Manchester-by-the-sea, MA:
Weekend adventure
  Robert Leverett
  Jun 13, 2005 06:14 PDT 


    This weekend was a special one for John Knuerr, Monica Jakuc, and
myself. I was scheduled to give a lecture for Friends of Manchester
Trees, Inc. a conservation group in the little Massachusetts town of
Manchester by-the-Sea. Yes, that is the name of the town. This quaint
coastal town is located on Cape Ann, a favored destination of city
dwellers from nearby Boston. While none of the town's trees are record
setters, Manchester by-the-Sea does sport a lot of visibly pleasing
forests that range in age from 75 to as old as 200 years. There is a
surprising dominance N. red oak. The combination of red and white oaks
and white pines grow in every non-cultivated spot. As to be expected,
yards and grounds are sprinkled with non-native species. A few trees
appear to have historical significance. As you can imagine, we did some

    But first, I have a side story to tell. On the way to Manchester, we
stopped to measure a special tree for a Greek lady, which has the
current reputation of being the second largest tree in Burlington, MA.
The tree is a colonial-aged sycamore with the following location and

    Burlington Sycamore:


          Lat 42.48761 N.
          Long 71.17649 W


          CBH: 15.2 ft
          Hgt: 91.0 ft
          Max Spread: 96 ft
          Avg Spread: 85.5 ft
          Point of lowest branching: 5.8 ft
          Number of large limbs: 4
          Est. age from information given: 250 yrs.

     Now to Manchester by-the-Sea. Those interested in American history
may know that the Maryland family of John Wilkes Booth was split
politically down the middle, half supported the Union and half supported
the Confederacy. The patriarch of the Booth family was one Junius Brutus
Booth. He was a premier Shakespearean actor of the early 1800s
(1796-1852). Junuis's had 10 childen. The most famous were three sons.
They were Junius Brutus Booth Jr., Edwin Booth, and John Wilkes Booth.
Edwin Booth came to surpass his father as an actor. Junius was a highly
successful theatrical manager, and of course John Wilkes was the fanatic
and nut of the clan. The lineage of the clan is as follows.

Husband: Junius Brutus BOOTH
Born: 01 May 1796 at: London, England Married: 18 Jan 1821
Died: 30 Nov 1852 at: Louisville, Kentucky Father:
Richard BOOTH <fam00734.htm> Mother: Jane (Elizabeth) GAME
<fam00734.htm> Other Spouses: Mary Christine Adelaide Agatha DELANOIR
Wife: Mary Ann HOLMES
Born: 27 Jun 1802 at: Reading, England Died: 22 Oct 1885 at: New York,
New York Father: Mother: Other Spouses:

Name: Junius Brutus BOOTH, Jr. <fam00729.htm> Born: 22 Dec 1821 at:
Baltimore, Maryland Married: 1844 at: Died: 16 Sep 1883 at: Manchester,
Massachusetts Spouses: Clementine DeBAR <fam00729.htm> Harriet MACE
<fam00730.htm> Marian Agnes Land ROOKES <fam00728.htm>
Name: Rosalie Ann BOOTH Born: 05 Jul 1823 at: Belair, Harford County,
Maryland Married: at: Died: 15 Jan 1889 at: New York, New York Spouses:
Name: Henry Byron BOOTH Born: 1825 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland
Married: at: Died: Jan 1837 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland
Name: Mary Ann BOOTH Born: 1827 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland
Married: at: Died: 1833 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland Spouses:
Name: Frederick BOOTH Born: 1829 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland
Married: at: Died: 1833 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland Spouses:
Name: Elizabeth BOOTH Born: 1831 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland
Married: at: Died: 1833 at: Belair, Harford County, Maryland Spouses:
Name: Edwin Thomas BOOTH <fam00781.htm> Born: 13 Nov 1833 at: Belair,
Harford County, Maryland Married: 07 Jul 1860 at: New York, New York
Died: 07 Jun 1893 at: New York, New York Spouses: Mary DEVLIN
<fam00781.htm> Mary McVICKER <fam00782.htm>
Name: Asia Frigga BOOTH <fam00735.htm> Born: 19 Nov 1835 at: Belair,
Harford County, Maryland Married: 28 Apr 1859 at: Baltimore, Maryland
Died: 16 May 1888 at: England Spouses: John Sleeper CLARKE
Name: John Wilkes BOOTH <fam00815.htm> Born: 10 May 1838 at: Belair,
Harford County, Maryland Married: 09 Jan 1859 at: Cos Cob, Connecticut
Died: 26 Apr 1865 at: Bowling Green, Virginia Spouses: Martha Lizola
MILLS <fam00815.htm>
Name: Joseph Adrian BOOTH, MD <fam00755.htm> Born: 08 Feb 1840 at:
Belair, Harford County, Maryland Married: ABT 1894 at: Died: 26 Feb 1902
at: New York, New York Spouses: Cora Elizabeth MITCHELL <fam00755.htm>


     Junius Brutus Booth Jr. unquestionably supported Abraham Lincoln.
His sentiments were clearly with the Union. But he had a rough go of it
after his brother assassinated Lincoln. He was nearly lynched and thrown
in jail. But was eventually cleared. He later established a
hotel-theater in Manchester by-the-Sea named Masconomo after the
Wampanoag sachem Masconomo. That, my dear friend, was where we stayed
this past weekend. Monica and I stayed in Junius's quarters that
overlooks the Atlantic. The old hotel turned private home is now run by
my friend George Smith and his wife Lelly, a Congregationalist minister
and graduate of Smith college oozes history from every crack, crevice,
board, and photograph hanging on the walls. What a privilege it was to
stay there as honored guests.

     A Norway spruce planted on the Masconomo grounds in the early 1900s
stands as a livinig symbol of the earlier era. Of course I measured it.
Stats follow.

       CBH: 8.1 ft
       Height: 83 ft

    George agreed to allowing ENTS to name the tree the Junius Brutus
Booth Jr. Norway spruce. That is worthy of note and recording in the
annals of ENTS. It is now official. And George is a splendid custodian
of the tree along with all the others he nurtures. BTW, George is a
retired telephone engineer and now tree farm manager. We met 15 years
ago on a trip I led in Monroe State Forest. The images that George
beheld stuck with him and are an ample testament to the greatness of the
gorge forests in Monroe State Forest.

     I spent as much time as I could measuring the oaks and few white
pines I could see. In general large, mature oaks in the 75 - 100 year
age range max out at about 85 feet. A very few reach 90 and none reach
100 feet. The pines are in the same class. However, at another home,
where I gave my lecture, which was a summer home of one of Andrew
Carnagie's nephews, a nearby ravine sported some truly worthy trees. A
large white ash about 11.5 feet around rose to a majestic 109.2 feet.
Compared to the far more abundant oaks, it towers. Behind it grows an
even larger white pine, perhaps 12 feet in circumference. It skyrockets
to 117.3 feet and may well be the tallest tree in Manchester. A nearby
oak also about 12 feet around reaches 88.6 feet in height. A second
white pine, about 9 feet around makes 97.4.

    The tallest non-native tree I measured was a Norway maple at 99.5
feet. It surprised me. It was significantly taller than any others of
its species and 3rd overall. A few black locusts I measured were just
under 90 feet. Only one Northern red oak broke 90 feet. I couldn't get a
good fix on its base, but I think it will go 91.

    So there we are. The coastal forests in the vicinity of Manchester
by-the-Sea top out at between 80 and 90 feet. Only a tiny percentage of
trees break 90. The crowns on these oaks are brocolli-topped. Many
exceed 9 feet in circumference. A few are in the 10 to 11-foot range. I
suspect that somewhere within the greater Manchester area is a white
pine that reaches 120 feet. But it will be a statistical outlier. What
governes the height limits of the species within the region, I have no
idea. However, the one white pine measurement represents a good
longitudinal fix on Pinus strobus at the latitude. WAY COOL.

   Oh yes, a few other tidbits. The lecture went well thanks in no small
part to John Knuerr's excellent images of forests and trees. There is no
substitute for photographic images of the objects of our passion. But
there was much more. We took early Sunday morning beech walks. No
crowds. Very nice. A few hours before the lecture, Monica took a nap and
John went down to the beech and took a 30-second dip in the cold, cold
Atlantic. While Monica slept and John froze, I snuck off to an ice cream
parlor and pigged out on a delicious homemade banana ice cream. Lot sof
calories. Bad Bob. Bad, bad Bob.
At the lecture, Monica was able to meet a number of Smith College alumni
and examine a very old Steinway piano. WAY COOL.

From Manchester by-the-Sea, it is,

Bob by-the-Tree
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society