Witness Trees in Tahlequah, OK

Are you wondering what a witness tree might be?  The Forestry Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture worked together with other state agencies to locate trees that would have “witnessed” Oklahoma statehood in 1907 or other important historical events. These trees were named witness trees. See more here.

During the Oklahoma statehood centennial celebrations in Tahlequah, a black walnut tree at the southwestern corner of Seminary Hall was declared one of the centennial witness trees throughout Oklahoma.  These trees were so designated because their tree life spanned the entire history of the life of the state of Oklahoma.  See here for information about Tahlequah, OK, which has a Fascinating History.

The Post-Oak Witness Tree 

But there was another tree that was present for the statehood celebration of Oklahoma.  It was on the western side of the Tahlequah Capitol Square.  It was a post-oak tree that was already there when the Cherokee Nation declared Tahlequah their capital in 1839.  

A post-oak can live as long as 400 years under favourable conditions.  However, the post oak didn’t have favourable conditions after Tahlequah became a thriving city.  People used the tree for posting handbills.  It didn’t do the tree any good to have nails and tacks constantly being driven into its bark. 

The post oak witness tree died in the 1930s and was removed in 1937.