Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard: A Cultural History

Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard: A Cultural History

by William Kerrigan


View All Available Formats & Editions


Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard illuminates the meaning of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman’s life and the environmental and cultural significance of the plant he propagated. Creating a startling new portrait of the eccentric apple tree planter, William Kerrigan carefully dissects the oral tradition of the Appleseed myth and draws upon material from archives and local historical societies across New England and the Midwest.

The character of Johnny Appleseed stands apart from other frontier heroes like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, who employed violence against Native Americans and nature to remake the West. His apple trees, nonetheless, were a central part of the agro-ecological revolution at the heart of that transformation. Yet men like Chapman, who planted trees from seed rather than grafting, ultimately came under assault from agricultural reformers who promoted commercial fruit stock and were determined to extend national markets into the West. Over the course of his life John Chapman was transformed from a colporteur of a new ecological world to a curious relic of a pre-market one.

Weaving together the stories of the Old World apple in America and the life and myth of John Chapman, Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard casts new light on both.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421407289
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 12/15/2012
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Kerrigan is Arthur G. and Eloise Barnes Cole Distinguished Professor of American History at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Figures vii

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Seeds 7

2 Becoming Johnny Appleseed 36

3 Suckers 66

4 Walking Barefoot to Jerusalem 101

5 To Serve God or Mammon? 127

6 Yankee Saint and the Red Delicious 162

Notes 195

Essay on Sources 217

Index 225

What People are Saying About This

James Gilbert

"Well written, interesting, and original. A multi-layered story of the settling and transformation of the frontier."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews