St. John’s College Liberty Tree, July 4, 1812

Mayor Claude and children in Liberty Tree, MSA SC 1477-1-5592

Mayor Claude and children in Liberty Tree, MSA SC 1477-1-5592

On July 4, 1812, the thirty-sixth year of American Independence, the citizens of Annapolis gathered on St. John’s College green under the shade of a majestic tulip poplar tree. It had once sheltered the soldiers of the French and American armies in 1781 on their march to Yorktown, Virginia.

On this day four weeks after the declaration of war, citizens of Annapolis assembled under the venerable poplar as their fathers had done for the purpose of “expressing their devotion to the sacred cause of their country.” A handsome dinner was prepared with state officials and military officers in attendance amidst patriotic toasts and the discharge of saluting cannons.

St. John’s College was also where a promising young Francis Scott Key studied law who very likely sought the shade of the tree in study.

In September 1999 Hurricane Floyd damaged the tree and was removed. It messured 102 inches in diameter and stood 60 feet in height. On March 30, 2007 a tulip poplar was planted to begin a new liberty tree. 

Source: Maryland Gazette, July 9, 1812.

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Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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