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EVERGREEN, TEXAS

Lee County, Central Texas South

FM 1624
8 miles NE of Giddings
62 miles E of Austin via US 290
117 miles W of Houston via US 290
Population: 50 (est.)

Book Hotel Here > Giddings Hotels

Evergreen doesn't have a sign to announce it. There's nothing to tell you that it was the oldest community in Lee County. The only reference is a metal sign on a gate to the Evergreen Cemetery.

EvergreenTexas Hanging Tree
The Evergreen "Hanging" Tree
TE photo, 2001
Hanging tree historic marker
The historical marker in front of the tree
TE photo, 2001

The massive Live Oak above has earned its title of "Hanging Tree" according to locals, but we have been unable to uncover any specific executions. Bill Longley, Lee County's most infamous black sheep was hanged twice, but neither time was on this particular Quercus virginiana. Bill loved Evergreen and even wrote about it from prison. You might say he pined for Evergreen.

Evergreen had a calming effect on Bill (click here for Bill Longley Doesn't Get Along Well With Others).and he proved it by farming and chopping the cotton of relatives when he wasn't shooting people. The bright lights and brandy of Giddings were just too close to Evergreen for Bill to settle down.

Officially, Evergreen is now part of Lincoln. The present Lincoln Postmaster grew up in Evergreen and told us he still has some .50 caliber lead slugs that he and friends found while playing around the tree as boys.

Evergreen Texas house
The oldest house left in Evergreen awaits relocation
TE photo, 2001

Recently, the house you see here was donated to a historical group to be moved and restored. The historical marker in front of the tree states that the Live Oak is believed to have sheltered Louis de St. Denis who was the surveyor of El Camino Real. His visit would have occurred in 1713.

In 1836 Sam Houston was passing through the area and became stuck in the mud according to legend. He spent the night in the Stockman Hotel, which stood next to the tree.

The town was laid out in 1856 and the town prospered until like many towns, it was by-passed by the railroad in 1870. This time it was the Houston and Texas Central that went East -West through Giddings. What could be worse? How about being by-passed by two railroads? In 1890 The San Antonio and Aransas Pass (SAAP) went through Lincoln (South-North) and the last holdouts in Evergreen gave up and moved there.

The gate to the Evergreen Cemetery is on the west side of FM 1624, opposite the tree.

Related Articles:
  • Bill Longley Does Not Get Along Well With Others - A Visit to the Giddings City Cemetery
  • Bill Longley Down and Out in a Nacogdoches Jail by Archie P. McDonald


    John Troesser
    Sources: A History of Lee County by the Lee County Historical Survey Committee, Nortex, 1974.
    Famous Trees of Texas, Published by the Texas Forest Service (A&M University), 1970
    Interview with Lincoln Postmaster, January, 8th, 2001.
  • Evergreen, Texas Area Towns:
    Giddings
    See Central Texas South
    Book Hotel Here:
    Giddings Hotels
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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.
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