The Strangely True Tale Of Johnny Appleseed | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

The Strangely True Tale Of Johnny Appleseed

Apples — right off the tree, baked in a pie, pressed into cider or mashed into sauce — are a basic element of American culture. October is the month to celebrate them, thanks, in part, to Johnny Appleseed.

You've probably heard of the legendary character who traveled the Midwest planting trees, but he's not a myth. Johnny Appleseed's real name was John Chapman, and he was born in Massachusetts in either 1774 or 1775.

He was first noticed by history in 1801 when he arrived on horseback at the farm of John Stedden in Licking Creek, Ohio. Stedden thought Chapman was rather eccentric, but he listened to the man's plans to head west and plant apple seeds along the way for future settlers.

Five years later, another Ohio settler encountered Johnny Appleseed. Chapman had lashed two canoes together, filled one with apple seeds and was paddling along the Ohio River. He was barefoot, dressed in rags, and wore a tin pot on his head as a hat. Chapman was doing what he had told Stedden he would, traversing the country, pushing farther west each year. Wherever he found a suitable spot, he planted apple seeds and educated farmers about nurseries and orchards.

Chapman was a vegetarian and, by all accounts, a caring and compassionate — if somewhat odd — man. For more than 40 years, he traipsed the fields and forests from Pennsylvania to Illinois, spreading the word about apples until his death in 1845. A memorial grave site in Fort Wayne, Ind., has a stone marker bearing the motto, "He lived for others."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Battle Creek' Tries To Shake Up CBS' Cop Show Formula

CBS' new cop show Battle Creek is based on a 12-year-old script by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. It's among three new network shows that aim to reinvent old TV concepts.
NPR

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

The cheeses of the Italian Alps are prized for their flavor. But the tradition of cheese-making here is dying off. Now remaining farmers are banding together around an unusual adoption program.
NPR

How Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Washington Visit Playing In Israel?

The prime minister is headed to Washington to address Congress despite objections from the White House. Host Arun Rath speaks with NPR's Emily Harris iabout how Israelis regard the controversial trip.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.