Every time I think of apples, my childhood memories invoke the tales of John Chapman, a barefoot man with a pot on his head who traveled the land sowing apple seeds along his travels and who became an American legend.
Better known as Johnny Appleseed, he was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois as well as the northern counties of present day West Virginia.
The second child of ten children, John Chapman was born on September 26th, 1774, to Nathanial Chapman and Lucy Cooley Chapman of Massachusetts.
The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock and wild animals, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. His first nursery was planted on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, south of Warren Pennsylvania.
According to some accounts, 18-year-old John persuaded his 11-year-old brother, Nathaniel, to go west with him in 1792. They lived a nomadic life until their father brought his family west in 1805 and met up his sons in Ohio. Sometime later, when Nathaniel decided to stay and help his father on their farm, John began his apprenticeship as an orchardist under Mr. Crawford, an owner of apple orchards, inspiring Johnny Appleseed’s life’s journey of planting apple trees.
John Chapman was also a missionary for the New Church (Swedenborgian), preached the gospel as he traveled, and converted Native Americans, whom he admired. In return for telling stories to children and spreading The New Church gospel to the adults, he was often given a floor to sleep on for the night and sometimes supper.
John Chapman died on March 18, 1845.
Supposedly, the only surviving tree planted by Johnny Appleseed is on the farm of Richard and Phyllis Algeo of Nova, Ohio, and is a variety that ironically ripens in September and is used for baking and making applesauce.
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I'm thrilled to announce that FOUR WHITE ROSES was a finalist in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Awards with winners to be announced this fall: It was also a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards earlier this year. https://www.amazon.com/Four-White-Roses-Judy-Davis-ebook/dp/B06XPBKY7F/
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