On Saturday, October 16th, the Shinnston Historical Association held a joint program
with the Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum. Guest Speaker was Bobby Bice III of
Enterprise. Bobby spoke to a standing-room only crowd of 45 guests. Topic was Big
Elm: Facts, Lore, & Legend. The community of Big Elm, located slightly north of
Shinnston, once held the roots of an elm tree awarded “largest of its kind” in 1876.
The history of the farmland, the people who lived there, and the death of the tree
were all discussed in depth. Many photographs of the Big Elm Tree and farmland
were shown, along with a table display of artifacts and other photographs as well as
copies of the book which helped add fame to the tree. The local novel, Daughter of
the Elm by Granville Davisson Hall was discussed with Bice giving narration of
different local places and townspeople mentioned within the book. This classic first
came off the press in December 1899 and has been reprinted many times.
Refreshments were served after the program, which included special Big Elm Tree
cookies. The Shinnston Historical Association owns the historic Levi Shinn log house,
which is open for tours by appointment only. The Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum,
located at 400 Pike Street in Shinnston, is open April-October.