“Secrets” is a multi-part series contributed by Ann Corfman. Ann is a retired teacher and member of the Johnny Appleseed Society at Urbana University. Along with her writing partner, Nancy Sherwood, Ann is an authority on this local celebrity. Ann and Nancy’s book “Appleseed Values” illustrates John Chapman’s (aka Appleseed) values and asks readers to consider whether or not they live by the same.
In Part I of Secrets we asked what happened to John Chapman between his birth in Massachusetts in 1774 and his death in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1845. What were some of the events of note during his long life?
As a young man, John traveled west across the mountains. He started planting apple seeds creating numerous nurseries of apple seedlings. Why? Because he was an entrepreneur realizing early that pioneers would be moving west to take advantage of the offer of free land in the Northwest Territory. To claim this land the settlers had to clear land, build a house and plant an orchard of fifty fruit trees.
John knew that apple seedlings would be needed to plant these nurseries, so he set about growing them. He had the uncanny ability to know where the pioneers would be traveling (usually along rivers and streams) and stayed enough ahead of them so the seedlings would be ready when they were needed. One interesting fact is that if a settler couldn’t pay for the trees, John would give them to him asking only that he be paid when the settler could afford to do so.
During John’s travels through Ohio and northwestern Indiana he had many adventures, made many friends, and spread the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg. He often arrived at a home announcing, “News straight from heaven.” He truly lived his religion in ways too numerous to list here.
To give you an idea of some things we can learn from the life of this remarkable man I would like to borrow from the Johnny Appleseed Learning Center and Museum Newsletter:
John’s life teaches us to:
From a wonderful children’s book, The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman by Esme Codell comes the rules Ms. Codell learned from his life.
To learn more about John Chapman, read some of the many books written for children, adolescents and adults. You have already been introduced to Esme Codell’s book. Part III of Secrets will list my favorite books for everyone from 5 to 105. Stay tuned.
News & Renovation Updates at The Gloria
Keep up with the latest news, events, and renovation updates at the Gloria Theatre!