Monadnock Moments No. 82: The Legend of the Big Elm
For more than 225 years the residents of the town of Langdon, New Hampshire have passed on a story of the “legend or the big elm.”
According to the legend, the tale began during the French and Indian Wars of the mid 1700s. It was during these confrontations that a detachment of fourteen soldiers was sent out from Boston to join their regiment that had started for Quebec a few days earlier. Soon after the march began, one of the fourteen soldiers became ill and was left in the care of some friendly Indians in an area that is now part of the town of Langdon.
The young soldier soon recovered, but by this time he and the Indian princess who was caring for him had fallen deeply in love. Unfortunately, the princess was soon to become the wife of an Indian brave. The brave became jealous and plotted a way to end the relationship. One evening as the young soldier and the beautiful princess sat under a stately elm and talked of love, an arrow from the bow of the Indian warrior pierced the heart of the young white man and pinned him to the tree. The princess removed the arrow, and with her own hands dug a grave for her lover and buried him in the soil beneath the tree. The legend states that the broken hearted princess never left the big elm and never again tasted food. One week later she was found dead upon the grave of her lover.
More than 100 years later, in 1878, the tree was cut down for lumber and some 120 caskets were made from the wood of the big elm.