History of the Liberty Tree

Home | History | The Next Step | News | Sales | Related Links

Liberty Trees - A Brief History

The Liberty Tree dates back to a time before the American Revolution.  Each of the thirteen original Colonies chose its own tree, strong in stature, for a meeting place where they could secretly sew the seeds of rebellion against the Crown.  These trees represented the Colonies' desire for liberty and self rule, hence the name, "Liberty Tree".

The first Liberty Tree was located in Boston where on the morning of August 14, 1765, the people of Boston awoke to discover two effigies suspended from an elm tree in protest of the hated Stamp Act.  In 1775, before they were forced out of Boston, the British cut down the mighty "Liberty Elm" knowing what it represented to the colonists.

Maryland's Liberty Tree

The historic City of Annapolis, capital of the U.S. (1783-1784), home to the United States Naval Academy and many other historic sites, was also home of the last standing Liberty Tree.  Here in the "Free State" under the "Balms of the Liberty Tree", the first Methodist sermon in Maryland was given.  Long proceeding the Revolution, the tree was used like its counterparts, as a rallying point and a sign of liberty that was so precious to our forefathers.  In fact, the tree's history proceeds any of the European colonization in America.  Maryland's Liberty Tree was located on the campus of one of America's finest schools, St. John's College, where it gave shade to students and visitors.  St. John's graduation ceremony  was held under its bountiful canopy of leaves each year.

Maryland's Liberty Tree, a tulip poplar, had suffered much from both nature and man.  In 1907, John T. Withers was called in to save the tree.  His team cleaned the core of the tree which had been hollowed out, then placed steel rods and concrete inside the trunk.  After Hurricane Floyd, experts were called upon to evaluate the condition of the tree.  This time, sadly they decided that upkeep on this tree would be too costly and they decided that she must come down.

Saying Goodbye

On October 25th, 1999, a small ceremony was held.  In attendance was the Governor of Maryland, the Mayor of Annapolis, some of the faculty of St. John's and several hundred onlookers.  This was the last morning that the Liberty Tree's green, lush canopy would fill the sky.  It was a sad sight to see the people placing flowers at the base of the tree, knowing that soon it would no longer be there to offer its shade.  With the help of a 50-ton crane and a work crew, the four-day process began.  Early on, some on-lookers were able to get small pieces of the tree.  However, later the college felt it better to not allow this due to time constraints on the workers.  Soon the chippers came to life as the once beautiful tree was slowly removed from sight.  The pieces of the trunk and large limbs were taken away.

top of page

Copyright © 1999 - 2003 TheLastOne.org
All Rights Reserved.

Contact Webmaster: webmaster@thelastone.org
Hosted by KABAMHost.com