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Old 10-27-2014, 04:51 PM
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I'm reading the book Lions of the West by Robert Morgan. It has 10 chapters, each one a short biography of key individuals that helped open the west such as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Kit Carson, and Johnny Appleseed...yes, Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman).

We all learned of him in school but not really about him. I never knew his significance in our history, I just thought he was another fabled folk hero like Paul Bunyan. It turns out that orchards were a huge asset to settlers. Apple trees could be used to pay debts and one of Johnny's ancestors even left 10 apple trees "behind the house" in his will to his wife. Johnny also signed a promissory note to his sister and BIL and it was payable either in $100 or apple trees.

The Ohio company required that you plant 50 apple trees and 10 peach trees within three years of claiming your homestead. Johnny avoided much contact with others and stayed mostly ahead of the flow of settlers. One of the things that lured them farther west was the ready-made orchards that he started. He had to stay far enough ahead of them the the trees could mature before the settlers arrived with their cattle or the cows would destroy the trees. No area was considered settled until orchards were established.

Another interesting fact I learned is that if you plant an apple seed the tree you get won't be the same as the one you got the seed from. I don't understand the genetics of it but to get the same type of apple that you started with you have to graft a cutting onto a tree. Johnny never grafted because he didn't want to cut into a tree and hurt it. Also, seeds were easier to travel with.
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:08 PM
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It's a little eerie that you bring this up. Last Wednesday, my 7 year old grandson Logan, came up to me and said "hey Popaw, do you know who Johnny Appleseed was?" I said "no, tell me."
He nailed it. Made me proud. Thanks for the post Zip.
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