600-year-old tree that witnessed history taken down

BERNARDS, N.J. (AP) — Memories are all that remain of a 600-year-old white oak tree that was believed to be among the oldest of its kind in the nation.

Workers on Wednesday finished removing the tree from the grounds of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards. About 50 people clapped and cheered and the church’s bells rang as the tree’s large stump was pulled out.

The tree was declared dead after it began showing rot and weakness during the last couple of years.

The removal process started Monday, but no work was performed Tuesday due to heavy rain and winds.

Officials say Gen. George Washington held a picnic near the tree with Marquis de Lafayette.

Another white oak cultivated from the old tree’s acorns was recently planted at the church.

(Copyright (c) 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)