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Johnny Appleseed
A Strong Root of the American Green Industry


A drawing of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, from the 1862 book, A History of the Pioneer and Modern Times of Ashland County (Ohio) by H.S. Knapp. (This work is in the public domain in the U.S. because it was published or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office before January 1, 1923.)

Happy Fourth all! In honor of this national holiday, the date this great country marks as its day of formation (though the historical record shows that July 2nd was the day that the Continental Congress voted to break away from the British Empire, and the final signatures on the Declaration of Independence were not penned until November) let's recount the story of one of the most famous early members of our green industry - Johnny Appleseed.

Unlike other figures of early American lore who have attained mythical status, like Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed was a real person. His true name is John Chapman and he is described as a nurseryman who actually did what his legend professes - plant apple trees in large parts of what was then thought of as the United States' territory, going as far west as present-day Illinois.

Born one year before the Revolutionary War began, Chapman reportedly left his home in Massachusetts at the age of 18, ending up in Ohio where he learned his craft. Instead of randomly scattering apple seeds as he traveled, Chapman is credited with planting nurseries complete with fences around them that he would leave in the care of a local resident, and return every couple of years to tend. By the time of his death in 1845, he had accumulated thousands of acres of land that he had planted and cared for. In spite of this apparent level of wealth, Chapman always lived a life of humble means. As stated in his obituary in the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Sentinel, "He is supposed to have considerable property, yet denied himself almost the common necessities of life. He submitted to every privation with cheerfulness and content, believing that in so doing he was securing snug quarters hereafter. In the most inclement weather he might be seen barefooted and almost naked except when he chanced to pick up articles of old clothing. Notwithstanding the privations and exposure he endured, he lived to an extreme old age, not less than 80 years at the time of his death--though no person would have judged from his appearance that he was 60."

John (Johnny Appleseed) Chapman - truly an inspiration for all Americans as a pioneer that helped make this country as beautiful and bountiful as it is today.

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December 14, 2018, 12:44 am PST

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