March 11th National Johnny Appleseed Day

Most people only get one day to be celebrated in their name, Johnny Appleseed gets two, March 11th and September 26th! That’s because He was born on the 26th (1774) and supposedly died on March 11th (1845). No one seems to know exactly when he passed on so the March 11th celebration may not be exactly right.

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This is not the only controversy concerning John Chapman (Appleseed’s real name). There is no doubt that he did spread the use of apple orchards starting in western New York and Pennsylvania. He went West, which back then was Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The controversy comes in where he gave away the seedlings for free, but later came back and claimed that since he had planted the orchards originally, they belonged to him even though he did not own the land.

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He was a very religious man, he preached at ever place he stopped. He did not take money and went barefoot most of the time. He wore a pan for a hat and generally wore ragged clothes. While at least some of this shows good intent, was he in disguise? we may never know.

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Still, he did serve a purpose, which most of us would like to think we could as well. Every time you eat an apple, have a piece of apple pie or look at the apple of your eye, you probably think of Johnny Appleseed, even if subconsciously. That’s a nice way to be remembered.

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How to celebrate – Have an apple. Visit an apple orchard. Give a teacher an apple.

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September 26th National Johnny Appleseed Day

No one loved apples more than John Chapman. He loved them so much that he spread them all across America in hopes that he could share them with everyone, well, so the legend goes… and it may be true, or it may not be.

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Legend says that Johnny Appleseed went into communities trying to teach the value of the apple and planting groves in areas to get them started. He was also noted for giving donations to that community to help with causes dear to his heart. Born on September 26th, 1774 a great deal of this may be true.

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On the flip side, some were not as impressed. It seems he would show up and plant his seeds and then move on, leaving the hard work of tending to the trees to those who really didn’t need the extra work. Apparently he also would come back a few years later and try to claim the land he had planted the trees on. It’s hard to know which of the stories is actually true.

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He was a humble man, very religious and did travel at least through New York and Pennsylvania. From there on, anything could be true, or not. It is believed he died of the “Winter Plague” on March 11th, 1845 but no one is sure. He did exist, and many places that now grow apples would never have seen them if not for him, no matter what the motives might have been.

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How to celebrate – Have an apple today in honor of Johnny Appleseed. Discover new and different ways to use the apple. Plant your own apple tree.

September 26th Johnny Appleseed Day

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster, Mass. in 1774. He is famed for spreading the apple industry across America and showing the importance of the fruit.

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His practice started in Warren, Pa. on the Brokenstraw Creek where he planted a small orchard and fenced it off.  He left the field to neighbors allowing them to sell off shares of the fruit harvested from the trees. He would return every year or two to tend to the fields and reap whatever profits he could get. He traveled across Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and what would become West Virginia.

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In fact, he made a great deal of money using others to do his work while he continued to travel and own numerous apple orchards, all fenced in and operated by neighbors. He looked the part of a beggar, often going shoeless, though he could well afford them.

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In many ways he is a true American hero.  He did create an industry and helped many people around him, though he really did not care for people all that much. He was also an Evangelists, though his people skills left few transformed by his vision.

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He did, however, have one true love in life, animals.  He would often go without in order to make sure the animals around him were taken care of.  Few wild animals ever threatened him while most befriended him.  He was, more-or-less the Doctor Doolittle of his time.

How to celebrate – Have an apple in honor of Johnny Appleseed. Plant your own apple tree and see if you can get it to grow. Go to an orchard and pick your own apples.