On the eastern side of Connecticut sits the small, quiet town of Franklin, near Boston. Founded in 1786, the area is full of history and a long past of settlers leaving their mark on the land. However, few of those that moved to the area left as much of an impact on the town as a man named Micah Rood.
In a mysterious turn of events, Micah would evolve from a successful farmer to a suspected murderer. He would also go on to cultivate the most infamous fruit that the town, or even the entire state, has ever seen. The legend of Micah Rood is one that would go on to live in eternity.
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Micah Rood was a successful farmer that lived in Franklin, near Boston. A mysterious man, he would live a strange life upon his land. His odd habits and behaviors would lead to suspicions and a legendary reputation.
Micah was the youngest child of at least nine children in his family. Born in Norwich in February of 1653, he would later make his home in Franklin. He found a perfect plot of land with fertile soil and effective drainage.
His rich farmland yielded abundant crops and he prospered greatly. He mingled with friends and neighbors often as he made his like in Franklin. Micah Rood seemingly had it all.
However, Micah seemed to one day fall into an unexplainable funk. His ambition suddenly disappeared and he shunned the townspeople and rejected any type of social interaction. Whether it was depression or he was suffering from mental instability was unknown. Either way, the people of Franklin were confused by the sudden shift in his personality.
Micah remained secluded on his land, clearly lacking any motivation to tend to his property. His dreams of a prosperous farm seemed to disappear. He began to treasure his thoughts and his privacy more than anything else. His vast apple orchard seemed to be the only thing that brought him joy.
An Unsuspecting Visitor
One night, a wealthy, foreign peddler happened upon Micah’s farm. Tired from his journey, he was looking for a place to rest for the night. He wandered through the impressive orchard, marveling at the healthy, fruitful rows of trees.
He approached Micah and inquired about the types of apples that he grew. The peddler even proposed that they form a partnership to sell the apples in a more lucrative way. The fiercely protective Micah became irritated and felt that his orchard was being threatened by the man.
Mysteriously, the man was later found dead on Micah’s property. His body would be later discovered buried under an apple tree at the back of the orchard. His bag of valuable belongings was scattered around his freshly dug grave.
One would believe that Micah’s hatred for Frenchmen would give him the motive to murder the man with a mysterious accent. His story of his father’s death in the French and Indian war combined with his paranoia would be enough to send him over the edge. Either way, Micah would forever deny knowing what occurred to the missing peddler.
However, the violent event sent him ever further into a deteriorating mental state. He became an even more strict recluse and his mood seemed to worsen with every day. His resolve to avoid communication with others deepened even further.
Winter came and Micah went into hiding from both the cold and from society. He stayed in his house, unable to deal with the outside world. His depression and despair only worsened over the long, frigid months.
The Infamous Fruit
That spring, when the apple trees bloomed, one stood out from the others. Amongst the sea of pale white blossoms stood a stark red splash of color. A tree near the back of the orchard had bloomed with surprisingly vibrant scarlet blossoms. It was the very tree that the peddler’s body was discovered under.
Micah watched the tree all spring and summer, wondering what might come of it at harvest time. Finally, fall came and the tree bore an impressive harvest. Micah was shocked when he cut open the first ripe, yellow apple.
Inside, the pure, crispy white fruit was like many of his other varieties of apples. However, this apple had a unique trait that he had never seen before. Micah cut open several apples to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Sure enough, each apple had a small red spot inside that looked just like a drop of blood.
Was this tree cursed because of what Micah did to the peddler? Were the red spots a message from the man that had been buried there? Either way, it seemed like much more than a natural coincidence.
After others found out about the strange apples, Micah refused to speak to anyone. He continued to deny knowing anything about the man that died there or the reason for the peculiar apples. He finally hid away, not even taking his bountiful harvest to market.
Then, a letter arrived from a search party looking for the missing peddler. The letter said that the man was German, not French, eliminating Micah’s reasoning for killing the man. He was overwhelmed with intense feelings of both guilt and nervousness. This caused his behavior to become even more worrisome.
The people of Franklin grew more suspicious. They went to find Micah and ask about the missing mad and stumbled on a truly frightful situation. He was discovered in the back of his orchard, dangling from a noose, tied from his infamous red apple tree.
A local man, Jacob Hyde was tasked with digging Micah’s grave. Buried in December of 1728, his spirit would live on in infamy. His apples and their famed tree would also have a big impact on the region.
The seeds of the apples were cultivated and planted across Connecticut. However, the same scarlet blossoms didn’t occur outside of Micah’s orchard. This makes the reasoning for the sudden transformation of his tree even more mysterious. The fruit that others grew, however, still produced flesh with the same red fleck inside.
These apples were dubbed Mike apples for their original grower. They would continue to pop up across the region for many years. Finally, in the late 1800s, they faded away. However, the legend of their origin would continue to spread to this day.
An Interestingly Creepy Twist
In an interesting twist, Micah’s father wasn’t, in fact, killed in the French and Indian War. The truth was he was killed many years earlier. The circumstances surrounding his death could explain much of Micah’s mental instability.
Micah’s father Thomas Rood, it turns out, has a complicated history of his own. He to this day is still the only man that was ever executed in America for the crime of incest. He died by hanging many years earlier in 1672.
Thomas, a widower, was questioned when his unmarried daughter Sara became pregnant. She told the town’s officials that the baby was her father’s and he stood trial for incest. After a quick trial, he was sentenced to execution by the courts.
The town took over the family’s property and helped young Sara raise her new baby. It was then that Micah moved to Franklin for a fresh start and clean slate. He was determined not to let his father’s reputation haunt him. However, it seems that his family being torn apart left a lasting impact on him that he may have been unwilling to admit.
An Endless Haunted Mystery
No one will ever know what spurred Micah Rood’s unexplained behavior. Was he reeling from the tumultuous events that scarred his family? Maybe he simply went mad and couldn’t control his thoughts and emotions.
Either way, his mental state eventually led to the death of an unsuspecting peddler. That fateful night would live on in the form of a uniquely colored apple. One of the region’s most infamous fruits would spur conversations and theories on what happened to Micah Rood for years to come.