Johnny Appleseed Essay

This essay has a total of 1026 words and 4 pages.

Johnny Appleseed

Jonathan Chapman, orchardist, was possibly the only man living in Pittsburgh who should be
counting his grains at the end of the day, although no other had such attractive wares to
offer as he. But he could not honestly sell young apple trees that would die on the long,
slow journeys into the wilderness of the Northwest Territory, so he was obliged to
discourage men from buying. Nevertheless he would have as busy as a day as any, just in
being a brother to wayfaring man and beast.

His nursery and orchard lay on the main traveled road, on the blow of Grant's Hill, the
very first bit of rising ground eastward of town. From that green and flowery slope the
ancient woods had long since retreated, so from rude doorways below, from forest clamps
above, and from boats on the flanking, bluff boarded streams Johnny's blossoming trees
were visible that morning as a drift of dawn. To the nearer view of passes-by the
nurseries made and his orchard offered a moment of rest and refreshment from the feverish
activities of the day. Every traveler stopped at his gate, for in a never failing spring
that bubbled up, cold and clear in cobble-lined basin by the roadside, Johnny had "next
water" in and out of Pittsburgh.

Johnny had lost no time in getting to work. From soil as soft as loose as an ash-heap he
pulled forest seedlings and weed-stalks by hand. Tough bushed, briars, and saplings he cut
down with his hatchet, grubbed out the roots; and with his hoe he destroyed the
inumberable cones of annuals that, pushing through the blanket of drifted leaves, ran up
every rise in flickers of pale-green fire. The ground cleared over a fraction of an acre
on the well-drained slope that faced westward toward the river, he raked it free of clods,
opened orderly rows of trenches, and put in and covered up his seeds.

Until his trees were in bearing he must pay his way by other services in that land of
bitter toil and privation, so, in return for food and shelter, he lent a hand at whatever
work was afoot. Besides, he must learn how to do everything that new-comers and Indians
needed to know in order to conquer their hard circumstances. He helped raise the cabins of
green buckeye logs; he took his turn at plow or scythe or ax; and beat out grain with
flails on barn floors or buffalo hide. He brought in news of every deer-lick he
discovered, where men might drive cattle that were perishing for salt. In the useless
angles of rail fences he started patches of briars, for with foraging bears about women
and children could not go berrying along the trails. He showed the men how to build
ash-hoppers, so the women could make lye hominy and soft soap; and one of his self imposed
tasks was the raising of hog-pen walls so high that wolves could not get in.

In no one year of his mission did Johnny set his feet on the road to the West with such a
feeling of well-being and happiness as in the spring of 1811. In the winter Indians still
hunting in the eastern hills, but with diminishing returns for their labors, and Johnny
journeyed westward with then in spring. This year a German farmer rode with him to the
first camp on the Great Trail. There he meant to ask the loan of a horse for the season,
and to go on alone. As room was made for him in the circle about fire, a brave said that
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