Chapman, John

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Chapman, John

Chapman, John, 1774–1845, American pioneer, more familiarly known as Johnny Appleseed, b. Massachusetts. From Pennsylvania—where he had sold or given saplings and apple seeds to families migrating westward—he traveled c.1800 to present-day Ohio, sowing apple seeds as he went. For over 40 years Johnny Appleseed continued to wander up and down Ohio, Indiana, and W Pennsylvania, visiting his forest nurseries to prune and care for them and helping hundreds of settlers to establish orchards of their own. His ragged dress, eccentric ways, and religious turn of mind attracted attention, and he became a familiar figure to settlers. Scores of legends were told of him after he died. However, it was verified that in the War of 1812 he traveled 30 mi (48 km) to summon American troops to Mansfield, Ohio, thus forestalling a raid by Native Americans who were allied with the British. He died near Fort Wayne, Ind.


See biographies by H. A. Pershing (1930) and R. Price (1954); study by W. Kerrigan (2012).

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Chapman, John (Gadsby)

(1808–89) painter; born in Alexandria, Va. A portrait and historical painter who divided his time between New York and Washington, D.C., he painted the famous mural, Baptism of Pocahontas (1837–42), in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Chapman, John, (real name of “Johnny Appleseed”)

(1774–1847) horticulturalist, missionary; born in Leominster, Mass. Little is known of his youth. He appeared in Ohio in 1800 and began to plant nurseries with apples he brought from western Pennsylvania. He traveled throughout Ohio (1800–12) planting and then pruning his orchards. A mystic, he read aloud from the Bible and the works of Emmanuel Swedenborg, and was credited with many extraordinary acts of kindness to both men and animals. During the War of 1812 he warned isolated farmers of the danger of Indian raids. He carried his planting and missionary work into Indiana in 1838 and died of pneumonia near Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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"I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory" - Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's killer, who has been refused parole for the eighth time.