About Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed Educational Center
& Museum

Barclay & Bailey Halls
Phone: 937-772-9297

'Johnny Appleseed' was born John Chapman in Leominster, MA on September 26, 1774. His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War when his mother, Elizabeth died in July of 1776. When his father returned, he married Lucy Cooley and they had ten children. Chapman and his sister Elizabeth made twelve children in the household in Longmeadow, MA.

Chapman learned about the apple business as a young man working for a neighbor who owned an apple orchard. He moved west and started his apple business in western Pennsylvania. He would plant apple seeds near creeks and rivers and grow apple seedlings. When ready, he would sell the seedlings to settlers to establish an orchard. He did this for approximately 50 years in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

His business niche was to anticipate each new wave of settlers in order to know where to start the apple seedling nurseries. Often it was in Indian territory. He got along well with the Indians and it bothered him greatly when the War of 1812 broke out. Although he did not fight in the war he did make a heroic 'Paul Revere' run from Mansfield, OH to Mt. Vernon, OH to get the nearest militia to save the pin-downed settlers.

Chapman was a very principled man and terms used to describe him include:

  • Honesty
  • Hard Working
  • Loyalty
  • Generosity
  • Integrity
  • Self-reliant
  • Good Character
  • Love of Family
  • Gentle Goodness
  • Patriotic

Chapman died in Ft. Wayne, IN where they have an annual Johnny Appleseed Festival every September. Other Johnny Appleseed Festivals are held in Lisbon, Applecreek, Lima, Defiance, and Brunswick, OH.  Leominster, MA; Crystal Lake, IL; Sheffield, PA and Paradise, CA also hold Johnny Appleseed Festivals. In addition, many apple festivals around the country incorporate ' Johnny ' as part of their festivities.

Chapman was also a missionary for the Swedenborgian church. Urbana University was founded by members of the Swedenborgian Church, many known by Chapman. The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum is housed in Bailey Hall [circa 1850], which is named after Francis Bailey, an early convert to the faith in America. Bailey was the printer of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He also printed the religious tracts Chapman distributed on the frontier.  Judge John Young and his wife Maria Barclay Young, ward of Bailey, introduced a young Chapman to the Swedenborgian fiath while he was establishing an apple orchard for them in Greensburg, PA. Barclay Hall, which is connected to Bailey Hall, is named after Young.

Chapman played many roles in the settling of the Ohio territory and what was then the western front of the United States.

He was a:

  • Missionary
  • Bussinessman
  • Peacemaker
  • Pioneer
  • Librarian
  • Nurseryman
  • Farmer
  • Medical Man
  • Patriot
  • Naturalist
  • Educator
  • Communicator

Quote About Johnny Appleseed

"Johnny Appleseed's name will never be forgotten.... We shall realize more and more the value of the work he has done. We will keep his memory green and future generations of boys and girls will love him as we, who knew him, have learned to love him."

-General William Tecumseh Sherman