Digital Commonwealth

Quercus alba Massachusetts (South Natick)

Quercus alba Massachusetts (South Natick)

Item Information

Title:
Quercus alba Massachusetts (South Natick)
Title (alt.):
Tree habit with houses, people, and trolley tracks
Description:
Quercus alba Massachusetts (South Natick) Eliot oak. Here John Eliot preached to the Indian. Height of tree 61 ft., girth 15 ft. 2 inches, spread of branches 99 ft. 9 inches.
Photographer:
Wilson, Ernest Henry, 1876-1930
Collector:
Wilson, Ernest Henry, 1876-1930
Date:
December 26, 1923
Format:
Photographs
Genre:
Glass negatives
Location:
Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library
Collection (local):
Photographs of Ernest Henry Wilson
Series:
New England Trees
Subjects:
Oaks
White oak
Places:
MassachusettsMiddlesex (county)NatickSouth Natick
Extent:
1 negative : glass ; 15.5 x 20.5 cm.
Permalink:
Terms of Use:
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All rights reserved.
Notes:
The Eliot Oak stands “a few rods east of the Unitarian Church in S. Natick.” It is a very old white oak that possibly dates back to at least the 1650s if a legend is true. This legend involves a triangle of trees, of which the Eliot oak was a part. The Reverend John Eliot (1603-1690) supposedly used to preach to the Indians underneath this venerable oak in South Natick, which is why it earned its name. Professor Stowe, in an address on the 200th anniversary of the town of Natick, described Eliot as “a man of great versatility, and very superior intellectual power. Doubtless he had his equals, but never a superior in Christian zeal and goodness.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) commemorated this oak in his famous “Sonnet on Eliot’s Oak” (1877): THOU ancient oak! whose myriad leaves are lou/With sounds of unintelligible speech/Sounds as of surges on a shingly beach/Or multitudinous murmurs of a crowd/ With some mysterious gift of tongues endowed/Thou speakest a different dialect to each/To me a language that no man can teach/ Of a lost race, long vanished like a cloud/For underneath thy shade, in days remote/ Seated like Abraham at eventide/Beneath the oaks of Mamre, the unknown/Apostle of the Indians, Eliot, wrote/ His Bible in a language that hath died/And is forgotten, save by thee alone. Information from the “History of the First Congregational Church of Natick”http://www.fcc1651.org/files/History%20of%20the%20First%20Congregational%20Church%20of%20Natick.pdf; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Complete Poetical Works. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co, 1893) online edition at: http://www.bartleby.com/br/356.html; and Duane Hamilton Hurd, History of Middlesex County (Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis &Co, 1890), 513.
Accession #:
13291
Identifier:
AAW-028
M-28