Recently I learned that Johnny Appleseed was a real person, and not just an American tall tale. Born John Chapman near Boston, Massachusetts in 1774, he spent much of his young adulthood in western Pennsylvania. He walked with his brother from Massachusetts to Pittsburgh over the course of three weeks.
When they arrived there in 1792, Pittsburgh consisted of about 75 cabins scattered on the hillsides. It was in PA that he learned how to raise apple trees. Apples combined with his missionary work for the Swedenborgian religion for the rest of his life. He traveled through out PA, Ohio, and Indiana planting apple trees and sharing his faith.
This poem In Praise of Johnny Appleseed by Vachel Lindsay tells of his life:
Johnny Appleseed’s life inspired our ancestors. What was inspiring exactly? To me it seems to be his combination of hard work, generosity, and religious faith. A message I certainly take to heart today.
For further reading:
“Exhibit on Johnny Appleseed aims to dispel myths about folk hero,” by Lisa Cornwell, The Star, Toronto, Canada, 19 July 2014 (https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/07/19/exhibit_on_johnny_appleseed_aims_to_dispel_myths_about_folk_hero.html)
Pershing, Henry A., Johnny Appleseed and His Time, Shenadoah Publishing House, 1938, (https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/102102874).