I'm mourning the loss of a family tree. Last Tuesday, the Doughty Oak, one of the oldest and largest Oak Trees in Texas collapsed. One of my co-workers forwarded the article to me from the Uvalde Leader News. As I read it, my heart fell and I was very sad, but the comedian in me looked for something funny. All I could think was, my Family Tree just literally collapsed. What's up with that? We've been in Texas and have remained quite humble for more than 165 years. The spiritual side of me wonders if this means anything. The Tree of Life? Now gone.
I called my common cousin, Frances Doughty, and offered my condolence. Like a no nonsense, quick-witted Doughty she simply said, "Well, it ain't comin' back." Frances' father, Ross Ethelred Doughty, served as Judge of the 38th Judicial District of Texas. According to "Our Doughty Families" by Preston Doughty, Judge Doughty was elected to public office twelve times without opposition.
Judge Ross' grand uncle, James Murray Doughty, was my 3rd great grandfather. James Murray Doughty was one of the founding father's of Rockport, the first superintendent of the King Ranch and sheriff of Refugio county.
The first Doughty's arrived in this area back in 1845, the Doughty Oak was here long before that. It's estimated to be between 600 and 2500 years old.
The Doughty's were hardworking, proud pioneers of South Texas and for 101 years the family members of Judge Doughty took good care of the Doughty Oak. And while trees are precious they are just a gift. Their time on Earth must come to an end.
One city worker I spoke with suggested the Texas drought this year was just too much. The Doughty Oak had been treated with concrete to fill a cavity. In this heat the ground likely shifted and took the behemoth tree down.
Our life is a gift. One of the promises in life is that we can live like a tree planted by water. Everything we do can prosper. The Doughty Oak is gone, but the Doughty's are alive and well. Their strength, stability and nobility continue to bless Texas, the USA and the Universe. JMD
Photos courtesy of the City of Uvalde.