The New Student's Reference Work/Appleseed, Johnny

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The New Student's Reference Work (1914)
Appleseed, Johnny
See also Johnny Appleseed on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.


Appleseed, Johnny, the nickname of an eccentric character belonging to the early pioneer days of Ohio and Indiana. He looked upon it as his mission in life to start orchards in the wilds, and for over 40 vears trudged here and there in the wilderness with his leathern bag of apple seeds. His clothing in later life consisted of a long, loose garment made out of a coffee sack, on his head a cap fashioned of pasteboard. He wore no shoes, but trod barefoot on his long, rough journeys.

His real name was Jonathan Chapman; it is thought he was born in Boston in 1775. He made his appearance in Ohio with his apple seeds in 1801; came again in 1806, this one time travelling by water, his seeds stored in canoes. Ere long he became well known to the settlers and Indians, and was regarded as a friend by both. He would procure his seeds from the cider-presses of western Pennsylvania, then with his load go where the white men were clearing and making homes farther west; selecting a fertile spot near a settlement, he would start a nursery, and when ready for transplanting dispose of his trees to the settlers. Ohio and Indiana owed to Johnny Appleseed many and many a good orchard; he lived to see his trees bear fruit over a territory of great extent.

At the scattered log-cabins old and young were wont to give warm welcome to the strange, kindly wanderer. He seems to have been held in a kind of superstitious awe, the Indians for their part considering him a great medicine-man. During the War of 1812 he saved the lives of many settlers by spreading the news of Hull's surrender and the coming of the Indians. He was extraordinarily gentle and kindly, would harm no living creature, and amid the many dangers of the forest himself remained unharmed. He died at a settler's cabin in Allen County, Indiana, in the summer of 1847.