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Johnny Appleseed Stories

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:45 pm
by appledude
Occasionally I run across a Johnny Appleseed story that is interesting. Sometimes they shed a little new light on some facet of his life and career. So with that in mind, I will use this thread to catalog any more that I run across with the weblink given at the end.

So here is the first one:

Johnny Appleseed: Apple Entrepreneur

by Tim Hensley

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, is one of the most enduring American legends. Every year, schoolchildren learn how Johnny befriended a wolf, slept in a hollow log, and wore his dinner pot as a hat. But while these peculiarities make for a good story, they hardly capture the essence of this enigmatic man.

A disciple of Emanuel Swedenborg , the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian, Chapman spread good seeds and a new take on the kingdom of heaven, trekking barefoot in a sackcloth shirt through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana during the first half of the 19th century. Chapman started his first nursery near Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania, with seeds collected from the cider mills of local farmers. When the frontier moved west, the story goes, Chapman pulled up stakes, gave his farm to a poor woman with children, and headed down the Ohio River in a kind of catamaran made from two hollowed-out logs that were lashed together, one filled with a cargo of precious seeds. The resourceful Massachusetts native scouted routes along which pioneers would most likely settle. He planted apple seedlings on land along these routes, which he willingly dug up and sold—or gave—to arriving settlers. By the 1830s, Chapman owned a string of nurseries that spread from western Pennsylvania across Ohio and into Indiana. He died in 1845 owning 1,200 acres of land.

One of his biographers writes that Chapman "had the thick bark of queerness on him"—and few would disagree. But without this rough covering, "Johnny Appleseed" and other pioneers like him might never have tamed the frontier, sowing it with the seeds of familiar, Old World plants. Chapman's nurseries no doubt produced many valuable new apples. Perhaps a few even made it into W.H. Ragan's USDA Bulletin No. 56, Nomenclature of the Apple, the essential reference for apple lovers, which in 1905 cataloged around 17,000 apples. LINK

Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:40 am
by appledude
This wikipedia article looks like the mother of all Johnny Appleseed info: LINK

Re: Johnny Appleseed Stories

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:18 pm
by Stephen Horsfall
Why isn't there an apple cultivar named after him?