A massive tree narrowly missed a piece of history as it fell Tuesday morning.

Billy Williams and his caretaker heard the loud crash of the toppling tree from inside his home on Billy Williams Drive north of Mooresboro. Neither was sure exactly what happened.

“I heard this terrible noise,” Williams said. “My caretaker came in and raced out to see what it was. She came back and told me it was a tree.”

The tree’s branches came down on Williams’ truck and the gutters and roof of the house, but only caused minimal damage.

Based solely on looks, a removal expert with Fisher’s Tree Service estimated the tree to be around 140 years old. Both the tree and the home it barely missed hold a lot of history.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Williams said. “I grew up here. That tree was standing there when I was a boy, 88 years ago… Now it’s just down.”

The property where the house sits has been in the family since the late 1700s. Williams’ ancestors built their first home in America in the exact spot where Williams’ current home sits.

While most of Williams’ current home is new, three of the rooms are left from an 1800s add-on to the original home, including the room Williams was born in back in 1930. The mantelpiece and walls of a newer room in the house are also made from wood from the original house.

Williams’ daughter, Debbie Wall, lives just up the road on the property. She was glad the tree did minimal damage the inside of the home, sparing those historic elements.

“There’s a lot of history in this house. Fortunately it didn’t get the old stuff,” she said.

A few days of rain over the weekend and Monday saturated the ground, which is what the family believes led to the falling tree.

As he inspected the tree, the removal expert with Fisher’s Tree Service estimated the tree was around 110 feet tall and 42 inches in diameter.

Williams and his family were in the process of having the tree removed Tuesday morning so insurance adjusters could come out and estimate the damages to the truck and home.

Williams said he is ready to take the steps needed to fix the house back up, as it holds a special place in his family history. He looks forward to keeping it in the family for years to come by passing the house on to Wall when the time comes.

“(She’s) the only living child I have. I’m planning to give it to her,” Williams said.


Casey White can be reached at 704-669-3339 or cwhite@shelbystar.com.