March 18, 1845

"Johnny Appleseed" Dies


On this day in 1845, John Chapman died having made a fortune planting apple saplings on the American frontier. Born and raised in Leominster, the man remembered as "Johnny Appleseed" left Massachusetts in the 1790s just as farmers were moving into the Midwest. Often the only alcoholic beverage available in frontier settlements was cider. To Chapman, this represented a business opportunity. An odd man who considered it cruel to ride a horse or chop down a tree, he planted orchards to quench the farmer's thirst, not to keep him healthy. Only later, when the apple industry wanted to distance itself from the stigma of hard cider, did the eccentric, entrepreneurial John Chapman become the beloved folk hero known as "Johnny Appleseed."

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