[NAFEX] J. Seed

baylands baylands at cros.net
Sun Nov 21 18:32:33 EST 2004

Part of John Chapman's (Johnny Appleseed) purpose in roving the new frontier
planting apple trees to sell to the new immigrants was to spread his
religion. As you stated he followed the Swedenborg religion, which I believe
is a nature based religion. Based on his deep religious beliefs, I doubt
that his purpose in growing apples was to encourage drinking alcoholic
beverages to excess. Although, as has been previously pointed out, making
hard cider, vinegar etc. was very important to the life and well-being of
the early settlers. Chapman should be an honorary member of NEFLEX.


Ro Chapman (no relation, but I do like to grow apples)



From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Lon Rombough
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2004 8:43 PM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] J. Seed


Chapman was a Swedenborgian (sp?). He was supposed to have gotten the apple
seed from the pomace at cider mills. From what I've read, vinegar was vital
to pioneers for food preservation, for pickling vegetables, in making ham
and cheese (wipe the cheeses and hams with vinegar to prevent/remove mold),
as a cleaner, and a lot more. Of course apple brandy (alcohol) was also used
in making herbal extracts for medicine, for food preservation (surprising
how many old recipes there are for fruit preserved in alcohol) and in making
vinegar. In the last case, apples usually didn't contain enough sugar to
make hard cider with very much alcohol. Since the strength of the vinegar
depended on how much alcohol there was to start with, they usually added
brandy, or whiskey, to the hard cider to get vinegar with more acetic acid
in it.
-Lon Rombough

Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at
http://www.bunchgrapes.com Winner of the Garden Writers Association "Best
Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
On Nov 20, 2004, at 5:26 PM, Heron Breen wrote:

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
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
sect, and I cannot recall which, maybe someone out there can remind me, and
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
against divine guidance or natural way (? just a hypothesis, since I am not
to the religious sect). 
Many sources have concluded he was basically a religious, possibly mentally
real estate developer. He would continue farther into the unsettled regions,

establishing orchards/nurseries, and the arriving settlers would have to buy
his claim, usually in the best sites. The price paid was fairly small, but
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
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
This person, named George W. Bush no less, lived a life that seems beyond
Check this story out: George makes J. Seed seem pretty normal. PG 27, story
George W. Bush and the Giant Butternut.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Heron Breen
Zone 4 

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