The Charter Oak Is The State Tree Of Connecticut. Deep-rooted in the historic tradition of Connecticut, the Connecticut State Tree Charter Oak is one of the most colorful and significant symbols of the spiritual strength and love of freedom. It inspired our Colonial forebears in their militant resistance to tyranny. This venerable giant of the forest, over half a century old when it hid the treasured Charter in 1687, finally fell during a great storm on August 21, 1856.
The legend originates in the days when Connecticut was still a British colony. In 1662, King Charles II issued the colony its Royal Charter. This charter gave the colony the right to govern itself, and it stayed like that for twenty-five years. However, in 1687, the new King James II ordered that the Charter be taken back so that Connecticut (and other New England colonies) could be under his rule.
The people of the Connecticut Colony refused to hand over their charter. The King sent Sir Edmund Andros, whom he had appointed the governor of all New England, to recover the Charter from Connecticut. Andros met with the holders of Connecticut’s Charter at Butler’s Tavern in Hartford on the evening of October 26. The story goes that during the meeting a fight broke out, the candles were doused, and the Charter vanished from the room.
Outside the tavern was Captain Joseph Wadsworth, who had obtained the Charter amid the confusion. He took the Royal Charter to a stately oak tree on a Hartford property and hid it inside, where it was never seen again by British eyes. The old State Tree Of Connecticut Charter Oak tree stood tall in Hartford until August of 1856, when a violent storm knocked it to the ground on the 21st. The wood of the tree was fashioned into many different artifacts in order to preserve the tree and its legend.
The oak became a symbol of American independence and is commemorated on the Connecticut State Quarter. In 1935, for Connecticut’s tercentennial, it was also depicted on both a commemorative half dollar and a postage stamp. While some of the biggest Connecticut State Tree Charter Oak measure as tall as 150 feet, the average tree of this species grows between 80 and 100 feet high. The trunk’s diameter can exceed 4 feet and the tree takes on a broad round look when mature. The leaves of the State Tree Of Connecticut Charter Oak are about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide, with from seven to nine round-ended lobes on each leaf. The upper sides are a blue-green color, with the underneath surface a whitish shade of green.