08 January 2022

The Wood Mosaic of the Utah State Table

Some additional details about John R. Wilson's custom-made Utah State Table (1896) from yesterday’s post.

The table measured 3 feet square, 2 feet 6 inches tall. The circular mosaic of wood from 44 states formed a ring around the 8-inch diameter centerpiece made of Utah hardwood. The 4 corner pieces were made of wood from the 4 remaining territories: Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The connecting edges between the corners were also made of Utah hardwood.

The 4 legs of the table were to be made of wood from the chief cities representing the cardinal points of the compass: St Paul the north; Galveston the south, New York the east, and San Francisco to the west.

Under the centerpiece is a box 6.5 inches x 8 inches containing a copy of the constitution and other historical documents

Author's illustration of the Utah State Table top based on descriptions from historic newspapers. 

Illustration in the Deseret Weekly May 4 1895 based on the description from its maker, John R. Wilson

Below is a list of the wood specimens submitted by each state, as much as I could find out from the old newspapers. I will attempt to research further to fill in the blanks 

  1. Alabama:
  2. Arkansas: Burr Oak
  3. California (2 items): Laurel and Olive. One of these was from a tree planted by Spanish Monk
  4. Colorado:
  5. Connecticut: A large piece of the historic Charter Oak, a white oak tree in which Connecticut’s Royal Charter was hidden in 1687. The tree became a symbol of independence and is commemorated on the Connecticut state quarter.
  6. Delaware: American Holly
  7. Florida:
  8. Georgia:
  9. Idaho: Mountain Mahogany
  10. Illinois: native oak
  11. Indiana: Black Walnut
  12. Iowa: Black Walnut of native Iowa growth, taken from the top of an old table that was used in the first capitol building in Des Moines
  13. Kansas: Walnut railing from the first courthouse in Shawnee County, Kansas
  14. Kentucky: Kentucky Walnut, part of a tree cut on Benson Hill in 1846 and used in the construction of a bridge that spanned the Kentucky river; this old wooden bridge was torn down in 1893 and iron one was substituted.
  15. Louisiana:
  16. Maine:
  17. Maryland: A piece of the famous “Old Mulberry” tree (Black Mulberry) where the colonists signed a treaty of friendship with the Yaocomico people in 1631.
  18. Massachusetts:
  19. Michigan:
  20. Minnesota: native hardwood oak
  21. Mississippi: White Oak
  22. Missouri (two items): Sweet Gum and Oak
  23. Montana: Cedar
  24. Nebraska:
  25. Nevada:
  26. New Hampshire: Curly Maple
  27. New Jersey (2 items): oak and Eastern Red Cedar
  28. New York: (2 items) Yellow Birch from the Adirondack forests. A specimen from the Hill Cumorah, important to the LDS religion as the place where Joseph Smith found the Golden Plates.
  29. North Carolina: native Yellow Pine
  30. North Dakota: Ash
  31. Ohio: Curly Poplar
  32. Oregon: A good piece of oak, it was sawed out of a mudsill of the first flour mill built in Oregon and lay underwater for about 55 years.
  33. Pennsylvania: Red Oak
  34. Rhode Island: Chestnut
  35. South Carolina: Black Walnut
  36. South Dakota:
  37. Tennessee: Oak
  38. Texas:
  39. Vermont:
  40. Virginia: native oak
  41. Washington: live oak
  42. West Virginia:
  43. Wisconsin:
  44. Wyoming:
  45. Utah: (several pieces): Wood from a wagon that crossed the plains to Utah in 1847. Wood from a table of Brigham Young. Wood from the first walnut tree grown in Utah and was carved by students of the Deaf-Mute Institute.


  1. Alaska: Spruce, probably Sitka Spruce
  2. Arizona: Desert Ironwood. Cut and polished by inmates of the Territorial Prison in Yuma
  3. Oklahoma:
  4. New Mexico:

4 special pieces for the 4 corners:
  1. Wood from the floor joists of William Penn’s house in Pennsylvania
  2. Wood from the stock of an anchor from the USS Constitution, the oldest ship in the US Navy
  3. Wood from the framework that supported the Liberty Bell
  4. Wood from the keel of the HMS Augusta, which was defeated in the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War in 1777

Charter Oak, 1857, oil on canvas. By Charles De Wolf Brownell.
From Connecticut Historical Society.

Wood specimen identified as being from the original Old Mulberry Tree, Maryland. From the collections of the Historic St Mary City Museum.

The Hill Cumorah in New York, from churchofjesuschrist.org

The Interior of  Pennsbury Manor in Pennsylvania was the home of founder William Penn. The manor was abandoned for years and was reconstructed in the 1930s. From pennlive.com

Destruction of HMS AUGUSTA in the Delaware River, 23 October 1777. From US Navy

The USS Constitution sets sail in 2014 from Boston Harbor. From US Navy.

The World's Fair in Water Colors: Old Liberty Bell. 1893. Charles S Graham. 

Primary sources:
New York Times 1896-03-30; Deseret Weekly 1895-05-04; Salt Lake Herald 1895-12-26

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