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Office of Legal Counsel collection on Robinson Forest, Bulk, 1990

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Finding aid prepared by Rachel Webb


Office of Legal Counsel collection on Robinson Forest


Bulk, 1990


University of Kentucky Special Collections

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

2008ua022: [Item Number], Office of Legal Council collection on Robinson Forest, University of Kentucky Archives.


3.71 Cubic Feet

17 boxes


The Office of Legal Council collection on Robinson Forest predominantly consists of correspondence and reports about the legal issues pertaining to the land of Robinson Forest, 1876-1996; predominant 1990.


The Robinson Forest, managed for research, teaching and extension education by the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry, is one of the largest research and educational forests in the eastern United States. Robinson Forest is a collection of seven tracts totaling 14,800 acres, and is located on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Kentucky.

Native Americans were the first humans to use the areas in and around Robinson Forest. European settlers first came to the area in the early 1800s and built houses and cleared land for agriculture. They raised livestock and grew crops such as corn, peas, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, flax, molasses, and tobacco, mostly for home use. In the late 1800's, they began to engage in land speculation and logging of the virgin timber. Mills were set up, railroads built, and temporary villages sprang up to house the workers. By the early 1920’s, much of the valuable timber had been harvested.

The forest was conveyed in trust to the University of Kentucky in 1923 by the E.O. Robinson Mountain Fund for the purposes of agricultural experiment work, teaching, and the demonstration of reforestation. A concentrated effort was made to remove structures which they had left behind, and forest regeneration began to occur in cut areas. The first forester, C.H. Burrage, spent time establishing boundaries, making maps organizing fire protection, and conducting an inventory of the forest land. The volume of timber in the forest is now approximately four times as great as it was in Burrage's 1929 estimate, but still only half of the pre-settlement volume.

Between 1933 and 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps was involved in projects such as building bridges, fire towers, and firebreaks; establishing tree plantations and doing timber stand improvements; improving roads; and installing phone lines. They removed American chestnut trees which had been killed by the chestnut blight. In 1939, the National Youth Authority used these logs to begin building the cabins at the forestry camp facilities on Boardinghouse Branch. A Wildlife Restoration Area was established in part of the forest in 1947, and white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and ruffed grouse were successfully stocked. An attempt to release beaver in the forest was not successful.

A two year association program in forestry was begun nearby at Quicksand in the summer of 1964. In 1970, the Department of Forestry was created at the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, and a new emphasis was placed on research in forestry and water quality. Many of the teaching areas that now exist in Robinson Forest are results of these studies.

The forest is used annually in the summer to house junior forestry students for their field session, during which they are taught the field basics. Graduate students use the camp sire built in the 1930s as a base for field work related to their theses. The forest is also used by Extension forestry specialists for a variety of programs. Several training programs for county agents, 4-H and home economics have been held there as well as workshops and seminars for forest landowners.

Source: University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Department of Forestry’s website

Scope and Content

The Office of Legal Counsel collection on Robinson Forest predominantly consists of correspondence and reports about the legal issues pertaining to the land of Robinson Forest. There is also a large series of negatives and photographic prints of the forest found under the visual materials series. The deeds series consists of copies of deeds that track the ownership of the land, while the financial series track the timber and drilling companies that were involved with the forest.


  • University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture
  • University of Kentucky. Office of Legal Counsel.
  • University of Kentucky.
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Breathitt County (Ky.)
  • Cumberland Plateau (Ky.)
  • Laurel Fork (Ky.)
  • Robinson Forest (Ky.)
  • Fugate, James
  • Gardner, Blair
  • Grable, William J.
  • Randolph, Beverley
  • VanBooven, Peter
  • Zaluski, Joseph
  • Agriculture--Kentucky.
  • Deeds.
  • Mines and mineral resources--Kentucky.
  • Natural resources--Kentucky.
  • Petitions.

User Restrictions

The intellectual rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections.

Related Material

1984ua015, Students to Save Robinson Forest records, University of Kentucky Archives.

Collection Inventory

I. Correspondence, 1867-1992
Scope and Content Note:

The Correspondence series consists of letters and emails mainly between the University of Kentucky and businesses that were involved in the surveying of Robinson Forest. There are several letters to and from Paul VanBooven, Associate General Counsel for the University of Kentucky, as well as letters to Arch Minerals Inc. represented by Wyatt law firm about the land surveys. Also, there are several letters from The Cabinet of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency to the University and Arch Minerals Inc. about the conditions of the land. Finally, there are copies of letters from Croft written during the 1860s describing the land in Breathitt County. Materials are arranged chronologically within folders.

Arch Minerals and Wyatt Firm
[Box: 1, Folder: 1-3]
B.A. Mullican Lumber Company
[Box: 1, Folder: 4]
Cabinet for Natural Resources
[Box: 1, Folder: 5-7]
Dennis Curtin
[Box: 1, Folder: 8]
[Box: 1, Folder: 9]
Fish and Wildlife Commission
[Box: 1, Folder: 10]
[Box: 1, Folder: 11]
Mining Miscellaneous
[Box: 1, Folder: 12]
Overstreet Forestry
[Box: 1, Folder: 13]
Trus Joist Macmillan
[Box: 1, Folder: 14]
Letters from Croft about Breathitt County Land, 1867-1870
[Box: 9, Folder: 5]
Papers of Jim Coyle
[Box: 9, Folder: 6]
II. Financial, 1992-1994
Scope and Content Note:

The Financial series consists of bids, budgets, and bills from drilling and timber companies that were involved in various projects throughout Robinson Forest.

Bathhouse Project Budget
[Box: 2, Folder: 1]
Bill – Land Grants
[Box: 2, Folder: 2]
EREX Drilling Operations
[Box: 2, Folder: 3]
Payment – Bethel Camp
[Box: 2, Folder: 4]
Royalty Agreements
[Box: 2, Folder: 5]
Sources and Uses of Funds
[Box: 2, Folder: 6]
Tax Opinion/Cooper and Lybrand
[Box: 2, Folder: 7]
Timber Bid-Breathitt Co. Laurel Fork; Cutting Units 1, 2, 3
[Box: 2, Folder: 8]
Timber Bid-Breathitt Co. Laurel Fork; Cutting Units 4, 5, 6
[Box: 2, Folder: 9]
III. Reports, 1980-1995
Scope and Content Note:

The Reports series consists of surveys and numerous reports on different areas in Robinson Forest. In particular, there are several reports on the Quicksand Substation that was being developed and also reports on Arch on the North Fork’s failures in communication with the University about the land.

Archaeological Survey
[Box: 3, Folder: 1-3]
History of Archeological Survey
[Box: 3, Folder: 4]
Arch on the North Fork
[Box: 3, Folder: 5]
Chronology of Arch’s Failure to Address the Questions and Concerns of the University
[Box: 3, Folder: 6]
Coal Tonnage Report
[Box: 3, Folder: 7]
Background on Robinson Forest
[Box: 3, Folder: 8]
Draft Final Committee Report
[Box: 3, Folder: 9]
Evaluation Committee Report
[Box: 4, Folder: 1]
Interim Report on Ground Water Research
[Box: 4, Folder: 2]
Robinson Forest Inventory, 1980-1982
[Box: 4, Folder: 3]
Disposition of Land at Robinson Substation-Quicksand
[Box: 4, Folder: 4]
Quicksand Substation
[Box: 4, Folder: 5-7]
IV. Projects and Proposals
Scope and Content Note:

The Projects and Proposals series consists of mining proposals that were reviewed by the University of Kentucky and the various violations that occurred. There are also descriptions of project proposals pertaining to the awarding of funds by the University to outside parties.

Research on Laurel Fork
[Box: 5, Folder: 1]
Mining Proposal Review, 1991
[Box: 5, Folder: 2]
Mining Proposal Review -Violation Histories, 1991
[Box: 5, Folder: 3]
Awarded Project Letters
[Box: 5, Folder: 4]
Infrastructure Projects
[Box: 5, Folder: 5]
Powell River Project, 1990
[Box: 5, Folder: 6]
Land Unsuitable for Mining Petition
[Box: 5, Folder: 7]
Petition to Designate
[Box: 5, Folder: 8]
V. Legal
Scope and Content Note:

The Legal series consists of leasing agreements and certain court cases that pertained to Robinson Forest. There are also drafts of legal opinions from Jesse Dukeminier about whether or not the University is allowed to execute mineral leases of Robinson Forest.

Coal Companies’ Summaries
[Box: 6, Folder: 1]
Coal Leases
[Box: 6, Folder: 2]
Coal Lease- Draft
[Box: 6, Folder: 3]
Department for Natural Resources vs. Stearns Coal
[Box: 6, Folder: 4]
Dukeminier Legal Opinion Draft
[Box: 6, Folder: 5]
Dukeminier Legal Opinion
[Box: 6, Folder: 6]
Goff Tract Lease
[Box: 6, Folder: 7]
Harbert Knob Lease
[Box: 6, Folder: 8]
Lands Unsuitable Hearing Preparation
[Box: 6, Folder: 9]
Mennonite Board – Right-of-way Easement
[Box: 6, Folder: 10]
Women’s initiative Networking Groups
[Box: 6, Folder: 11]
Weather Service – Rain Gouge Agreement
[Box: 6, Folder: 12]
Franklin Circuit Court Civil Action No. 86151
[Box: 9, Folder: 7]
VI. Deeds, 1867-1979
Scope and Content Note:

The Deeds series consists of copies of deeds that track the ownership of land that is now Robinson Forest. Box 16 consists entirely of deeds given to two men by Beverley Randolph, governor of Virginia from 1788-1791.

Miller to Craft and Stacy, 1867 February 3
[Box: 7, Folder: 1]
Carpenter to Stacy, 1867 February 15
[Box: 7, Folder: 2]
Amyx to Craft and Stacy, 1868 May 28
[Box: 7, Folder: 3]
Amyx to Stacy, 1868 July 3
[Box: 7, Folder: 4]
Schuster, 1874 May 7
[Box: 7, Folder: 5]
Schuster to Connely, 1874 June 8
[Box: 7, Folder: 6]
Combs, 1882 June 2
[Box: 7, Folder: 7]
Schuster, 1884 February 6
[Box: 7, Folder: 8]
Craft, 1890 October 20
[Box: 7, Folder: 9]
Stacy to Bingham, 1898 March 31
[Box: 7, Folder: 10]
Bingham to Stacy, 1898 June 14
[Box: 7, Folder: 11]
Connely to Stacy, 1899 May 20
[Box: 7, Folder: 12]
Kentucky Union Company, 1904 August 29
[Box: 7, Folder: 13]
Miller to Stacy, 1904 November 5
[Box: 7, Folder: 14]
Stacy to Bullitt, 1906 February 5
[Box: 7, Folder: 15]
Bullitt, 1906 December 28
[Box: 7, Folder: 16]
KY Union to Stacy, 1907 February 25
[Box: 7, Folder: 17]
Kemmerer, 1919 September 24
[Box: 7, Folder: 18]
Combs, 1976 October 30
[Box: 7, Folder: 19]
University of Kentucky, 1979 August 23
[Box: 7, Folder: 20]
Notes on Land Ownership
[Box: 9, Folder: 4]
Beverley Randolph to David Rojo? and James Currie? for 10,000 acres, 1788 May 25
[Box: 16, Folder: 1]
Beverley Randolph to David Rojo? and James Currie? for 2097 acres, 1788 June 15
[Box: 16, Folder: 2]
Beverley Randolph to David Rojo? and James Currie? for 1000 acres, 1788 September 8
[Box: 16, Folder: 3]
Beverley Randolph to David Rojo? and James Currie? for 584 acres, 1788 September 10
[Box: 16, Folder: 4]
Beverley Randolph to David Rojo? and James Currie? for 1000 acres, 1788 September 10
[Box: 16, Folder: 5]
VII. Visual Materials
Scope and Content Note:

The Visual Materials series is divided into three subseries that consist of maps, negatives, transparencies, and photographic prints.

i. Maps and related items
Scope and Content Note:

The Maps and related items subseries consists of maps and boundary notes of Robinson Forest. There is also a small amount of items pertaining to publicity for the forest including newspaper articles and brochures. Finally, there is a cloth sign used to display the name of a camp site built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.

Benchmarks on Robinson Forest
[Box: 8, Folder: 1]
Boundary Notes
[Box: 8, Folder: 2]
Double Mer. Dist. Chart for Forest
[Box: 8, Folder: 3]
Magnetic Bearings
[Box: 8, Folder: 4]
[Box: 8, Folder: 5]
News Articles and Brochures
[Box: 8, Folder: 6]
Orders- Delivered
[Box: 8, Folder: 7]
Boundary Notes
[Box: 9, Folder: 1]
Original Survey Notes
[Box: 9, Folder: 2]
[Box: 9, Folder: 3]
Cloth sign CCC Camp Robinson
[Box: 17, Item: 1]
ii. Negatives and Transparencies
Scope and Content Note:

The Negatives and Transparencies subseries consist of frames of general scenes and wildlife of Robinson Forest. Items labeled “Roll” have a corresponding set of prints found in subseries iii. Photographic prints.

Roll 1; Frames 0-37
[Box: 10, Item: 1-10]
Roll 2; Frames 1-25
[Box: 10, Item: 11-17]
Roll 3; Frames 0-24
[Box: 10, Item: 18-24]
Roll 4; Frames 0-23
[Box: 10, Item: 25-31]
Roll 5; Frames 1-24, 1990 August
[Box: 10, Item: 32-38]
Roll 6; Frames 1-16
[Box: 10, Item: 39-43]
Frames 0-24
[Box: 10, Item: 44-47]
Frames 1-25
[Box: 10, Item: 48-54]
Frames 1-19
[Box: 10, Item: 55-60]
Frames 0-36, 1992 June
[Box: 11, Item: 1-10]
Frames 1-37, 1992 July
[Box: 11, Item: 11-21]
Frames 1-37, 1992 August
[Box: 11, Item: 22-31]
Frames 1-25, 1992 October
[Box: 11, Item: 32-38]
Frames 0-36, 1992 October
[Box: 11, Item: 39-48]
Frames 0-25, 1992 October
[Box: 11, Item: 49-55]
2 color slides of forest
[Box: 11, Item: 56-57]
1 color slide of map
[Box: 11, Item: 58]
Roll 7; Frames 0-19, 1990 December
[Box: 14, Item: 1-4]
Roll 8; Frames 1-25, 1990 August
[Box: 14, Item: 5-9]
Contour maps of Laurel Block, 1991 May
[Box: 15, Item: 13-14]
iii. Photographic prints
Scope and Content Note:

The Photographic prints subseries consists of color and black and white prints of general scenes and wildlife of Robinson Forest. Items labeled “Roll” have a corresponding set of negatives found in subseries ii. Negatives and Transparencies.

Roll 1; 38 color prints including general scenes and wildlife
[Box: 12, Item: 1-38]
Roll 2; 25 color prints of groups of people in the forest
[Box: 12, Item: 39-63]
Roll 3; 22 color prints of general scenes
[Box: 12, Item: 64-85]
Roll 4; 23 color prints of general scenes
[Box: 13, Item: 1-23]
Roll 5; 1 color print of general scene
[Box: 13, Item: 24]
Roll 7; 20 black and white prints of general scenes
[Box: 13, Item: 25-44]
8 color prints of general scenes taken from a helicopter
[Box: 13, Item: 45-52]
25 color prints of groups of people in the forest, 1990 September
[Box: 13, Item: 53-77]
18 color prints of houses surrounding the forest
[Box: 13, Item: 78-95]
Roll 6; 11 color prints of general scenes
[Box: 15, Item: 1-11]
Roll 8; 1 black and white print of negatives
[Box: 15, Item: 12]
Black and white of woman with books
[Box: 15, Item: 15]
12 color prints of general scenes, 1990 August
[Box: 15, Item: 16-27]

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