A compilation of Historic and anecdotal reports of Eastern White Pine over 200 feet high, or containing large diameters and extraordinary lumber volumes, circa 18th to 20th century.
Old Growth White Pine Forests, c. 19th century.
Update: 1/15/2020, I will be adding more accounts in following weeks and months. All heights below are “as is”, as this is a project of ongoing investigation, early reports of fallen trees measured on the ground by tape line, chains, rods, and rule sticks by first person observers such as Foresters, mill men, and credible scientists & surveyors of the day, or which have been vetted by 2 or more credible witnesses, I find to be of potential high credibility. My preliminary findings suggest that some stands of Eastern White Pine were averaging over 200 feet in height in the Eastern & N. Eastern U.S. and Ontario, Canada before the year 1900, reaching impressive diameters often over 5 to 7 feet, and contained individual specimen which may have rivaled the highest recorded Western White Pines and its cousin, the Sugar Pine. Heights of 220 to 270 ft potentially having been reached in the very tallest ones. In aggregating about 70 historic height reports, and 52 listed diameters from the reports below, the mean average of this Historical superlative series is approximately 218 ft tall over a 6.27 ft diameter at stump. Diameters ranged from 2 to 12 ft, and heights from 150 to 270 ft.
- John Maude in the year 1800, visited Niagara, NY and Bath, Mud Creek, and Bartle’s mill. Trees were over 200 feet in length. Mr Bartle measured one, when a log, that was 202 ft long, white pine.
- Dr Timothy Dwight, a former president of Yale College, recalls a Pine 247 feet long measured by Mr. Law of Meredith, Ny. c. 1804, and estimates standing timber 200 feet, near Unadilla, Ny.
- Granby, Oswego Co. Ny, pine in 1829 on land of Charles Chapman, cut by Addison & James Saterlee and George Green, who aver to the dimensions: 4 ft above ground 7.5 ft diam, at 22 ft, 6 ft diam, 90 ft to first limb, and 220 feet to top branch. Another tree near this, wind fallen, not as great in diameter as the last tree, was measured by George Kellogg of Granby, who carefully measured the prostrate tree at 14 rods in length, or 231 feet.
- Camillus, Onandaga Co, NY, 1860. On land owned by Wheeler Truesdell, A Pinus Strobus measured 230 feet long as it lay, another nearby gave 154 feet of saw logs.
- A very detailed measurement by a scientific observer: Between Albany NY, and Killington, Shrewsbury mountains, Vermont in 1853. A prostrate Pine tree 235 feet long to a decayed top- which traced out even further than that. 17 ft 3 circumference at the base, 2 feet diameter 165 ft from base, it was measured by early Meteorologist and instrument maker, Joel W. Andrews.
- Carroll, Chatauqua Co. Ny, 1840 on farm of George W Fenton, a Pine cut 13-sixteen ft logs + one 12 ft, it’s height was estimated at over 250 feet.
- Another Pine at Carroll, Ny in 1857 that was 180 feet, cut 9 logs 16 ft, and one 12 ft.
- A Pine, in Kiantone, Ny measured 22 ft circumference, and yet another Pine in French Creek, was 27 ft circumference, and nearly 200 ft tall. It was not Uncommon for single pines to scale 5,000 feet. Single acres of Pines would sometimes yield 100,000 feet.
- At Kiantone Ny, 1854 Charles Spencer cut a pine which had 8 logs sixteen ft, and six logs 12 ft, besides top and stump. In 1860, another Pine was cut upon the same lot that was 7 ft diameter at stump, and 6 ft diameter 60 ft from trunk, it was sawed at Warner’s saw mill at Jamestown and produced 13,300 ft.
- Chautauqua Co., Cassadega creek Ny, c. 1865. A Pine on the property of J.E. Almy was cut down and measured upwards of 200 feet in length upon the ground, it was described as 5.5 feet diameter, and the stump was nearly six feet in diameter, and Other stumps nearby were 4.5 feet diam. According to Dr Frederick Larkin, and Mr Bugbee, 800 annual rings could readily be counted on the stump, not including a large number obliterated by decay.
- Randolph, Cattaraugus Co, Ny c. 1830, some Pines on the flats measured 225 feet. Others were said to reach 300 ft.
- Other reports around Randolph, and Conewango, Cattaraugus co. of trees 230 feet tall.
- Cold Spring, Cattaraugus Co. Ny, 1830s-1840s the area was originally covered with fine growth of timber, some pines more than 200 feet in length.
- Crystal Spring, Yates Co. NY 1881, a nearly 200 ft White Pine, 13 ft circumference, scaled 4,000 feet. 315 rings on the trunk.
- AN 18-LOG PINE [New Russia, NY]
A monster pine, a regular monarch of the forest, was recently cut by J. M. Barnet & Co., on their job in New Russia. From this stately tree, measuring fifty-four inches on the stump, no less than eighteen logs were cut. It is probably one of the largest, if not the largest, pine ever cut in the Adirondacks.
Ticonderoga Sentinel, September 20, 1917
- Poland, Chautauqua Co., Ny . c. early 1800s. It is said that a surveyor, Mr. Cheney, stretched his chain on a fallen pine 268 feet in length, each time he travled between Kiantone to Kennedy, Ny. Many of the Pines measured 5 to 6 feet diameter, “Poland Quality” in Lumber, was the standard.
- Cuba, Allegany Co, Ny, 1837. A Pine produced 18 mill logs ; 9 of 12 feet, and 9 of 16 ft.
- in 1902, Occasional white Pine in NY state are said to have been 255 ft, and 80″ in diam, and many NY lumbermen still living, recall giant White Pines that measured 7 ft across the stumps and over 220 in height. Another report that the 255′ tree was 125 to first branch, and felled in the Conewango swamp lands, according to records from Albany.
- Fairhaven, Rutland Co, Ny. about 1800, some of the trees were 200 feet tall, and were over 400 rings old.
- Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire 1770-1780
Rev. Wheelock, Mcclure, Lord and others who founded Dartmouth college record 270 and 230 ft long pines. White Pines grew especially along the river and valley of Mink Brook. These were often of great size and height, a hundred feet or more to the first limb, and it was not unusual that four trees could be felled in such a way to fence an acre, one on each side of a tract.
- First hand account by David Mcclure, friend of Rev. Wheelock from Dartmouth, who measured one of those pines which was 270 ft long from butt to top. The site was an unbroken forest of enormous pines one of which Rev David McClure DD says that he himself measured and found it 270 feet from the butt to the top. On the first cleared area of 6 acres it is said that the felled trees covered the ground 5 feet high and the standing trees shut off the sun till it was far up above the horizon.
- Whitefield, New Hampshire, 1872 William Quimby had a pine tree 21 ft circumference, and 100 ft to first limb, which contained estimated 7,000 feet of sound lumber.
- Dr Timothy Dwight mentions a report from Lancaster, New Hampshire from a man who had seen a pine 264 feet in length.
- In the vicinity of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, according to John Elwyn, Esq. a Pine tree was cut down some years ago which measured two hundred feet in height.
- Jay, Vermont 1860, M.E Doubleday cut 250 ft of logs from a pine:
- Coventry, Vermont 1891. 18 logs from a Pine tree, 17 were 12 feet, last was 9 ft long.
- East Jamaica, Vermomt 1901,cut by E.M. Butler, 17 logs, all but 2 were 12 feet long.
4 ft diameter 3,409 ft.
- Big Pine, St Johnsbury, Vermont. 7 ft diameter, 4 ft diameter 58 ft from stump 1886.
- Battleboro, Vermont. 5-1/2 ft diamter, 172 ft tall pine. 6031 ft of lumber. 1888.
- Barton, Vermont 1914, N.B. Dunham cut a pine 3 ft diam, and fifteen 12 ft logs.
- Peru, Vermont 1891, The workmen of J.J. Hapgood & Co. cut nineteen 12 ft logs, plus one 8 ft from the body of a single pine.
- West Townsend, Vermont, a Pine cut sixteen logs in 1907.
- Ashley Mountain, Connecticut, 1877. 21 logs, making 216 feet of Pine tree. Tree girthed 14 ft 9 circ.
- A Pine tree in Pennsylvania made 17 logs, 12 to 16 feet, and 8,033 board feet. top end of the Butt log was 58 inches diameter. 1892:
- Pine tree cut 15 logs, which were 12 to 20 ft. 8,999 board feet. Pennsylvania 1897:
- Pine tree at Equinunk, Pennsylania 1865. fifty logs?!! 13,900 board feet!
- Monster pine in pennsylania, 1867, 5 logs 16 ft. 5,000 feet. 41 to 33″ dbh for logs:
- Camp Fox, Pennsylvania, 1880. Pine tree cut 19 logs, 16 feet long. tree had five forks, and was 6 feet diameter at the butt: [Note: multiple forks, could yield many more logs!]
- Cambria Co, Pennsylvania 1883. 166 feet of logs, from 1 pine:
- A Pine in Somerset Co, Penn. 1895 cut thirty logs, 8 to 16 ft long – had nine prongs (reiterations). Stump 6 feet diameter:
- McKean County Penn. 1880, 175 foot tall pines were cut on land of Judge Witmore, and often these trees yielded nine 16 ft logs.
- Centre County, Penn. 1898, a Pine 176.5 feet tall, 5 ft 5 in. diameter, and 90 ft from butt to the forking of the branches was cut by Adam Zerbe, at Sober.
- A Big tree in Sullivan Co. Penn, 1888. It scaled 14 logs, and 13,179 ft. 84 feet to first branch, and 7 feet 8 inches diameter:
- A Pine tree felled on John Dubois lands Clearfield, Co. Penn 1871 had seventeen 16 ft logs! 7,200 board feet.
- On Sandy-lick neck, Pennsylvania, circa 1843 was a pine 12 feet in diameter, and at 12 feet from the ground it divided into branches.
- Cedar Run, Lycoming Co, Penn. Mammoth White Pine – c. 1889, 12 ft diameter, 200 ft tall. A white pine located on Robert Wolf’s job near the mouth of Cedar Run, Lycoming County, the finest white pine tree standing in Pennsylvania. Its diameter breast-high was 12 feet, and it was 200 feet in height, perfectly straight and sound, estimated to contain 6,500 feet below the branches. A log 105 feet long was cut from it, and sent to Philadelphia for a parade. Mr. Martz confirmed the stump was still present as of 1926.
- Col. Shoemaker states that in 1908 he saw a White Pine of similar diameter standing close to Gotshall’s Run, Clinton County. However, storm had broken off its top 70 feet from the ground.
- Thomas G. Simcox, an old timber cruiser, said it was second only to one other white pine in Clinton County, which was called the Grandfather Pine, and was 360 feet* high, and once stood at the mouth of Schwenk’s Gap, Sugar Valley, Clinton County.
*”The Grandfather Pine”, of Sugar Valley, according to local historian and folklorist Col. Henry W Shoemaker, was a well known pine to the settlers of Clinton County, Pennsylvania. This legendary mammoth tree, famous to the Indians and pioneers alike, was said to stand nearly twice as tall as the surrounding forest. It was cut around 1875 by Mike Courtney who was woodsman of Ario Pardee’s lumber interests. The tree was reportedly felled by Mike Courtney, Henry Mark, Jake Karstetter, and Henry Wren who cut the tree 9 feet off the ground with a large crosscut saw and axes. Shoemaker credits a more authentic height of 260 feet (269 ft with butt height added), from the butt to the top, as measured by Henry Wren, one of the cutters. The giant tree reportedly measured 12 feet in diameter, 9 feet up from the ground. Altoona Tribune Altoona, Pennsylvania 13 Jul 1931, Mon • Page 6
- Another Giant Pine at Little Sugar Valley, not far from Sugar Valley, Clinton Co, Penn. was cut in 1887 by J.H. Maize and John Breon which scaled 5,945 feet, and three men could not reach around the trunk of the tree.
- On Property of Mr Bell, at the waters of Mahoning, Brady Township, Penn. 1870. Pine tree, which was 21 ft 6 girth, and 11,000 board ft. 18 logs 16 ft, and three 12 ft logs. Totaling 324 log feet!
- Cameron Co, Pennsylvania 1908, pine tree scaled 10,800 ft, 5 ft diam, and cut 31 logs from 8 to 16 ft long, the total saw logs amount to 394 feet; but the tree was not this tall, for it had 2 forks and 3 branches of immense size. Actual height of tree is not recorded.
- History of Sheffield Township, Warren Co. Penn. 1830s, report from a sawmill of a Pine that was 23 ft circ. 8 ft from the ground, and another one which made seventeen sawlogs, each 16 ft long.
- Cook tract, Clarion river, Penn. 1917, some White Pines said to still be 250 ft tall, and 150 to first limb.
- Pinegrove Township, Pennsylvania. Clapp Estate Sale, 1903. 2000 acres covered in the last tract of White Pines in Pennsylvania not touched by the woodsman’s axe. “There are White Pine trees in this particular tract that will measure seven feet across the stump and which tower 250 feet into the air.”
- Hooverhurst, Indiana Co. Penn, 1901. A Pine nearly 200 ft tall, 58 in. butt diameter, left standing as a curiosity.
- Au-Sable River, N. Michigan, in 1890 C.H. Carpenter and A.H. Gifford cut a pine at Vaughan’s camp, 5.5 ft diam at butt, which cut 12, 16 foot logs, the tree being over 200 feet in height and perfectly sound.
- 1895, Monster pine cut by Spaulding Lumber company Mich. 23 logs x 16 ft, plus 2. 10,000 board feet. 4 ft 8 diam.
- Clyde, Michigan. 1854, a pine yielded 32 pine logs, and over 13,000 board ft.
- A Pine giving 19 logs, totalling 254 feet, at Farwell, Michigan 1879:
- Hobart, Mich, 1892 Monster pine 7 ft diam. section sent to Exhibition.
- Alpena, Mich. Giant Pine 9 feet diam. 1883
- Williams, Bay Co. Michigan, 1868. A pine tree with 24 x 16 ft logs, 10,098 ft.
- C.W. June cut down a Pine near Evarts, Mich. in 1886, yielding 19 logs, equalling 236 feet of tree.
- Baraga, Mich. 1903, John Moran cut a pine which made 22 logs ranging 12-16 ft, tree was over 5 ft diam, and scaled over 3,000 ft.
- Clam Lake, Mich. 1876, Pines furnished spars 175 ft long, with 2 ft diaimeter butts.
- Antigo, Wisconsin, 1896, a pine 20 ft girth, and 150 ft in length to a 2 ft diam broken top. Full height before the break, was probably 200 ft.
- Green Bay, Wisconsin, 1876, a pine cut 20 logs 12-18 ft long. scaled 4,205 ft.
- Large White Pine tree, Chippewa, Yellow river Wisconsin, 1891, yielded 29 logs, measured 5 ft 3 diameter 12 feet up.
- Another Giant Pine from Chippewa Valley, Wisc. 1898, yielded 14 logs. and 11,620 ft.
- Ontario, Canada. Many Weymouth Pine trees 210 feet long, 5 to 7 ft diameter, and 350 to 425 years old were measured as they lay, in Ontario by James Brown and George Brown, foresters in Ontario c. 1870s-1882. James Brown LL.D., was Forester from Arniston, Scotland, and later Inspector of Woods and Forests, Port Elgin, Canada. His son was George E. Brown, Forester, Cumloden, Newton- Stewart, N.B.
Pinus Strobus, or Weymouth Pine. “In its native habitats this pine grows to very large dimensions. We have measured many of them as they lay felled on the ground and taking a number of them we found the stems average 150 feet long by 2 feet 9 inches diameter at 5 feet up from the bottom. This may be taken as an average of the size of the trees as they stand in their native parts ; but we have found many of them that measured 210 feet long with stems from 5 to 7 feet in diameter at 4 feet up from the bottom and on counting the annular layers on the stumps from which they were cut we found them to range between 350 and 425 which may be taken as representing the years of their age.”
- Ontario White pines, 200 ft were not uncommon, and some 220 ft tall, 120 to first branch and 7 ft diameter recorded 1860s. Near the shores of Lake Erie the larger pines were reported to often reach 60 metres in height and over 150 cm (5 feet) in diameter (Hurlbert, 1862).
- William Durkee Williamson, in 1839, lists White Pine at up to 240 feet in Maine, and up to 6 feet at the butt diameter.
- Maine, 1882 forest census said white pine often exceeded 200 ft, and individuals 250 ft. not uncommonly 90 ft to lowest limbs.
- Androscoggin and Royal’s River, Maine. Col Moses Little in 1768 measured a White Pine log that was 181 feet long, and 12 inches diameter at the small end.
- Liberty, Maine a pine tree 7 ft diam, made 10,610 board ft. circa 1837.
- Maine, 1904, record White pine 225 ft tall, 90″ diam. …”white pines attained extraordinary size. (The record tree in Maine, cut in 1904, was 90 inches in diameter and 225 feet tall.) When reports of these giants reached England in the early 1600s, their fate was sealed, and by 1670 thousands were feeding”…
- Bangor, Maine, Pine tree 1888, 254 feet length of logs: 16 x 12 ft, 2 x14 ft, 2×8, and 1x 18 ft log:
- Dunstable, Mass. 1736, 7 feet 8 inches diameter, Pine.
- George Emerson reports that around the year 1800, at Blandford, Mass. Some pines were measured after they were felled, more than 13 rods and a half long, or 223 feet in length.
- Dayville, Mass. 1870. 18 sawlogs, none less than 8 feet.
In the Dayville area the passing of a large pine tree was all the news in late January. “A remarkably large pine tree was cut last week west of this village on land of S. & H. Sayles (owners of Dayville’s woolen mill). It was about 12 feet in circumference, and from it were cut by Mr. Alexander Blanchard, eighteen logs, none less than eight feet long, and all of which will saw into 2000 feet of boards.” (WCTr 2/3/1870).
- Mr. D.E. Hawks of Charlemont, Mass. in 1849, reportedly cut a 300 ft tall Pine tree, containing 22 logs, average log being 12 ft.
Weekly Transcript, North Adams, Mass., Thursday, July 12, 1849
247′ Meredith, NY History of the Lumber Industry in the State of New York
250′ Timothy Dwights’ Travels in New England and New York
240′ Dartmouth, NH A Natural History of Trees
260′ Lincoln, NH Forest Giants of the World Past and Present
262′ Forest Giants…
264′ NH. Forest Giants.
GREAT EASTERN TREES, PAST AND PRESENT by Colby B. Rucker, from the Bulletin of The Eastern native Tree Society, Volume 3, Issue 4 7 Fall 2008
New Hampshire: Eastern White Pine. A pine cut long ago on the site of Dartmouth College was said to have been 240′ tall. Although many doubt the species is capable of attaining such a height, the legend has persisted. Reference: Lane, Ferdinand C., 1953. The Story of Trees, pp. 67-68.
New York: Eastern White Pine, It is said that a fallen specimen at Meridith, New York measured 247 feet in length. Reference: American Forests, Spring 2000, p. 38. Comments: No other details are available. No authenticated records indicate that such heights were actually attained.
Pennsylvania: Eastern White Pine. Girth 37 feet, height 200 feet. “Felled near Cedar Run.” Reference: Lane, Ferdinand C., 1953. The Story of Trees, p.67. Comments: Lane gives no other details. The girth seems excessive, even at grade.
Wisconsin: Eastern white pine. A white pine felled near the Flambeau River, in northwest Wisconsin yielded 14 logs that scaled 22,620 board feet. Reference: Stevens Point Journal, 2/26/1898. (courtesy of Paul Jost, 2/16/2004).
Eastern white pine. A white pine near the Plover River, in the Hatley area of Marathon County, was reported to have a circumference of 19′ 6″, and a height of nearly 200 feet. Reference: S. A. Sherman, pioneer lumberman, 1884. (courtesy of Paul Yost, 2/16/2004).
Eastern white pine. A white pine to be cut on the land of Mr. Wadleigh, near Hatley, Marathon County, was said to be the largest in Wisconsin. It was 27 feet in circumference. Reference: Stevens Point Journal, 12/1/1883. (courtesy of Paul Yost, 2/16/2004).