Week 19 The Jackson Oak – the tree that owns itself


Stephen’s Green Walk (process photo may 05.05.2020) original sucrose 30x40cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2020


This weeks story comes all the way from  Athens Georgia US.  There is a white Oak tree according to legend has legal ownership  of itself and the land within eight feet (2.4m) of it’s base. 

In the early 1800’s,  Colonel William H. Jackson,  a professor at University of Georgia gave ownership of the tree and the land within 8 feet on all sides of it, to the tree itself! A marker beside the tree quotes the Professor as saying, “For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection, for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides”.


Sadly, the original owner (tree) that Colonel Jackson so loved, was blown down during a storm in the 1940’s. But, the progeny of this great Oak, a sapling grown from one of its acorns, was planted where its parent once stood and is now the proud owner of the spot. Even though the tree stands alone, it isn’t lonely. It gets quite a few visitors every year.



Memory Palace of Trees 2020 is an ecological art practice which invites your participation to tell a story (or give some kind of information) about trees. It is a social enquiry of how to live better with the planet and with people by simply sharing stories. You are cordially invited to tell me your story of a tree or trees. (email : niamh@niamhcunningham.com) I would love to hear from you. Each week throughout 2020 a story will be posted with either an artwork already made or perhaps your story will inspire me to make a new work!