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Old live oak once stood on plantation, topples Saturday
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A live oak tree in Olin Fraser’s front yard fell over Saturday, blocking the driveway. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
Once on a working plantation, Olin Fraser’s white house on Court Street was built in 1839, used to sit on the same property as Bradwell Institute and is recorded on the national registry for its historic significance.
However, around dusk on Saturday, Fraser stood in the heat, in his yard and looked at what he said is an even greater Liberty County landmark laying toppled at his feet, a huge live oak.
“When my daughter Claire [McLeon] was really young, she used to call it the dead man’s grave,” Fraser said of the nickname she gave the massive tree upon discovering its hollow trunk.
“She would scare the two younger ones, telling them they had to feed the dead man’s grave or he’d get angry,” he said.
To avoid conjuring up any unwanted spirits, Fraser said the two children would shove magnolia branches and other odds and ends found in the yard into the tree’s cavity as “sacrifices.”
In addition to being a source of childhood memories and mischief for his children and grandchildren, the massive live oak, now sprawled across the yard, also served as a remembrance to Fraser of all
his family members who once sat on the same porch looking at the same tree, which once was part of a row of oak trees lining the drive.
“Seven generations have known that tree,” he said. “It’s a landmark.” 
Fraser was unsure of the actual age of the tree but said there used to be lots more of them.
“This one was the only one left. It was the only one that didn’t get hit by storms,” he said. “And, it’s funny. This one just went over with a slight breeze. There wasn’t a storm when it happened.”
His wife Peggy Fraser said it’s been a challenge getting in and out of the driveway, but in the end, only one thing matters.
“We’re just happy it didn’t hurt anyone,” she said.
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