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Lydia H. Sigourney: ”A Mighty Chieftain ’neath my Shade“

Earlier in the week I quoted the first article about the “Washington Elm” in Cambridge, by a Massachusetts author named John Langdon Sibley in American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge in 1837. The popular poet Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) picked up the idea behind that article—that the tree could speak about the events it had stood beside—and ran with it.
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See more about: Washington Elm

“It Has Stood Like a Watchman”

History / US History : Boston 1775 (4 years ago)

By 1837, a new character appeared in descriptions of how George Washington took command of the Continental Army on 3 July 1775. This was a large elm tree on the town common, which authors dubbed the “Washington Elm.” The first menti... Read Post

The Growth of the Washington Elm

History / US History : Boston 1775 (4 years ago)

To return to the Washington Elm, said to be the tree in Cambridge under which Gen. George Washington took command, one of the striking things about that story is how it grew over the years. The first print mention, back in 1837, sta... Read Post

An Earlier Allusion: “Beneath the Venerable Elm…”

History / US History : Boston 1775 (4 years ago)

I interrupt my analysis of the Washington Elm’s decline and fall to share new information on its rise to fame. Yesterday Cambridge resident Robert Winters alerted me to an allusion to the tree predating John Langdon Sibley’s 1837 ma... Read Post


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