Families bid farewell to historic New Bern tree

Charles Wootten tree will be treasured in pieces

Families bid farewell to historic New Bern tree

NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - A historic tree in New Bern, which has stood for more than 100 years, was cut down on Monday. The huge pecan tree was named after Charles Wootten, and was planted to mark his birth on Oct. 8, 1898.

"His mother, Bayard Wootten, the photographer and the suffragette, gave birth to him in the house on East Front Street and then, the tree was planted outside," said Clare Crawford-Mason, Charles Wootten's daughter.

The current owner of the home, Celia Eudy, explained why the tree had to be cut down.

"It was leaning towards the house, and it has long branches extending toward the house," said Eudy.  "It had quite a bit of rot."

Eudy said she thought cutting the tree down would be quick and quiet. But it turned into a family reunion.

Eudy's relatives, as well as Charles Wooten's daughter and niece, traveled from all over the country to watch the slow demise of the historic tree. No one left empty-handed though; they asked for pieces of the tree as souvenirs.

"I think it's a good opportunity to teach the younger members of the family about the family," said Crawford-Mason.

The tree will not be making its debut in the film about the Wootten family.

"It means a lot to everyone involved and to see it come down is really sad," said Anthony Lilly, screenwriter for the film. "They tried to save it , and I was hoping to start shooting the film before the tree went."

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