Oct 2010

New England Heritage: Johnny Appleseed

Image from Howe's Historical Collection

Johnny Appleseed was born on September 26, 1774 in Leominster, MA and passed away on March 18, 1845 in Fort Wayne, IN. Born John Chapman, he was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.

Anyone who grew up in New England learns the story of Johnny Appleseed in grade school usually in the Fall. Every kid then ran home and grabbed their mom’s cooking pot to wear on their head and run around the backyard pretending to plant apple trees until supper. The schools even organized field trips to cider mills where everyone learned about producing fresh apple cider the old fashioned way. Then on the weekends through September into early October, families would head to the apple orchards and pick their own apples. A bushel of apples can go far making some favorites like apple pie, apple crisp and apple sauce. Fall is the season when apples are ripe and just have a crisp and clean fresh taste to them. All of this is thanks to Johnny Appleseed. He may or may not have actually worn a cooking pot as a hat, but he definitely made an impact on New England and American agriculture. Head to central Massachusetts and you can visit the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed in Leominster. The street leading to his birthplace is appropriately named Johnny Appleseed Lane. For more on Johnny Appleseed visit JohnnyAppleseedBiography.com and check out this youtube clip of James Earl Jones telling the tale of Johnny Appleseed.