Tree Talk

white oak treeAt the corner of Dearing and Finley Streets near the University of Georgia in Athens, stands a white oak tree whose fascinating legacy dates back to the early 1800's.

Legend has it that the tree was a favorite of Colonel William Henry Jackson, the son of a Revolutionary War soldier and Georgia Governor named James Jackson. According to a story written years later in the Athens Weekly Banner, W.H. Jackson grew fond of the tree as a youth, and fearing it might someday be destroyed, provided for its protection by deeding the tree to itself. Despite the fact that no known formal copy of the deed exists, and that law requires a deed recipient to have the capacity to accept a deed, the story has lived on.

Sadly, the original "Tree That Owns Itself" did not. Despite efforts to protect it, the tree's health declined and it collapsed in 1942. However, thanks to the foresight of Athens residents and the city's Junior Ladies Garden Club, an offspring seedling was transplanted to the site, where it now stands tall. It is a favorite of residents and visitors alike, providing shade, beauty, and a legend for all to enjoy.

Visit the tree online compliments of the Georgia Farm Monitor.

Tree Talk will focus on a different Georgia tree each month.