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National Days


johnny appleseedJohn Chapman doesn’t ring a bell with most people outside the Chapman family, but mention apple seeds and hard cider, and you’ll know why we celebrate


Born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts, John Chapman became an American legend in his own lifetime as Johnny Appleseed, pioneer apple nurseryman and serial planter of fenced-in apple nurseries in the Midwest, not the randomly placed orchards and single trees of popular myth.

Johnny was a businessman, not a nomadic Don Quixote of Apples, and returned to tend to his trees on a regular basis. Apples trees grown from seed produce sour fruit, unpleasant to eat, but that suited early Americans just fine since they used apples to make potent hard cider and apple jack.

Apple Pie as an American symbol would come later, when mature trees grown from the grafting method began bearing sweet fruit.

What Johnny Appleseed brought to the Ohio Valley was alcohol, and that’s why he was so wildly popular, a welcome guest in every cabin on the America Frontier.

•Suggested Activities: Fermenting, drinking, dancing a jig.

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