National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times. Arbor Day exists because of a zealous tree lover named Julius Sterling Morton.Morton was born in Adams, New York, in 1832 , but his life took a decisive turn on his wedding day in October 1854. After he and his bride, Caroline Joy French were married in Detroit, they headed west for adventure in the wilds of Nebraska Territory. The couple settled on 160 treeless acres (the key word here is treeless). Despite having a busy career and four sons, Morton planted thousands of trees on the homestead he called the Morton "ranche." He planted an apple orchard, as well as peach, plum and pear trees, plus cottonwoods, evergreens, beeches and more.
Morton worked as a journalist and a politician, becoming secretary and acting governor of the Nebraska Territory from 1858 to 1861.By April 22, 1885 Arbor Day had become a legal holiday in Nebraska.Today, the family home, Arbor Lodge, is a state park in Nebraska City, Nebraska.