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General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer Tree

  Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree A tree that was present at the encampment of Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s army near Middle River in June 1862 has succumbed to disease and time.  The towering white oak that was known locally as Jackson’s Prayer Tree toppled to the ground overnight May 27, 2011.

Jackson's army had just completed a string of five military victories, including the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, in roughly a month that spring. According to the diary of Jackson's mapmaker, Jedediah Hotchkiss, the general attended a religious gathering on June 15 during the encampment.  A local legend sprouted that Jackson attended the prayer meeting under the tree, leading to its moniker.

The estimated 350 year old tree stood proudly at the edge of a farm field near Mt. Meridian in Augusta County, Grottoes, Virginia, owned by Warren E. (deceased) and Catherine M. Wilkerson now descended to Donna (Wilkerson) Miller and her husband Kenny.  The disease weakened historical oak was brought down by high winds on May 27, 2011. The wood was donated by the family to preserve the historical significance of the tree.
Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree The Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA) is leading an effort to give the massive tree a second life as wooden pens, boxes, bowls, platters and other items.  Some of the proceeds from the sale of items will benefit veterans and historic preservation. The tree's owners, the Miller family, agreed to allow WoVA to have the wood so the tree could be used in a meaningful way.  "This is the right thing to do," Donna Miller said.

Cutting the tree into usable pieces is expected to take some time.  At its uprooted base, it measures 7 feet long and 9 feet wide and one branch measured 19 inches in diameter.  The trunk, above where large branches had spread, measures 12 feet 9 inches in circumference.
Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree Members of the Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA) and Central Virginia Woodturners (CVW) cutting the main trunk of the tree into usable pieces.  This requires a large chain saw.  The 42" bar just barely reaches the center of the tree.  The wood will be made available to WoVA and CVW members who wish to participate in the SJPT project.

As a member of the Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA) and one of the original harvesters of the "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer tree, I'm proud to participate in this project to preserve the historical significance of this tree for future generations.

Over the years I've made many items, including bowls, pens, pepper mills, crosses, two chess sets and other items with the wood of the prayer tree. I’ve donated several items made from the tree to Veterans Causes, several items to Donna Miller, the original owner of the tree, and several items to local Civil War Museums.

In order to preserve the authenticity of items made from this tree, a card will be included with each item designating that this wood came from the "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer Tree and will include a brief history of the tree.

See the following for additional information regarding the “Stonewall” Jackson Prayer Tree:

The Fall Of The Jackson Prayer Tree by Nikki Fox  Daily News-Record Photography

Local Group Turns Prayer Tree Into Everyday Items  Woodturners Unlimited

Gen. Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson's 'Prayer Tree' felled by high winds, disease  NBC NEWS

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