Historic Tree Project
Greenwich Cemetery has a unique ongoing program of planting historic trees from the American Forests Historic Tree Nursery. These trees are the authentic offspring of trees which were silent witnesses to important events and lives in American history.
We have descendants of trees from the Revolutionary War such as the Minuteman Red Oak, the River Farm Chaste Tree, from George Washington's boyhood home, and the Fairmount Park Chinese Scholar, whose ancestor tree witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence. From the Civil War era we have a Gettysburg Address Honey Locust and a Robert E. Lee Sweetgum. There is even a Wilderness Kentucky Coffee tree from the burial place of Stonewall Jackson's amputated arm.
Trees whose ancestors witnessed more recent events include a Survivor Elm descended from the great elm which survived the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 and a Moon Sycamore whose parent tree grew from a seed which flew to the moon on Apollo XIV in 1971. This tree has its roots in the earth, but its branches stretch toward the sky and the silvery moon.
All the historic trees in the Presidential Section are connected with Presidents of the United States of America, from George Washington through Lyndon Johnson. This section is outlined by a row of Washington DC Tidal Basin Cherry trees, direct offspring of Yoshima Cherry trees gifted to President Taft in 1912 by the Emperor of Japan.
Among trees associated with other specific individuals are a Susan B. Anthony Sycamore, a Helen Keller Mimosa and a Clara Barton Redbud. We are also fortunate enough to have the last available direct descendant of a tree planted by Johnny Appleseed around 1840.
Trees have been donated in memory or in honor of a loved one or by individuals who have a special interest in the event or person associated with each tree. For example, a nurse donated the Clara Barton Redbud. A descendant of someone named for Ulysses S. Grant donated a U.S. Grant Black Locust.
Each tree has a special marker noting what the tree is and either the name of the donor or of the person in whose memory or honor the tree has been planted. Further specific information on each tree is available in the cemetery office.