Jun 27, 201109:26 AMBay Buzz
Mobile Tree Hugger, Part II: The Legend of the Charles Boyington Oak
In the northwest corner of the Church Street cemetery, near the grave of Joe Cain, grows an ancient live oak rumored to be haunted. The tree’s namesake is Charles Boyington who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Mobile, February 20, 1835. A man named Nathaniel Frost had been found stabbed to death in the Church Street Cemetery several days before.
Frost had a large sum of money saved, and Boyington was unemployed and destitute. Frost offered to help Boyington, and they were last seen heading to the cemetery where Frost was to teach Boyington how to carve a wooden heart for a loved one. After Frost’s body was found, Boyington was arrested fleeing town aboard the ship James Monroe that sailed from Mobile to Montgomery.
Although the circumstantial evidence convinced the jury of his guilt, Boyington proclaimed his innocence until his death. At his execution, Boyington predicted a great oak tree would grow from his grave proclaiming his innocence. Due to his status as an unworthy criminal Boyington’s body was later buried outside the walls of the cemetery. Suprisingly, the prediction came true. Boyington’s gravestone eroded away with time, but a towering live oak continues to mark his final resting place, a testament to his rumored innocence. An old Mobile legend warns of Boyington’s lingering ghost haunting the oldest graveyard in Mobile.
For more in-depth information about the legend, click here.
Next week I will be hugging the Jackson live oak of Baldwin County.