A Haven for Vee

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of the Oldest Trees in New England...

went down Tuesday in Yarmouth, Maine. His name was Herbie, an American elm tree stricken with the deadly Dutch Elm disease over fifty years ago. For all that time, he has been tended by Frank Knight a most diligent, vigilant, tree warden who is now 101 years old.


Mr. Knight watched as the crew took Herbie down this past Tuesday morning. He said eloquently, "It's been a beautiful tree. I'm sorry to see it go. But nothing is forever. It's pretty near my turn. And it's just a fact of life that life is going to end. And that's for people, for trees, for everything. I thank the good Lord every day that we had him in his glory and beauty for so long."

You can read more *here.*

Why am I telling you about Herbie when the story has been so well documented elsewhere? Well, perhaps it is because anyone who has ever lived under the shadow of a mighty elm is interested in stories such as these.

Also, in recent weeks, I've been working on trees of another sort — family trees. I've traced John's family, both his mother's and father's families, back to the beginning of time. Yes, all the way back to Adam's grandfather.

As for mine, I have not been able to get any further back than the 1800s in Yarmouth, Maine. It makes me happy to think that some of my family knew Herbie in the early years. Herbie was 212 years old.

What (or who ☺) is the oldest tree in your corner?

Edited to Add on May 14, 2012: Mr. Knight passed away at the age of 103. I find myself wistfully hoping that there's a Herbie growing in Heaven. Source


  1. 212 years old??? WOW! Think of all the changes that have happened since that tree was just a sapling.....incredible!

  2. Yes.... this story was covered in the Chicago Tribune! The size of the trunk was amazing. Dutch Elm disease has killed virtually all the elms in northern Illinois, including those that created a leafy canopy over the street I grew up on.

  3. Lovely post!!!

    We have a big old Oak, down the street a bit. I love it, though it isn't mine. And take photos of it, often. :-)

    Btw, I am itching to change the look of my blog! Valentines popping up here and there, are 'getting to me.' :-) I've been playing on my Just-Test-Blog and think I have it ready. [I so love my Just-For-Me-Test-Blog!!!!!!]

    Soon, I think I'll use my Just-For-Me-Test-Blog work, as the blueprint for what I'll put on 'Aunt Amelia's Attic.' Soon.... Soon.... -grin-

    You knew I'd never make it a whole month, with blue, didn't you? Well, it was fun for a while. To go so far out of my usual color comfort zone. It was a good experience!

    -chuckle- Speaking of my going out side of my usual color comfort zone - Have you ever thought of what would happen, if you switched to Pink/Red for a bit? -giggggles- I know, I hear your GASP, across a couple of state lines.


    I dare ya'.

    I double dare ya'.

    I triple dare ya', with sugar on it.



  4. Yesterday, you asked about blog load time. Did you ever find a site called Stop Watch?

    You Log Out of your blog, and follow the simple instructions and see how long your blog takes to load.

    When I did mine, it was 3.574. Yours was 3.774. But do it yourself! I may have gotten it wrong. ,-) Not being techy and all. :-)

    And I did switch to a sort of Valentine blog theme.


  5. Ooh, this will be great as a starting point for Mikey to study Dutch Elm disease. Many trees on the Penn State Campus had to be taken down because of this. So sad. Neat story, though.

  6. I read this story in our local paper and thought it must be sad for Mr. Knight after caring for the tree all those years. He does seem to have a great attitude about it all, though.

  7. Still a tree warden at 101 - amazing.

    We have a lot of Dutch Elm disease here too. So sad when such old trees have to go.

  8. 101? 212? they both have seen amazing things.

    here is a great tree story.

    my grandfather in law loved live oaks which have never survived this far north. he bought a good sized one and moved it 100 miles north every other year until it finally rested on the property we now live.

    it is the finest specimen of live oak you can imagine
    and watches over our family as it has now for three
    generations. :)

  9. NO!!!!!! Our blogs did NOT take 3 minutes, to load! 3 seconds is more like it!

    No! No! No! Please no.

  10. Seconds! Seconds! Seconds!

    To load!

    Our blogs!!!


  11. Hahahahahaha...thanks for the clarification! (I do know some blogs that take 3 minutes or more to load so thought it was within the realm of possibility.)

  12. Well, I'm glad you shared the story of Herbie...since it is all new to me. And we don't know much about Dutch Elm disease over here...more about the pine beetle. But we all need to be reminded that nothing lasts forever!

    Now I need to do some research...and see if we have any 'Herbies' in our neighbourhood.

  13. Great story Vee! The house we just bought was built in an old farm pasture, so we don't have any old trees. I am guessing the maples in the side yard are about 8 years old....

  14. Lovely story. Dutch Elm Disease. UGH. The street we lived on in Michigan used to be lined with big old elm trees. Where I live now it is the pine beetle. Nasty creatures.

    Some of the oldest trees in our town are in our yard! The boy that lived in our house when it was new cut down all the trees in the park so those rees are younger.

    Genealogy-wise I can get back to the late 1700's, but don't know much about those people. The information is very confusing and some what suspect.

  15. Hi Vee,
    Thanks for sharing this story, Mr Knight's attitude was just so inspiring to me. Great read!

    I really like your new blog design.
    I also read your previous post, and enjoyed it so much, what beautiful scenery you have to look at, just such a winter wonderland.
    As always enjoyed my visit.

  16. Thank you a lovely story! Whenever I see an ancient tree, I wonder about the stories it could tell! God bless the fellow who took care of it for so long.

  17. Wow - related to Adam? Holy macaroni!! We 've only gone back a few generations and I thought that was good.

    Have a wonderful evening!

  18. I just stopped over after viewing your comment on Restyled.

    Imagine my surprise when I saw you had blogged about a tree (and your family tree)
    I blogged about trees today...
    Great minds???

  19. Wow that's an old tree...such a shame it had top come down.

    We have some really really TALL trees here, I'll have to take some photos.

    Hope all is well with you, we had a few finals today and the rest continue through next week. I am tired...lol.


  20. So sad to lose a tree like Herbie.

    I believe the oldest tree in NYC resides in the borough of Queens and is estimated between 240 -400 years old.
    Sadlythe prior oldest tree, a 600(!) year old tree, was recently cut down in Queens because of rot
    Read the story here:

  21. Great story and I too am getting into genealogy - which is pretty good seeing that I work for a DNA/genealogy company, huh?

    All of my grandparents were gone before I was born, so I too am learning and enjoying getting to "know" them better.

    Is is the male line or the female line you're having a brick wall with? DNA may be able to help :-)

    Email me if you want more info (this is not a commercial -really - just trying to help )


  22. That is amazing! A beetle infested the trees in our area about eight years ago. We had beautiful trees lining our streets. The city came through and cut just about every tree down. It looked like some sort of a bomb went off. It actually caused some people to become depressed because every thing looked so forlorn. The city has since replanted but it will take years and years for these trees to mature. I'm sorry to hear that tree had to be cut down. These beautifuk landmarks become a part of what we call home.


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