Today is the day!
You all know the story, don’t you?
He was born John Chapman on September 26, 1774 in Leominister Mass. Popular legend has it that he spread apple seeds randomly, everywhere he went and that is how he got his nick name. Actually, he was a careful, organized businessman, who over a period of nearly fifty years, bought and sold tracts of land and developed thousands of productive apple trees.
His adventures began in 1792, when John was eighteen years old. He and his eleven-year-old half brother, Nathaniel, headed west, following the steady stream of immigrants. In his early twenties, John began traveling alone, which is how he spent the rest of his life. Nathaniel stayed behind to farm with their father, who had also immigrated west. John continued moving west to Pennsylvania. From there he traveled into the Ohio Valley country and later, Indiana. He kept ahead of the settlements and each year planted apple seeds farther west. He always carried a leather bag filled with apple seeds he collected for free from cider mills.
He planted nurseries rather than orchards and built fences around them to protect them from livestock. He would leave the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. Although apples grown from seed are rarely sweet or tasty, apple orchards with sour apples were popular among the settlers because apples were mainly used for producing hard cider and apple jack. During the settlement of the Midwest, settlers were required by law to plant orchards of apples and pears in order to uphold the right to the claimed land. As you can imagine Johnny Appleseed planted orchards made for popular real estate on the frontier.
He was a kindly man and did not believe in killing or eating animals. Johnny Appleseed died of pneumonia in March of 1845 at the ripe old age of 70 while visiting a friend in Indiana. They say it was the only time he was sick in his whole life. He is buried in an unmarked grave near Fort Wayne, Indiana.
There are several yummy apple desserts that have been shared by our members in the Recipe Box. Check them out!