The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Monday August 24, 2015
Continuing our history trend with #FunFacts by focusing on folk hero Johnny Appleseed.
A mixed bag
The real life and motives of Johnny Appleseed were a little different than what many of us were taught in school. He didn't roam the wilderness planting apple trees to beautify the land and fill it with fruit – he did it to stock up real estate. After the Revolutionary War a claim could be made on land by planting 50 apple trees on it. At his death in 1845 he owned over 1200 acres of land.
Regardless, Appleseed still had a reputation for being a nice, charitable guy. He bartered with poor people and was even said to have given the shoes off his feet to those less fortunate.
Supposedly the trees Appleseed planted weren't meant for eating. Called “spitters” (because that's what they made you do) they were mostly used for hard cider.
I can get behind that.
A lover of animals
Appleseed was also a lover of nature and animals. He is said to have moaned in regret after killing a rattlesnake that attacked him: “Poor fellow, he only just touched me, when I, in the heat of my ungodly passion, put the heel of my scythe in him and went away."
America was in its infancy at the time of Johnny Appleseed's travels. Most homes and farms would welcome him and give him a place to stay, even if they didn't know of his reputation. If only things could still be that way.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.