A tree grows in Fishtown

Three hundred and twenty eight years ago, a peace treaty was formed between Pennsylvania Quaker William Penn and Tamanead, chief of the Lenape turtle clan, underneath a picturesque Elm tree on the grounds of the current Penn Treaty Park on Delaware Avenue in Fishtown.
A symbol of unbroken promises for peace, the tree stood its ground until 1810 when a storm took it down. The uprooted tree remained in the park for years and its seedlings, woodand bark were taken as souvenirs. A 6-foot monument replaced the tree in 1820.
Horticulturists from the Haverford College Arboretum have been nurturing several seedling descendants of the Elm tree since its demise 200 years ago.
And John Connors, a park preserver and member of the Penn Treaty Museum Board, along with neighbors and supporters in Fishtown, worked in recent years to keep the tree, and the treaty promise, alive.
Today, an 18 foot offspring will be planted in the park, said Haverford horticulturist Carol Wagner, who considers the Elm her "baby."
“I nurture it and I dig up its seedlings,” Wagner said. "This is one of the most important trees in American history."
Connors said it is remarkable that the park and the tree continue to thrive.
”This park is preserved based on peace and friendship between two cultures,” he said.
Pastor John Norwood, a member of the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape Tribal Council and the Penn Treaty Museum Board, will attend this afternoon’s 2 p.m. planting and will bestow a blessing on the Elm.

Elisa Lala

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