Story of the Man Who Braved the Dangers of the Wilderness to Bless the Early Settlers.
THE LESSON—That the influence of a well-spent life is its best and most enduring monument. It always adds fame to a good name.
The story of "Johnnie Appleseed" is dear to the hearts of thousands of boys and girls throughout America. The writer has listened interestedly to narratives of the late George W. Brackenridge, of Fort Wayne, Ind., who remembered clearly the visits of "Johnnie" to his early home. The story is abundant in good lessons, and ought to be of special interest on Boys' Day.
"I am going to talk to you today about a man who paddled his canoe along the rivers in the middle west and roamed the wild forests when there were very few settlers in that country and while the hostile Indians brought terror to the hearts of many who had braved the dangers of the frontier. This sounds like a dime novel tale, doesn't it? Yes, but it is a true story. It is the story of 'Johnnie Appleseed.' How many of you ever heard of him? [Govern yourself in the following remarks, by the acquaintance of your audience with the subject.]
"It was in the year 1801, that John Chapman then a young man of twenty-six years, aroused some interest by appearing with several sacks of appleseeds which he had procured from the cider mills in western Pennsylvania. The first orchard he planted was on the farm of Isaac Stadden in Licking county, Ohio, and, from this beginning, his enthusiasm developed until he decided to go all through the wilderness as far as he could reach and plant apple orchards wherever they could be made to grow.
"One day a lone settler near Marietta, Ohio, saw a strange craft floating down the Ohio river. The boatman was John Chapman, but from that time forward he was known as 'Johnnie Appleseed' by the settlers between the Ohio river and the Great Lakes and as far west as the territory which is now the State of Indiana. I will draw a map to show you where he was and where he went.
[In the drawing of the "map," which is, in reality, at the last, the branch of an apple tree, use brown crayon for the "rivers" and green for the "orchards," carrying the drawings forward as the various points are mentioned. Strict accuracy has not been observed in the map drawing.]
"Here is the Ohio river, where he first appeared. [Draw the Ohio river. Do not label the rivers. The names are given for your guidance only.] He had two canoes tied side by side, and they were filled with apple seeds. He paddled against the stream as he turned his canoe into the Muskingum river, and then up into the Walhonding river, and then into the Mohican and finally into the creek called the Black Pork. It took a long time to go this short distance, for he stopped off every little while to find suitable places in the wilderness to plant apple seeds. And these, of course, grew up, in later years, to fruitful orchards. [Draw the orchards in green. Your drawing will now resemble Fig. 74.] This was but the beginning. From that time until 'Johnnie Appleseed' was 72 years of age he devoted his life to converting the waste wild land into orchards. During the war of 1812 he warned settlers against the Indians and helped to save many lives. He dressed in skins and was respected by the Indians, who considered him a very wise medicine man. Many trips he made back to Pennsylvania, whenever his seed supply was exhausted. In every rude cabin home which he visited, 'Johnnie Appleseed' read the Scriptures, and hundreds were helped to better lives through his teachings. He was noted for his gentleness and kindness. He died, in 1847, near Fort Wayne, Ind.
"Here was a man, boys, who devoted his life to helping others. Dr. Hillis, of New York, has woven his life into a most beautiful story, 'The Quest of John Chapman,' and others have sung his praises in verse and narrative. Let us learn from him the lesson of devoting one's life to making other people happy. I will add a few lines to indicate all that John Chapman tried to do. [Add apples in red, converting the map into a branch bearing apples, Fig. 75.] But he did vastly more than this. He brought brightness into many a heart during his long years of usefulness, and while he helped to make the Middle West a fruit-growing country, the real fruit of his work was that of helpfulness, sympathy and brightness through Christ, who guided him in his strange work.
"'A sower went forth to sow.' If the kind of ground in which he sowed did not bring forth fruit, it was not the fault of the tireless sower."
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