Broad Form Deed

A summation taken from

The Broad Form Deed

For a sum of money, sometimes as low as fifty cents an acre,  the buyer of mineral rights got all coal, minerals, oils and gasses, salt and salt mineral waters, fire and potters clay, iron and iron ores, stone, slate, ores and mines, subterranean substances and products, and all combinations of the same. The new mineral owner got the standing timber necessary for mining purposes  including timber for dams and railroads and the exclusive rights-of-way for railroads, tram roads, haul roads, pipe lines, telephone and telegraph lines, the right to use, divert, dam and pollute water courses, and the right to dump, store and leave any and all muck, bone, shale, water or other refuse from mines, wells, ovens or houses, and all matters and products excavated from mines or produced.

The new mineral owner got the free right of ingress, egress and regress on the land above the minerals and had unlimited time in which to do so.

In addition to the fifty cents or so an acre, the owner of the surface got all the timber except that necessary for the purposes reserved for the mineral owner. The surface owner could use the surface for agricultural purposes and could mine and use coal for personal household and domestic purposes.

This is why my ancestor said to the buyer of mineral rights, a mister Skinner, “You are Skinner by name and skinner by trade but you will not skin old Isaac Barker.” Mr. Skinner’s portrait hangs in his mansion, now the home of the St. Albans Woman’s Club.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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