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New Jersey’s Mighty Oak

By Linda Tancs

In an area replete with Revolutionary War history stands a mighty white oak, its age estimated at 600 years. The tree in question is lovingly referred to as the Holy Oak, a Nature-supplied frontispiece for the 1717 Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. The New Jersey gem is credited as the oldest white oak tree in the Northern Hemisphere and possibly in the world. Given its age, you can imagine the degree of lore associated with it. Is it the burial spot for flag maker Betsy Ross? A meeting point for George Washington during his march to Morristown after the Battle of Princeton in 1777? No one knows for sure, but there’s no doubt that the old gal has seen her share of action since colonial times. Although it has managed to exceed its usual lifespan of 300 to 350 years by at least as many years, the grand dame is succumbing to the effects of old age although the locals will continue to investigate all means to maintain the relationship between town and tree.

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