June 27, 1957


This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Calís Column


Transcribed by Janette West Grimes


An Old Landmark Comes To Ground



†† One of the oldest trees perhaps in Macon County came down to the earth on Tuesday afternoon of this week when Jeff Goodman, local logger and lumberman and a crew of helpers cut down the old white oak tree that had stood many years in the yard of the home of the late Dr. D. D. Howser on College Street in Lafayette. It stood approximately 250 yards from the public square in Lafayette and only a few feet from where the waters falling in this part of the world divided, those where the old tree had stood for so long turning north to the waters of White Oak Creek, thence into the Barren River and then to Green River and then into the Ohio. About 30 feet further South then the location of the old tree the waters turn South to Goose Creek which flows southward for about 20 miles until it is received into the Cumberland. The Cumberland joins the Ohio in Western Kentucky.


†† But back to the old tree. It was of the White Oak variety and yielded one 18-foot log to the first limb or rather big knot. It measured five feet across the stump and Mr. Goodman counted the log as containing 1,950 feet of lumber. A second log ten feet long was estimated to contain about 300 feet of lumber.


†† The tree began to show signs of extreme old age or of blight or of some other enemy of thousand of oak trees, in Middle Tennessee. Many limbs had already died and the foliage of the tree did not have the healthy, green appearance of 27 years ago when the editor first looked upon the giant oak tree. It was deemed dangerous to the Howser dwelling house and was believed to have reached maturity and that it should be cut down. It was first "topped" or limbs cut off from the top to keep them away from the building. It was supposed that it might be hollow, but this proved to be an incorrect sumise. Except for a heart of about 12 inches that had began to decay, it was sound and will yield a large amount of white oak lumber.


†† As to the age of this old, old tree, we are quite sure that it was a tree perhaps two feet in diameter at the time Lafayette was laid out as the county seat in 1843. The writer tried to count the rings on the five-root stump. There were 27 rings in the white or sap part of the tree on Tuesday when we counted them. There were 102 rings from the sap to the rotten heart. An estimate places the rotten part as representing 25 to 40 years of the early life of the old tree, which came crashing down to the earth about two o'clock Tuesday. Thus the tree was most probably 200 years old and marks the passing of the years since approximately 1750. Very dry years were indicated by a narrow ring of growth and wet years were shown by wide or greater growth.


†† About 1933, a huge poplar tree was cut on the Will Gregory farm in the southeast corner of this county. The editor took his little son, Leonard, then a child of perhaps three and placed him on the top of the huge poplar log and then made his picture. He is now a grown man of nearly 26 years. There were 350 rings or years of growth on the old poplar tree, denoting that at the settlement of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America the poplar tree was about 25 years of age. The first quarterly County Court in Macon County was held not very far from the old oak tree that came down to the earth Tuesday afternoon. The first Court so we are informed, was held under another oak tree that was cut down perhaps 100 years ago.


†† We regretted to see the old, white oak come down to the ground. Some of our older men say that they can remember when it stood in the big wood and when squirrels played among its branches. But trees and man alike are to die and there is no escape for any living thing on earth.