He was born John Chapman in the early 1800’s ….It’s Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday! He planted over 100,000 square miles of apple trees in the US in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia.
He planted where he believed that the Pioneers would ultimately settle and planted trees in these areas. Johnny would come back every year or so to care for these trees, which usually would be sold to the settlers.
He was famous during his lifetime … a barefoot vegetarian who wouldn’t hurt an animal, ride a horse, or chop down trees was decidedly odd!! He did die a rich man because of his land ownership!
Apples don’t “grow true” (the apple seeds don’t produce the same apple variety). Sweet and tasty apples were produced by grafting fruit bearing branches not by planting seeds. So he really wasn’t a Johnny AppleSEED !
At that time apples were mostly grown for hard cider (tastier and safer than corn liquor.) Johnny planted many sour apple varieties (great for cider.)