Indian Marker Tree R.I.P.

Historical Period: European Exploration (1519-1716)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements, Folklore & Legends, Native Americans
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Burnet
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

This live oak, whose unusual shape appears to have been the result of a terrible windstorm, is actually a living memorial to the Comanche Indians, who caused the early settlers much pain and anxiety.

The Comanches were a migratory people who spent their summers on the high plains of the Panhandle and their winters in Mexico. In the fall, they passed through Central Texas and one of their favorite camping spots was along Hamilton Creek, which flows through the town of Burnet.

According to accounts of early settlers, the Indians would come in the night and set up their teepees along the creek. After a stay, they would pack up and leave just as silently as they had come.

The Indians liked Hamilton Creek, not only for its flow of clear, sweet water, but also for the bountiful native pecan trees which lined its banks and for the availability of flint and other hard rock. 

The Comanches had several trails. At the better camping spots along a trail, a sapling-size tree was bent to the ground and tied down to serve as a marker. As the tree grew, it maintained this prostrate or horizontal position. Such is the position of the live oak on Hamilton Creek—a living monument to the presence of these early residents of Central Texas.

The tree is located next to the Highlander Inn on Hwy. 29 in Burnet, adjacent to the city park along Hamilton Creek. Please respect private property by accessing the tree from the city park.