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Witness Tree Remains

Witness Tree Gavels

Wood from the Donegal Witness Tree was ideal for the making of gavels and an untold number were fashioned and presented from the earliest days of the tree's fame. We know that two such gavels are being used by the Donegal and Witness Tree Chapters. Another was presented to the Lancaster Historical Society, January 7, 1897. It is greatly believed, however that many hand-worked gavels were made from wood of the Witness Tree over the 250 years of the tree's life. It is also probable that today they are being used in cities and towns across the Commonwealth as well as other states.

Witness Tree Sculpture

The sculpture has been provided by High Industries, Inc. for the enjoyment of visitors to Greenfield Corporate Center. It was created by local artist, Dean Fox, and was carved from a section of the trunk of the famous "Witness Tree" of the Donegal Presbyterian Church, Mount Joy, PA.

The Witness Tree was a 250-year-old white oak that shaded the Donegal Church, and was the scene of a noteworthy event in the early days of our country's birth.

During worship services in September 1777, an express rider alerted the congregation that the British had invaded Pennsylvania, and that help was needed at the front. Among the congregation was Colonel Alexander Lowry; along with many members of his battalion. They were ordered to march to the aid of General Washington in defending Philadelphia from capture by the British. Everyone left the service, circled the trunk of the tree and clasped hands, pledging their allegiance to the cause of independence.

When the Witness Tree died from age and disease, this large section was acquired and carved to keep the story of this historic tree alive. The sculpture was dedicated in September 2002, marking the 225th anniversary of the event.

This freedom they won must be guarded eternally,
The faith we inherit must be ever proclaimed;
Let us then witness with joy and thanksgiving
With hands joined together in dedication and praise.