Transcription: Raleigh, North Carolina. 407 North Blount Street. This white oak tree stands 100 feet west from the northwest corner of North Blount and East North Street and is thought to be between 300 and 500 years old. It measures 17 1/2 feet in circumference at a height of 5 feet above the ground. This land was purchased by Colonel William Polk in 1800, on which property he built his residence, and here, on April 10, 1806, was born Bishop Leonidas Polk, later Lt. General in the Confederate Army. After Colonel William's Polk's death his son-in-law, Hon. Kenneth Rayner, member of Congress, resided in the house. Here Henry Clay was entertained in March 1844 on a visit, when he gave out his famous letter opposing the annexation of Texas. This letter was submitted to a group of Whig leaders at the office of United States Senator George E. Badger, five blocks distant, at the corner of Halifax and East Edenton Streets, which letter Mr. Clay defended by saying "Right or wrong, I am standing by the doctrines of the Whig Party. 'I had rather be right than to be President.'" This white oak tree shaded the residence of Colonel William Polk (removed 1873) and under its shade Hon. Henry Clay is said to have composed his famous letter on the Texas question. Under its shade Bishop Leonidas Polk spent many days as a youth. From here he went to the University of North Carolina, later to West Point, and later to the Virginia Theological Seminary at Alexandria, and here visited his relatives as Bishop of Louisiana.





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