The Tale of “Hackaberry Found” in Carleton Place

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Huckleberry Hound was called the man of a thousand faces, even though he was only able to make only one face. In Carleton Place there is a group of lone face trees that are extremely rare in Ontario. I have called them a multitude of names from Tackberry to what a lot of people call them “Hackaberry”. So to remember the Hackberry trees, I think of Huckleberry Hound.

I was always told that Hackberry trees were noxious weeds. Our park of trees is the largest grouping of Hackberry trees in eastern Ontario. They are native to the area and are thought to have been brought here by the indigenous peoples for their medicinal qualities. In 1952 there was one lone tree left in Ottawa near Brewer Park and the George Dunbar bridge. It had a white picket fence around it, and a sign “Do Not Destroy”Charlotte Whitton, who is rumoured to be from Carleton Place, insisted these trees be protected. As Huck would say, “You know, that’s a mighty fine looking tree-we should keep them around for a spell”

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Hackberry trees have smooth, gray bark that often has corky warts or ridges. The tree may reach 39 meters in height. The tree bears small, round berries that can be eaten when they are ripe and fall from the tree. The wood of the Hackberry is yellowish, and as my Father told me “not good for much”. With the name Hackberry, it’s not really a name that screams “eat me” either!

Not since the sighting of Dinky Dalton has there been a tree like the Hackberry. It provides exceptional medicinal needs. The berries have been used to treat abnormal menstrual flow, colic, peptic ulcers, diarrhea and dysentery as well as being used as a pain killer.  A decoction made from the bark was used by certain Native American tribes to treat sore throats and venereal diseases.  Even modern scientists have begun to recognize the tree’s antioxidant and cytotoxic properties.

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My parents would grumble and mutter about the trees taking over, spreading through the backyard, and dropping its litter of berries underfoot.  I must admit, as a child, I could never quite muster the same dislike my parents felt.  Perhaps it was my growing fondness for trees in general, or perhaps it was an innate urge to root for the underdog that compelled me to like this tree.

Next time you pass this grove of trees on Mill Street in Carleton Place take notice because:

“Oh my Darling, Oh my Darling,
Oh my Darling Clementine.
Thank goodness you are NOT lost and gone forever,

AND you’re not a  regular Pine”.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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