WHIPPLE-The legend of folk hero Johnny Appleseed - born John Chapman in 1774 - reaches all the way to tiny Chapman Cemetery in Whipple.
"As a kid growing up, we always heard that the Chapman Cemetery had something to do with Johnny Appleseed," said Chuck Nonnenmacher, 46, Fearing Township trustee and lifelong Whipple resident.
As the story goes, Chapman's father Nathaniel and stepmother Lucy are buried there. Or perhaps it's at Cook Cemetery near Macksburg. Or maybe it was at one of two other Chapman family cemeteries-in Independence or in Jackson Township in Noble County.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Chuck Nonnenmacher, 46, Fearing Township trustee, reads a Chapman family tombstone at Chapman Cemetery in Whipple Thursday.
Washington County Public Library records report that Nathaniel Chapman died on Feb. 18, 1807 in Lower Salem. Lucy Cooley Chapman died after 1810.
During the Revolutionary War, Nathaniel Chapman fought with the Continental Army. He was also a Minuteman fighting in Concord, N.H., in 1775.
Nathaniel Chapman's first wife Elizabeth (John Chapman's mother) died from complications from tuberculosis.
It is believed that Nathaniel, Lucy and their family came to Marietta in late summer or fall 1805. Johnny met them, and later he, Nathaniel and his half brother found a homesite on Duck Creek, some 25 miles from Marietta.
"(Johnny Appleseed) did plant in the area and when Johnny traveled the Ohio to the Muskingum River, the rest of the family came along and settled just north of Marietta," said Joe Besecker, director of the Johnny Appleseed Society and Museum at Urbana University.
After reportedly helping to construct a large log cabin at his family's homesite, Johnny continued his quest to plant nurseries of apple trees through Ohio.
Today, several descendants of the Chapman family lie in rest at Chapman Cemetery. Set on the slant of a hill with a handful of cedar trees in its midst, the cemetery's lawn has been freshly mowed this week by a good neighbor who asked to remain anonymous.
That neighbor has been keeping the cemetery in good order since 1975. In the 1970s, he said his son did the upkeep as a 4-H project.
According to neighbor Janet Thompson, 60, someone also puts flags in the cemetery for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. "
It's nice that they do that," she said.