One of the great legends of the United States is that of Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman in 1774.  Like many other larger then life figures he may be seen as not having been a real person but in fact he was.  All indications point to him having been an extremely altruistic person, who never settled down to live in a house and would give all but the worst clothes he was given to those in need.  Johnny was said to always walk in bare feet, even during the winter months. 

Though he is thought of just walking around trowing apple seeds on the ground he in fact was very careful in his cultivating of apple trees.  He built nurseries in many different areas and would leave them to be managed by locale people who were to sell the trees to others near by.  He apparently did not insist on actually receiving payment for these sales and what profit he did make went back to buying more supplies so he could continue both his delivering of apple trees and his missionary work.  Johnny spent all his time going from place to place building these nurseries and bringing the words of the bible with him.  His faith was so strong that he was a vegetarian and there are a number of stories that where he would suffer for the comfort of an animal.  The most extreme that I found was that he noticed mosquitoes where flying into the flames of a fire he built and he immediately poured water on the fire to prevent the death of “one of Gods creatures”.

The reason for March 11th being the day to remember Johnny Appleseed is this may have been the day of his death.  Though that is in question it does coincide with the planting season of the apple tree which I find to be quite appropriate considering his life.  Others do observe September 26th, being this is his birthday.

Links:

Wiki on Johnny Appleseed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Appleseed

General

http://virtualology.com/americanwest/JohnnyAppleseed.net/

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