Other heros won fame for feats of strength or for victories in combat,
When I was a young boy growing up in Western New York state, I often heard of Johnny Appleseed. Back then the descriptions focused on his planting exploits. Now that I know more about him, my admiration has deepened.
In addition to his love and understanding of nature, John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) took great joy in sharing his love of spiritual knowledge. As he traveled from one settlement to another, he would read from the Bible and leave behind different sections from the books of a man named Emanuel Swedenborg. "Good news right fresh from heaven!'' He took these books and separated them into sections and would leave them at different homes. The next time he returned, he would bring the next section for exchange.
Not only was he a unique influence to early American culture, he was also a positive spiritual inspiration. A most wonderful American!
See also HARPER'S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE article.
JOHNNY APPLESEED, the popular name of John Chapman (1774-1845), was an almost legendary character and nature lover of the frontier days in the Middle West. Not much is known about the particulars of his life.
He was born in Massachusetts and went west about 1800, carrying with him apples for planting. He lived the rest of his life in Ohio and Indiana, wandering about clad in rags like a pilgrim, tending the apple orchards he started wherever he found a good spot, and reading aloud from the Bible.
The seeds that he planted and the saplings he gave away to the local Indians and to the new settlers helped to build the orchards of the Midwest. Chapman also planted the seeds of many healing herbs such as catnip, horehound, and pennyroyal. Some could say that he planted spiritual seeds as well. Despite his eccentric appearance, he was regarded as a healer, and even something of a saint, by settlers and Indians alike.
John Chapman, b. Leominster, Massachusetts, Sept. 26, 1774, d. Mar. 10, 1845
For more informationon Emanuel Swedenborg see:
The Spiritual Frontier