A century of memories

By Trina Trice

Steve Adams of Hampton has to bid adieu to an old friend, one that has been on this earth longer than he has.

That friend is an old oak tree that is dying in his back yard.

The Cherry Bark Oak tree, estimated to be more than 116 years old, has seen four generations of the Adams family, said Carolyn Adams.

"My grandfather was 12 when he planted it," she said. "It was just a seedling."

In 1973, when Adams' grandmother Manse Turner was still alive, she had hoped the tree would win the "Big Tree Contest" sponsored by the American Forestry Association. The tree, when it was in good health, measured nearly 6 feet through the middle, 18 feet and 6 inches in circumference, and 85 feet tall.

The tree has a colorful past.

A chain was tied to the one of the its limbs to hoist cars so that the family could work on them.

Another limb, bent down near the ground, was where the family butchered hogs.

A limb that was 15 feet high used to hold iron kettles next to a concrete basin.

Recently the tree housed a cat that had a litter of kittens.

Since the tree became sick from old age, though, it has posed a danger to the family's house on Turner Road in Jonesboro.

The tree almost fell on a family truck, said Brenda Adams. The family is currently preparing the tree for removal.