Drought topples legendary tree: Doughty Oak 'a terrible loss'

Drought topples legendary tree: Doughty Oak 'a terrible loss'

Drought topples legendary tree: Doughty Oak 'a terrible loss'

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by James Muñoz / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @americasjim

kens5.com

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 2:25 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 11:29 AM

UVALDE -- Joseph Doughty arrived in Texas around the same time the state joined the United States. His descendants have since prospered and multiplied.

The late Judge Ross Doughty took great pride in an old oak tree on his Main Street property.

For more than 101 years his family cared for what became known as the Doughty Oak. Last Tuesday it collapsed to the ground.

At one point the Doughty Oak was considered the largest oak in Texas. Later it remained among the top three oldest and largest.

A live oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1,500 years old. The "Big Tree" can be found at Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas. Incidentally, Judge Doughty's granduncle, James Murray Doughty, was one of the founding fathers of Rockport.

The Doughty Oak could be 2,500 years old, but 600 years is a more plausible guess.

Louis Capt lives in Uvalde and is a self-proclaimed tree hugger. He was out of town when the story broke. But when he heard the news he was floored

"I could not believe it," he said. "I thought surely it was just a limb. It's a tragedy and what a loss to the history. That tree could tell many stories. It's a terrible loss."

Capt said there are a few similar trees behind the property. The Doughty Oak was trimmed a few years ago to looked even more beautiful, he said. The canopy stretched out to the north, south, east and west. But the tons of limbs and the tremendous weight became too much.

Public Works Director Joe Jarosek said the tree once underwent a concrete filling to help preserve it. In this drought, the Texas heat likely caused the ground to shift and bring the tree down.

Many citizens have been going overnight to snag a piece of the precious tree. The fate of the trunk is unknown, but Capt would like to study the main trunk.

"It will take a crane to remove the trunk," he said. "You can tell by the diameter it's a very old tree."

Author's note: I'm a Doughty descendant. I was born James Michael Doughty in Midland, Texas. I started using my mother's maiden name Muñoz in my professional life in 2001, namely to reduce viewer distraction. I've secured my piece of the Doughty Oak and will have it treated and passed on to my nephew Noah.

As many mourn the loss of the Doughty Oak, maybe it's just a sign we're making room for the new. New growth is always good. The Doughty Oak was just old and it was time to say bye-bye.

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