Old North Church Oak R.I.P.

Historical Period: Colonial Texas (1821-1835)
Historical Topic: Religious Freedom
Species: Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
County: Nacogdoches
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

This historic post oak once played an important role in the religious life of early Texans, for it was under its spreading branches that the settlers secretly met and worshipped.

Under Mexican rule, religious freedom was denied those of a faith other than Catholicism, the state religion. Consequently, until the defeat of the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, Texans of other faiths were forced to meet in secret.

As early as 1832, settlers in the Nacogdoches area met and worshipped under this historic post oak tree, which was somewhat removed from the settlement but which had nearby a good spring of water.

In 1835, a 10-acre site around the tree was donated for use as a graveyard and church site by Dr. John M. Sparks, son of Richard Sparks, the last alcalde of Nacogdoches. The first use of the graveyard came when a child from a passing wagon train was buried.

The Old North Baptist Church was located on CR 205, approximately 4.5 mi. north of downtown Nacogdoches. The historical monument and a ragged stump are all that remains.