[NAFEX] J. Seed

Heron Breen breen at fedcoseeds.com
Sat Nov 20 20:26:28 EST 2004

Hi All,
>From a few different sources, and with the details all gone fuzzy in my head, I 
have read that Johnathan Chapman was a vegetarian, and a non-drinker. While this 
does not preclude him from planting trees for cider for other folks, other 
situations seem to explain his behavior. Apparently he was part of a Christian 
sect, and I cannot recall which, maybe someone out there can remind me, and his 
behavior, like vegetarianism, was totally bizarre for many people of the day. He 
eschewed money and material wealth in general, beyond what was needed. He also had 
many ideas on nature that apparently involved not pruning trees because it was 
against divine guidance or natural way (? just a hypothesis, since I am not privvy 
to the religious sect). 
Many sources have concluded he was basically a religious, possibly mentally ill, 
real estate developer. He would continue farther into the unsettled regions, 
establishing orchards/nurseries, and the arriving settlers would have to buy out 
his claim, usually in the best sites. The price paid was fairly small, but enough 
to live off of, and he would take the younger stock and seeds and continue to the 
next perfect spot and wait. I believe he was not grafting as it seems against the 
above doctrine of no pruning, but I could be wrong. But established stock to 
topwork and make cider and vinegar from were definitely a needed commodity by a 
settler family, vinegar and cider being as good as money in a barter economy, 
vinegar especially surprisingly.
I think it may be this person's religious conviction and lack of social skills that 
got him his mythical status.
Burnt Ridge Nursery has a similarly seemingly unbelievable story of another 
nursery/grafter/farmer/black man/Oregon Trail person in their Winter 2004 catalog. 
This person, named George W. Bush no less, lived a life that seems beyond human. 
Check this story out: George makes J. Seed seem pretty normal. PG 27, story called: 
George W. Bush and the Giant Butternut.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Heron Breen
Zone 4 

More information about the nafex mailing list