John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774 in Massachussets. His mother died a couple of years later after giving birth to his baby brother. John studied as an apprentice to become an orchardist.
John started traveling around the country to start new nurseries. He would plant a small nursery, build a fence to protect it, and find a local family to care for it while he was gone. He would return every year or so to tend to the nursery. As people began getting used to seeing him around, he soon gained the nickname Johnny Appleseed.
Johnny was a bit of a strange fellow. He traveled with a pot on his head as a hat, but could use it to cook if he needed to camp. His clothes were ragged and he preferred to travel barefooted. He carried a bag of apple seeds and a Bible.
Johnny Appleseed was known for his kindness. He loved to tell stories to children or read his Bible to families as he traveled. He taught his Christian morals as he traveled. Some even considered him a missionary. He was kind to everyone he met, including animals. The Native Americans respected him as he was kind and shared his seedlings with them. One story says that he even had a wolf that traveled with him after Johnny cared for its broken leg.
The apple trees Johnny planted were a great help to the pioneers who were settling the regions where he traveled. They were not the best for eating off the tree, but they were especially good for making applesauce and apple cider. Johnny traveled through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, and Indiana. When Johnny died somewhere in Indiana in March of 1845, it is believed that he had about 1200 acres of land in his name that he had collected throughout his travels. Some of the trees are still around today.
The legacy of Johnny Appleseed is not only the apple trees that he planted but the kindness and hope that he brought to the early pioneers. Everywhere he went, Johnny Appleseed was loved.
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