Gift #136: Johnny Appleseed

I couldn’t let the month of September go by without paying tribute to one of my heroes, Johnny Appleseed.  And since I enjoyed baked apples at dinner, AND since today is his birthday, this seemed like a perfect day.  John Chapman was born in 1774 in Massachusetts.  He headed west at the young age of 18 and apprenticed to an orchardist, and the rest, as they say, is history.  He roamed throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, eventually planting over 100,000 square miles of apple nurseries.  According to many, he was a legend in his own lifetime as people enjoyed telling tales about the gentle Johnny Appleseed.  In addition to planting apple trees, Johnny was a missionary who enjoyed sharing his faith with all who would listen.  He was a vegetarian who deeply loved animals and viewed them as his fellow creatures.  He may have been viewed as eccentric, but it is these traits that has endeared him to my heart.  It is thrilling to know our country has been touched by so great a man. 

This past summer, my mother and I travelled to Cincinnati and spent some time at Spring Grove Cemetery.  They have a monument in Johnny Appleseed’s honor.  He stands holding a torch to light the way, with a bag of apple seeds across his arm and his Bible in the other hand.   They were the great loves of his life.  Like many people, my first introduction to Johnny Appleseed was given by Walt Disney in his delightful short.   With a tin pot on his head, seeds and Bible in hand,  Disney’s animated character walked across the wilderness and into my heart.  One memorable scene shows his shadow spreading across the land, and his shadow has spread across my life as I endeavour to be like him – full of faith, truth, and love; giving dignity to every person and protection to God’s creation. 

Happy Birthday, Johnny!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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2 Responses to Gift #136: Johnny Appleseed

  1. Larry Sherbondy says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. My own education neglected any mention of the missionary aspect of this man, and as I recall, Disney did not refer to it, either.

  2. Pingback: Gift #451: Johnny Appleseed | anordinarymiracleday

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