The story about The Tree that Owns Itself

In Athens, Georgia, United States, there is a legend of the Tree that Owns Itself.

The legend is about a professor with the University of Georgia, called Colonel William H. Jackson. He owned the land on which the tree stands today. He was sent to war, but when he returned around 1890, he was so happy to see the tree again, he wanted to give it rights. There is no actual proof of the deed, so the story about the Tree that Owns Itself remains a legend.

Sadly, the original tree fell in 1942 because it became too brittle, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns in 1946, on the same plot of land in an effort to preserve Colonel Jackson’s wishes.  The current tree, known as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself, is now a local landmark.

The plot is marked by a stone, which says:

"For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides."

The story of the Tree That Owns Itself is very widely known, and is presented as a fact, even though nobody’s entirely sure it ever happened. Most people claim that the deed is lost or no longer exists, or claim that it never did.  However, only one person, the anonymous author of the original article about the deed, has ever claimed to have seen Jackson’s deed to the tree.

This story is a nice example of how people in the early 1890’s were already thinking about the emancipation of nature. If you want to know more about this story, you can read more about it here.

Spread the word

Lets hear your voice!

Do you have something to say about this post? Let's hear your voice!

On this research platform we're looking to expand our knowledge and love to share this with you.

Step 1 of 3



We use cookies to analyize and improve your experience.