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 A seat was built around the base on the sidewalk, and formed a convenient resting-place for travelers. When that was worn out, the roots themselves were used for the same purpose, and the bark is quite smooth from constant friction. It was attaining its prime at the time of the march of the British to Lexington,—at least, this is the tradition in the family,—and shaded an old house, unoccupied at the time, which was removed to Garden court in 1869, and is still standing. On the return of the British it afforded shelter for a wounded soldier, probably the one said to have been buried across the street. Another old house, where the Widow Rand lived, stood near the other corner of Central street. Her son Thomas, it is said, in 1778, at the age of eighteen, set out the elm which was standing there till 1894. This tree, after the widening of Somerville avenue, occupied the centre of the sidewalk, and the fence was carried inward to accommodate travel. James Shute, the owner of the land at that time, was so interested to have the tree preserved, that he offered the use of his land for the sidewalk, that the tree might be kept as long as possible. At one time, many years ago, a party of young people, some of them descendants of Thomas Rand, were passing there, when some one remarked, ‘We ought to take off our hats to this tree,’ and it was done. It was one of the few trees in Somerville old enough to command the homage of a younger generation, the members of which were directly descended from the one who had planted it. It was cut down to make way for building, and was found to be still sound to the core. Some of the wood was saved for the purpose of making chairs as mementos, and they are owned by descendants of the Rand family. Up ‘the lane,’ as Central street was once called, on what are now the Unitarian parsonage grounds, grew a large wild pear tree, whose fruit made delicious preserves, and also, tempted the boys, for their depredations often roused the then owner of the tree to indignation and strong language. The diameter of the tree was more than two feet at the time it was cut down, about fifteen years ago. Its removal was watched with interest by one who had remembered it from boyhood, and was an unusual spectacle, as it was cut down intact, and went to pieces like the
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