Mingo oak   Fores-@aol.com
  Jan 09, 2007 07:21 PST 

At different times historic descriptions of large trees lost to history have
been discussed.

The West Virginia Forestry Association, the statewide timber and forest
industry trade association, published a booklet a couple of years ago titled
"Common Myths About Appalachian Forests". In the booklet there are some very
interesting descriptions of the original forest and some historical references
that leave one to wonder what other things and places early explorers and
credentialed observers saw and described.

I was recently rereading portions of the booklet I thought of all the ENTS
that have never heard of one of the most famous dead trees from West Virginia
so I thought I would forward it ...as taken from "Common Myths"...

"West Virginia's most famous white oak is the one cut on Trace Fork in Mingo
County in 1938. It was 582 years old, 145 feet tall, had a spread of 96
feet, a diameter of 8 feet and seven inches at breast height (that's 26.965'
CBH) and put out the first limb 66 feet above the ground. It is probably the
State's most publicized tree. Discs cut more than 90 feet above the ground,
where the diameter still exceeded three feet six inches, are on display at the
State's museum in Charleston and in Percival Hall at the WVU Division of
Forestry in Morgantown."

I should mention that the "Mingo" oak was already dead when it was cut. The
tree had been long recognized as a unique tree in a unique location and had
enjoyed some level of protection. Smoke from burning coal waste
(historically referred to as a gob pile) from a nearby coal mine killed the tree prior to
it being cut down.

If anyone would like a link to where they could obtain a complete copy of
the booklet, just holler...it costs $1.50....I'm not sure but it looks like some
of the references used in the literature citation from CMAAF might be worth
twice that to anyone doing old growth research.

Russ Richardson
Back to Russ   Robert Leverett
  Jan 09, 2007 09:58 PST 


   I have a book about West Virginia that has the Mingo Oak in it.
Certainly was an impressive tree. I'm curious about what the West
Virginia Forestry Association and the statewide timber and forest
industry trade association listed as some of the myths associated with
the original forests.

Re: Back to Russ   Fores-@aol.com
  Jan 09, 2007 13:12 PST 

There are several titles with a total of ten forestry related issues

The "Myths" are broken into categories with several of the historical
descriptions well referenced. I have found myself wondering what else some of the
referenced people wrote in their journals.   Much of the historical writing is
western Virginia specific.

Anyhow...Myth 1...."When European settlers arrived in eastern North America,
they found the land occupied by old-growth forests with indigenous people
living in harmony in nature"    This part of the booklet describes the size of
some of the ancient "Indian meadows" that had been created by generations of
repeated fires and many other ways in which early humans interacted with the
forest. The entire topic is covered in some detail and, as I said, some of
the cited references look like a good read.

Some of the of the "myths"/issues could be up for a little debate but most
of the booklet is very factually oriented and covers topics like "non-resident
timber barons", "1907 floods in Pittsburgh".... that helped to spawn the
Weeks Act of 1911 and the Clark-McNary Act in 1924 which led to the formation of
the Monongahela NF by allowing the Federal Government to buy cut over

However, being that West Virginia is one of the few heavily forested states
where the majority of the land is not in public or industrial ownership...the
Mon is only 900,000 acres....about 7% of the state's forest cover...a lot of
the stuff is private property oriented.

There is also a lot of historical references to flooding, water quality and
the significance of wild fire in many historic flooding events.

There is also a description of how the timber industry is regulated and
stuff like that.

Overall, I have found it to be an interesting and thought provoking

I hope this description helps a little more.

Re: Mingo oak   MICHAEL DAVIE
  Jan 09, 2007 18:15 PST 
Hello all-
Apparently, the circumference was at the ground, it was 19 feet 9 inches at breast height, still massive. There is a picture on this page, as well as some other links: http://www.wvculture.org/history/thisdayinwvhistory/0923.html
Also, a mention of a rival tree at Stony Brook Long Island, mentioned on Colby Rucker's list at 21 feet 6 inches. Wow.