There once was a watermelon so sweet, so juicy and so delicious that people were willing to risk their lives — some even died! — in an attempt to get their hands on one.

That’s the legend of the Bradford watermelon, which was grown many, many years ago in the great state of Georgia. The very entertaining animated video below explains how the Bradford watermelon came into existence and how men really did die while trying to steal them, or even while picking them in their own gardens.

The abridged version of the tale goes something like this:

In 1783, a Georgia military officer by the name of John Lawson spent some time on a prison ship in the West Indies while fighting in the American Revolutionary War. While he was imprisoned, he was fed some of the most delicious watermelon he’d ever tasted. He quietly saved every seed and, when he returned to Georgia, he grew them into the sweetest watermelon the South had ever known.

Lawson was extremely protective of the seeds produced by these watermelon, and he only gave the seeds to two other people. One of those people was Nathaniel Bradford.

Long story short, people who grew Bradford watermelons went to great lengths to defend their crop from thieves. I’m talking about armed guards and even using “electric watermelons” to keep intruders at bay. Check out the video below to learn more about those tactics and how those methods sometimes backfired on the wrong people.

So, where is the Bradford watermelon today? Stay tuned for another blog entry with the answer to that question later this month!

UP NEXT: A recipe that puts a new twist on a classic Mexican favorite

Remember: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our THREE weekly National Watermelon Month July prizes, so comment as often as you’d like! 


Don’t forget to enter our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest! We still need plenty of entries in the “Beginner” category, so all you new carvers should definitely enter for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on August 3. There are $4,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the official contest web page for categories, judging criteria and how to enter!

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