Tree honors memory of early settler Bull

9 years ago

  PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A new tree graces Mantle Lake Park, and the donor hopes its branches will one day serve as a canopy for visitors to enjoy each other and the beauty of the grounds.

Kristine Bull Bondeson, proprietor of Down to Earth Gardens & Greenhouses in Woodland, donated the cathedral elm last Wednesday in memory of her Bull ancestors, and one in particular who was an early Maysville settler.
Peter Duncan Bull arrived in the area in 1819 from New Brunswick and started the first sawmill and gristmill in the area, Presque Isle grant writer and Historical Society member Kim Smith explained.
“[He] was a pioneer in our area. He was one of the first white settlers in Maysville. His sawmill was located at the junction of the Presque Isle Stream and the Aroostook River, up by what is now the Aroostook Centre Mall,” she said.
Bondeson’s garden business will no longer be dealing in trees, so she wanted to do something special with this particular tree.
“I grew up under elms. I had this elm, and I wanted it to be in a place where lots of people could enjoy it,” she said. She couldn’t think of a better place than a park like Mantle Lake, at which children and adults alike enjoy picnics, recreation and being close to nature.
“It just seemed fitting to situate the tree in the largest settlement where so many Bulls have come and gone,” Bondeson said Wednesday, surveying the site on a crisp, sunny autumn morning. “I love the idea of a lot of people getting together under the tree.”
The tree is planted at the end of the lake, a short way from the playground area on the way to the dam. Cathedral elms, she and Smith noted, are not susceptible to Dutch Elm disease, and provide extensive shade as they mature.
In a presentation letter to Recreation and Parks Director Chris Beaulieu, Bondeson wrote, “My grandparents, Edward and Nettie Bull, and parents, Arden and Edith Bull, lived and raised their families along the Parsons Road. There, we all lived, played, picnicked and held family gatherings under stately elms.
“I am happy to donate this tree knowing that it will have an excellent chance of thriving in a park where children and families frequently gather. I like to think that my ancestor Peter Bull would have liked that idea. I certainly do,” the letter concluded.
Smith was equally enthusiastic about the new addition; she said the city hopes someday to add a pedestrian footbridge over the dam, in which case the tree would serve as a fitting overlay.