Craven County Digital History Exhibit

The Cypress Tree, 1929

Title: The Cypress Tree by J. D. Whitford

Creator: John D. Whitford

Subject: Historic trees--North Carolina--New Bern

Description: Broadside, apparently published in 1929, reprinting an 1882 newspaper article detailing the history of the Cypress Tree in New Bern, N.C.

Publisher: Not stated (possibly the New Bern Historical Society).

Date: June 11, 1929

Type: Text

Format:  1 pages.

Identifier: R.A. Nunn Collection (#3.21)

Source: Donation.

Coverage: New Bern, N.C.

Rights: Permission to use this item must be obtained from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, 400 Johnson Street, New Bern, NC 28560.

Click on an image below for more detail.




Copied from New Bern Daily Journal, Sept. 10th, 1882

“We find before us a large Cypress Tree; it was originally the property of the Spaights. Historians fix the building of the first vessel in North Carolina in New Bern and it was under that tree, so said our fathers living in the Revolution who received the information from their fathers, and we think it can be taken as truth.

“Stern dweller” of the shore,
Two centuries thou canst count
And perhaps as many more.

This tree is on the margin of the Neuse, with its haughty crest lifted up above the elms and cedars on the street west of it. Under the shadow of its bows, amid the thunders of the Revolution, when gloom and darkness seemed to be encircling the American Army, Nathaniel Greene stood—the friend and associate of the elder Spaight—it was then Spaight’s tree. 

Some years pass by, the smoke of the war rises, the echo of the last gun is hushed in the distance, liberty is assured, our country is free, George Washington stands beside that old tree.”


From History of the Presbyterian Church of New Bern, N. C., by Rev. L. C. Vass

“A large cypress tree stands near an old wharf on the Neuse, on the premises of Mr. Samuel Smallwood, but originally the property of the Spaights. Under this monarch tradition says the first vessel in North Carolina was built. Under its shade have stood General Washington, Nathaniel Greene, during trying times to his com­mand, John Wright Stanly, who lost fourteen vessels during the Revolution, the Spaights, Hon. Edward Everett, and many of the noblest of men.”

[Other images]

[Reverse of broadside]


[Envelope in which broadside was found--front]



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Images scanned by John B. Green, III.  Text prepared by John B. Green, III and Victor T. Jones, Jr.
This page last edited on August 21, 2018.

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