Old Evergreen Tree

Historical Period: Republic of Texas (1836-1845)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements, Sam Houston
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Lee
Public Access: Yes

On the east side of Farm Road 1624, about 8 miles north of Giddings, stands a large live oak tree which marks the site of Evergreen, the earliest pioneer community in what is now Lee County. Legends and facts about events which occurred near this tree are so tightly interwoven that only the tree itself could unravel them, if it could talk.

The earliest white visitor to pass near the old Evergreen tree probably was Explorer Louis de St. Denis, who in 1713 surveyed El Camino Real, later known as the San Antonio Road, and now State Highway 21.

The land on which the tree is growing was granted to Abner Kuykendall by Empresario Stephen F. Austin in 1831. By 1836, Doctor J. M. Stockton had built an inn beside the historic oak. One of Dr. Stockton's more notable guests was General Sam Houston.

In 1839, a new road (now FM 1624) was laid out to connect Houston with Austin. This road, which became an important stagecoach and freight line route, passed directly in front of the venerable Evergreen tree.

In 1856, settlers laid off the townsite of Evergreen. During the next 14 years, the town grew. In its heyday it included inns, well-stocked stores, and a schoolhouse. The school was located across the road from the Evergreen Tree.

In 1870, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad extended the Washington County Railroad west from Brenham and established a station at Giddings. Evergreen residents now began to leave. And when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad by-passed Evergreen in 1890 and established a station at nearby Lincoln, the knell sounded for Evergreen. Its remaining residents soon moved to Lincoln.

All that remains of Lee County's first white settlement is the Evergreen Tree and the community graveyard. This burial ground is only a few hundred yards west of the tree.

The Old Evergreen Tree is located on FM 1624, one-half mile north of Hwy 77, near the town of Lincoln.