The Last Tamarack In Moretown Village

by Margaret Booth
as told to Earline V. Marsh

Margaret Booth has lived in Moretown Village since 1927. She remembers the row of tamaracks next door to her house, where the Schultz family lives now. This is her account of the demise of the "noble old tree."

It was the Fourth of July, 1992, a Saturday. It had rained, and there was a little wind - but not a heavy wind. I was eating my breakfast and I heard this boom. I looked out and there was the old tamarack - down on the ground. It had been leaning, but I never thought it would go down - such a big tree.

I was very lucky that it didn't hit my house. It took my telephone line down, and that meant the cable television, too.

The Schultz family were away at the time. Adrian Ferris, who works for the Waitsfield Fayston Telephone Company, came along and saw what had happened, and he sent a repair man down. When the man came, he climbed the pole and hollered down to me, "What did you do?" I said, "It was leaning so I pushed it over."

The first time the state workers came to clear it away, they got the small stuff. Then they came with heavy equipment to lift the heavy part, and they put chains on it. I held my breath hoping it wouldn't slip.

After the tamarack went down, I looked at it closely. What I could see was rotten, but toward the bottom, the lower part was still solid. When they cut it up, Annette Schultz got a slice, a cross section, of the solid part.

That old tamarack was quite a tree, a beautiful tree. The foliage was feathery green, not like a pine. How could that tree be so green when it was so rotten inside? The foliage was just beautiful. It could easily be over 100 years old.

When I came here in 1927 there was a row of tamaracks in front of the house next door to me. The Schultz family lives there now, John and Annette and their daughters Megan and Katie. There once was a row of about 12 trees; that was the last one.

The Hayletts - he was a doctor in town - lived in that house years and years ago. They all passed on since I've been here. Their son Harold was a violinist who studied music in Germany. He'd come over and have me play the piano while he played the violin. Another son was a doctor, and a daughter was a school teacher. Mrs. Booth, my mother-in-law, told me that Dr. Haylett would come through the kitchen door and he'd give the kids pink pills, candy-coated pills. Dr. Haylett died before I came here.

It's too bad that the old tamarack is gone, because it really was a landmark. It had been leaning for a while. I'd walk to the post office, and I'd think, noble old tree, you're still standing. I never dreamed it would go down.

"The cross-section of the old tamarack is very heavy. It took four of us to carry it. It's 4 inches thick, with a diameter of 33 inches. This wasn't directly at the base of the tree. We counted the rings to determine the age; it was 118 years old." ... Megan Schultz, 15 years old.

This is a revised version of the article appearing in Central Vermont Magazine, Winter 1992 issue. Margaret Booth died in 1995. For information on where to locate these magazines contact the chamber at 229-5711.

Thanks are extended to Earline Marsh, Alan Noyes, Elizabeth Ralph, Sally Finn and Jack Belding for their time selecting and editing Central Vermont Magazine articles for publication on the web.

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