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EVERGREEN, TEXAS

Now now part of Lincoln

Lee County, Central Texas South

FM 1624
8 miles NE of Giddings the county seat
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.




Hanging tree historic marker
The historical marker in front of the tree
TE photo, 2001

Historical Marker: 1/2 mile south on FM 1624 from S Hwy 21/FM 1624 intersection; half-way between S Hwy 21 and US 77

Old Evergreen Tree

Said to have sheltered in 1714 explorer Louis de St. Denis-- probably first white man ever here. Site of pioneer court trails in 1870s.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1967



EvergreenTexas Hanging Tree
The Evergreen "Hanging" 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 (See 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.



John Troesser
2003
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.




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

  • TX Lee County 1907 Postal Map
    Lee County 1907 postal map showing Lincoln
    N of Giddings, S of Lexington
    From Texas state map #2090
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip

    Central Texas South

    Evergreen, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Giddings the county seat
    Lincoln
    Lexington
    See Lee County

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