RUTLAND TOWN’S BIG ELM
Beside busy US Route 7 stood one of the largest elm trees in Rutland Town and the State of Vermont. It grew in the front lawn of Williams Farmstead. If this old giant could have talked it could have told stories going back over 200 years When it was a young tree the road beside it was dirt and used by oxen, horses and probably a lot of travelers on foot. During its life it saw changes in travel from slow moving oxen to our present high speed automotive and trucking era, and in the air to our modern day jets and air travel. It saw many a big storm both summer and winter and saw East Creek overflow its banks in several bad floods from 1800 on, and especially in the floods of 1927 and 1947.
The tree saw six generations of Lesters and Williams carry on the farm land that surrounded it.The farm has been operating for 160 years and is still going strong. The tree could tell stories of how the early farmers broke young colts by hitching them to the tree top, and how one family member started a fire at the base of the tree, that burned it so much the tree carried the scar for many years. The tree was a great home for Golden Orioles and they came back to nest there year after year, and also at one time a swarm of bees lived there for a considerable time. The shade of the tree was a good place for weary knights on the road (bums) to stop and rest.
Stories were told that the tree had a mark on it to signify that the people who lived in the house were a soft touch I believe this must have been true, for anyone who ever came and asked for a handout always went away with a sandwich and a glass of milk courtesy of my mother.
But like everything else Mother Nature and time take their toll. In 1983 the great elm lost its battle of life to the Dutch Elm Disease that has taken so many of Vermont’s beautiful elm trees. However, this big tree left this record to go down in history: Age 200 years, height 100 ft, circumference 18 fr. diameter 68.8 in., and shaded close to an acre of land The tree’s roots must have had a good supply of ground water to reach that size,
One of the big blocks that was cut from the trunk is presently on display in the Vegetable Building at the Vermont State Fair. It is used for weary fair goers to stop, set, and rest a spell and tell stories of the big elm that was a landmark for a long time in the Town of Rutland.
STORIES ARE TOLD BY FOLKS LIKE ME BUT ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE