Rough and Ready had two historic trees, unfortunately both long gone, that figured in the history of the town.
One was a huge Cork Elm that was planted in front of what is now the Post Office. Planted in 1894 by John Fippin Jr, W.H.Fippin and "Slim" Lopes, in its shade sat 2 huge timbers, which came to be known as "The Liar's Bench", where Rough and Ready residents sat to exchange tall tales in their spare time. The tree died and had to be cut down in 1996, but the remaining six foor tall stump became a chain saw carving of a prospector called "Ol' Bill". Unfortunately, Ol' Bill succumbed to termites in early 2014. His remains are now on view in the Fippin Blacksmith Shop.
PHOTO ABOVE: Slave Girl Tree (Blacksmith Shop on left) about 1910. PHOTO TO RIGHT: Slave Girl Tree between Blacksmith Shop and Fischer's Saloon (1948). FAR RIGHT: "Ol' Bill carving.
Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce l P.O. Box 801 l Rough and Ready, California 95975 l Telephone (530) 797-6729
The Great Republic of Rough and Ready
The second tree, a giant cottonwood shown in the photos, was started in 1851 by the slave girl Caroline Allen, when she stuck her cottonwood switch into the muddy ground while hitching her horse at the blacksmith shop. Caroline, her father Frank and about 50 others were brought to Rough and Ready to work The Old Slave Mine in the Randolph Flat area owned by Col. William English. Caroline liked her spirits and frequented the hotel saloon across the street, where bartender J.M. Walling would often provide her with a free drink. It was on one of these trips that she stuck her switch into the ground, where it took root and grew to a 75 foot tall giant, dubbed "The Slave Girl Tree". It fell in 1962.