Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), January Meeting

When the members of the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), arrived at their meeting on January 14, they were greeted with shiny, red apples on lacy, white doilies for each person.

The meeting was to be a long one while the members completed the online questionnaires for yearend achievement reports for 2022. At first glance, the apples looked like a tasty snack to help tide everyone over until a late lunch.

However, the apples meant much more. As Chaplain Glenda Roach shared the devotion, she quoted from a portion of Galatians 5:22-23: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….” The apples were a visual aid to help the members to ponder cultivating that fruit in their lives as a way to “honor God, Family, and Country” in 2023.

Chaplain Roach also enlightened the group about the little-known tradition called “Apple Gifting Day” observed on New Year’s Day to show friends and neighbors how much they are appreciated. In the early years of our republic giving apples was a sign of wealth and a symbol of things such as “love, knowledge, bounty, beauty, and good health.” Gifts of fruit, especially apples, given to family and friends on New Year’s Day were considered valuable.

Giving fruit as gifts can be traced to 12th-8th Century B.C. Greece and Rome from which it spread to England and other lands. In the 1600s, apples made their way to America along with the European settlers. The only native apple in the United States was the crabapple, good for jams and jellies but too small and sour for eating fresh or making apple pie or apple pan dowdy.

In the 1700s teachers’ wages were first paid in apples and later in cash. The custom of giving “an apple to the teacher” remained as a way of showing gratitude. In the early years of our nation, many young males were already men before they were able to complete their schooling, if they were able to do so at all. Giving an apple to the teacher was one way for a young swain to seek the favor of a pretty young schoolmistress. A little “apple polishing” helped if a student wanted to become “teacher’s pet.” In 1939, Bing Crosby sang these lyrics: “An apple for the teacher will always do the trick, when you don’t know your lesson in arithmetic. An apple for the teacher will meet with great success if you forgot to memorize the Gettysburg Address.”

Folk hero John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster, MA, in 1774, and became a pioneer apple farmer whose dream was to produce “so many apples that no one would ever go hungry.” In 1792, John began his journey west, at first with his half-brother Nathaniel, and then alone. He traveled through Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley and into Indiana. Everywhere he went he planted apple trees ahead of the settlements so that when the settlers arrived, the trees would already be growing and ready to provide food. As he traveled back and forth planting and nurturing the orchards, not only did he plant trees, he also planted the Gospel as he was a devout Christian. (

In 1990, the first National Apple Day was declared to be October 21.

A lovely red apple is a great way to show one’s love and admiration. It is nutritious food and nature’s breath freshener.

However, do not confuse the authentic apple with the “love apple.” That is a name the French gave to the tomato for its acclaimed aphrodisiac qualities. When the Europeans arrived in Central America, they found the indigenous people eating tomatoes. The world travelers then spread the new fruit to North America and Europe where the red orb (actually a very large berry) caught on famously. (

Come to think of it, it might be fun to start a new tradition for Valentine’s Day this February 14. What a great way to encourage our loved one(s) to join in nurturing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives! A bouquet of fragrant flowers and a box of yummy chocolates topped off with a crisp, red apple (or maybe a plump, red tomato). Every tradition has to start somewhere!

For information about the DAR, contact MDW Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Janet Guyett at (865) 712-8782.

Registrar Karen McFarland, Treasurer Dawn Mosteit, and Regent Janet Guyett listen as Chaplain Glenda Roach exhorts the chapter to nurture the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives in the new year 2023.

Apples and even tomatoes make great additions to the traditional candy and flowers given to sweethearts for Valentine’s Day.


Source: Submitted by Jane Busdeker, Corresponding Secretary, MDW Chapter, NSDAR