St. James in Phelps County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The White Oak of St. James
[Captions on arrows out from the center of the wood:]
1860 City of St. James Established. Our Tree Sprouts.
1865 Civil War Ends!
1875 Maramec River forges [unreadable]
1880 [unreadable] is Born in St. James.
[Unreadable] Italians Arrive and the Grape Industry is Born.
1895 [Unreadable] Established.
1924 [Unreadable] First Woman Mayor in Missouri
[Unreadable] The First Grape and Fall Festival
1938 Lucy Wortham James [Unreadable]
1941 The [Unreadable] is Established.
[Remainder is unreadable]
Reaching to heav'n his gnarled hands
His massive trunk and spreading girth
Shading an acre of God's earth.
Oh mighty tree, could you but speak
Of year by year and week by week
The sights that you have doubtless seen
While standing on this hilltop green.
You saw the wand'ring Redmen pass
With scarce a ripple of the grass
Stalking the turkey and the deer
That fed upon your acorns here.
Shawnee and Osage bedded 'round
In quest of ocher plant to wear
Upon their face and in their hair.
When James and Massey here were led
They saw the wondrous hill of red
And marveled at the crystal flow
Of water from the depths below.
Great tree, you saw the frenzy then
The enterprise of many men
Horses and mules and oxen too—
Civilization came to you.
The stillness of the nearby glen
Was shattered by the ironworks then
Clanging anvils and spewing ore
Wagons passing to fill the store.
Axemen ravaged the forest land
Hardwood charcoal was in demand
Why were you spared, Oh mighty oak
When siblings fell to cutter's stroke?
You felt the tremor of the ground
When rails were laid into the town
And iron horse with belching stack
Came daily chuffing down the track.
Did you hear guns of blue and gray
As Yanks and Johnnies passed your way?
Were those who fell, by comrades laid
In shallow graves beneath your shade?
Your grounds became the resting place
Of pioneers who'd run the race
Finished the course and gone to stand
At the judgment gate to the promised land.
Te years have passed and once again
There is a stillness in the glen
Thru wind and
To guard the place of brotherhood.
Oh lovely tree, so strong and tall
We're glad that you survived it all
And daily showed us by your stand
That your Creator's in command.
This beautiful white oak, Quercus alba, sprouted in 1860 in what was then known as the Masonic cemetery. The tree has inspired the citizens of Saint James for 150 years, and will live on in our memories.
Special Thanks to the James Foundation, Walmart Distribution, City of St. James, Ben Smith, Robert Tessaro, and Wilson Lumber.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Government & Politics • War, US Civil • Women. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1983.
Location. 38° 0.401′ N, 91° 37.164′ W. Marker has been reported unreadable. Marker is in St. James, Missouri, in Phelps County. Marker is at the intersection of State Highway B and North Jefferson Street (State Highway 68), on the right when traveling east on State Highway B. North Jefferson Street is also Historic Route 66. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Highway B, Saint James MO 65559, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 milesIn Honor of American Korean War Veterans (within shouting distance of this marker); St. James Veterans Home Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dunmoor Mansion (approx. ¼ mile away); Vietnam Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.8 miles away); Maramec Community Cemetery (approx. 5.3 miles away); Stringtown Road (approx. 5.3 miles away); Stuttering Tom Lenox (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. James.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 166 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 18, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.