Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Johnny Appleseed's Ghost

John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774 in Massachusettes, second child of Nathaniel Chapman and Elizabeth Simonds.  Shortly after giving birth to her third child, Nathaniel Jr. in 1776, both Elizabeth and her newborn passed away from what is believed to be tuberculosis.  Nathaniel remarried a woman named Lucy Cooley, and together with her, had ten more children.

In 1792, John Chapman, aged 18 years, took his 11 year old half-brother, also named Nathaniel, and his older sister Elizabeth out west.  Their destination was ultimately to be the headwaters of the Susquehanna. 
By 1800, John Chapman had made it to Licking County, Ohio.  His father and the rest of the family arrived five years later, and settled in what is now the Dexter City area of Noble County.  By 1806, John Chapman was already know as Johnny Appleseed.

The Chapman Family Cemetery can still be found on an overgrown hilltop just outside of Dexter City, off of Rt. 21 close by to where I-77 intersects old route 821.  Johnny Appleseed passed away on February 18, 1845 and is not buried in this cemetery--he is buried in Archer Cemetery in Indiana.

However, visitors to the overgrown cemetery, which contains the ruined graves of Johnny's stepmother, several siblings, and their descendants, have reported seeing the apparition of a gray-bearded, shaggy man with ragged pants and no shoes.  It is believed the apparition is that of Johhny Appleseed himself, coming to visit the family gravesite.

Johnny's apparition is also seen nearby at the Johnny Appleseed Memorial , erected in September of 1942.  Consequently, September is said to be the best time to witness the apparition, both at the monument and at the family cemetery.

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