American Elephants

The Endicott Pear Tree, 383 Years Old and Still Going Strong! by The Elephant's Child
February 24, 2021, 12:10 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

The Mayflower arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, bearing a shipload of British Puritans, with all their worldly goods, their livestock and their families after a long voyage across a stormy Atlantic Ocean. Simply sighting land must have been an occasion of celebration. If you scroll down, you will see a picture from an earlier post of today’s reproduction Mayflower, though it’s so pretty it’s hard to imagine it loaded down with passengers, all their possessions and all their animals after months on the sea.

Among the first group of British immigrants was an English Puritan named John Endicott who arrived in 1629 to serve as the first governor of the very new colony. He was tasked with establishing some kind of welcoming setting for further new arrivals on this untamed land. So he set about trying to make it as homey as he could. In about 1630, as his children watched, Endicott planted one of the first fruit trees to have survived the voyage, a sapling British pear tree, which they had to water carefully, for salt water would have killed it. Here’s John Endicott. Supposedly, about 1630, with his children watching, he planted the pear sapling and declared: “I hope the tree will love the soil of this new world and no doubt when we have gone the tree will still be alive. Well, 383 years later, the tree, as you can see above still thrives and bears Endicott pears.

We seem to be back in an age of beards, but John Endicott’s not exactly a prepossessing one. Fortunately, styles change. There is so much history around Massachusetts, the I imagine that many residents have never seen this tree, nor even known about it. I live on the opposite coast, and we are more apt to celebrate BIG trees like our redwoods, who loudly proclaim their importance by having tunnels through big ones on the highway. But that is a California phenomenon. I don’t think there are any spectacular trees here on the Washington Coast, but we may have some murder hornets up by the border.

I suppose on a trip to Massachusetts, a visit to the pear tree would not be high on the list, but somehow it’s nice to know it’s there, and still bearing pears, Endicott pears, after 383 years.

*State entomologists think they have eliminated the murder hornet threat.

3 Comments so far
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That’s an ancestor of mine, on my mother’s side.


Comment by Lon Mead

Have you always known about this tree then? I thought it was a neat story.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

My Papa (maternal grandfather) told me about it when I was very young, and I was able to see it when I was in college.


Comment by Lon Mead

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