John Chapman, affectionately known as Johnny Appleseed, lived from 1774 to 1845 and came from the area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He collected the discarded apple seeds from the apple cider mills, then cleaned and dried them in preparation for planting. He would put them in a pouch and set off to the pioneer areas out west that were just being settled at that time. He planted apple nurseries with his seeds and nurtured them until they were saplings, big enough to sell or barter for clothes and other items.
This barefoot tree-planting preacher was a welcome visitor to the settlers. They invited him into their homes, glad to hear news from the places Johnny had just been to and the stories he had to tell. He also was a kind of mobile lending library because he had his Bible divided up into sections and would leave one book with a settler home and then exchange it for another book when he passed through that same way again.
Apples from trees that are grown from seeds are seldom sweet, so the apples Johnny grew were usually processed into apple cider (used as a food preservative), and the trees were used to mark land boundaries.
Like Johnny, we can grab ahold of the opportunities that come our way. Realizing an opportunity when it presents itself is just the first step, and then come all the steps that follow to bring that possibility to fruition, not unlike the many challenges Johnny faced nurturing apple trees from seeds.
– The apple seeds that Johnny obtained were free, as the cider mills wanted there to be more apple trees planted to improve their business.
– Chapman was quick to preach the Gospel as he traveled, and during his travels he converted many Native Americans, whom he admired. The Native Americans regarded him as someone who had been touched by the Great Spirit, and even hostile tribes left him alone.
– At the time of his death, Johnny Appleseed left an estate of more than 1,200 acres of nurseries, and he left these to his sister. He additionally had four plots located in Allen County, Indiana, which was a nursery that included 15,000 trees.
Text adapted from Activated magazine; used by permission. Images by Mike Baker via Flickr and Vecteezy via Freepic.com