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Historic Waterloo Landmark Falls Down


The historic Scythe Tree in Waterloo came crashing down this week.

The tree, along Routes 5&20 next to the Waterloo State Police Barracks, crashed to the ground Tuesday evening. The Balm of Gilead poplar fell on its own.

In 1861, James and Elizabeth Johnson owned the farm and property, and the community was preparing for the Civil War. Their oldest son, 26-year-old James Wyman, decided to enlist in the Union Army.  He hung his scythe in the tree and told his parents not to remove it until he returned.

Unfortunately, James never returned as he was wounded in April 1864 and died from his wounds at a Confederate Hospital in Raliegh, North Carolina. In 1918, 57-years later, two brothers living on the farm each left a scythe in the tree before leaving for World War Two.

The current property owner is waiting for advice from insurance and historical officials before making a decision on the future of what’s left of the tree.

All Photos By Greg Cotterill, Finger Lake Daily News



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