Anyone interested in cider in America needs to know the true story of America’s number one appleholic, the first American hippie and religious freak, Jonathan Chapman (1775-1843). I found this article through a reference at the beginning of Vachel Lindsay’s magnificent three-part poem “In Praise of Johnny Appleseed”- a part of which follows:
Long, long after,
When settlers put up beam and rafter,
They asked of the birds, “Who gave this fruit?
Who watched this fence till the seeds took root?
Who gave these boughs?” They asked the sky,
And there was no reply.
But the robin might have said,
“To the farthest west he has followed the sun,
His life and his empire just begun.”
Self-scourged, like a monk, with a throne for wages,
Stripped, like the iron-souled Hindu sages,
Draped like a statue, in strings like a scarecrow,
His helmet-hat an old tin pan,
But worn in the love of the heart of man,
More sane than the helm of Tamerlane!
Hairy Ainu, wild man of Borneo, Robinson Crusoe
And the robin might have said,
“Sowing he goes to the far new West,
With the apple, the sun of his burning breast-
The apple allied to the thorn,
Child of the rose.”
Take a look at an article about Johnny from the November 1871 issue of Harper’s Magazine!