Near Nancy in Pulaski County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
“The Zollie Tree”
In the years after the Battle of Mill Springs, the white oak tree that General Felix Zollicoffer's body had been placed under became known as the Zollie Tree. While the tree became a local gathering spot, no effort was made to remember or honor the slain general or his men who lay in a mass grave a few feet from the tree.
In 1902, a 10-year old local girl named Dorotha Burton noticed that on Memorial Day the Union soldiers buried in the National Cemetery had lavish decorations and grand ceremonies to honor them while the Confederate soldiers buried near the Zollie Tree were all but forgotten. Dorotha thought this was unfair and that year she decorated the Zollie Tree with a flower entwined evergreen wreath and placed flowers on the mass grave to honor General Zollicoffer and his men. Dorotha continued to decorate the Zollie Tree until 1947 when she was disabled by arthritis. Her family continues the tradition, and decorates the new Zollie Tree each Memorial Day.
A New Zollie Tree
On June 9, 1995, a severe storm destroyed the Zollie Tree. The tree was 15 feet in circumference, 80 to 90 feet tall and between 200 to 250 years old. The white oak tree growing in front of this sign is a seedling of the original Zollie Tree. This
"From her mother's garden she plucked roses and made wreaths, and each day when the Federal dead had their graves covered with floral tributes this little girl out in the forest, with none to teach her but the promptings of a true woman's soul, laid upon the graves of these Confederates, sleeping so far from their homes beneath the tree which shadowed the spot where Zollicoffer's blood was shed, nature's lovely offering, and hung chaplets on Zollicoffer's Oak ..."
General Bennett H. Young, May 19, 1910
Erected 1996 by Mill Springs Battlefield Association.
Location. 37° 3.359′ N, 84° 44.373′ W. Marker is near Nancy, Kentucky, in Pulaski County. Marker can be reached from Kentucky Route 235 0.1 miles south of Kentucky Route 761, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at Tour Stop 2: "Confederate Cemetery" of the Mill Springs Battlefield Driving Tour just inside the stone wall north of the Cemetery Gate. Marker is in this post office area: Nancy KY 42544, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. George Henry Thomas (within shouting distance of this marker); Felix K. Zollicoffer, "Zollie Tree" Mistaken Identity - A Deadly Error (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen'l Felix K. Zollicoffer (within shouting distance of this marker); Fix Bayonets - Charge! (within shouting distance of this marker); The Union Line at the Fence (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "Battle on a Sabbath Morn" (about 300 feet away); The Dawn of Battle (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nancy.
Regarding "The Zollie Tree". The marker has the following photos on the right side:
Dorotha and the Zollie Tree in the 1930s. (See Photo #3)
The Zollie Tree the day before the destruction by the storm.
The Zollie Tree on June 9, 1995.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2013, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 306 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 5, 2013, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. 4. submitted on September 16, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.