A Remarkable Silver Maple

Tree Information
Common Name: Silver Maple
Scientific name: Acer saccharinum
Category: Historic tree
Notes: This silver maple has been estimated by an arborist to be over 200 years old. It is a witness tree, along with several other nearby trees, that spreads a wonderful canopy over the last surviving antebellum house known as Merrybrook (formerly known as Brookside). In 1861, Laura Ratcliffe, who lived at the house, met J.E.B. Stuart while she was ministering to his wounded soldiers. Her beauty and manner captivated Stuart and he engaged her in providing intelligence on Federal army activities and deployments. In early 1863, Stuart introduced Laura to John Mosby, who frequented her home to get information on Federal troop movements for the rest of the war. There was a large rock formation on her property and she made arrangements to stash messages for Mosby there. The site is now known as Mosby's Rock. After the war, Colonel Mosby credited Laura with saving his life. One cold and snowy night, Laura risked her own life to warn him of a Federal ambush at nearby Frying Pan Church. After the war, Laura remained an active part of her community, and donated land for a fledgling Presbyterian church nearby. She is still spoken with great admiration as the lady with the golden earrings. Merrybrook was accepted in March 2007 on the National Register of Historical Places. For more information on Merrybrook: http://lauraratcliffe.org/
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Nominator: Winifred Meiselman
Location of Tree
County/City: Fairfax
Name of tree owner: The Launders Charitable Trust
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