BERNARDS, N.J. — A New Jersey church has planted an offspring of a now-dead white oak that was believed to be the oldest in the U.S.
NJ.com reports that the younger tree was moved Tuesday to the grounds of a Bernards church to replace its so-called father tree. The old tree, declared dead last summer after it failed to sprout foliage, is scheduled to be chopped down soon.
The new tree was originally planted in 2001 at a nearby college, where it has grown to a height of 25 feet. The dead tree, believed to be the nation’s oldest white oak, currently stands at over 100 feet tall.
The Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, founded in 1717, is 300 years younger than the 600-year-old tree on its property. The younger tree has been planted a short walk from its father.
The ancient tree was present for many episodes of American history. English evangelists James Davenport and George Whitefield preached to more than 3,000 people beneath the tree in 1740, and George Washington picnicked under it in early colonial America. French troops allied with American revolutionaries marched past the tree en route to the Battle of Yorktown.
Jon Klippel, a church board member, told NJ.com that they are unsure what they will do with the wood from the 600-year-old tree after it is chopped down. A lot will depend on the condition of the wood, he said.