ColumbiaMagazine.com
Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  
 
























 
The American Chestnut Tree

By Col. Carlis B. Wilson

The American Chestnut
I was born in the era of the dying chestnut trees. In the first 40 years of the 20th century, blight destroyed billions of American Chestnuts Trees. In the early forties, on a trip to most any woods, one would see these trees laying on the ground and some dead ones still standing. Very few had any leaves or chestnuts, because they were dying because of a "Blight Fungus."

I remember my mother, Blanche Wheeler Wilson, talking about hulling chestnuts which grew on their family farm when she was a young girl. She said her brother Bert "could hull them with his bare feet." However, as a young boy, I only saw a few burr looking chestnuts which had small or no nuts inside. There were a few saplings, but they died before they could bear to any degree.

Rail Fences
The chestnut tree was easy to saw with the crosscut saw and was also easy to split. Many of the rail fences in this area were constructed by using the chestnut wood, most likely due to the ease of splitting and cutting. I remember a good number of the zigzag rail fences that were popular when I was a boy. I heard the old folks say before the chestnuts trees begin to die in Adair County that a man came to some of the meetings and made speeches about the time when the chestnut trees would die. As time went on so did it happen as he said. They did not say who he represented or his name.

Restoring This Species
I did some research and found a good number of related sites on The American Chestnut and efforts to restore this species. Here is a URL if you care to read what is being done to restore The American Chestnut Trees: The American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation.

Beech Trees
The beech is a favourite of mine, they were some of the largest trees in our section of the county. There was no forest but most farms has a good patch of woods. The beech is a slick-bark knot-free specimen. The beechnut was liked by squirrels and birds. They are large trees, with very little underbrush, which made squirrels an easy target for hunting. An early trip before the break of day to these trees when the squirrels were cutting was the most desirable for a good bag limit. As a young boy I was impressed by the markings on the local beech trees. Some had names or inscriptions and dates. These trees were beginning to die in the forties and fifties, and many had hollow trunks back then. The beech was an easy tree to work up into lumber or fire wood, and the large limbs made a lot of fire wood.

_Carlis


This story was posted on 2003-08-15 18:53:51
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


 

To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.

 























 
 
Quick Links to Popular Features


 

ColumbiaMagazine.com content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Use the following link: http://www.columbiamagazine.com/columbiamagazinerss.php.

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270-250-2730 Fax: 270-751-0401


Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to webmaster@columbiamagazine.com. All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.