CROWN POINT - An oak tree has been planted in Veterans Memorial Park in Crown Point to mark the quadricentennial of Samuel de Champlain's discovery of Lake Champlain.
Students from Crown Point Central School's environmental science class planted the tree assisted by the town quadricentennial committee.
A dedication ceremony followed the planting.
Oak trees have a special significance in Crown Point's history, according to Kama Ingleston.
In July 1758 Israel Putnam, member of Rogers' Rangers, was captured by the enemy and brought to a camp south of the French Fort St. Frederic - the sight of today's Indian Ridge in Crown Point, Ingleston said.
"His captors allowed Native Americans in their party to torture Putnam while tied to an oak tree," Ingleston recounted. "As a final torture Putnam was to have been burned at the stake but a French officer, Count de Molang, rescued him.
"Of course, most Crown Pointers know that our town is filled with things named Putnam, including surnames, but many do not know that our local Masonic lodge is a Rescue Lodge because of this brave act 250 years ago," she continued.
The community's first Masonic Lodge was named in Court de Molang's honor, the Molang Lodge F. and A.M. That lodge folded, but a new lodge was chartered as Rescue Lodge F. and A.M., Ingleston explained.
"It's recorded in the history of Masonry that Putnam had made the Masonic sign and Count de Molang, being a fellow Mason, rescued his brother," she said.
The residents of Crown Point cared for that particular oak tree until its demise, when the local Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a monument at the site to the tree and Putnam and de Molang, who later fought on the same side in the American Revolution.
"Throughout the history of the community oak trees have been planted to commemorate important events, including the bicentennial of George Washington's birth in 1932, the 300th and 350th anniversaries of Champlain's travels on the lake and, more recently, the bicentennial of Crown Point in 1988," Ingleston said.
"So as another oak tree - the Champlain tree to honor the 400th anniversary of Champlain's travels - is planted we should remember that in Crown Point the oak has come to symbolize the hardship that Americans have endured and the faith and hope of a brighter tomorrow."