Majestic Trees of America Timeline
Trees are one of the best methods we have for looking back into time.
After cutting down a dead tree on his farm, Aldo Leopold later recorded his thoughts in the Sand County Almanac:
Fragrant little chips of history, spewed from the saw cut… our saw biting its way, stroke by stroke, decade by decade, into the chronology of a lifetime, written in annual rings of good oak.
One of the world's oldest known trees, a bristlecone pine that scientists call Methuselah, starts to grow in California's White Mountains.
Giant Sequoias, still growing in California today, are just young seedlings amidst a forest of massive trees.
Early Native Americans use tannin from oaks and hemlocks to preserve leather animal skins.
Evidence unmistakably points to Viking exploration and settlement in the New World, but the records of geography and sailing directions are vague enough so that Vinland, as the Vikings called the New World, has been located by various people from Hudson Bay to Virginia.
Christopher Columbus writes in his diary about North American pine forests, saying there are 'trees stretching to the stars with leaves never shed.' These trees become important natural resources in the settling of a new nation.
The Wye Oak, America's largest living white oak, starts to grow from an acorn.
Hernando de Soto writes about coming across a plain full of thin-shelled, tasty nuts he called walnuts, but are believed to be pecans.
Sassafras bark is the first tree product shipped from N. America. Martin Pring collects the bark in Maine and Massachusetts and ships it to England
Captain Weymouth of the British Royal Navy cuts a massive Eastern white pine from what is now the state of Maine and brings it back to England where it is declared a national treasure by the Navy who needs tall trees for ship masts.
Joseph Wadsworth saves the Connecticut Charter by hiding it in the hollow of an old oak tree. The tree later becomes known as the Charter Oak.
British Parliament passes the Bounty Act, offering colonists a ten-shilling bonus on every barrel of pine pitch shipped to England to be used for protecting the hulls of British ships.
Evangeline and other Arcadians disembark under the shade of an oak in St. Martinville, Louisiana
Daniel Boone carves an American beech trunk with the inscription 'D Boone cilled a bar on tree in year 1760'.
Father Crespi makes the first recorded sighting of gigantic Redwood trees in California as he travels through a Spanish expedition.
Johnny Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, is born in Massachusetts. He moves west, across the Midwest, planting thousands of apple trees for those who would follow him.
George Washington takes formal command of the Continental Army beneath a large elm tree.
George Washington and The Marquis de Lafayette meet under a sycamore in Stanton, Delaware to plan strategy for the Battle of Brandywine.
John Paul Jones fights naval battles in the Revolutionary War, sailing with 'three of the tallest white pine masts that ever went to sea'.
George Washington plants a tuliptree at Mount Vernon. This tree was selected as Mount Vernon's official bicentennial tree.
Daniel Boone and his family sail down the Ohio River to Missouri in a 60-foot canoe hollowed out of a tuliptree.
Thomas Jefferson plants pecan seeds at Monticello and later sends pecan seeds to George Washington. Today those pecans are the oldest living trees at Mount Vernon.
Aaron Burr is tried for treason under the oaks of Washington, Mississippi.
Andrew Jackson and his troops take shelter under Louisiana's Sunnybrook Oaks on their way to the Battle of New Orleans.
Douglasfir was first introduced to cultivation by explorer/botanist David Douglas.
The Jones Magnolia, planted in Arkansas' Washington State Park, stands beside the inn where Sam Houston and others planned the independence of Texas.
A recipe for Maple Beer is published in 'The Young Housekeeper's Friend.'
The first batch of marketable spruce gum is made and sold throughout New England as 'State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.' It sells 'two chunks for a penny.'
The Republican Party is founded beneath the shade of a grove of white oaks.
Young James Johnson hangs his scythe in a poplar as he leaves to join the Union Army. James is killed in the Civil War. His family leaves the scythe in the tree and the tree slowly grows around it. It becomes know as the Scythe Tree of Seneca County.
Tea made from the bark of dogwood trees is used by desperate Civil War doctors as a quinine substitute.
The first Arbor Day is celebrated in Nebraska. Over one million trees are planted in honor of the new holiday. Today Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and other nations around the world.
Wood-based paper is used for the first time in the printing of the New York Times. Prior to the late 1860s, most newspapers were printed on paper made from linen or cotton rags.
The Army Corps of Engineers initiates an intensive willow-planting program along the banks of the Mississippi River to fight flooding and erosion.
The 'spreading chestnut tree' [actually a horsechestnut] under which Longfellow's village blacksmith stood is cut down to widen roads in the Boston area.
Washington D.C.'s famous cherry trees are first planted. 30 varieties were received as gifts from Japan.
The Wright Flyer, the world's first airplane, flies at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; it's made of wood.
Joyce Kilmer publishes his famous poem, 'Trees.'
Fitchburg, Massachusetts residents plant a town forest to grow timber to sell; the money is used for tax relief.
Stark Brothers buys a unique apple tree from a Bomont, West Virginia farmer for $5,000. They name the tree variety 'golden delicious' and protect their investment by fitting the tree with a cage and a burglar alarm.
A paper birch is selected as the first 'Mother's Tree' and is planted in Pennsylvania on Mother's Day.
The white pine masts of Old Ironsides are replaced by douglasfir masts because sufficiently large white pine can no longer be found.
Dutch elm disease reaches the United States. Over 100 million American elms succumb to this disease in the United States in the 20th century.
University of Chicago physicists meet under the shade of an elm to discuss experiments leading to development of the atomic bomb.
Howard Hughes spends $40 million dollars to build a huge wooden airplane made mostly from spruce. The plane, the Spruce Goose, makes its initial flight of 1000 feet and is never flown again.
A study conducted at the University of Vermont shows a dramatic decline in the sugar maple population. It is speculated the decline may be due to acid rain.
Taxol, a chemical from the Pacific yew, is shown to have cancer-fighting properties in early tests.
Bowling becomes popular in Japan; many New England sugar maples, noted for their strong wood, are shipped to Tokyo to build bowling alleys and pins.
Sycamore seeds are taken into space as part of Apollo XIV's official payload. After returning from lunar orbit they are planted in locations across the country.
The world's largest cherry pie is baked on the grounds of a cement company in Michigan. The pie is over fourteen feet in diameter, weighs seven tons, and contains 4,950 pounds of cherries from nearby trees.
Baseball legend Hank Aaron hits his record 755th home run with a bat made from white ash.
A massive forest fire burns 793,000 acres of forest in Yellowstone National Park.
Americans vote for a National Tree.