Boyington Oak is a historic live oak in Mobile, Alabama. The oak tree was made famous for the folklore that surrounded its origin. The story goes that in 1833, a young printer named Charles R. S. Boyington arrived in Alabama from Connecticut. He quickly earned a reputation in the area as a gambler and was often seen stumbling back to his room at the boarding house after a long night of gambling and drinking.
Another boarder who was well known in the area was Nathanial Frost, who was another young local printer. Nathanial was not known for gambling or drinking, but due to lifelong struggles with tuberculosis, he was melancholy and often depressed. He became even more well-known on one fateful night where he allegedly met his end at the hand of a dear friend.
On May 11, 1834, Charles and Nathanial were seen leaving the boarding house together. They chatted as they made their way toward the Church Street Cemetery. When only Charles returned, the boarding master was perplexed, but not concerned. It wasn’t until night fell and Nathanial didn’t return, that anyone realized something was wrong.
A search party was sent out to search for the man. He was soon found stabbed in the cemetery. Charles R. S. Boyington was found guilty of the crime, and his motive soon came out. It appeared that Charles had gotten extremely drunk one evening and spent his entire savings on clothes to wear to a ball. When he got there, he happened upon a young girl named Rose. The two were quickly enamored of each other and romantic dreams filled their heads.
Those dreams were abruptly disrupted when Rose’s dad refused the match. He exclaimed that Charles was not good enough for his daughter and was forbidden from seeing her again. Charles quickly left the party and fell into a deep depression. As a result, he lost his job in early 1834. Nathanial Frost, seeing his dear friend’s life falling into shambles, offered to give Charles some money to get him back on his feet. Charles refused.
Authorities speculate that Nathanial had once again offered Charles money, reaching into a chest he kept in his room. Although Charles was too embarrassed to accept what he viewed as charity from the man, he had no issues finding another way to get what he wanted. He was convicted of taking Nathanial out to Church Street Cemetery, stabbing him and then robbing him at the boarding house. It did not help that after the murder, Charles was found boarding a ship to Montgomery.
Charles was set to be executed February 20, 1835. He maintained his innocence until the moments of his final breaths. After his death, he was buried in the northwest corner of the cemetery, in the potter’s field section. The mighty Boyington Oak sprung up from the heart of Charles R. S. Boyington, just as he used his last breaths to declare it would, as proof of his innocence. The oak stands just outside the cemetery wall. Visitors often report hearing crying and whispering near the oak and Charles’ gravesite. Others indicate feeling chills and finding cold spots. Many have photos showing anomalies and apparitions that are unexplainable.