Historical society to present on Johnny Appleseed


Staff report



WAPAKONETA — The Auglaize County Historical Society will present “John Chapman’s Westward Journey” as part of its Annual Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., in the Parish Life Center of St. Joseph Church, Wapakoneta. Those attending are advised to use the Blackhoof Street parking lot to access the PLC. The presentation is free and open to the public.

After a brief business meeting, which will include the election of officers, attendees will discover “John Chapman’s Westward Journey,”presented by William Kerrigan of Muskinghum University. Following Dr. Kerrigan’s remarks the Historical Society will make a special donation to the New Bremen Historic Association, after which everyone will enjoy apple-based treats, courtesy of the board of trustees.

The legend of Johnny Appleseed is based upon the life of a real person. Born into a poor Yankee family on the eve of the American Revolution, the young John Chapman headed west in the last years of the 18th century.

When John Chapman died in Indiana in 1845, stories of the eccentric apple tree planter survived in the oral traditions of dozens of Midwestern communities where he had spent his life. In the decades after his death, many of these stories made it into print in regional histories and national magazines, and the legend of Johnny Appleseed was born. While many elements of the legend have remained the same over the last one hundred and sixty years, every generation has found its own uses for the Johnny Appleseed story, reinterpreting the meaning of John Chapman’s life.

This talk recovers the life of the “real” Johnny Appleseed, teasing out fact from myth, and revealing the life of an extraordinary individual whose real story is more compelling than the myth which emerged in the years after his death.

Speaker William Kerrigan is the Cole Distinguished Professor of American History at Muskingum University. He is the author of “Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard” (Johns Hopkins, 2012) and co-author of several local histories. He teaches courses on American History, Ohio History, the Civil War, and Environmental History.

Dr. Kerrigan’s appearance is made possible through Ohio Humanities. Ohio Humanities is the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through grants and public humanities programs Ohio Humanities helps Ohioans interpret the past, imagine the future, and define individual values. It is committed committed to creating vibrant communities throughout our state.

The Auglaize County Historical Society was founded in 1963. The Auglaize County Historical Society collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the history of Auglaize County and its people through exhibits, programs, and publications.

For more information about this or other Auglaize County Historical Society programming, please email auglaizecountyhistory@bright.net or call 419-738-9328. The Auglaize County Historical Society is also on Facebook.

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Staff report