Project Appleseed

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Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA)
Headquarters Ramseur, North Carolina
Jack Dailey ("Fred")

Project Appleseed is a rifle marksmanship clinic that focuses on teaching traditional rifle marksmanship from standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone positions over a two-day weekend shooting clinic for what is termed an "Appleseed". It is one of the major activities of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that teaches and promotes traditional rifle marksmanship, while also teaching American heritage and history with the intent of encouraging people to become active civically.[1][2][3] Project Appleseed is apolitical, a legal requirement of 501(c)(3) organizations.[4][5]

In addition to Project Appleseed, there is also a companion subsidiary activity conducted within the RWVA called "Liberty Seed" that is the American heritage and history portion of Project Appleseed. "Liberty Seed" has been termed a "civics class in disguise", and features content on the "Three Strikes" that were needed to start the American Revolutionary War.[1]

Some commentators have questioned the political aspect of the "self-empowerment" of shooting.[6]

The Revolutionary War Veterans Association and Project Appleseed are a Civilian Marksmanship Program affiliated organization, enabling Appleseed participants to buy rifles and ammunition through the CMP.


Project Appleseed started from a series of ads that became ads with monthly columns appearing in Shotgun News, a monthly gun trade newspaper publication. These ads were written under a pseudonym by a fellow who simply called himself "Fred". "Fred," the founder of Project Appleseed, whose real name is Jack Dailey, wrote a long running column—actually a portion of ad space for Fred's M14 Stocks—starting in 1999.[7] A common theme in these columns was "Are you a cook or a rifleman?", a "cook" being Fred's term for an unqualified rifleman. The name of the project was in deference to Johnny Appleseed, an American pioneer nurseryman and grass roots missionary who traveled the American frontier planting apple trees across the land with the goal of spreading the number of apple trees in America; Fred's goal was to accomplish the same with civic-minded Riflemen in America. Project Appleseed itself began in April 2006 in Ramseur, North Carolina.[3] These long-running ads ceased in 2017, upon Jack Dailey retiring and selling his business. The "Shotgun News" publication itself was rebranded as Firearms News in December 2015. A board of directors, termed the "Appleseed Operating Committee", or "AOC", took over running Project Appleseed commencing in 2016.

In 2006, Appleseed instructors began a national tour to attract instructors who could maintain and develop local programs.[8] As of 2018, over 120,000 individuals have attended an Appleseed marksmanship and history clinic. Approximately 700 instructors as of 2018 teach at Appleseed marksmanship and heritage clinics. They are part storyteller and part marksmanship instructor, telling history stories of the historical events of the opening day of the American Revolutionary War during breaks and over lunch, during two-day Appleseed events.[3]

A 19th century depiction of young Elizabeth Zane's legendary feat of retrieving powder during the Revolutionary War
Monument to Samuel Whittemore, the oldest known colonial combatant in the Revolutionary War

The history stories include events leading up to the American Revolution, specifically the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the subsequent British retreat to Boston. Also told are the Three Strikes of the Match, of the 3 events along Battle Road that had to occur prior to the Revolutionary War flaming into a full-out war.[1][3]

These history stories include an overview of the events of April 18–20, 1775 but focus on stories of individuals such as Paul Revere, Dr. Samuel Prescott, and William Dawes; Captains John Parker (Lexington), Isaac Davis (Acton), and Hezekiah Wyman; Elizabeth Zane; and octogenarian Samuel Whittemore, the oldest known colonial combatant in the American Revolutionary War.[5][3]

Stories of Daniel Morgan and his Morgan's Riflemen are also told. Known Distance Appleseeds often add stories featuring Patrick Ferguson and Timothy Murphy, who were riflemen that played major roles at the Battle of Brandywine, Second Battle of Saratoga, and the Battle of Kings Mountain.

A National Park Service map showing the routes of the initial Patriot messengers and of the British expedition
Depiction of Paul Revere's ride on Brown Beauty
A National Park Service map showing the retreat from Concord and Percy's rescue

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Westfall, Sabrina (April 12, 2013). ""Liberty Seed" history presentation coming to 4-H fairgrounds Monday". Greene County Daily World. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ Butler, B: Learning Marksmanship a blast at Appleseed event, The Journal (Johnson Co., Indiana), August 27, 2008
  3. ^ a b c d e Rhodes, S (February 2008). "The Appleseed Project - Turning America Back Into a Nation of Riflemen" (PDF). SWAT Magazine. 
  4. ^ Section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from supporting political candidates, as a result of the Johnson Amendment enacted in 1954.
  5. ^ a b Zak, Dan (April 12, 2010). "Appleseed Project teaches marksmanship and history, hopes to improve the country". Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2013. He points me out, so everyone knows there is a reporter present from the mainstream media, and emphasizes that the project is apolitical, that personal ideology has nothing to do with history or marksmanship. 
  6. ^ Schwartz, Mattathias (2010-07-29). Firing Line. New York Times. Retrieved on 2014-07-03.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Mattathias. "Firing Line". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Nesbitt, J: Gunning for tradition - Event hopes to keep rifle skills in focus, Evansville Courier & Press, April 30, 2006

External links[edit]