In the small community of Long Pond, located in the Southeast Georgia county of Montgomery, there is a local legend that is not talked about among the residents anymore. Perhaps it is because the legend is not widely known, or perhaps noone really believes it anymore.
Long Pond is a spot in the road. My family is originally from there, and the place is beautiful. There are a few stately old homes, white clapboard churches by the highway, and moss-covered oaks everywhere. It reminds me of a small New England village. The community once had many more residents than it does now. There was a general store and a sawmill there at one time. In yesteryear, it was a place that a lot of people called home. The community is still there today, but it has almost dried up.
The area was thriving during the era of the Civil War, and, as might be expected, many young men from Long Pond went off to war for the Confederate cause. Recently, as I was thumbing through some of the files in my home office, I found several folders full of newspaper clippings from the area newspapers down there from years past. There were tons of history articles and other news items I found, or people who knew I collected these items, found important. The one on the legend of Long Pond was one of those. It was sent to me by a fellow church member years ago when I lived in the area. The legend goes that during the Civil War, residents of Long Pond planted an oak tree and named it for each of the men who were called to fight for the southern cause. There were a lot of young men from the area called to service, so there were a lot of oak trees planted. They lined a road in the community called The Old River Road. It is still a much used road and is maintained by the state and county.
The weird thing, according to the story, is that not all of the trees lived. The oak trees that died were all named for soldiers who died in war or who were missing in action. The ones that lived were named after those that returned and survived the conflict. According to the journalist who researched the story in the early 1980s, he contacted some of the Long Pond Community's oldest remaining citizens, some of which were children and grandchildren of the people who planted the trees and saw the aftermath.They report that the legend is true, which, I guess, would not make it a legend. Several elderly people are quoted in the article, and they are names that I indeed recognize from my youth. They swear that the story is true and that their parents and grandparents not only told the story, but were also among the ones there when the trees were planted and watched them as they died and lived.
I used to attend church at Long Pond. I have been down the Old River Road many times. The famous Cooper Conner House mentioned in another story on this post, was once located right off that road. It has been moved to the campus of Brewton Parker College, but it was the one that the famous ghost ram roamed around. I have seen a lot of oak trees along the road. As I am home for the Christmas holiday this year, I plan on driving down to the area again and riding down the Old River Road and seeing if I can find the line of oaks. Perhaps there are spots where oaks once were planted and are no longer there. Perhaps I can get pictures and upload them here.