People of Allen County, Indiana

John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed sections or pages: 1916 Memorial - Burial Site - Carving - Canterbury Green Stone - Chapman Apple Trees - Documents - Estate notice - Festival - Fortriede book - Johnny Appleseed Memorial Bridge - Newspaper articles - Obituary - Ohio Historical Journal - Publications - Stuff

1957 Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park

April 15, 1957 Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park Preliminary sketch [by T. Weyman] was never built. From the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.

November 13, 2015 post by Hofer and Davis, Inc. Land Surveyors on Facebook:

We have been inundated with phone calls, faxes, telegrams, instant messages, tweets and e-mails inquiring about Episode No.5 in the 10 part W & D's "DO YOU KNOW...." series run in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in 1937 for Throwback Thursday. We say Sooooooorrrrry, we were filling our heads with knowledge yesterday to meet the bi-annual requirement of 24 continuing education credits for professional land surveyors. That being said, here it is! Enjoy friends!

Johnny Appleseed & Pirogue Landing posted March 22, 2021 by Friends of the Rivers on YouTube.
See our Rivers of Fort Wayne page and Pirogue Landing section.

Johnny Appleseed died in 1845, 71 years later a memorial stone was erected in 1916, 58 years later the Johnny Appleseed Festival started in 1974.

Johnny Appleseed was a colorful pioneer of the Indiana frontier in the early 1800's. There is conflicting information on his death date with some sources saying he died in 1847, others say in 1845. The Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel newspaper article Saturday March 22, 1845 shown above shows he died March 18, 1845, while The History Center has his death notice. He may have attended Methodist church services that became the Saint Joseph United Methodist Church when they held services along the Saint Joseph River. His funeral was officiated by the Methodist circuit rider preacher according to the church history which occupied an existing school house a half mile east of the river by 1863 and since 1957 is located a mile east on the northeast corner of St. Joe Center and Reed Roads. A September 16, 1916 newspaper article interview of Hiriam Porter at age 91 was the only person still living at that time who knew Johnny Appleseed stated: I am the only person living who attended his burial. There was no real funeral. There was no minister. Several of us who were his friends got him a coffin and stood around when he was lowered into the grave. Porter was a school teacher who lived in St. Joseph Township around the St. Joe Road area on the Porter family farm and taught at the St. Joe Center school.

Most sources agree that Johnny Appleseed is buried in Fort Wayne on a hill above the Saint Joseph River celebrated each September since 1974 with the free Johnny Appleseed Festival at the Johnny Appleseed Park where the two day event draws over 300,000 visitors from all over the Midwest. See the Johnny Appleseed Festival History. He is buried in Johnny Appleseed Park in the Archer Cemetery which has at least 22 known burials on the northeast side of Fort Wayne across the parking lot from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum with tombstone photographs and information posted by the Allen County Indiana Cemetery Project by the local Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter NSDAR. A May 3, 1914 newspaper article says 25 people were buried in the Old David Archer Cemetery, while a May 10, 1914 newspaper article says 150 people. His burial location is on the National Register of Historic Places. Read more in Hoosier Legends: Johnny Appleseed by Aimee Formo September 20, 2013 on researching, remembering, and ... Making Hoosier History with the Indiana Historical Bureau blog. Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman by Tom Castaldi, local historian published September 25, 2014 in History Center Notes & Queries blog.

A newspaper article Festival Honors Johnny Appleseed with image and newsaper ads including a Place of History image of Mayor Harry W. Baals from Lindenwood Cemetery in the September 21, 1978 The News-Sentinel newspaper were posted February 7, 2023 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

Johnny Appleseed Documents

Their are two local newspaper articles May 3, 1914 and May 10, 1914 titled Two Men in Fort Wayne Were Present at Appleseed Funeral discussing a personal recollection from attending the funeral, a Johnny Appleseed memorial commission on May 1, 1956 here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the original at Ohio State University, referencing many early publications, along with the 94-page National Register of Historic Places application listing sources, and the 1978 Steven Fortriede book which also lists many sources including courthouse records that are most likely among the best sources of accurate historical data.

Many popular sources list his death date as March 11, 1845 while local sources list March 18, 1845.

  1. Ohio State University papers: show on page 7 his death in Ft. Wayne, Ind. 3-18-1845 - Death notice in Ft. Wayne Sentinel 3-22-1845 on file in Ft. Wayne Library
  2. On page 22 in the 1978 Steven Fortriede book which appears to be the definitive book on Johnny Appleseed listing his sources states: The date of Johnny's death can be established with reasonable certainty then lists why.
  3. March 18, 2019 post by The History Center on Facebook: When John Chapman died on March 18, 1845, his obituary was published in the Fort Wayne Sentinel, stating that “He followed the occupation of a nurseryman and has been a regular visitor here upwards of twenty years…”
  4. March 18, 2023 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook: #OTD in 1845, pioneering apple farmer John Chapman, better known as "Johnny Appleseed," died near Fort Wayne.
1845 newspaper obituary

Saturday, March 22, 1845 Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel, page 2, copied in 2013 from microfilm at the Allen County Public Library.

DIED--In this city, on Tuesday last, Mr. Thomas McJanet, stone cutter, aged 54 years, a native of Girven, Ayrshire, Scotland.

On the same day in this neighborhood at an advanced age, Mr. John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed).

The deceased was well known through this region by his eccentricity, and the strange garb he usually wore. He followed the occupation of a nurseryman, and has been a regular visitor here upwards of 10 years. He was a native of Pennsylvania we understand but his home - if home he had - for some years past was in the neighborhood of Cleveland where he has relatives living. He is supposed to have considerable property, yet denied himself almost the common necessities of life - not so much perhaps for avarice as from his peculiar notions on religious subjects. He was a follow of Swedenborg and devoutly believed that the more he endured in this world the less he would have to suffer and the greater would be his happiness hereafter - he submitted to every privation with cheerfulness and content, believing that in so doing he was securing snug quarters hereafter.

In the most inclement weather he might be seen barefooted and almost naked except when he chanced to pick up articles of old clothing. Notwithstanding the privations and exposure he endured he lived to an extreme old age, not less than 80 years at the time of his death - though no person would have judged from his appearance that he was 60. He always carried with him some work on the doctrines of Swedenborg with which he was perfectly familiar, and would readily converse and argue on his tenets, using much shrewdness and penetration.

His death was quite sudden. He was seen on our streets a day or two previous.  

Death Notice

Newspaper estate notice
Weekly Sentinel image

The Fort Wayne Sentinel newspaper printed his death notice on Saturday, March 22, 1845.

An article Johnny Appleseed in the archives of the The News-Sentinel newspaper references this Death Notice stating: Most believe Johnny Appleseed died March 12, 1845, and was buried on the mound in the old Archer family cemetery, where the memorial to him stands today. No other sources seen so far list the date 12.

I. H. W. Jones, the County Auditor authorized a January 1848 estate sale in the notice shown below from the March 18, 2019 post by The History Center on Facebook.

John Johnny Appleseed Chapman research document by The Chapman Family Association references Florence E. Wheeler' publication in the Ohio Historical Journal.

History Center image
1848 estate sale History Center Image

Numerical list of papers in settlement of the estate of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed); original papers are on file in the county clerk's office, Allen county court house, Fort Wayne, Indiana on

Johnny Appleseed memorial commission, May 1, 1956, Fort Wayne, Indiana, original at Ohio State University, a Google eBook, posted online at
The Introduction on page 7 has as the first item: Johnny Appleseed by John W. Dawson published in the Fort Wayne Sentinel October 21-23, 1871. (Members of the commission believe this is the most authentic description of Johnny Appleseed that has been written. The article also tells of the estate papers on file in the office of the clerk of Allen County, Indiana. There are 42 papers which have to do with the disposal of the property and remains of Johnny Appleseed. [See Numerical list of papers in settlement of the estate of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed); original papers are on file in the county clerk's office, Allen county court house, Fort Wayne, Indiana]) Credit for this discovery is due William A. Duff of Ashland, Ohio. On page 7 it lists his death in Ft. Wayne, Ind. 3-18-1845 - Death notice in Ft. Wayne Sentinel 3-22-1845 on file in Ft. Wayne Library.

John W. Dawson, who came to Fort Wayne in 1836, knew Johnny Appleseed personally, and was 25 years old when Johnny Appleseed died. He was 51 years old when he published October 21-23, 1871 in the Fort Wayne Sentinel several articles about Johnny Appleseed reprinted on pages 1-6 of the Johnny Appleseed Memorial Commission shown above. He states it is certain Johnny Appleseed came to Allen County by 1830.

  1. Page 5 states Johnny Appleseed died on March 11, 1845 [documents indicate death date is March 18, 1845] at the house of William Worth in St. Joseph township, Allen Co., Ind., on the land now owned by Jesse Cole, on the Feeder canal, and was buried in a reasonable time thereafter, at the family burning ground set apart by David Archer, deceased, now owned by Mr. Emanuel Rudisill and may be seen by the passer-up the towing path of the feeder, occupying a beautiful natural mound. At the east side of this mound, near its foot, Johnny Appleseed was buried, and a stone was then put up to mark the spot, by our townsman, Saml. C. Fletter, who attended his dying hours, dressed his body, laid it out and made his coffin. These are indisputable, and are in general confirmed by the papers on file in the Probate Court.
  2. Page 11 lists Publications at the Allen County Public Library.
  3. Page 15 Monuments and Memorials item 7 says the granite stone marker placed on grave by Optimist Club of Fort Wayne May 26, 1935. The stone was taken from the Slinck farm ten miles down the Maumee river below Fort Wayne where Johnny Appleseed had a nursery of 15,000 apple trees when he died. The stone has the carving of an apple and an open bible inscribed Holy Bible. Between the apple and the bible are the following words: Johnny Appleseed, John Chapman. He lived for others. A copper plate, made by pupils of the James H. Smart School was placed on the fence to correct the dates. Johnny Appleseed John Chapman b. September 26, 1774; d. March 18, 1845.
  4. Page 16 Official Action - December 27, 1934 - The Johnny Appleseed Memorial Commission made a report upon the location of the grave of Johnny Appleseed. The commission invited those interested in the controversy to submit evidence. Both oral and written evidence was submitted. Their decision was summed up in the following words. The members of the commission do not recommend a change in the accepted location of the grave of Johnny Appleseed. The accepted location is the Archer Burying Ground.

Page 22, chapter VI. Death and Burial in the book: Johnny Appleseed: the man behind the myth by Fortriede, Steven, Publication date 1978 on Steven Fortriede discusses Johnny's death date and the obituary posted above. Includes bibliographical references.

The date of Johnny's death can be established with reasonable certainty. In 1934 his obituary notice was rediscovered in the March 22, 1845, edition of the Fort Wayne Sentinel by Miss Eva Peck of the Fort Wayne Public Library. The obituary reads in part, "Died- -in this city on Tuesday last (March 18) Mr. Thomas MC Janet ... On the same day, in this neighborhood, at an advanced age, Mr. John Chapman (better known by the name of Johnny Appleseed.)" After a few laudatory remarks the notice concluded, "His death was quite sudden. We saw him on our streets only a day or two previous." [ see March 22, 1845 Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel copy above ]

The fact that the Sentinel did not give the exact date of death has supported the belief that the actual date was the "Tuesday last" of the previous week, March 11. However, the Fort Wayne Times and Peoples Press of March 22, also ran an obituary, not of John, but of the Thomas Mcjanet referred to by the Sentinel with these words, "Died- -In this city on the 18th . . . Mr. Thomas Mcjanet." This confirms that John did indeed die on March 18, 1845.

Steven Carl Fortriede retired as associate director of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, after more than forty years in the library profession. Copied from the ALAstore American Library Association.

Steven discussed his book and the controversy over the Canterbury Green Stone erected by Wesley Roebuck in an October 29, 2021 post on the Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne Private Facebook Group. He mentions item 52 on page 35 as a discredited Chapman genealogy on page 28 nonetheless it was printed as The Genealogy of the Chapman family : relatives of John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) / compiled by Lizzie Roebuck. by Roebuck, Mary Elizabeth Yocum, 1872- Publication date 1947 on

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Have you been to an apple orchard? The roots of today’s orchards in Allen County reach back to the efforts of early...

Posted by The History Center on Monday, March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019 post by The History Center on Facebook:

Have you been to an apple orchard? The roots of today’s orchards in Allen County reach back to the efforts of early pioneer John Chapman (popularly known as Johnny Appleseed). Born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1774, Chapman was a frontier horticulturalist and Swedenborgian missionary. Having previously visited the region, in the fall of 1830 he began purchasing land in Allen County in order to establish permanent apple orchards. When John Chapman died on March 18, 1845, his obituary was published in the Fort Wayne Sentinel, stating that “He followed the occupation of a nurseryman and has been a regular visitor here upwards of twenty years…” Following his death, several of his properties were sold by the county auditor, due to the fact that he owed back taxes. The properties, 48 acres in Milan Township and 116 acres in Maumee Township were sold in 1848 and 1849, respectively. In 1916, a decorative iron fence was erected by the Indiana Horticultural Society around the gravesite in Archer (Cemetery) Park, traditionally held to be Chapman’s final resting place. In 1935 the Optimist Club of Fort Wayne placed a headstone on the gravesite to honor the beloved early pioneer. Today, the 174th anniversary of his death, the History Center commemorates the man who would be known to the ages as the legendary Johnny Appleseed. #sociallyhistory

March 18, 2023 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

#OTD in 1845, pioneering apple farmer John Chapman, better known as "Johnny Appleseed," died near Fort Wayne. He had been protecting his saplings from cows that had broken down the fence of one of his orchards just north of Fort Wayne. Overcome by his exertions, he succumbed to the “winter plague.” Appleseed was buried along the St. Joseph River and the old feeder canal bed on the Archer farm.

Read more about Johnny Appleseed at our blog: Fort Wayne Pioneer: Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman by Tom Castaldi, local historianpublished May 12, 2016 by the Indiana Historical Bureau.

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Pages 370-372, Johnnie Appleseed, his handwriting and his burial place in The pictorial history of Fort Wayne, Indiana : a review of two centuries of occupation of the region about the head of the Maumee River by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927; Taylor, Samuel R., Mrs in 1917 on, discusses his death and burial location. A search for Appleseed finds many more references in the book.

Page 371 JOHNNIE APPLESEED, HIS HANDWRITING AND HIS BURIAL, PLACE. John Chapman, known as "Johnnie Appleseed," died at the home of William Worth, near Fort Wayne, in 1843. "The historical account of his death and his burial by the Worths and their neighbors, the Pettits, the Goings, Porters, Notestines, Beckets, Parkers, Witesides, Pechons, Hatfelds, Parrants, Ballards, Randsells and the Archers, in the Archer burial ground, is substantially correct," wrote John Archer in 1900. "The common headboards used in those days long since have decayed and become entirely obliterated, and at this time I do not think that any person could, with any degree of certainty, come within fifty feet of locating the grave." The burying ground is located a few rods west of Stop 3, on the Robison park electric line. "Johnnie Appleseed" is the hero of many interesting works of fiction dealing with the story of his life, which was spent in planting apple trees throughout the wilderness of the middle west. The portrait and the facsimile of an order for apple trees are after engravings which accompanied an article by E. O. Randall in Vol. IX of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical society publications. A bronze tablet dedicated to the memory of Johnnie Appleseed was placed in Swinney park. Fort Wayne, in May, 1916.

Page 373 He died on the 11th of March, 1843, at the home of William Worth, and the body, placed in a plain board coffin, was interred in the Archer burying ground. Mr. Porter accompanied his parents and witnessed the burial. The exact location of the burial spot was forgotten and it remained unknown until 1912 when the remains, together with a fragment of the box, were discovered while digging a grave. They were replaced, and the second body was placed directly above them. The Archer burying ground is a small piece of ground located at "Stop 3" on the electric line running between Fort Wayne and Robison park. 

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Ohio Historical Journal

  1. Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society over 150 search results at
  2. A May 4, 1916 newspaper article stated: Probably the most nearly authentic account of John Chapman and his work is found in the Historic Annals of Ohio, published by the Ohio Archaeological and Historical society in 1861.
  3. Index Results for Johnny Appleseed with just a few listed below:
    2. JOHN CHAPMAN'S LINE OF DESCENT FROM EDWARD CHAPMAN OF IPSWICH* Compiled by FLORENCE E. WHEELER With an Introduction by ROBERT PRICE Who Was Johnny Appleseed?--Introduction
    3. OUTLINE OF FACTS RELATED TO THE BURIAL PLACE OF JOHN CHAPMAN By WESLEY S. ROEBUCK, February 15, 1942; revised July 3, 1943, seven pages.
    4. REPORTS THE BURIAL PLACE OF JOHN CHAPMAN (JOHNNY APPLESEED)* Report of the Commission Appointed by the American Pomological Society to Investigate Its Location, seven pages.

Johnny Appleseed Bench and Carving

Street View photo from Google maps of Johnny Appleseed bench downtown at 227 Lincoln Highway aka Jefferson Blvd. in front of Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Wayne next to Parkview Field.

July 18, 2019 post by the Johnny Appleseed Festival on Facebook with photos of the new Johnny Appleseed bench:

Johnny Appleseed Festival Board helps unveil Johnny Appleseed in downtown Ft Wayne. Over the past year, the festival, along with Urbana University, home of the Johnny Appleseed Historical Society/Museum, have been working with White Lodging as they commissioned an artist to design a sculpture to sit downtown outside their new Hampton Inn & Suites.

Fast forward almost a year later - its here and was revealed during the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the hotel.

We hope you'll all visit downtown Fort Wayne and if you get your picture with it, post it here to FB for us to see!

Thank you White Lodging for including us in this memorable day and permanent mark on Fort Wayne.

 December 18, 2019 post on Fort Wayne Memories on Facebook has two photos showing the L. Dean Butler carving in the Apple Orchard in Glenbrook Mall now H&M in the same location, stating:

The Apple Orchard at Glenbrook Mall is a treasure. Fort Wayne’s “Johnny Appleseed” carving by L. Dean Butler now stands in the H&M store at Glenbrook Square Mall. 

A comment on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook says the top photo is from the Harter Postcard Collection in the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.

The bottom photo in H&M is from this article:

At age 85, sculptor Hector Garcia wants to live long enough to make Fort Wayne’s first serious public work depicting John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. The folk art carving in the mall doesn’t count, he says. Nor does Johnny TinCap, the playful mascot of Fort Wayne’s minor league baseball team. “Those are cartoons,” explains Garcia, whose numerous sculptures include the towering Little Turtle in Headwaters Park and Jesuit Priest where the city’s three rivers meet. “I want the real person.” Copied from Where’s Johnny? A sculptor wants to immortalize 'the real' Johnny Appleseed in downtown Fort Wayne by Ann Votaw, March 13, 2019  on Input Fort Wayne.

Johnny Appleseed sculpture
Johnny Appleseed sculpture

January 23, 2023 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook with a photo captioned: Sculptor Dean Butler has almost completed the basic figure shaping on his Johnny Appleseed wood carving at Glenbrook Mall. Butler started on his 10-foot tall sculpture of the early Fort Wayne personality earlier this Summer and hopes to finish it by the end of August. (Staff Photo by Argil Shock). Handwriting in blue ink July 24, 1976.

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Page updated: April 5, 2024