Today a stump is all that remains of the once thriving tree that might have survived another thousand years.
The ancient tree relic is located in the Big Stump Grove of what is now the Kings Canyon National Park in Fresno and Tulare Counties along with other curiosities of the Sequoia lumbering days including a 150 year old pile of sawdust. Some cross sections of the felled Mark Twain Tree were cut for display purposes and the rest of the tree was milled for grape stakes, fence posts and shingles by the Kings River Lumber Company.
Because the Mark Twain Tree was of magnificent symmetrical proportions, "one of the most perfect trees in the grove," he was selected to provide a cross section for display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (left). The curator marked on its annual rings selected events of human history. See: Life History. Its birth in 550 AD made Mark Twain a contemporary of Justinian, Emperor of the Roman Empire. "With these historic contrasts before us," wrote a reporter in the New York Times (12 January 1908), "We can begin to picture in our imagination the span of life that has been enjoyed by this hardy forest Methuselah" A Tree's Life Through Thirteen Centuries.