Tree Appraisal- Perhaps America’s First Amenity Tree Appraisal

One of America’s First Amenity Tree Appraisals

 Tree disputes have existed in America from the beginning of European settlement. In 1683 Francis Nurse sued Zerubabell Endicott for trespass. He claimed in his suit that “Mr. Endicott’s agents had trespassed onto his property and cut forty seven trees as they gathered firewood for Mr. Endicott for the winter”.

According to the Salem Quarterly Court Records and Files on March 20, 1682-3 agents John How and John Dale “appraised the damages to Nurse at 47s., there having been forty seven trees felled and carted away…”

Testimony for the defense laid out that in fact the trees belonged to Mr. Endicott because the property line was “upon the county road below the hemlock tree…which tree was attested to be the bounds between the property owners”…  Further testimony showed that the “hemlock tree had fallen upon the sawmill frame” but that the line was indeed at that point. The court ruled in Mr. Endicott’s favor because the trees were in fact on his property. Nurse appealed and lost a second time.

What we see from this court record is that many things have not changed. In America and across the world; trees are still cut and hauled away, property owners still do not know their property lines, people still appraise trees, courts still rule and plaintiff’s still appeal.

It is my speculation that John How and John Dale were perhaps the first Amenity Tree Appraisers in America?

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