Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise
February 05, 1999
By Tim Bresnahan

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LANCASTER - John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, left his Leominster home to plant trees along the American frontier, but area residents can now bring a living example of his legacy back home.

The Johnny Appleseed Hospitality and Visitors Center on Route 2 in Lancaster is selling saplings, offspring from a tree that the folk hero planted in Ohio, along with other trees with historical connections.

Nancy K. Dell, tourism manager of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, explained the tree's history. Five years ago, Ohio resident Phyllis Algeo discovered documentation which showed that Chapman had planted an Albemarle pippin apple tree that was still living on her farm.

American Forest, a Jacksonville, Fla., company, placed the tree on its register of historic trees and used cuttings from the tree to start sapling trees, which are now for sale.

"It's a great history lesson," said Dell. She added that a storm destroyed the old tree in 1996, but "the tree wasn't totally lost, because of the offspring."


The tree kit costs $35, and includes the tree itself (about 1 to 3 feet), a growing tube, stake, fertilizer tablets, a net to protect the tree from birds, planting instructions and a certificate of authenticity. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee, Dell said.

American Forest sells a wide array of trees with historical ancestry, including trees located at important sites such as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, as well as homes and grave sites of American presidents, war heroes and literary figures, among others. Many of those trees can be ordered through the Visitors Center, which began selling them last August.

"The response has been good," said Dell. "I'm excited about this program."


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