John Chapman

Chapman, John, 1774–1845, American pioneer, more familiarly known as Johnny Appleseed, b. Massachusetts. From Pennsylvania—where he had sold or given saplings and apple seeds to families migrating westward—he traveled c.1800 to present-day Ohio, sowing apple seeds as he went. For over 40 years Johnny Appleseed continued to wander up and down Ohio, Indiana, and W Pennsylvania, visiting his forest nurseries to prune and care for them and helping hundreds of settlers to establish orchards of their own. His ragged dress, eccentric ways, and religious turn of mind attracted attention, and he became a familiar figure to settlers. Scores of legends were told of him after he died. However, it was verified that in the War of 1812 he traveled 30 mi (48 km) to summon American troops to Mansfield, Ohio, thus forestalling a raid by Native Americans who were allied with the British. He died near Fort Wayne, Ind.

See biographies by H. A. Pershing (1930) and R. Price (1954); study by W. Kerrigan (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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