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The Apple Tree

Johnny Appleseed Day

Sep 26

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Oh, the Lord is good to me, And so I thank the Lord For giving me the things I need The sun, and the rain, and the apple seed. The Lord is good to me." ~ Johnny Appleseed Blessing

The apples that American folklore legend John Chapman "Johnny Appleseed" favored for planting were small and tart crabapple "spitters"- ideal for making hard cider and applejack.

The Apple Tree

Sep 26th is Johnny Appleseed Day!

A hero of American folklore, Johnny Appleseed was said to be a barefoot wanderer with a tin pot hat and a sack of apples, who planted an orchard of apple trees wherever he went. Appleseed's story was based on a real John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845).

Chapman developed himself as an orchardist and nurseryman, and by the early 1800s was working on his own. While his legend describes him living a nomadic life, Chapman was in fact taking advantage of frontier law which allowed people to lay claim to land through development of a permanent homestead. Such a claim could be made by planting 50 apple trees. Chapman would plant swaths of seeds to begin an orchard, then sell them to settlers once the land had grown bountiful.

The apples that Chapman favored for planting were small and tart "spitters," not favored for eating, but ideal for making hard cider and applejack. This was a far more valuable crop than edible apples.

Chapman's preference for seeds over grafting resulted in varieties such as the Delicious and Golden Delicious, but also the "hardy American apple."

Nova, Ohio, holds a 176-year-old tree, the last known tree to be planted by Johnny Appleseed himself. It grows tart green apples, which are still used for applesauce and baking in addition to cider making.

Many Johnny Appleseed festivals take place in the United States around this time of year.  

For a flashback to 1948, see below for the fanciful Johnny Appleseed cartoon by Walt Disney Productions.

Or for more about Johnny Appleseed, click the vintage children's magazine!

The Apple Tree
The Apple Tree

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