March 11, 2011

It's Johnny Appleseed Day!

I had to run out to the store this evening and heard on the radio that today is Johnny Appleseed Day.

March 11 or September 26 are sometimes celebrated as Johnny Appleseed Day. The September date is Johnny Appleseed's birthday but the March date is sometimes preferred because it is during planting season.

John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), was  born on September 26, 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts.

In Mason, New Hampshire during the Summer, 1788. Johnny Chapman meets young Sam Wilson while visiting his cousin Betsey. Sam Wilson was born in Arlington Massachusetts in 1766 but moved to Mason with his family when he was 14 years old.

Both Sam and Johnny fell in love with Betsey and it is said that a broken heart sent Johnny on his way. Sam and Betsey later marry and move to Troy, New York, where they start a meat packing business.

After Sam and Betsey’s engagement, Johnny heads west selling apple seeds at cost and planting seedlings. He sleeps outdoors, never wearing shoes in the summer to save on leather. His clothing is a coffee sack with a holes cut for his arms and his head. It is said that one of his only possessions was the tin cooking pot he wore like a hat.

Years pass and Johnny becomes a rich man. The plots on which he planted apple seedlings have had towns develop around them. He happily sells the land, but uses the money for charity rather than for his own personal comfort. His amazing generosity, his endurance and his personal faith in God inspires the people he meets.

During the War of 1812, while Johnny is planting apple trees across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, Sam and Betsey are supplying the American army with beef in Troy, New York. When Sam marked barrels of army meat with a big "U.S.," Troops would say "more meat from Uncle Sam". Later all items delivered to the army with those initials were said to be from "Uncle Sam".

Johnny Appleseed and Uncle Sam. Just a couple of kids who met one summer on a farm in Mason, New Hampshire.

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