it said: 1914 Golden Delicious Letter to Stark Full
Stark Bro's Nursery and Orchard Co Louisiana Mo. Dear Sir I am sending you a small box of apples for inspection by mail. They are off a seedling tree in my orchard. The tree is such a nice tree and bears such fine apples. We like them so well that we think them all most as good as Delicious. No one here has any thing like it. The apples are so rich that they will make apple butter without sugar. Please try them and write and tell me what you think of them. A H Mullins
We all know now what happened shortly after this letter made its way to Stark Bro's (as told by Paul C. Stark in The Trail of The Golden Apple here) and that the Golden Delicious apple tree and its fruit are still widely available to this day. I just had to share this little piece of history that connects the discovery of such a fantastic fruit and its continued legacy. Wow, right? — Sarah D.

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About the Author

Sarah grew up in sunny South Florida; but, despite her ideal location for year-round gardening, her own growing adventures really bloomed after she transplanted to Missouri. Keen on research and analytics, Sarah is always expanding her garden knowledge; but the real challenge (and fun!) is her experiences — in the dirt. Connect with Sarah personally on Twitter.