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among his friends. He came back two or three times to see us all the intervening years that he lived; the last time was in the year that he died, 1845. In the spring of that year, one day after traveling twenty miles, he entered the house of an acquaintance in Allen county, Indiana, and was, as usual, cordially received. He declined to eat anything except some bread and milk which he ate sitting on the doorstep, occasionally looking out toward the setting sun.
Before bedtime he read from his little book “fresh news right from heaven,” and at the usual hour for retiring he lay down upon the floor, as was his invariable custom. In the morning the beautiful sight supernal was upon his countenance, the death angel had touched him in the darkness and the silence and, though the dear old man essayed to speak, he was so near dead, that his tongue refused its office. The physician came and pronounced him dying, but remarked that he never saw a man so perfectly calm and placid, and he inquired particularly regarding Johnny's religion. His bruised and bleeding feet now walk the gold paved streets of the New Jerusalem, while we so brokenly and crudely narrate the sketch of his life. A life full of labor and pain and unselfishness, humble unto self-abnegation, his memory glowing in our hearts, while his deeds live anew every springtime in the fragrance of the apple blossoms he loved so well.
From some intimations dropped by him it is believed, he was regularly ordained by the disciples of Swedenborg, and sent west as a missionary. A repetition of all the anecdotes concerning this strange wanderer would fill a volume. He was just as happy in the solitudes of the forest communing with the Author of all, as he lay gazing at the stars, where he could almost see the angels, as in the midst of nurseries or among the pioneers.
“How and where did he die?” He died at the house of William Worth, in St. Joseph township, Allen county, Indiana, March 11, 1845, was buried in the garb he wore. He was buried in David Archer's graveyard two miles and a half north of Fort Wayne near the foot of a natural mound and a stone set up to mark the place where he sleeps.
There is a monument in Middle Park, Mansfield, to the memory of Johnny Appleseed. At its unveiling in October, 1900, A. J. Baughman, the author of this work, delivered the address of the occasion as follows:
“John Chapman was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the year 1775. Of his early life but little is known, as he was reticent about himself, but his half-sister who came west at a later period stated that Johnny had, when a boy, shown a fondness for natural scenery and often wandered from home in quest of plants and flowers and that he liked to listen to the birds singing and to gaze at the stars. Chapman's passion for planting apple seeds and cultivating nurseries caused him to be called 'Appleseed Johnny,' which was finally changed to ‘Johnny Appleseed,' and by that name he was called and known everywhere.”
The year Chapman came to Ohio has been variously stated, but to say it was one hundred years ago would not be far from the mark. One of the early pioneers who resided in Jefferson county when Chapman made his first advent in Ohio, one day saw a queer looking craft coming down the Ohio river above Steubenville. It consisted of two canoes lashed together, and its crew was one man-an angular, oddly dressed person—and when he landed he said his name was Chapman, and that his cargo consisted of sacks of appleseeds and that he intended to plant nurseries.
Chapman's first nursery was planted nine miles below Steubenville, up a narrow valley, from the Ohio river, at Brilliant, formerly called Lagrange, opposite Wellsburg, West Virginia. After planting a number of nurseries along the river front, he extended his work into the interior of the state—into Richland county—where he made his home for many years. He was enterprising in his way and planted nurseries in a number of counties, which required him to travel hundreds of miles to visit and cultivate them yearly, as was his custom. His usual price for a tree was a "flip penny-bit,” but if the settler hadn't money, Johnny would either give him credit or take old clothes for pay. He generally located his nurseries along the streams, planted the seeds, surrounded the patch with a brush fence, and when the pioneers came, Johnny had young fruit trees ready for them. He extended his operations to the Maumee country and finally into Indiana, where the last years of his life were spent. He visited Richland county the last time in 1843, and called at my father's, but as I was only five years old at the time I do not remember him.
My parents (in about 1827-35) planted two orchards with trees they bought of Johnny, and he often called at their house, as he was a frequent caller at the homes of the settlers. My mother's father, Captain James Cunningham, settled in Richland county in 1808, and was acquainted with Johnny for many years, and I often heard him tell, in his Irish-witty way, many amusing anecdotes and incidents of Johnny's life and of his peculiar and eccentric ways.
Chapman was fairly educated, well read and was polite and attentive in manner and chaste in conversation. His face was pleasant in expression, and he was kind and generous in disposition. His nature was a deeply religious one, and his life. was blameless among his fellowmen. He regarded comfort more than style and thought it wrong to spend money for clothing to make a fine appearance. He usually wore a broadbrimmed hat. He went barefooted not only in summer, but often in cold weather; a coffee sack with neck and armholes cut in it, was worn as a coat. He was about 5 feet, 9 inches in height, rather spare in built but was large boned and sinewy. His eves were blue but darkened with animation.
For a number of years Johnny lived in a little cabin near Perrysville (then in Richland county), but later he made his home in Mansfield with his half-sister, a Mrs. Broome, who lived on the Leesville road (now West Fourth street) near the present residence of R. G. Hancock. The parents of George C. Wise then lived near what is now the corner of West Fourth street and Penn avenue and the Broome and Wise families were friends and neighbors. George C. Wise, Hiram Smith, Mrs. J. H. Cook and others remember “Johnny Appleseed” quite well. Mrs. Cook was perhaps better acquainted with Johnny than any other living person today, for the Wiler House was often his stopping place. The homes of Judge Parker, Mr. Newman and others were ever open to receive “Johnny” as their guest.
But the man who best understood this peculiar character was the late Dr. William Bushnell, the donor of this beautiful commemorative monument, and by whose kindness and liberality we are here today. With Dr. Bushnell's scholastic attainments and intuitive knowledge of character he was enabled to know and appreciate Chapman's learning and the noble traits of his head and heart.