If a person that witnessed the American Revolution were alive today they would be at least 236 years old and if they would actually remember anything they would have to be older. It should go without saying that no human is still alive. For the record the oldest living human alive today (and last person born in the 19th century) is Emma Morano of Italy. While no humans survive from the days of the American Revolution trees still do, though they are rare.

Valley Forge, the scene of one of the most pivotal winters in American history is home to two witness trees. Two sycamore trees survive to this day, the Maxwell Sycamore and the Pawlings Sycamore. Originally the Valley Forge area was heavily wooded but when George Washington and his army arrived in 1777 and set up winter encampment nearly every tree in the area was cut down to provide wood for shelter, cooking and defensive works.

Sycamore trees made very poor firewood which may explain why these two trees were left alone. The Pawlings Sycamore is a true giant of a tree and is located north of the encampment and well away from where the tourists flock. The Maxwell Sycamore is also located off the beaten path near the home that was used for Henry Knox’s headquarters. There was also a third three, the Lafayette Sycamore, but it was destroyed by a thunderstorm in 2012. The trees are a part of Valley Forge National Historic Park and therefore are protected by federal regulations but are accessible to the general public.

There are numerous trees in this nation that were alive during the Revolution but none on the actual battlefields. One witness tree at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, which sheltered some of Nathanael Greene’s soldiers before the battle died in the 1980s. A sapling of the tree was planted on the battlefield nearby. This appears to be the last known witness tree that was alive during the war and witnessed combat. The trees that witnessed the famous battles of Lexington and Concord, Saratoga or Yorktown are no more.

Locally to Aged Woods it is believed that a witness tree may be alive in what was the site of Camp Security, a prison camp used to house the British soldiers that surrendered after Saratoga. There has been a grassroots effort to preserve the land that the camp was located on and protect it from modern development that is surrounding it. Several trees in the protected area are large enough but need to be tested to see if they are witnesses to the American Revolution.