Johnny Appleseed–A Pioneer Hero

W. D. Haley

Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman 1774-1847), the person and the myth, are both part of frontier legend. This sketch of his life is from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, written in 1871. Chapman was a traveling nurseryman on the Ohio frontier in the early 1800’s, planting apple seeds in sites he selected , which , when the resulting trees had grown big enough to transplant, he then sold to pioneer settlers. He was also a true excentric, walking barefoot even in freezing weather, wearing his idea of early Christian raiment: “a coffee sack, in which he cut holes for his head and arms to pass through and pronounced it ‘a very serviceable cloak, and as good clothing as any man need wear.'” He was also an itinerant preacher. “He was a most earnest disciple of the faith taught by Emanuel Swedenborg, and himself claimed to have frequent conversations with angels and spirits; two of the latter,of the feminine gender, he asserted, had revealed to him that they were to be his wives in a future state if he abstained from matrimonial alliance on earth.”


I read this account of Johnny Appleseed for volume 21 of the Nonfiction Collection.

You might also like Recollections of Life in Ohio, from 1813–1840, by William Cooper Howells