I went in search of one of Austin’s most famous trees but found something completely unexpected.

cloaked figureAngels!

Ok. Maybe not completely unexpected. We were in a cemetery, after all.

I had just heard about the people of England voting for their favourite tree of the year when it occurred to me that maybe Austin also has famous trees. Probably not quite as cool as some of the trees on the English short list (Robin Hood’s Oak, Isaac Newton’s apple tree and the Magna Carta tree) but …

Anyway. After a very brief internet search I learned about a famous pecan tree that was practically next door! Zoom … Zoom … and I was out the door.

The story: On his deathbed, Governor James Hogg (1851-1906) said he didn’t want a monument of stone.

Let my children plant at the head of my grave a pecan tree and at my feet an old-fashioned walnut tree. And when these trees shall bear, let the pecans and the walnuts be given out among the plain people so that they may plant them and make Texas a land of trees.

The pecan is the official state tree partly because of Hogg’s boosterism.

In no time at all we were wandering around the cemetery and let me just say that it isn’t called Oakwood Cemetery for nothing. I was having a hard time finding ANY pecan trees. When we finally found Governor James Stephen Hogg’s cenotaph there were some nice oaks close by but I could see no giant pecan tree growing in or really near his plot.

When I got home I found out the original pecan tree died in 1969. Then the replacement died in the scorching drought of 2011.

Angel Sculptures at Oakwood Cemetery

I have been unable to find any information about the artists responsible for the various angels.

Small sampling of the emotional range below.

hurting angel


angel in colour2

And really. We better get our act together to maintain this cemetery because SOME of the angels are starting to get pretty annoyed …

annoyed angel


18 thoughts on “Angels!

    1. Thx. I’d like to pretend I did that on purpose …. getting all cosmic with billions and billions of stars. Pure accident. =)


    1. Thanks. haha As for the pecan tree … you just echoed what my son said. I told him I was ok with the whole ‘journey not the destination’ thing but he just rolled his eyes. Next time I’ll do more research ;)


  1. Sorry you went on a wild pecan/walnut chase but it looks like you came out ahead anyway. Hogg was right about Texas always needing more trees. There is something (actually a LOT of things) about these parts that always seems to work against the establishment of big trees. Nibbling critters, bugs, droughts. Any tree that manages to survive absolutely deserves our respect.

    Speaking of surviving… is that a sword in that last angel’s grip? Not sure I’d let ball moss get going on that guy!


    1. That poor angel. The ball moss is a bit undignified. I had to look at the bigger shot to see what he is holding. It is a horn so I guess it is Gabriel himself who looks so peeved.

      I don’t think poor Hogg is ever going to get his wish about seeing a pecan live there until the end of its natural life. They are wetland trees and that cemetery was dry, dry, dry. Who wants to water a tree for 300 years? But he was a visionary in understanding the importance of planting trees in general.


  2. Oakwood is a lovely cemetery. Lots of good ole Austin history. Boosterism–what a great word that is–not used nearly enough. Governor Hogg wasn’t wrong though, was he?? :)


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