Friday, September 26, 2003

Ohio Moments


'Johnny Appleseed' had roots in Mansfield

On Sept. 26, 1774, John Chapman - better known as "Johnny Appleseed" because he traveled throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois planting countless apple trees - was born in Leominster, Mass.

He arrived in Ohio about 1797, carrying apple seeds he had collected from cider presses. Chapman spent nearly 50 years planting and tending seedlings over hundreds of miles.

He owned or leased large tracts of land in Ohio, where he grew his apple seedlings. He then sold these to other settlers.

Chapman resided in or around Mansfield, Ohio, from 1810 to 1830. He lived simply, supposedly going barefoot in a tin-pot hat and coffee-sack garment. He was also a proselytizer of the biblical interpretations of scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. Chapman not only provided thousands of apple trees to people on the Ohio frontier, he also handed out biblical literature.

He never married, was a vegetarian and an environmentalist. Chapman also loved animals and made friends with Indians as well as white settlers. He died in 1845, age 70.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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