The Sycamores of Port Royal- Updated August 7, 2012

Title:The Sycamores of Port Royal- Updated August 7, 2012

During July, 2012, the lectionary  featured a scripture about the prophet Amos – “Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, `Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’"

 “A dresser of sycamore trees?”  These are not the European or North American variety, but a type of plant native to the Middle East.   Sometimes called “the poor man’s fig tree,” they produce a small fruit encased in a husk.  During the growing season these husks must be pierced with a sharp stick for the fruit to ripen.  The yield was of little value. 

Sycamores of Port Royal - history 1At one time in Port Royal, Water Street was covered with the North American sycamore. Dr. Roger N. Harris lived at Lot 18, owned at one time by Robert Hord (who gave us the 1836 silver communion cup), beginning in 1934 directly across the street from St. Peter’s. (He also owned Lots 16, 17, 23 and 24).



Harris took over the medical practice of Dr. Joseph Holloway in about 1924 and used Lot 17, a 3 room building as an office. He retired in 1981 and died in 1985.  He served the counties of Caroline, King George, Essex and Westmoreland.

Current Sycamores

The post card above was provided by Cookie Davis from Genevieve’s collection. You can view it in the Parish House. The picture today to the left is a guess at where the original picture was taken since the snow makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact location.





Dr. Harris was the quintessential local doctor and much beloved. “You just went into his office and waited your turn.” Genevieve was quoted in an article published on Sept 22, 1993 in the Free Lance-Star . The article said that water was brought in from the doctor’s home next door. There was no running water! At the same time house calls were a common part of his practice – he worked 7 days a week – and charged minimal rates for his work. The Long family donated his logs, examination bags and equipment to the Virginia Historical Society.  


Recently the health of the sycamores opposite the church has become problematic. (See the picture above on the St. Peter’s side)  Older pictures of the church feature (left) feature several that were were visible when this picture was taken in 1998.




This picture was taken between 2005-2007 showing two sycamores side by side in the church yard.




On August 7, 2012 three sycamores were taken down, two in front of the church on water street and another opposite the church. Jim Heimbach provided these pictures:










It is hoped the town and church consider a new tree that can become a symbol of the town.

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