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Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed was a legendary American known for growing and supplying apples to pioneers in the American Midwest. The article sheds light on the story of his life...
Historyplex Staff
Johnny Appleseed, born as John Chapman, was a skilled nurseryman who grew apple trees, and even supplied apple seeds to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He was born on September 26, 1774, two years before the American Colonies declared their independence from England, 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, a son, and after two weeks she and the baby both died. While Johnny's father continued to serve in the Continental Army until the summer of 1780, when he was virtuously released, Johnny and his sister were cared for by their relatives. Johnny was raised on a small farm in Massachusetts, and since he loved apples, he spent most of his time in his father's apple orchard.

His Work

As a kid, Johnny Appleseed was smart, inquisitive, and kind. He always dreamed about a land where blossoming apple trees were everywhere, and to follow his dream, he 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 carried a bag of apple seeds over his back and wherever he found a good place to plant, he stopped and planted his apple trees. He always picked a good loamy, fertile piece of ground in an open place, fenced it in with fallen trees and logs, bushes and vines to protect his plants from animals, sowed his seeds, and came back at regular intervals to repair the fence or tend the ground, and to sell his trees.

While traveling from one place to another, apart from planting apple seeds, he even settled disputes between pioneer settlers and American Indians, and shared his beliefs and thoughts with all those he met on the way and who wished to listen. With a selfless purpose and no greed of material gain, he wandered from one place to another, and in the early 1800s he explored the rich, fertile lands south of the Great Lakes and west of the Ohio River, which were later called the Northern Territory, including the present-day states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. Like this, Johnny Appleseed had nurseries which were about an acre or so in size.Some of his orchards are still in existance!

His Personal Life

Though Johnny Appleseed didn't have an easy life, he loved every bit of it. Wherever he went, he carried a stew pot or kettle with him. He didn't eat meat, and usually survived on berries and nuts. 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 go into his foot, since his skin was as tough as an elephant's hide. Also, once he got caught in a really bad snowstorm, and had to spend an entire night in a big hollow tree that had fallen to ground. To his surprise, he found a mother bear and her cubs already in there. Since there wasn't any other place to go, 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.