Though cracked, splintered and held together by chains, the last known living apple tree planted by John Chapman (AKA. Johnny Appleseed) still produces a good crop of tart, red-striped apples each fall. Growing on the farm of Dick and Phyllis Algeo near Nova, the 170-year-old tree has long been seen as a proud member of this family, which still has four generations living on the farm.Typically, apple trees live only 50 or 60 years, so the Algeo tree has surprised experts with its longevity.
“Every spring I think it’s the last year,” says Phyllis, looking proudly at the tree. “But Johnny’s watching over it.”
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Chuck Carnahan and I have been working in the non-profit field for over 8 years with the Dublin Arts Council in Dublin, Ohio. I have many years of backpacking and hiking experience, however this walk presents an entirely new kind of challenge. 180 years ago when John Chapman was traveling the mid-west, if you didn't have a horse, money for a carriage or live near a body of water, you had to walk everywhere you went. If you needed supplies other than what you had with you, you were out of luck. This is the example that I will follow on this walk. The drive from Columbus to Nova is only about an hour and a half but I will walk the entire 170 mile round trip with nothing but what I take with me from the beginning. Food, shelter, everything I use or need.
Upon reaching the Algeo farm on day 3 of my walk, I will strap a live rooted cutting from this tree (Essentially a clone of the original tree) onto my backpack and start my 3 day walk back to Columbus. The cutting was propagated and donated by American Forests which is America's oldest historic tree registry. The cutting will then be planted on the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory as part of their permanent collection.
The planting was originally going to take place in July at the conclusion of my walk. However by a happy coincidence, American Forests and the Johnny Appleseed Museum are conducting their own Johnny Appleseed tour in September and in which, they have asked to include the planting of the Appleseed cutting at the Conservatory.
I will post more details about the walk and the tour in September as they come in, so please check back for regular updates! And please please please donate to the American Cancer Society, the Franklin Park Conservatory and American Forests via the GREEN links above. All of the money you donate will go solely to them and your donation is tax deductible. These three organizations do so much to help their respective communities so please, help them out in any way you can. I will also post regular updates as to the total dollar amount raised.
Feel free to leave comments and questions below. Thanks!!!