Johnny Appleseed
jonapple.jpg (26942 bytes)In "Historical recollections of Ohio" (1846) Henry Howe described him as a man who "went barefooted" and often traveled miles through the snow that way ... he was careful not to injure any animal and thought hunting to be morally wrong. He was welcome everywhere among the settlers, and was treated with great kindness ... by the Indians.

For more than twenty years John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed,  had been making his name one to laugh at and love in the log cabins between the Ohio river and the northern lakes. In 1806 he loaded two canoes with apple seeds at cider mills in western Pennsylvania and floated down the Ohio River .... to where many farmers were already thanking him for their orchards.

He went barefoot till winter came, and was often seen in late November walking in mud and snow. Neither snakes, Indians nor foreign enemies harmed him. Children had seen him stick pins and needles into his tough flesh; when he sat at a table with a framer family he wouldn't eat till he was sure there was enough for the children. Asked if he wasn't afraid of snakes as he walked barefoot in the brush, he pulled a new testament from his pocket and said, "This book is protection from all danger here and hereafter." When taken in overnight by a farmer, he would ask if they wanted to hear "some news right fresh from heaven," and then stretch out on the floor and read "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" and other beatitudes.

During most of the year he wore no clothes except for a coffee sack with armholes cut in it; and a stump preacher once near the village of Mansfield was crying "Where now is there a man who, like the primitive Christians, is traveling to Heaven barefooted and clad in coarse raiment?" when Johnny Appleseed came forward to put a bare foot on the pulpit stump and declared "Here's your primitive Christian."

We recommend this excellent children's book on Johnny Appleseed (written and drawn by Steven Kellogg)

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