Applewood manor was built in 1912 as the home for retired Army Captain John Adams Perry, his wife Charlotte Wiggin Perry and their daughter, Anne Loder Perry. Captain Perry came from a long line of military men.
He was born on August 10, 1859 in Leavenworth, Kansas. His father, Alexander James Perry, thirty at the time of John Adams birth, rose in rank to U.S. Army Brigadier General. The General graduated from West Point in 1851, 13th in a class of 42, and was commissioned in the Artillery. He served in the Seminole Indian War in Florida, fought Indians in the West before serving at Fort Pickens during the Civil War, and in 1861 was placed in charge of the Bureau of Clothing and Equipage in the Quartermaster General’s Office in Washington for the remainder of the war. John Perry’s brother, Captain Alexander Wallace Perry, also served in the US army. John Adams’ grandfather, Nathaniel Hazard Perry, and great grandfather, Christopher Raymond Perry, were U.S. naval officers and Captain Perry was also the great nephew of brothers Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the Naval hero who defeated the British Navy on Lake Erie in the War of 1812, and Commodore Matthew Galbraith Perry who opened free trade with Japan.
Captain Perry enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1883. His first duty assignment after being commissioned into the Army was at Fort Mackinac, Michigan with the 10th infantry. Fort Mackinac is now a State of Michigan historic site featuring several original buildings including Perry’s quarters. After a year at Fort Mackinac, he graduated from the Army’s Infantry and Cavalry School in 1895. It appears that as a lieutenant he served in Cuba with the 8th Cavalry infantry during the Spanish American War. He was promoted to Captain in 1898 and in 1899 was reassigned to the 13th infantry. The military became involved in several fronts around that time—the Middle East, the Boxer Rebellion, Panama, and the Philippines, among others. Captain Perry’s 13th infantry regiment was deployed to the Philippines in what became known as the Philippine-American War. While the war ended in 1902, the 13th remained until 1905 for counter-insurgent operations against Filipino rebels and bandits. Apparently, he was disabled in the line of duty while serving in the Philippines in 1903. He retired September 3, 1903 at age 44 after 20 years of service. In 1908, Captain Perry purchased the large acreage site on Cumberland Circle for his home which is now the Applewood Manor. Since Army records referred to “disability” rather than “wounded”, it is likely related to an illness, such as malaria or TB, and thus the selection of Asheville for his retirement home. The house was completed in 1912. However, he later added a Captain’s walk to the west roof ridge reached through a skylight so he could watch the weather and survey Montford from high atop the knoll on which the house sits.
Captain Perry has been characterized as a charming man who was amused by the children in the Montford neighborhood. He was said to have delighted them by making kites and whittling windmills out of red cedar. The house served as his home until his death in 1939 at eighty. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Charlotte preceded him in death in 1926 at age 65. Their daughter, Anne, married in 1930 and passed away in 1962.