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Chapman, John (26 September 1774–10 March 1845), pioneer nurseryman and folk hero, known as “Johnny Appleseed,” was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Chapman, a farmer and carpenter, and Elizabeth Simons (or Simonds). No authenticated account of Chapman’s childhood has come to light. It is likely, however, that he began to develop his remarkable woodsman’s skills during his childhood and youth along the Connecticut River near Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to which the family had moved following his father’s remarriage. As a young man, Chapman established an appletree nursery along the Allegheny Valley (1797–1798) in northwestern Pennsylvania. From there he gradually extended his operations into central and northwestern Ohio and then into eastern Indiana....

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Cortez Lira, Gregorio (22 June 1875–28 February 1916), cowboy and Mexican-American folk hero, was born in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, near the U.S.–Mexico border, the son of Roman Cortez Garza, a rancher, and Rosalia Lira Cortinas. In 1887 his family moved to Manor, Texas, near Austin. Two years later Cortez joined his older brother, Romaldo Cortez, in finding seasonal employment on the farms and ranches of South Texas. Some time in this period, Cortez married Leonor Díaz; they had four children. After eleven years as vaqueros, or cowboys, and farmhands, Cortez and his brother settled on a farm in Karnes County, Texas, renting land from a local rancher. Cortez and his first wife divorced in 1903, and in 1905 he married Estéfana Garza. They had no children and later separated....

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Whittemore, Samuel (27 July 1696–03 February 1793), farmer and folk hero of the American Revolution, was born in Charlestown (now Somerville), Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Whittemore and Hannah (maiden name unknown), farmers. As a young man he served with a royal regiment, the King’s Dragoons, and attained the rank of captain. Whittemore’s military reputation led to his election to numerous town offices in Cambridge, where he owned a farm at Menotomy (now Arlington) on the Alewife Brook. He rose to be deputy sheriff of Middlesex County, in which capacity he struck his first blow for liberty....