Johnny Appleseed, born as John Chapman, was a skilled nurseryman who grew apple trees, supplied apple seeds to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts.
He was the second child of Nathaniel Chapman and Elizabeth. His father was a Minuteman in the Continental Army, and lost two good farms in the service of his country. On June 26, 1776, Johnny's mother, who was suffering from tuberculosis, gave birth to her third child and after two weeks she and the baby both died.
While Johnny's father continued to serve in the Continental Army till 1780, when he was virtuously released, Johnny and his sister were cared for by their relatives.
His dream was to become a nurseryman and plant as much as apple trees as possible,because he was fond of apples. Soon after,he fulfilled his dream, became a nurseryman and started planting apple seeds on the western side of New York and Pennsylvania.
He ventured beyond the boundaries of established towns carrying apple seeds from Pennsylvania cider presses to form nurseries in the wilderness.
He later came back at regular intervals to repair the fence or tend the ground and sold his trees.
With a selfless purpose and no greed of material gain, he wandered from one place to another.
His Personal Life
He even sowed the seeds of medicinal herbs, and often used them to heal sick people. He was on friendly terms with many of the Indian tribes, and even learned their language to converse with them. He had an unusual zest for serving others, and always helped new settlers however he could.
There were many tales about Johnny Appleseed, such as the one where a rattlesnake tried to bite him while he was sleeping, but the fangs didn't penetrate into his foot, since his skin was as tough as an elephant's hide.
Once he got caught in a bad snowstorm, and spent an entire night in a big hollow tree that had fallen to ground. To his surprise, there was a mother bear with her cubs in there. Since he couldn't go elsewhere, he spent the entire night playing with them. He didn't marry and had no children.
Johnny Appleseed died in 1845 due to some illness, and some say that was the only time he had ever fallen sick.
Often thought as a fictional character, he was a real man who led a simple life, but made a huge difference in the world. Not only through planting millions of apple trees throughout his life, but also by doing the most humble, generous, and selfless deeds cheerfully.