I remember when the first people came to this area from Germany around 1878. Farmer Getz, the first human I ever saw, spent several years clearing the forest of trees to make fields and shelters for animals and a log house for his family. I was already a mature tree when he cleared the forest around me and, for a reason known only to him, he spared me from the axe. With that decision he inadvertently ensured that I was to live a full life, attain champion tree status and even escape the 1972 debacle. From that time on I prospered. I was now a field tree – a tree growing on preferred ground in full sunlight on the edge of a field with little competition from other trees.

I had never experienced such a flood of sounds. Chopping, sawing and trees thundering to the ground mingled with voices and hammering echoed through the decade of the 1880’s as the wave of settlers built their small log homes and cleared the land with the vision of prosperity foremost in their heads. The greatest harvest of that era was stones that were pushed aside or piled three feet high to erect fences. In the mid 1880’s river rocks were transported from Old Killaloe by stoneboat to the corner of Concession # 1 and Mountainview Road where the First Baptist church was erected to replace the previously standing log church. On clear nights I could recognize the only form that was taller than I - the church spire in the moonlight. The imposing structure accentuated the notion that the German Settlement was here to stay and with their subsistence seemingly guaranteed, the new farmers now turned their attention to making maple syrup … and to me.