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Ramsey’s Oldest Family Tree

October 11th, 2008 | 5 Comments


When you ask families how long they have lived in Ramsey, they may say 5 years or even 25 years or more, but the Van Gelder family can lay claim to a whopping 296 years. That makes them the oldest resident family tree in Ramsey.

Irene Van Gelder lives on Elbert Street and her cousin Marilyn and nephew Joseph Van Gelder also still live in town.

The family first settled around the area known as Van Gelder’s pond in 1712. That’s 30 years before Jan Westervelt built the Old Stone House.

The Van Gelder House at 37 Oak Street, built in 1794 still stands today.

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Search for the Oldest Tree in Ramsey

October 10th, 2008 | No Comments

As part of the Ramsey Centennial celebration, the Shade Tree commission (STC), at former Mayor Richard Muti’s suggestion, conducted an “oldest tree in Ramsey” contest and invited all residents to send in information on any tree they thought might be a contender. The STC provided a mathematical formula that enabled residents to estimate tree age by measuring the diameter in inches four feet above the ground, and then applying a multiplier based on tree species.

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The winners were announced at Ramsey Day in September.

The oldest tree in Ramsey is a Copper Beach on New England Drive that is estimated to be 360 years old. Just imagine. When this tree was a seedling, growing right here in Ramsey, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony were just 28 years into their settlement. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, and Antonio Stradivari, Italian violin maker were just 4 years old. George Washington hadn’t been born yet. In fact George Washington’s grandparents probably hadn’t been born.

Sadly, this oldest tree in Ramsey is in a diseased state and will have to be taken down soon. Its successor to the title is another Copper Beech tree on Franklyn Street, a mere 343 years old, followed by a White Oak on Woodland Avenue that is a youthful 253 years old.

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