The site of the legendary Council Oaks in Dardanelle is believed to be the site of a major treaty between the Cherokee Nation and the territory of Arkansas in June 1823. However, there is no evidence of a signed treaty but it is believed that a verbal treaty existed. In 1930, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) posted a plaque on the site. This plaque stated that Acting Governor Crittenden and Cherokee Chief Black Fox “made a treaty” which removed the Cherokee from the south side of the Arkansas River. It was believed that many of the oak trees were cleared and the logs were used for seating on the site and the remaining trees were used for shade during meetings.
The “Council Oaks” were named after the two remaining trees and continued to call this name even after one fell and remained on the ground for years. The history books confirm a portion of the legend because Governor Miller did want the Cherokee to move north of the Arkansas River so he could direct the white settlers to land and settle on the south side of the river. The legend and the fact for the tree still point to the Council Oak as being significant as a focal point in Indian history in our state. This site is also on the location of a significant physical rock outcropping on the Arkansas River called the “Dardanelle Rock”. This landmark was used to locate the town from the river.
This tree is a State Champion Tree as the largest of its species and is believed to be over 200+ years old (c.1804).
In 2001, the remaining tree was designated by Mrs. Dale Bumpers (wife of former Governor and Senator Dale Bumpers) as the “Arkansas Millennium Landmark Tree”.
Location: Council Oaks Park, Dardanelle
Registration: February 11, 2005
Species: White Oak