(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
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
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
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.
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.
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
“Milltown, June 19th, 1897
(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
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.
years his son, Junius Greenwood, carrying out his father’s tradition,
supposedly was married under the branches of this beautiful giant elm.
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.
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.
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
[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)]