"His lifestyle and preferences were completely opposite the norms of frontier life. He was a vegetarian. He preferred to sleep outdoors and avoided towns and settlements. He thought it cruel to ride a horse, chop down a tree, or kill a rattlesnake. The stories go on. The settlers viewed these attitudes as preposterous and outrageous but amusing as hell.
He must have been a sight. He was of medium height, sinewy and large-boned, with dark hair down to his shoulders and bright blue eyes. He wore a coffee sack with holes for his arms and legs. Tradition has it that he had a tin kettle that served as both hat and cooking pot, but Price says that's not authenticated. Contrary to Walt Disney's 1948 cartoon, he carried a woodsman's usual equipment, including rifle, tomahawk, knife, etc.
The myth of Johnny Appleseed grew partly from the sense that Chapman's relationship with nature transcended the man-vs.-nature ethos prevailing in his time. Going barefoot symbolized that. Shoes were part of civilized life, a protective layer between your feet and the earth, for which Chapman had no need: His feet were in touch with another realm, a spiritual realm. In contrast to the typical pioneer, who saw the wilderness as something to be conquered, he was in harmony with nature.
His kindness to animals was well known, even notorious, and often contrary to frontier custom. He often used his profits to purchase lame horses to save them from slaughter. He once freed a wolf he found snared in a trap, nursing it to health and then keeping it as a pet. There is an endless stream of amusing stories about Johnny Appleseed showing mercy to animals such as rattlesnakes or yellow-jackets."
(google and Wikipedia)