Indian Mound Oak R.I.P.

Historical Period: European Exploration (1519-1716)
Historical Topic: Native Americans
Species: Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata)
County: Nacogdoches
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

This towering southern red oak jealously guarded the last of four prehistoric Indian mounds which were located near the center of Nacogdoches.

Deep in the mists of unrecorded history, an unknown tribe of Indians, whose origin and destiny are lost, constructed this mound. With sticks and stones, animal bones and clam shells, they loosened and carried soil to the selected sites in baskets and other receptacles.

Some of the larger mounds required several years to build; however, this one is only about six feet tall and probably required much less time.

People have theorized that the mounds were built for ceremonial purposes, as a place of refuge during floods, as a place of abode, or as a burial spot. One can only wonder about the secrets contained within this mound and the tales the venerable oak might reveal, if it could talk, about the more recent visits of DeSoto, LaSalle and DeLeon.

When Nacogdoches University (now Stephen F. Austin State University) was built in 1856, three companion mounds, located to the west of this tree, were not recognized for their historic value and were leveled to make way for the university buildings. The old university campus is now occupied by the Nacogdoches High School.

The historic red oak was removed due to poor health in the 1980's and has been replaced by a smaller water oak.

The historic tree is gone, but the mound is still located across from the Thomas J. Rusk Middle School, in Nacogdoches.