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Hannah’s Stump

Location: Virgil, NY
(42.490372, -76.098350)

They say that well-behaved women rarely make history. In Hannah’s case, it made for a marriage proposal.

Early 19th-century lore speaks of a massive elm tree, nestled between the towns of Virgil and Cortland. It had been rumored to be filled with honey. One day two enterprising pioneers took it upon themselves to fell it, in search of sweet gold. Alas, they turned up empty-handed, and all that was left to show for their efforts was a massive stump. So massive, it was said two horses could stand abreast on it. Naturally, it became a community meeting spot.

It was here, that the love-struck Hannah Towbridge, of Gridley Hollow, climbed the adjacent 70-foot outcropping and made her proclamation. Teetering preciously from the edge, she shouted down to her beau, Isaac Bloomer, “Say yes, or I jump!”

Though the stump never bore honey, this location begat a sweet ending after all. History shows Isaac did indeed say yes, and they lived out their years happily married. Proving victory favors brave women.

1. Kane, Mary Ann. Cortland County (Images of America). Arcadia Pub., 2010.