Bio of Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed was a nurseryman who planted thousands of apple trees in various parts of the US. His generosity and kindness as well as his leadership in the conservation of nature made him an American legend, even in his own time. He was also a wandering missionary for the Swedenborgian Church, or the Church of the New Jerusalem.
Jonathan Chapman was born on the 26th of September, 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts. His father was a farmer called Nathaniel Chapman, and his mother was Elizabeth Simmonds. He was the second child in his family, and he had an older sister called Elizabeth. In June, 1776, his mother gave birth to a third child, but both of them died the following month. His father remarried in 1780, and the family relocated to East Longmeadow.
At a very young age, Chapman’s father had apprenticed him to an apple orchard owner called Mr. Crawford, who taught him some essential orcharding skills. When he was about 20 years old, he decided to travel west with his sister and his half-brother Nathaniel. He lived for a period of time in Warren, Pennsylvania before he traveled to Ohio, where he started a few nurseries. He constructed fences around his nurseries, so that they would not be damaged by livestock. Most of the nurseries were located in the north-central part of Ohio, in towns such as Lucas, Mansfield, Loudonville, and Perrysville. Once in a year or two, he would return to these towns to tend his nurseries. He instructed the managers of his nurseries to sell apple trees on credit, but he never pressed his buyers for payments. Often, he was willing to accept a little cash, corn meal, or clothing in exchange for his apple trees.
Johnny Appleseed lived a subsistent life, and he was a wanderer. He wore ragged clothes and a tin pan on his head, and he traveled around barefooted. During his travels, he would fill his bag with apple seeds, and he would plant them everywhere he went. He planted apple seeds along the roads he traveled as well as in forests and farmlands. For this reason, he became known as “Johnny Appleseed”. Appleseed never married, and he mostly traveled alone. He was well-liked by everybody he met, and he was particularly friendly with children. He would teach boys how to build wagons and sleds, and give bright calico and ribbons to girls.
When Appleseed was traveling, he would visit houses along the way and spread the gospel of the Swedenborgian Church. He was an eloquent speaker and an engaging storyteller. Sometimes, he would tear a few pages from his Swedenborg books and give them away to those who listened to his gospel. Appleseed would travel east from time to time to get more Swedenborg literature to give away.
It is believed that Johnny Appleseed passed away around 1845 to 1847, and nobody can be certain where he was buried. Due to his eccentric behavior and lifestyle as well as his heroic acts, Appleseed is presently regarded as a legend in American folklore. In fact, he is such an iconic figure that he is often remembered as a fictional character, rather than a real person.