Blog Archives

The Crooked Elm

Traitor Tree ?  The Crooked Elm?  The Devil’s Elbow?  Are they one and the same?  Could a tree used for torture in 1814 be the same tree that died of old age in the 1940s?  Back in the 1930s, local writer W.A. Edwards was curious about the Crooked Elm which was still standing at the corner of Longwoods Road and Tait’s Road .  His research produced several old tales but no mention of George Ward being strung up the day before the Battle of the Longwoods.

Here is W.A. Edwards story:

Different Version Of How Peculiar Crooked Tree Became Known As “Devil’s Elbow” Near Settlement Of Tait’s Corners and a Legend Telling of Massacre Of Neutral Indians by Band Of Senecas

Written By:  W.A. Edwards  (Circa 1930’s)

Just a few rods off of Highway No. 2 and well in the “right-of-way” on a side road in the Township of Ekfrid has been standing for generations a crooked and deformed old elm tree, commonly called “The Devil’s Elbow” and supposedly so because the giant trunk, by some freak of nature during its sapling growth, was injured or bent in this grotesque form.

Crooked Elm on Tait's Road

But why was it called “The Devil’s Elbow?”  I have asked a good many that question and no two answers have been the same.  In fact few, if any, of the pioneers still living in the township have the slightest idea how the old tree got its striking name.

Thirty years ago or more the writer well remembers two old grandmothers talking about this very old tree.  They had daily gone to school under its crooked form, and as one of them said,”often swung to and fro from the elbow,” but old as they were even they knew not why the tree was called “The Devil’s Elbow.” Read the rest of this entry