Fate of a Big Ohio Tree

Article taken from The Bismark Daily Tribune, Bismark, ND, September 6, 1907

Size of this great sycamore was the cause of its distruction.

The greatest tree ever seen by white men in Ohio is believed to have been the enormous sycamore, or more properly, buttonwood, which stood in what is now Valley township, Scioto county, in the rich bottom lands of the Scioto river.

It was so prodigious in bulk that as early as 1810 it was described in the Cincinnati Almanac as one of the natural wonders on Ohio.  In June 1808, according to what seems reliable testimony, a party of thirteen persons, all on horseback, rode into the hollow trunk of this sycamore and found that room enough remained for two more horses and their riders.  The tree forked about eight feet from the ground, and it was hollow when first seen by the white settlers.  The circumference of the trunk was about sixty-three feet at the base, and five feet from the earth it was forty-two feet in girth.  These figures remind the reader of the famous big tree of California.  The opening into the cavity within the trunk was ten feet wide at the bottom, nine and a half feet high, and the hollow was about fourteen feet in diameter.

The account which has been preserved of the fate of this enormous tree is very odd.  It is claimed that the giant buttonwood was kept uninjured as a great curiosity until the farm on which it stood was used as a stock farm by one Thomas Dugan.  The stock breeder turned several valuable bulls into the fields, where the huge tree stood, and two fo them fought inside its trunk.  In that small space for a bull ring the victor was able to prevent the escape of his rival, and the weaker was killed.  This affair convinced Dugan that the largest tree in the Ohio was a menace to his stock, and he cut it down.  Later hogs kept in the same field were attacked by cholera, and the owner reasoned that their habit of lying inside the hollow stump was bad for their health, and so he had the stump removed.  It may well be doubted whether any other immense tree was ever destroyed because a fight between two bulls.

Fifteen Horsemen Sycamore

Article taken from The Mansfield News-Journal, Mansfield, Ohio, Monday, April 2, 1934
By J. H. Galbraith

In Valley township, Scioto County, stood when white men first came to the Scioto valley an enormous sycamore tree of the low branching type, hollow at the base, with an opening into the hollow ten feet high and nine and a half feet wide.

An early copy of the Ohio Gazetter stated that in 1808 a party of 13 horsemen riding to see the great tree found that they could all ride inside the hollow of the tree and by crowding together there seemed to be enough room for two more.  They must have been small horses.  The tree was called thereafter, because of this, the tree of the 15 horsemen.  The farm on which this great tree stood passed later into the hands of a man named Thomas Dugan who used the land for stock.

Once a couple of belligerent bulls engaged in a fight in the field and the one that was getting the worst of it finally took refuge in the hollow of the tree, but its antagonist pursued it there and it being unable to get out was gored to death by the stronger animal.  This caused Dugan to order the tree cut down as he regarded it a trap for his stock.

Little Stories About Ohio

Article taken from The Marion Daily Star, Tuesday, May 20, 1914
By Chester Chidester

The interior of what is considered the largest tree that ever stood on the territory known as Ohio, once was the scene of a bull fight.

It was a sycamore, which stood in Scioto county, and known as the "Sycamore of Fifteen Horses," because of the fact that fifteen mounted horsemen could stand within its trunk.

The land on which the tree stood was once owned by Thomas Dugan who, converting it into a stock farm, turned some blooded bulls into the field.  They fell to fighting and the weaker was driven against the trunk and gored to death.  Dugan at once cut down the tree, allowing the stump to stand as a pig pen.  Because it was said the quarters were too small the animals contracted cholera and many died.  This caused Dugan to remove all vestiges of the giant.

The tree was a forked formation, 21 feet in diameter at the base and 42 feet in circumference at the height of five feet.  An opening ten feet in width at the bottom and nine and one-half feet high afforded access to a cavity fourteen feet in diameter.

The tree attracted many tourists who passed through the section.  In June 1808, it won the name of "Sycamore of Fifteen Horses," because of the fact that the thirteen mounted men had driven into and stood in the tree, leaving room for two more.