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When Environmentalism Began,
Page 2

by Bob Bowman

"The County Line Magnolia"
General Sam Houston Cypress

Page 1..... Douglas asked to see a 1,000-year-old magnolia tree, a prize attraction in the Big Thicket, known as "the county line magnolia" because of its location at the intersection of Polk, Hardin and Liberty counties.

However, the tree was deliberately killed by an injection of a metallic poison before Douglas arrived. The assassin's identity was never discovered. Douglas grieved over the ragged remnants of the tree and his concerns set off a storm of protests in the Beaumont area, fueling the campaign to create a national preserve. Some proponents of the preserve blamed timbermen for the tree's death.

Douglas also saw another large tree -- this one also doomed, but for a different reason.

McEloy carried Douglas deep into the Sabine River bottomlands to the old community of East Hamilton to see the General Sam Houston Cypress, one of the largest such trees in East Texas.

The tree was later cut because it stood in the path of Toledo Bend Reservoir.


December 16-22 , 2001
Published by permission.

Bob Bowman is a former president of the East Texas Historical Society and the author of 28 books on East Texas history and folklore.

See Historic Trees of Texas


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