The Mercer Oak was named for Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, who fought and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777. The white oak is believed to have been here at the time of the American Revolution.
A legend says that Mercer was bayoneted and was laid beneath this tree, refusing to leave the battle until victory was secured. He was actually wounded just uphill, behind enemy lines. Later recovered by his aids, Mercer was carried to the Thomas Clarke House, where he died nine days later. Besides the tree, this county and the nearby roadway are among the many things named in his honor.
Mercer (1725-77), born in Scotland, studied medicine at Aberdeen. As an assistant surgeon to the Scottish Jacobite Army he was present at their defeat by the English on Culloden Moor in 1746. Settling in Pennsylvania in 1747, Mercer served the English Provincial Army in the French and Indian War, attaining the rank of colonel. Moving to Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1761 he married, purchased Washington's boyhood farm, and practiced medicine. As the Revolution began Mercer was named colonel of the 3rd Virginia regiment in 1775 and in 1776 became brigadier general under Washington.
Collapsing of old age on March 3, 2000, the Mercer Oak continues to be a well-recognized symbol of Princeton Township, of Mercer County, the New Jersey Green Acres Program, and other entities. An offspring donated by Louise Morse, started in 1981 from an acorn of the Mercer Oak, was plated next to the old stump in 2001.
Created by Chris Wang BSA Troop 88, Princeton, NJ - 1998