The Story of the Old Oak Tree
Having the old family sawmill at my home always brought interesting calls for logs offered or trees that became available. In 1990 a neighbor who owned a farm around the corner told me that he had an old White Oak tree that was dying and that I could have it for the taking. The tree was an old growth survivor that was about 80 years old when the area was first settled and the ground cleared in the 1850's. It was often the rule of the settlers to leave a landmark tree near the intersecting boundary lines or for shade for their cattle. this was one such tree. The trunk of the tree yielded three 7 foot long logs. The butt log measured 5 feet 2 inches across the large end. The only way I and my helper Dave Fix could move them was to saw them down the center length wise with my 28 inch Homelite saw and then split and chop the rest to halve each log. Then we could lift them with my International 660 tractor to put them on my old 1946 International truck. Once we got them on the sawmill carriage we would go to the extra effort to Quarter Saw them to produce the most marketable lumber. Much of the first log was sold to a Connecticut Cabinet Maker for $15.00 a board foot and he drove from there to get them personally. My 52 inch diameter blade on the sawmill would reach through 22 inches of wood and the middle boards of each flitch were that width with many others ranging down in width to about 6 inches. After clearing everything from the site I counted the visible rings in the stump and there were 220. I estimate that tree began growing before 1770. The wood had beautiful curly figure with lots of fleck rays and it produced many pieces of furniture and other items. The coat and hat tree custom made for a long time customer in Flagstaff, Arizona was one of them.