Li’l Sebastian isn’t (or wasn’t) Indiana’s only beloved (if fictional) cultural figure. On Monday (Sept. 26) the state — and indeed apple lovers everywhere — celebrates Johnny Appleseed Day. We all know Appleseed — real name John Chapman — is credited with planting apple trees all over 19th century America. But here are some things you may not know about the guy:
1. When asked why he didn’t marry, Chapman said he believed two female spirits would be his wives in the afterlife if he stayed single on Earth.
2. A devout Swedenborgian who believed in avoid materialistic trappings, Chapman is said to have wandered around shoeless and wearing just rags despite holding vast properties in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
3. A sculpture of Appleseed in front of an Ohio high school was renamed “Early Settler,” after the board of education decided Appleseed was too eccentric a guy to honor and, we presume, somehow influence teenagers.
4. According to author Michael Pollan, the trees planted by Chapman did not produce edible apples, but were instead only usable for cider: “”Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus.”