September 26 is the day to commemorate one of America's most famous legends, it's Johnny Appleseed Day! Most people are surprised to know that Johnny Appleseed was in fact a real person, and on this day in September, we celebrate not only his enduring legacy in this country but also his birthday!
While we don't know exactly when or who began celebrating this day as National Johnny Appleseed Day, we do know that the date was chosen because September 26 was Johnny Appleseed's birthday.
Johnny Appleseed, despite his American legend status, was a real man by the name of John Chapman, who was born in 1774 and became one of the United States' pioneer nurserymen. Appleseed became known for planting the first apple trees in American territory, in the states of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and what were back then the northern counties of West Virginia.
He built his first nursery near Brokenstraw Creek in Pennsylvania and then traveled as far as Illinois and Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, leaving a great trail of bountiful fruit trees behind. He planted the trees for free, and left them at the care of a neighbor, and would come back every year or two to take care of them.
Along with his seeds, Appleseed also shared his teachings wherever he went. Above all, he taught people to be kind, and the need to love all animals and do them no harm. In fact, Johnny Appleseed is thought to be one of the first vegetarians.
Whenever people think about Johnny Appleseed they think about his appearance that was as humble as his spirit. He was known for his wide-brimmed hat and for often being shoeless. He traveled across the country by foot, horseback or canoe, and would travel back miles to where he had planted his nurseries if he heard that an orchard was in poor condition.
Johnny Appleseed has become an American hero because he selflessly devoted his life to planting apple seeds with the sole purpose of having other people enjoying the fruit and apple cider. While doing so, he helped pioneers with their plantations which allowed them to claim land, thus greatly improving the American expansion.
It is thought that Johnny Appleseed died in 1845, in Fort Wayne, but it is not known where he is buried. He left behind an estate of 1,200 acres, and a legacy that would last for centuries.
What to do on Johnny Appleseed Day
The best way to enjoy Johnny Appleseed's gifts is by enjoying some tasty, organic apples on his day. To honor his legacy, you can also plant some apple trees, and try to live more according to his teachings.
While doing so, don't forget to sing the classic Johnny Appleseed hymn: "I thank the Lord For giving me the things I need: the sun and rain and apple seed."