Aug 1, 2013 by

I dedicate this page to my (tor)mentor Mike Holland, who gave me the theme for my pages and indicated the wonderful life of Johnny Appleseed, and as a prelude to my pages on apples.

Johnny Appleseed was a man with a wonderful dream of seeing apple trees blossoming everywhere, bearing fruit so nobody was hungry.

Born John Chapman on the 26th of September 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts, spending his life devoted to planting apple seeds in the American wilderness. With the time he spent, Johnny Appleseed planted literally thousands of seeds creating orchards ( in effect he actually created nurseries of apple trees) in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The actual number of acres is shown as 1,200 ( which in his will was left to  his sister).

Johnny Appleseed walked bare foot, even in the snowy winters, planting apple seeds as he went. Due to his wanting to help others, if he  heard of a horse that was to be put down Johnny would first buy the horse and some acres of grass onto which he turned the horse, if the horse recovered Johnny Appleseed gave the horse to someone in need.JOHNNY APPLESEED from Howe's historical collection

He received free apple seeds from cider mills, that realised, as Johnny Appleseed planted more seeds, the cider mills would receive more work from the future apple trees, The seeds were used for the planting of  his nurseries which he left in the charge of his neighbour, allowing Johnny  Appleseed to continue with his wanderings,(returning each year to tend the  nurseries) and helping others. In travelling he obviously needed to cook, so he would carry with him a pot, which the tales suggest he wore on his head, presumably he also carried seeds, so the head would be a good place to carry it, On his various travels, he would also carry his bible for he was a very religious man, and when stopping at homesteads he would read stories from the bible.

A law was passed that new homesteads had to plant 50 trees on the land, and to this end Johnny Appleseed gave seeds or sold young trees, he  instructed his neighbour that when people required trees that he would accept coin, alternatively take corn meal or used clothes in barter. This indeed was a further way of spreading the apple seeds. Whilst journeying Johnny Appleseed decided he would make a fire at the end of a hollow log, but discovered that a bear and her cubs were sleeping inside, so Johnny built his fire at the other end of the log and slept in the snow. Such was Johnny Applseed’s attitudJOHNNY APPLESEED image from Harper's New Monthly Magazine of 1871e to the animals.that it is said that Johnny played with bears, that birds perched on his shoulder and that wild animals fed from his hand.

Such was the soul of Johnny Appleseed that he loved his fellow man, be they indians, settlers or animals. There are many tales of Johnny Appleseed which include, that a rattle snake tried to bite him while he was asleep, but the fangs could not penetrate his feet due to them being as hard as leather, that he melted snow with  his feet, his pet was a wolf  that he released  from a trap, and many more.

Upon his death in Indiana, in March 1845 Johnny Appleseed had spent around 50 years in planting/selling apple seeds and trees. When news of his death reached Washington D C. tribute was paid to him by members of congress. Today we think of him as a man with a heart of gold, with a pioneering spirit, starting America on the path to being one of the largest apple growers in the world.

Personally I see him as a humanitarian, and without Johnny knowing it he was also an ecologist for planting trees that are so beneficial to the world, not only for the fruit they bear but the oxygen and many other benefits they give.

I realise now that there are many great people like Johnny Appleseed to whom we should all be more than grateful.

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