Here are some reasons why I believe the tree's an American Beech:
- The tree's bottom branches swing low to the ground--bothersome in summer when I'm cutting grass. The photo I took, however, is at an up angle and doesn't show the low branches.
- The bark is silvery gray with some dark gray splotches and is thin and relatively smooth. The pictures on the net of American Poplar bark don't look like this at all.
- In the picture you can see round, nut like appendages still hanging on the tree limbs even though the pic was made in February. These spherical cupules (thanks wikipedia) are covered with stickers and will prick your finger if you're not careful. You can see the cupules in my photo and according to my research they frequently linger all winter.
- The leaves match the Beech leaf pics I located on the net.
- There are many Beech trees in my area; a church up the hollow as well as a school are named for the Beech tree.
If you think I've got this right now, please let me know. If you think the tree is still mislabeled, I would also like to hear from you.