Reproduction of an illustration depicting John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, published in A History of the Pioneer and Modern Times of Ashland County From the Earliest to the Present Date by H. S. Knapp, 1863.
John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts. Chapman is better known as Johnny Appleseed. Beginning in 1802, Chapman began to wander through Pennsylvania and eventually Ohio planting apple nurseries. He was known as being somewhat of an eccentric. Chapman opposed violence of all sorts towards both humans and animals. He was a strict vegetarian. He also primarily wore discarded clothing or would barter some apple saplings for used clothes. Chapman believed firmly in Emanuel Swedenborg's teachings and probably was the most famous of the Swedenborgians.
Chapman spent most of his time in Ohio in Richland County near Mansfield. At one point during the War of 1812, Mansfield residents feared an Indian attack. Chapman immediately went to Mount Vernon for assistance. Chapman risked his own life to summon aid for his neighbors in Richland County. This willingness to suffer for others was a trait Chapman exhibited throughout his life. Many of Ohio's first orchards began with saplings from Chapman's nurseries. His trees fed many of Ohio's early white settlers as they struggled to establish farms and homes on the frontier. Johnny Appleseed eventually owned more than 1,200 acres of land across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He died near Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the early 1840s.