Anna and the Apple Blossoms
February 26, 1834
Today is the birthday of the woman who created the State Flower for Michigan: Anna Eliza Reed Woodcock.
Born in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, Anna moved to Michigan after marrying her husband, David. She had a beautiful voice, and Anna was well-known in Lansing as an actress and a singer in local productions and events.
On April 19, 1897, Anna clipped some branches from her flowering apple tree, loaded them in a wheelbarrow, and then rolled them down North Capitol Avenue to the Michigan Statehouse. When she got there, Anna adorned the office of the Speaker of the House with the blooming branches.
It turns out 63-year-old Anna had been looking out her kitchen window at 309 Capital Avenue North in Lansing and was moved by the sight of her beautiful Apple tree in bloom.
She suddenly realized that the Apple Blossom would make a great state flower. Knowing that the Michigan Legislature would be voting on a state flower, she hoped her Apple Blossom branches would have some influence... and they did.
Just nine days after wheeling her branches one block down the street to the Capital, the Michigan legislature approved the resolution making the apple blossom the State Flower, and they said,
“Our blossoming apple trees add much to the beauty of our Landscape, and Michigan apples have gained a worldwide reputation.”
In her old age, Anna remembered,
“When the selection of the State Flower was voted on, blossoms from my snow apple tree trimmed the speaker’s desk at Lansing, and the vote was unanimous for the Apple Blossom.”
In 1930, Anna passed away in Minnesota at the age of 96. (I know this because, in researching Anna, I had to create a tree for her on Ancestry). Sixty years after Anna's death, the Michigan Legislature posthumously honored Anna with the title Apple Blossom Lady.
Anna's victory with the Michigan Legislature sparked a passion for Apple Blossoms in the twilight of her life. Anna began creating apple blossoms using silk ribbon and always took cuttings to sell for her favorite charities. Anna once said,
"I feel my Apple Blossoms have taken me to the top of the world."