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Milltown Elm


Milltown Elm 1.jpg

Milltown Elm

Six-hundred year-old elm tree located on the banks of Dana’s Run.

Early settlers and Indian tribes embedded relics in the tree remain as proof of their visitation.

By Myrtle Davis Nott

At Milltown on the banks of Dana’s Run, a stately old elm tree, sometimes referred to as the “tree that owns itself,” has been regarded by many as the oldest, largest and most unique elm tree known to man.

Charles Wing, a Mechanicsburg tree surgeon in the late 1931’s judged the tree to be approximately six-hundred years old and third largest in the United States. The Rathbone elm in Marietta, and a tree in Connecticut were first and second in size. Since then the Rathbone elm has been removed and the eastern one has perhaps disappeared from mother nature. Now, the oldest and largest elm has fallen. Its measurements were 27 ft. in circumference and 9 ft. in diameter.

The tree is unique in that it has been protected through the years by a deed and financial provision for its maintenance.

This humble contract made nearly a century ago tells an interesting story.

“Sold to W. C. Greenwood al large stately elm tree. Standing in the East Bank of the Creek and about 12 rods east of my Store. Said tree is never to be disturbed, defaced, mutilated, or in any way despoiled of its beauty and grandeur so long as it lives as Mother Earth with nature it.”

Milltown, June 19th, 1879

Signed M. Rea

Marcellus (Mac) Rea who made the sale to W. C. Greenwood, grandfather of William (Bill) greenwood, present owner of Greenwood Farm, attached great sentimental value to the old legend; he and his sweetheart were engaged under this tree. Therefore, he wished to insure its preservation.

In later years his son Junius Greenwood, carrying out his father’s tradition, supposedly was married under the branches of this beautiful giant elm.

The deed was written in pencil on a shoebox top; no money was given.

The tree is on the Patrick Blake property who bought it from Lydia Rea, who succeeded M. Rea as owner of the Milltown property.

The Ashland Kentucky Tree Cutters filled the old elm tree. A Huge stump remains as a landmark.


 

(Family tree info in following articles is incorrect.)

‘Tree that Owns Itself”

Old Deed Protects Giant Elm Against Harm by Man

The Marietta, Ohio, Times—no date given

By Ruth Schornstheimer Special Feature Writer

On the banks of Danas Run at Milltown near Newport stands a giant elm, making a bold if somewhat jagged silhouette against the sky.  For almost a century this tree has been protected from harm by human hands by virtue of the following contract:

“Sold to W. C. Greenwood a large Stately Elm tree, Standing on the East Bank of the Creek and about 12 Rods East of my Store. Said tree is never to be disturbed, defaced, mutilated, or in any way despoiled of its beauty and grandure, so long as it lives as Mother Earth will nurture it.

Milltown June 19th, 1879

(signed) M. Rea”

Marcellus Rea, who made the sale, owned a small store just across Danas Run.  No information is available as to the amount of money which changed hands.  The original contract was written in pencil on a pasteboard show box. 

William C. Greenwood, grandfather of the present owner of Greenwood Farm, purchased the tree to preserve it.  The elder Greenwood was attracted to the tree because of its size and stateliness, according to his grandson, William G. Greenwood.  “Bill,” as he is known to friends, gives no credence to the legend that his grandfather proposed marriage to his grandmother under the elm and therefore wished to insure its future. 

Whatever the reason, the tree itself was well worth his concern.  Charles Wing, a Mechanicsburg nurseryman, in the late 1930s estimated it to be about 600 years old.  He also expressed the belief that it was at the time the third largest elm in the U. S.

W. C. Greenwood was a flatboat man who had come from Morgantown, W. Va. in 1821 when he was 17 years of age.  Later on he quit the river, got married, and in 1846 bought the home and acreage now known as Greenwood Farm from Capt. Daniel Greene, a sea captain.  Capt. Greene, who had built this first brick house of Newport Township in 1808, was the great grandfather of Capt. Tom Greene of present-day riverboat fame.  The Greenwoods’ son Junius, who was born in this house, grew up and married Carrie Greene, granddaughter of Capt. Daniel Greene, who thus went to live in the house built by her grandfather.  Their son Bill was born within these walls, as were his two sons who now help him work the farm. 

All in all, the family tradition is one of cultivating the earth’s treasures and handing them on to succeeding generations, so it is quite understandable that the gallant elm tree on Dana’s Creek remains standing through the courtesy of W. C. Greenwood. 

 

Huge Deeded Elm Tree Is Felled near Newport

From The Marietta, Ohio, Times, August of ?

By Myrtle Davis Nott

Newport Correspondent

 

            At Milltown on the banks of Dana’s Run, a stately old elm tree, sometimes referred to as the “tree that owns itself,” has been regarded by many as the oldest, largest, and most unique elm tree known to man.

            Charles Wing, a Mechanicsburg tree surgeon, in the late 1930s, judged the tree to be approximately 600 years old and the third largest elm in the U.S.  The Rathbone elm in Marietta and a tee in Connecticut were first and second in size.  Since then the Rathbone elm has been removed and the eastern one has perhaps disappeared from mother nature [sic].  Now, the oldest and largest elm has fallen.  Its measurements were 27 ft. in circumference and 9 ft. in diameter. 

            The tree is unique in that it has been protected through the years by a deed and financial provision for its maintenance.

            This humble contract made nearly a century ago tells an interesting story:

            “Sold to W. C. Greenwood a large stately Elm tree, Standing on the East Bank of the Creek and about 12 rods East of my Store.  Said tree is never to be disturbed, defaced, mutilated or in any way despoiled of its beauty and grandeur, so long as it lives as Mother Earth will nurture it. 

            “Milltown, June 19th, 1897

            (signed) M. Rea”

            Marcellus (Mac) Rea who made the sale to W. C. Greenwood owned a store across Dana’s Run.  The original contract was written in pencil on a pasteboard show box, and no amount of money for the transaction was given.

            William C. Greenwood, grandfather of William (Bill) Greenwood, present owner of Greenwood Farm, attached great sentimental value to the old elm tree. According to an old legend he and his sweetheart wee engaged under this tree.  Therefore, he wished to insure its preservation.

            In later years his son, Junius Greenwood, carrying out his father’s tradition, supposedly was married under the branches of this beautiful giant elm.

            W. C. Greenwood, a flatboat man, came to the Ohio Valley in 1821 from Morgantown, W. Va., when 17 years old.  Later he married and bought the present Greenwood Farm from Capt. Daniel Green, a sea captain.  Capt. Greene, grandfather of the late Gordon Greene, and great-grandfather of the late Tom Greene of riverboat fame, built the first brick house in Newport in 1808.  It was in this house that the Greenwood’s son, Junius, was born.  Junius married Carrie Greene, Captain Daniel Greene’s granddaughter and continued to live in the old homestead and farm the land of his father.  His son, William was born in the same beautiful old brick home and so were his two grandsons, James and Samuel.

            It is tradition and sentiment as well as love for land and beautiful handwork of God that has caused the Greenwood family to cherish and preserve the old elm tree on Dana’s Run, Milltown.

            Now that the time has come when the tree threatens danger and becomes a hazard to highway and public utilities, the Ashland, Ky., tree cutters have felled the old elm, and only a huge stump remains as a landmark and remembrance of bygone days.

[Caption under the photo:  This 600 year old Milltown Elm, located on the banks of Dana’s Run near Newport, has been removed to provide a safer highway.  Early settlers and Indian tribes were familiar with this spot and embedded relics in the tree remain as proof of their visitations.  (Times photo by Jack Lowe)]