the crazy guy planting apple trees
My great x 4 grandfather's name was Ezekial Chapman. He was born in 1783 in Onondaga County, New York to family from Massachusetts. Ezekial settled with his family in Ohio before moving on to Indiana, first to LaPorte in 1840, then to Argos in 1844. Ezekial's son was Dr. Clarke Chapman, one of the first men to graduate from the LaPorte Medical Institute and also patented one of those cure-all elixirs in his day. Clarke was responsible for relaying the story of Johnny Appleseed visiting their farm in Ohio and called him his father's cousin.
So, I began to investigate the story. The time frame would work for John Chapman, aka: Johnny Appleseed, to visit their family farm in Ohio. We know that John Chapman was born in Massachusetts in 1774 and traveled mainly through Illinois, Ohio and Indiana planting apple trees. I did a search on Appleseed's kin and came up empty with the connection, however the generations would align. This is where I need the History Detectives to step in.
Dr. Clarke Chapman (1823-1898), second cousin to Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed died on Hoosier soil and was buried in Fort Wayne in 1845. Of course, everyone is familiar with the tale of the lanky fellow wearing a tin pot for a cap crossing the wilderness on foot planting apple trees. He has become an American legend due to his peculiar dress, transient lifestyle and generous nature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Appleseed
His relationship to me may just be one of those legends I let live on....and not try to prove or disprove. It does make for a great story; but I've not played it up too much with my kids.....they have enough trouble being related to Hoosier Reborn.
Laporte Medical Institute
For the record: I may have planted a lot of trees in my lifetime, but never an apple tree. My dad told me a story once about the old apple tree at his parent's farm that he planted as a kid. He traded a turtle (if I remember the story correctly) for the sapling. My only connection besides being a bit obsessive with planting trees is that I have a great weakness for apple dumplings. And occasionally I put an old tin pot on my head.