Most of us get a nickname before we ever go to school, but John Chapman got his when he was a grown man. Johnny Appleseed was his nickname and he got it by planting apple seeds.
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He was a man who believed that each person should do something to help others. Because he was not rich, he had to help in a way that didn’t cost money. And he knew about apples. He knew that where sweet clover grows, an apple seed will probably become a tree. He also knew where to get plenty of free apple seeds.
He lives near cider mills-places where apples are squeezed to get juice for drinking. The seeds were being thrown away. So he filled a small boat with apple seeds and went down the river.
He found a good place to plant his apple seeds. They grew into an apple forest. Travelers passing by were given small trees so they could raise their own fruit. John Chapman’s trees gave him more and more apples-and more and more seeds!
He lived at a time when people traveled west across America in covered wagons and one day he set out across the countryside to plant still more trees. Some people thought he was foolish, for the trees needed a lots of care. Yet every year- for almost 40 years- he traveled back and forth over the land, tending and planting.
One year the people noticed that the trees were neglected. The reason was that John Chapman had died. Few people knew his real name. But nearly everybody in the Ohio-Mississippi River country knew Johnny Appleseed. They knew him and loved him.
Even today he is not forgotten.Surrounding his grave are some of his beloved apple trees. They get the best care. And- in memory of him-there is a picture of Johnny Appleseed on a postage stamp.