Which Way Tree

Historical Period: Texas Revolution (1835-1836)
Historical Topic: Texas Independence
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Harris
Public Access: Yes

During the Texas revolution after the fall of the Alamo, Sam Houston and his army fled to the east to retreat from Santa Anna’s advancing troops and to regroup. The road east from Washington-on-the-Brazos forked at the settlement of New Kentucky. One road led to the Trinity and the Sabine rivers; the other to Harrisburg (known as Houston today). Houston and his men stopped there on April 16, 1836. Near the junction stood a large oak tree with limbs pointing in each direction. One branch pointed northeast to safety beyond the Trinity and Sabine rivers. The other branch pointed to Harrisburg and to war. As his men took a midday rest beneath that tree, Houston must have considered those roads and reviewed his options. As the story goes, Sam supposedly looked at the tree and found his answer. That road led the ragtag little army to victory at San Jacinto just five days (and 18 minutes) later and the Republic of Texas was born. The oak still stands there today in a small commemorative park, offering respite to modern day picnickers.

Which Way Tree stands in New Kentucky Park at 21710 FM2920, Hockley, west of Tomball in north Harris County.