Standing on “Andrew Johnson” in Yosemite

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Photo measuring a bit more than 4.25 x 3.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Undated and unidentified.  But see below.


A couple weeks ago I posted a photo that turned out to be by the photographer Isaiah West Taber, and in that post I mentioned that I had ordered a copy of a book of Taber’s photos to replace one I had let go of.  The book arrived, and it’s been a treat to go through it with a refreshed perspective.   But I came across a photo of a man on a large fallen tree and thought, “Hey, that tree looks familiar!”  So I dug around in my boxes until I found the photo above, and sure enough, it’s the same tree!  I certainly don’t think the photo above is by Taber, but I was excited to be able to finally identify the location, if nothing else.  Taber’s photo was labeled “Andy Johnson,” a fallen tree 300 feet long, Mariposa Grove and was among his photos of Yosemite National Park.  At first I thought Andy Johnson was the name of the man in the picture until I realized it’s the name of the tree.  Apparently the more significant of the trees in the park, including fallen ones, were given names, sometimes generic names like Clothespin Tree or Fallen Monarch, but sometimes named after people.   And it seems this tree was named after former President Andrew Johnson.  I’ve seen this tree referred to in various sources as Andy Johnson, Andrew Johnson and General Johnson.  I haven’t figured out yet if it still exists.  Perhaps it was renamed?  Johnson may seem an unlikely figure to receive such honors.  A former slave-owning Governor of Tennessee, he only stepped into the Presidency upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and was the only President to be impeached before Bill Clinton.  One source said the tree was named by Johnson’s successor in the Vice-Presidency, Schuyler Colfax, as a somewhat mocking tribute.  So why the name for the tree?  The general consensus among the online sources is this:  before its ultimate fall, it leaned towards the south.

4 comments on “Standing on “Andrew Johnson” in Yosemite”

  1. Not sure that one’s still there. I’ve seen the Fallen Monarch. It looks very much like this one!

    • They do look alike, but at least one source had a reference to both, suggesting that they are different. The roots look somewhat different in photos, too. Still, I’m just operating on internet searches. It’s been decades since I’ve been to Yosemite in person, so I have no credible memory of these trees.

  2. Yes, I know they’re different. Fallen Monarch doesn’t have a stump next to it, or whatever the righthand figure is standing on. But one fallen sequoia looks more like another fallen sequoia than it does like anything else, if you get my meaning. I don’t mean to go all Ronald Reagan on you.

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