29 September 2008

A Massive & Historic Oak Tree

2 years ago, I commented on this post about trees I nominated for Virginia Tech's "Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project." I've been told that Jackson's Prayer Oak got mention in the text of the book, but no photo. The massive oak in the Jackson Memorial Cemetery did not even get a mention. However, that historic tree has just been declared the second largest scarlet oak in the state! Check it out here.


Robert Moore said...

There is a Chinquapin Oak in Luray, just across the way from the county court house, that is about 450 years old. To stand under it is a thrill unto itself. So much has happened within site of the tree from life before Europeans in the area, to the Swiss-German colonization of the area, to the county founding and so on. Before the Page Volunteers marched out of Luray in 1861, the families of the soldiers filled the area near the tree, and quite likely under it, with tables and a bounty probably unseen since the time. Within a short stone throw of the tree is a house, now used as a county office (and facing a sad fate in the near future all in the name of bigger office space). In that house lived one of the most vocal and yet under recognized Confederate poets, Cornelia Jane Mathews Jordan. One of the poems (Corinth) that she wrote and published was said to have been so volatile in regard to the North that Gen. Terry ordered all copies burned near the courthouse in Lynchburg (where she was from and residing later in the war). Other copies were burned in Richmond. Despite the burnings, the Library of Virginia has an original copy (try and find one now... they run about $3,500 each). But I digress. The most romantic thought in regard to Cornelia Jordan is the thought that she may have sat under the tree in the 1850s as she wrote poems about people and events in the area and back at home in Lynchburg.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


That's fascinating. If its large enough, and it sounds like it should be from the age of it, you should nominate it on that website.


Robert Moore said...

I sent the info to the Va. Tech folks who handle a lot of that. I think I sent it just a tad late... somebody beat me to it on submitting data.

Robert Moore said...

FYI, this is a link to Jordan's first book Flowers of Hope and Memory (online version courtesy of UNC). She wrote this while living in the house just next to the tree.


Take a look at the poem she wrote about the US flag "A National Hymn for the New Year" and also "A Soldier's Dream." It's particularly interesting when you know how much poetry she wrote after 1861 for the Confederacy.

See also "Richmond: Her Glory and Her Graves" and "Echoes from the Cannon."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Will do, thanks Robert.