Johnny Appleseed

This informant discussed a legendary figure from American history who left a permanent impact on American folklore. According to my informant, Johnny Appleseed grew up on the eastern coast and forged his way across the country. Following the common cultural belief of manifest destiny, Johnny Appleseed embarked on his personal mission; to plant apple orchards throughout the expanding American frontier. He had a very distinct appearance, usually wearing a tin pot as a hat as well as a sack of apple seeds over his shoulder. Johnny Appleseed spread prosperity for future generations, traveling across terrain of all varieties. He was known as someone with a very kind heart with a gentle soul and a special connection to nature.

My informant’s relationship to Johnny Appleseed stems from teachings of early elementary school. In elementary school, Johnny Appleseed, also known as John Chapman, is taught as a folk hero who is said to have traveled across the American frontier planting apple seeds, spreading the cultivation of apple trees, and promoting good deeds.

Personally, I believe that the legend of Johnny Applessed is a classic example of American folklore. The original story of Johnny Appleseed emerges from a time of westward expansion in America, mid to late 19th century. As settlers ventured into the vast wilderness of the west, they kept to them a goal of cultivating the land into civilization. Johnny Appleseed embodies a symbol of the spirit of America, embarking on his personal journey to plant apple orchards across the unknown frontier. Johnny Appleseed’s mission serves as another symbol by providing sustenance for the future generations and a promise for a better future. Johnny Appleseed ascended to the status of a folk hero due to the kindness and generosity he expressed on his journeys. His legend has been passed down through generations and will continue to be passed down as he fulfills the human need for American heroes and legends.