Johnny Appleseed Visits Local SchoolsOct 15th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News, Education
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Johnny Appleseed was the popular nickname given to John Chapman (1774-1845), a figure and folk hero from the early part of post-Revolutionary American History. His father, Nathaniel Chapman, served with Gen. George Washington, in the American Revolution. Legends, of course, often take on a life of their own, especially legends as popular and long-lived as the one surrounding Chapman. Popular images of Johnny Appleseed portray him as a dreamy wanderer, randomly scattering seeds along roadsides throughout early America, but Chapman was, in fact, an industrious and hardworking nurseryman who is one of our earliest leaders in conservationism. Rather than randomly scattering seeds, he bought tracts of land wherever he went, planted orchards, nurtured and tended them, and later sold them. Over a period of 50 years, he left behind hundreds of orchards and thousands of productive apple trees in large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and parts of West Virginia. His vision was to produce so many apples that no one need ever go hungry again. He became a legend while he was still alive, for his work, his kind and generous nature, his concern for animals whether large or small, and his faith. In addition to planting orchards, he preached the Gospel as he saw it, wherever he went. Many images of him include not only the ever-present apples, but a Bible as well. On a cool fall Friday, Johnny Appleseed, portrayed by Madison County Clerk of Courts Tim Sanders, visited some local schools to tell them the story of John Chapman, his work and the vision he had of planting enough apple trees to end hunger in the fledgling American nation. It is a role Sanders has reprised for some 18 or 19 years by his reckoning and one he clearly enjoys. It was not only Chapman’s apple-orchard legacy, but also his character that has made him so admired by many who consider him a positive example of humanity worthy of emulating. Sanders visited Madison Academy during the morning, and Pinetta Elementary during the afternoon. “Feeding people, helping people and letting your light shine,” said Sanders to the children at Pinetta Elementary. These were some of the ways that they could continue carrying on the mission that was so important to Chapman. “You’re all special,” Sanders told the children, “And Johnny Appleseed thought you were special too.”
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