What adventure brought Johnny Appleseed to Fredericktown in 1812?
A. Planting an apple orchard
B. Hunting buried treasure
C. Selling apple cider
D. Warning of an Indian attack
Correct Answer: D. Warning of an Indian attack
Indians in Fredericktown! Over 200 years ago during the War of 1812, Indian attacks were more feared than ever. It was such a scare that brought the frontier orchard-planter, Johnny Appleseed, on the run to warn the people of Fredericktown.
On August 13, 1812, a grocer from Mansfield named Levi Jones was ambushed, killed, and scalped by Indians. Two men nearby heard the Indians’ infamous “scalp yell” and found Jones dead. Immediately they spread the word of an impending Indian attack. With no soldiers in the area, they needed help.
Who would volunteer to make the dangerous journey south to the stockades of Fredericktown and Mount Vernon? John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, stepped forward to seek aide and warn the frontier.
Johnny ran barefoot through the night stopping at each cabin along the way to give the warning. “There was something awful, it is said, in Johnny’s warning cry, as he pounded at the door of each cabin he passed, and shouted…: ‘Flee! Flee! For your lives! The Indians are upon you.’”
One resident of Berlin township was so frightened by Johnny’s warning that he immediately ran all the way to the Fredericktown stockade… with his trousers over his arm!
Although the Indians never attacked, Johnny Appleseed’s warning helped people in Fredericktown get ready for a threat to their physical lives. The Bible gives you a far more important warning to help you avoid a threat to your eternal life.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Though created by God in a perfect state, Adam and Eve made a deliberate choice to disobey God’s command. This act plunged the whole human race into sin.
“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans. 5:12).
But physical death is not the end. A “second death” awaits sinners in a place of eternal punishment.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
For those who are unprepared, punishment will begin immediately upon physical death (Hebrews 9:27). When Jesus described what happened after a certain man “died…and was buried,” without any other comment Jesus said, “And in hell he lift[ed] up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22-23).
In His love, God has provided a way for people to avoid eternal punishment and live in relationship with Him. God sent Jesus Christ to earth to restore people to Himself. Jesus Christ is unique; He is fully God and fully man. This unique nature made it possible for Him to live a perfect life and offer Himself as a substitute, bearing God’s punishment for us.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus demonstrated His power in His resurrection from the dead, and He is now ascended to Heaven to the right hand of God.
To escape the danger you must simply “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). Faith is more than knowledge of Bible facts; it is a personal commitment from the heart to Jesus. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
True faith must come from a repentant heart. “Repent ye…and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). To repent means to change your mind about sin. You must accept what God says about sin and be willing to submit to His rule in your life.
This offer of salvation is based solely on the grace of God. It is a gift. You can do nothing to earn eternal life or gain forgiveness of sins.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Perhaps you would like to know more about God and the Bible. You could start by looking up the Bible references in this tract, and then read Romans or the Gospel of John. Ask God to help you understand as you read.
You should also find help from a good church. Not all churches are alike. Look for one that truly believes and teaches the Bible. Go to the services and listen to the preaching of God’s Word. God’s promise is that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Will you respond to God’s truth with true faith— personally depending on Jesus Christ alone and turning from sin in your life?
The danger Johnny Appleseed warned of never came to fruition, but the danger God warns us of will certainly come to pass. Heed God’s warning before it’s too late.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” (Hebrews 2:3)
*Historical Sources: History of Knox County and “History of Fredericktown,” Bicentennial Days Program.
*Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Images: Drawing of Johnny Appleseed from A History of the Pioneer and Modern Times of Ashland County. (1862). 1966 Johnny Appleseed Stamp from U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing