19th Indiana Tree #07

How to Find Witness Tree #07

From road level, or just below the incline, face the 19th Indiana monument. Now turn to the right, and you will see a large and very distressed white oak: its primary trunk has broken off long ago, leaving an enormous but solitary branch which has been growing to the south for well over a century. This is our Witness Tree #07.

A path to Willoughby Run also commences at this point.

Col. Samuel J. Williams (19th IN) Witness Tree

Tree Species: white oak
Circumference 2022: 91”
Diameter: 29.0”
Calculated Average Growth Rate: 9.3 years / inch diameter
Estimated age: 220-250+ years
Estimated diameter in 1863: 10-12”
GPS: 39.834209N, 77.254370W

This wonderful specimen is hanging on to dear life, despite the fact that its leader, or primary trunk, broke off at some point in the hazy past during the 20th century. However, the single remaining branch, extending 70 feet into the sky, still leaves out every summer, and appears to be quite healthy.

The tree is not immense – its diameter is 29 inches – but its growth rate is quite slow, clocking in at about 9 years to grow each inch of diameter on average since 1887. This fascinating white oak likely sported a diameter that was approaching a foot as the battle between the 11th North Carolina and 19th Indiana swirled around it!

Witness Tree #09 is named for the commander of the 19th Indiana, Col. Samuel J. Williams. Williams, a farmer, was born in 1830 in Montgomery, Virginia. Living in Indiana when war broke out, Williams joined the 19th Indiana and was elected captain of Company K in July, 1861. He was promoted quickly, and was colonel of the regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Williams was killed at the Wilderness in May 1864, after being struck in the chest by an artillery shell. He was married with five young children at the time. Williams was buried in Selma, IN, in White Cemetery. (1)

(1) The Civil War in the East website. Samuel J. Williams. Retrieved February 15, 2024: Samuel J. Williams