Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated on March 11 (the day many people think he died in 1845) and September 26 (his birthday, in 1774). Johnny Appleseed was a real person, an American frontiersman named John Chapman who became a legend in his own time. Strangely enough for this legend, most of the stories about him are true.
Johnny Appleseed did travel through the unsettled “west” during his lifetime, although, at the time, the wild, wild, west included places like Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. As he went, he often stopped to plant apple seeds and create nurseries that would later become apple orchards. He didn’t just toss the seeds anywhere though; Johnny carefully planned and tended for his seeds and saplings, built fences to keep out predators, and made sure someone else would care for the land before he left.
Johnny Appleseed was also a very religious person and a member of the New Church (also called the Swedenborgian Church). As he traveled the west, he frequently stopped to preach and praise God for the wonders of his creation. Where others saw dark and dangerous forests filled with predators, Johnny saw the beautiful evidence of God’s glory, filled with God’s creatures of all shapes and sizes. (Of course, he still built fences to protect the nurseries he planted!)