Today I Discovered The Tree That Legally Owns Its Own Land

Today I Discovered The Tree That Legally Owns Its Own Land
Image: Public Domain

If you, like me, are one of the third of all Australians who don’t own their own property, try not to get too jealous of this tree in the US that owns itself and the land it stands on.

Called “The Tree That Owns Itself,” the deed was created around 1820 by one Colonel William Henry Jackson, as a token of the “great affection” he bore for the big white oak in Athens, Georgia. The full deed, as printed in a local newspaper, read as follows:

“I, W. H. Jackson, of the county of Clarke, of the one part, and the oak tree … of the county of Clarke, of the other part: Witnesseth, That the said W. H. Jackson for and in consideration of the great affection which he bears said tree, and his great desire to see it protected has conveyed, and by these presents do convey unto the said oak tree entire possession of itself and of all land within eight feet [2.4 m] of it on all sides.”

However, the newspaper documenting this deed was only published in 1890, more than 60 years after the deed supposedly occurred – however the story spread from there and was enshrined as a local landmark.

The tree, said to be the most famous tree in the United States at one point, was taken good care of by local residents, but unfortunately declined and fell in 1942. However the deed continued – a new tree was planted on its small parcel of land from one of the oak’s acorns, and the Son Of The Tree That Owns Itself inherited its family legacy.

You can see the tree’s plot on Google Maps right here:

Today I Discovered is a daily dose of wisdom for Lifehacker readers – the weird, wonderful and sometimes worrying. Most of the time, it’s just mind-blowing. Let us know if you discovered anything that blew your mind in the comments!

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