This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We measured the "Byfield Elm, " on the land of Benjamin Parsons, Byfleld Parish, Newbury, Mass. The tree is in sight of the cars as one goes to Newburyport, Mass., by Boston & Maine Railroad, some thirty miles from Boston. Mr. Parsons has authority to call the tree very near 100 years old. There is some decay on one side near the roots. Height of tree 100 feet; diameter or spread of branches 118 feet; circumference of trunk by line, three feet from ground, resting on the foremost ridges, twenty-seven feet; circumference at three feet from ground by pressing the line into the depressions between what may be called buttresses, forty-two feet; around the waist, at six feet from ground, seventeen and three-quarter feet; by estimation, at twelve feet, where the branches shoulder out, thirty feet.
I do not know of an Elm in this part of the State of Massachusetts equal to this, but there are very many that rank well as to size and some far excel it in age. I think few Elms live much over 100 years without showing some signs of decay. Doubtless many would remain healthy much longer here if not for the fact that they get broken by winds in Summer when in leaf and in Winter by ice.
The different forms the American Elm assumes is a feature of note. Some have immense trunks and comparatively little top as compared with the Byfleld Elm. It must have fifteen cords or more of cord wood, or even twenty cords if root and all could be sawed to four feet crossties. Seedling trees from such patriarchs ought to command ready sale, but like live stock or fruits, soil and culture are elements of success.
Accounts of big; trees coming from the Eastern coast look tame by the side of facts from the Western coast, but local pride is something to date from. Mt. Washington, in our native State, is not the largest sort of an elevation, but is the best we can show, and many go to see it.