After reading a book about the American legend Johnny Appleseed this past fall, grade 2 students in teacher Judi Beil’s classroom marked his accomplishments by holding a classroom celebration in his honor. During the gathering, the lower school students had the opportunity to discuss the life of Appleseed, lesser known by his birth name, John Chapman.
“The children wrote and illustrated a brief biography of him, made a recipe book containing only recipes that used apples, and brought in their made recipe for the celebration; we had a tasting of all kinds of apple foods … lots of fun!” recalled Beil.
Like many people, some of the students believed Appleseed to be a fictional character, but he was, in fact, a real person who planted and supplied apple trees to much of the United States. A skilled nurseryman, Appleseed gave away and sold many trees. Although he was successful he was said to have lived a simple life as a vegetarian.
Born in Leominster, Mass., on Sept. 26, 1774, he died at the age of 70 after spending 50 years growing apple trees. In 1966, the U.S. Postal Service designed a 5-cent stamp honoring him.