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Big Trees II: The Miller sale in 1905; Adair-Russell Co. KY

Dedicated to Billy Joe Fudge: Second installment of Big Trees is an account of huge acreage sold in the Estate of James P. Miller II, Crocus, KY, which included lands from his wife Sarah (McClure). The timber was in Adair and Russell Counties, KY
Big Trees I: Mike Watson: A little Big Tree history and historic photo

By Mike Watson

This is a follow-up to my article on "Big Trees in Adair County" that appeared in Columbia Magazine in May 2012. Record keeping being what it is, or was, and record keeping of such things as tree size in Adair County was not something most folk thought much about in the past. Now, however, some enjoy finding out the odd bit of information. Maybe it makes the mind work better, or maybe some of us have moldy brains. Be that as it may, here is a short item with some Big Tree diameters. I dedicate this one to Billy Joe Fudge.

There are numerous descendants in this county and across the nation of James P. Miller, Sr. who was a long-time merchant at Crocus, on the Adair-Russell County line. Upon his death in March 1905, he left a considerable estate which included several hundred acres of land, largely in Adair and Russell Counties. To settle the estate, eight tracts of land were sold in May 1906. The land and timber were much advertised, as much of the land was prized, and the timber was immense. At the same time, land owned by his widow, Mrs. Sarah A. Miller, which descended to her from the McClure family, was also to be auctioned. It was upon this land that the BIG trees were to be found.

The following is a sampling of the types of trees and the sizes listed in the ads:

490 acres on the waters of Greasy Creek, Russell County, known as the Mulberry Bottom, 390 acres in timber: Ash, 63 trees with diameters of 20 to 44 inches, and 175 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Beech, 654 trees with diameters of 20 to 36 inches, and 1530 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Elm, 131 trees with diameters 12 to 40 inches; White Oak, 1733 with diameters 20 to 48 inches, and 1494 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Black Oak, 382 trees with diameters 20 to 45 inches; Poplar, 288 with diameters 20 to 42 inches; Walnut, 24 trees with diameters 20 to 30 inches; Chestnut, 89 with diameters 20 to 61 inches, and 223 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; and many, many more.

384 acres on the waters of Clifty Creek, known as the Kean tract, about 320 acres in timber, "Here is found the Giant Oaks in great abundance." Ash, 102 trees with diameters of 20 to 45 inches, and 132 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Beech, 392 trees with diameters of 20 to 30 inches, and 660 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Elm, 23 trees with diameters 12 to 40 inches; White Oak, 1579 with diameters 20 to 48 inches, and 637 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; Black Oak, 507 trees with diameters 20 to 40 inches; Poplar, 374 with diameters 20 to 60 inches; Walnut, 12 trees with diameters 20 to 24 inches; Chestnut, 136 with diameters 20 to 71 inches, and 206 with diameters 12 to 19 inches; and many more.

Thus, the maximum diameters of various species, according to the advertisement, and some of which I did not list above, were:
  • Ash, 45 inches
  • Beech, 36 inches
  • Black Oak, 45 inches
  • Buckeye, 40 inches
  • Chestnut, 71 inches
  • Elm, 40 inches
  • Gum, 28 inches
  • Hickory, 39 inches
  • Lynn, 37 inches
  • Poplar, 60 inches
  • Sugar, 28 inches
  • Walnut, 30 inches
  • White Oak, 48 inches
Keep in mind that a 71 inch diameter chestnut tree would have been one inches shy of 6 feet across! Mike Watson, 25 March 2013

This story was posted on 2013-03-31 06:21:25
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