Every year on March 11, Johnny Appleseed is honored as one of the country’s great legends. Johnny Appleseed was indeed a real person and was among the first great American settlers who were swept away by the westward movement to find gold. As Appleseed, whose real name was John Chapman, traveled further and further west, he planted apple trees along the way and sold the trees to other settlers. Naturally, with every apple tree planted and every seed sewn, his legend grew. In order to accurately understand his travels, it is important to know that in Johnny Appleseed’s time, areas like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana or Illinois were considered the “West.”
The Truth Behind the Legend
Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) was born on September 26, 1774. He came from humble beginnings as a nurseryman who began planting apple trees in western New York and Pennsylvania. The kind farmer spawned an entire apple industry in Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and throughout Indiana.
Johnny Appleseed was always a very religious man who was known to frequently preach during his travels. According to the legend, Johnny was proud to lead the simple life and he wanted very little. In fact, he rarely accepted money for his apple trees and frequently donated money that he did receive.
Historians believe that Johnny Appleseed died on March 11, 1845, however the actual date of his death has been disputed. He reportedly succumbed to a condition that was simply referred to as the “winter plague.”
As most legends do, stories of Johnny Appleseed grew larger than life as time went on. There are many different stories written about Johnny and it is believed there is a link between Appleseed and the early Arbor Day celebrations.
How to Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day
On March 11, you can choose to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day in many different ways. For example, if you love baking for your loved ones, try baking a fresh apple pie today. On the other hand, if baking is not your favorite thing, try planting a few apple seeds in order to help a tree grow. It is a great way to help future generations enjoy all the benefits of fresh fruit and beautiful trees. How will you celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day today?