Big Trees

Note:  No two pieces of wood look alike.  Within a board, two sections can have different coloration. The wood samples below are generic swatches to give you some idea about whether the wood is dark or light. The actual woods may vary in color. 

Each of the fifty states maintains a registry of the biggest trees of different species.  West Virginia is no exception.  If you think you might have the biggest tree of a species, you can go on-line and “nominate” your tree.  The Department of Natural Resources staff will take four measurements – the circumference at breast height (4 ½ feet above the ground), the height of the tree, the width of the crown at its widest part and the width of the crown perpendicular to the widest.  They use a formula to use these four measurements and the BIGGEST TREE WINS!  I have three of those (English Walnut, Black Cherry, and Shellbark History).

You can find the winners (currently in 91 species) at

In addition, you can find the Mingo Oak which was declared by The Smithsonian in 1938 to be the largest and oldest white oak in the world.  It died by 1939 and I was able to secure a few boards just a couple of years ago.   If you google “Mingo Oak”, you will find all of the details of its size, its history, and its later use as lumber.

Wood SourceHistory of WoodWood Sample
Mingo Oak Mingo County

In 1931, a large white oak tree growing on the Trace Fork of Pigeon Creek in Mingo County, WV was recognized by The Smithsonian Institute as the largest and oldest living white oak tree in the world. It was felled in 1938 following its death. This wood was reclaimed from wainscoting in the Cabell County Board of Education offices.

WV's Largest Black Cherry Tree Randolph County

This black cherry was reclaimed from the Merkley – McNeal farm near Helvetia. The latest official measurements made in 2011 found the tree to be 189 inches in circumference (over 5 feet in diameter), 98 feet tall, and 79 feet across the crown.

WV's Largest English Walnut Tree Harrison County

This English walnut was harvested in the Stealey community of Clarksburg. The tree grew in the lawn of the last remaining home built by the original Stealey family. The tree stood a proud 76 feet tall.

WV's Largest Shellbark Hickory Tree Jackson County

This shellbark hickory tree is the largest in WV. It is situated in the northeast part of Jackson County on the Sheppard farm near Wiseburg. It stands 90 feet tall, has a crown spread of 80 feet and a breast height circumference of 146 inches.