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LEARN & EXPLORE
  • STATE FORESTS AND ARBORETUMS: SAM HOUSTON KISSING BUR OAK

    On a warm day in 1857, thousands of townspeople from San Marcos, Texas, gathered under an oak grove to await the arrival of battle hero Sam Houston.

    Though he was serving a term in the U.S. Senate, the 64-year-old campaigner was running for governor of the Lone Star State. Still popular for his role in the Battle of San Jacinto in the 1835 fight for Texas’ independence, his appearance drew a large crowd.
    Houston Bur Oak
    Mary Elizabeth Davis was among a group of women who made a flag to present to Houston. Before he mounted the platform to deliver his speech, he kissed some of the women who offered him the flag.

    The largest oak thus became known as the Sam Houston Kissing Oak but some confusion followed whether it was the single bur oak or one of the adjacent live oaks (see Famous Trees of Texas). The bur oak has since succumbed to decay. but its acorns have produced authentic direct-offspring trees that live on at the Ruth Bowling Nichols Arboretum.


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