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Clarke County Historical Markers

Robert Toombs Oak

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Robert Toombs Oak
  • Location: Between the Demosthenian Hall and Chapel, University of Georgia, Athens


A majestic oak tree once stood on this spot and one of the

University’s most endearing legends also flourished here.

Robert Toombs (1810-1885) was young, and boisterous when he was

dismissed from Franklin College in 1828. five decades later it was

said that Toombs returned on the next commencement day after he

was expelled and spoke so eloquently under the tree that the entire

audience left the chapel to hear him. Later, it was said, that the

tree was struck by lightning on the day Toombs died and never

recovered. The tree finally collapsed in 1908 and the remains were

cut into mementos that have since been handed down by alumni.

Robert Toombs was a lawyer, planter and statesman. He served

in the Georgia House 1837-1840, 1842-1845, in the U.S. Congress

1845-1853, the U.S. Senate from 1853 until he resigned in 1861.

Toombs was Secretary of State of the Confederacy then a brigadier

general in the C.S.A. He also played a major role in Georgia’s

Constitutional Convention of 1877.

Marker erected at direction of General Assembly resolution approved

March, 1985.