As a part of his tour, 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,
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
December 16 , 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.
Trees of Texas
Sam Houston Cypress
My family and I are spending a night at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad
and refreshing our memories on Texas History. The Topic of General
Sam Houston Cypress close to the Sabine River before Toledo Bend Reservoir
was impounded came up. I am 64 years old and I remember my parents
used to tie one end of a rope to an aluminum boat and the other end
to trailer hitch on their car. They would lower boat down a 60 foot
sand cliff to be able to fish in the Sabine River. One trip I remember
my parents taking my brother and I a few yards into the woods from
this high cliff which was also close to East Hamilton Community area
and showing us that giant Cypress tree. I was only 8-9 years old at
the time and but seeing things like that giant Cypress Tree stays
The reason I am writing is because it is a big mystery to us; Why
was that giant Cypress named after Sam Houston? If anyone has knowledge
on this topic I would love to know the reason the giant Cypress was
named after Sam Houston. - Sincerely, Gordon Peavy, August 15, 2020
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