From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, we find this story about food conditions in the Logan coal fields, dated 9 December 1921:
Seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables brighten the menu of the Logan field miner and his family just as they do the average householder in the larger cities. Visitors have noted with surprise that this is true–that even the most isolated mining communities, cut off from civilization by rugged mountains and difficult creek beds, have their fresh strawberries in season and make quite as much of an event of the canning period as do their northern neighbors.
But what the average visitor cannot know, unless he delves with unusual energy, is the cost in money and time which it means to have such products brought to the miner’s table from the produce centers of the country.
In the first place, many of the mines in the field live five, ten, fifteen and even twenty miles from the town of Logan. The roads in many cases are almost impassible. In others, there are no roads at all. It is common occurrence to use the creek bed as a thoroughfare. A rather hazardous feat, it appears to the visitors on his first trip, but he soon grows accustomed to this. At first he is inclined to cling tight to his seat as the motor truck plows through the shallow water over well rounded stones. The drivers think nothing of fording innumerable creeks. They have lost all solicitude for their tires. In fact, many of them aver that the tires last quite as long as they do on hard-paved roads and point to examples in the form of weather-beaten casing to prove that the usual 10,000 mile guarantee is not at all impossible of achievement in this difficult territory.
Sloshing along through creeks, alternating with mud roads which would bring a rattle to the finest car built they consider the trips to the mines with foodstuffs a mere routine. That it is more than routine, however, is graphically revealed by the wrecks along the roadside–broken-down trucks and motor cars, buggies and wagons.
The road to Holden, four miles from Logan, is a mud road most of the way, featured by innumerable sharp turns. That leading to the mine town of Omar covers nine miles of the most diversified transportation. In that nine miles one single creek must be forded eleven times, and often instead of crossing directly, motor trucks are forced to plow through the water for a considerable distance.
Some sixth sense apparently tells the driver where the “water road” lies, for to the casual observer one part of the creek is as good as another. All he can see is water and, beneath, a solid bed of white boulders. Time has worn them smooth. Sliding down the mud road into the creek bed the driver unerringly picks out the right route. It is as if he carried a sextant, for never, however many times he makes the trip, does he deviate in his course a yard.
Yet despite these difficulties in transportation it is comparatively cheap to get to any mine property in the Logan field. For a dollar, any of the buses operating from Logan, meeting all trains, will carry one to Omar, nine miles of difficult driving, while others take passengers 15 and 20 miles up the creeks for a slightly higher charge. For foodstuffs the cost is proportionately low. Drivers charge 25 to 42 cents per 100 pounds for first class freight to a point within 20 miles of Logan–and take every chance in the world of a breakdown. It is this low haulage charge which enables so many independent and company stores at the mines to meet the prices of retailers in large cities, and it is the dependability of this method of motor transportation which enables them to carry fresh fruits and vegetables in season to tickle the palates of the miners and their numerous progeny. Anyone who imagines that sow-belly and beans constitute the main diet of the miner has never seen the adequate stocks of merchandise kept by mining community establishments.
If there were not enough difficulties in the path of transportation of foods to the mines, the trip from the outside to Logan would provide enough more. Logan is unfortunate in that there are no through freight rates to it. Huntington, the State’s natural distributing point by reason of railroad facilities, does not figure in the traffic to Logan. Merchandise destined for this field must be reshipped at Barboursville, a junction point near Huntington, and this adds a freight charge of from 30 to 40 cents per 100 pounds. Adding this to the cost of haulage by truck to the mines, the differential in favor of the consumers in large cities mounts up. Yet, with all these barriers, prices in the mine towns are low–the result of keen competition and of quantity buying.
Source: “Camps Have the Best of Food: Despite Shipping Obstacles Miners Have Same Food as Their City Neighbors,” Logan (WV) Banner, 9 December 1921.
Appalachia, Bernie Adams, Boyd Carter, Buck Fork, Charley Mullins, Chick Dingess, Cumberland Mountains, Ewell Mullins, Florence Adams, Fred Carter, genealogy, guitar, Harmon Carter, Harts Creek, Hendersonville, history, Holden, Hoover Fork, Horatio Adams, Howard Adams, Hubert Adams, Ireland Mullins, James Thompson, Jesse Carter, Julia Tomblin, Kentucky, Lewis Maynard, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mae Robinson, Millard Thompson, music, Peter Carter, Peter Mullins, Peter Tomblin, Sallie Bunn, Trace Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, West Virginia, Whirlwind, whooping cough
An unknown correspondent from Whirlwind in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on April 5, 1927:
The Bible school on Trace Fork is progressing nicely and is conducted by Rev. Ratio Adams and Peter Mullins.
Hubert Adams of Holden was visiting relatives on Hoover recently.
Howard Adams and Charley Mullins were visiting Peter Tomblin of Twelve Pole Saturday.
James Thompson and Miss Julia Tomblin were united in marriage on Buck Fork recently. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson are planning a honeymoon trip to the Cumberland Mountains and points in Eastern Kentucky.
Millard Thompson was visiting friends on Harts Creek Monday.
Ezra Farley made a flying trip to Lewis Maynard’s Sunday.
The home of Boyd Carter at Hendersonville was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon.
Chick Dingess was a visitor to Jesse Carter last Sunday.
Ireland Mullins was calling on Miss Sallie Bunn of Hoover Sunday.
Harmon Carter of Buck Fork was calling on Miss Mae Robinson Sunday.
Things seen daily: Philip going to see Aunt Minnie; Howard going to Mollie’s; Florence and her pipe; Bernie and his guitar; Clinton and his whooping cough; Mollie and her forty four; Peter and Fred Carter making toothpicks; Wilburn and his boots; Ewell watching for a car to come up Trace.
Anthony Blair, Appalachia, Bob Dingess, Burl Mullins, Carl Adams, Charley Mullins, Emmett Dingess, Frank McCloud, genealogy, Harts Creek, history, Holden, Hoover Fork, Howard Adams, Jane Adams, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mary M. Adams, Monaville, Moses Vance, Mud Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, West Virginia, Whirlwind
An unknown correspondent from Whirlwind in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on February 25, 1927:
After so much rain and snow we are having some beautiful weather.
Emmett Dingess, little son of Robert Dingess, is very low at this writing.
Frank McCloud of Monaville is visiting his friends of Harts this week.
___ is attending school at Mud Fork.
Born, to Mr. and Mrs. Moses Vance of Twelvepole, a fine boy, Tuesday.
Mrs. Jane Adams was out joy riding Thursday.
Wonder why Charley Mullins never visits Hoover any more? Charley, it wasn’t so.
Wonder why Burl Mullins never visits D. McCloud’s any more?
Mrs. Mary M. Adams and children of Holden have been visiting her mother-in-law of Hoover for the past week.
Howard Adams is taking his vacation this week.
Wonder why Carl Adams looks so blue these days? Cheer up, Carl. She’s not mad.
Anthony Blair was transacting business on Harts Thursday.
Some combinations: Mandie looking for Charley; Lenville going to school; Grandma and her cane; Hattie and her baby; Curtis swinging; Frank wearing Carl’s ring; Howard teaching school; Howard and his pipe; Dixie going to Lawrence; Wilburn and his red sweater; Lucille and her Lee order; Clinton and his lamp; Wilburn and his dogs; Lucy going down the road.
A.D. Robertson, Albert F. Holden, Amherst Coal Company, Appalachia, Big Creek Coal Company, Blair Mountain, Boone County Coal Company, Buffalo Creek, Buffalo Creek Coal and Coke Company, Buskirk Hotel, Clothier, coal, Cole and Crane Company, Cora Coal Company, Dobra, Draper Coal Company, engineer, G.W. Robertson, Gay Coal and Coke Company, Gay Coal Company, George M. Jones, Guyan Valley Coal Operators Association, Harry S. Gay, Herbert Jones, history, Holden, Huddleston Coal Company, Illinois, Island Creek Coal Company, John B. Wilkinson, John Laing, Logan County, Logan County Coal Operators Association, Madison, Main Island Creek Coal Company, Monclo Corporation, Monitor Coal Company, Moses Mounts, Mounts-White Fisher Company, Omar, Omar Mining Company, Pennsylvania, Peru, Princess Coal Company, Shamokin, Sharples, Stone Branch Coal Company, U.S. Coal and Oil Company, Vicie Nighbert, Virginia-Buffalo Company, West Virginia, West Virginia Coal and Coke, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Coal Company, Wilkinson, William H. Coolidge, William J. Clothier, Yuma Coal and Coke Company
What follows are brief notes from a forgotten source regarding early coal mines in Logan County, WV. Each of these companies and their communities have storied histories.
Gay Coal and Coke (organized in 1903)
Soon after 1900, Harry S. Gay, a mining engineer, came from Shamokin, PA, to observe the Logan coal fields. He stayed at the Buskirk Hotel. With money from friends A.D. and G.W. Robertson, he leased 800 acres from Moses Mounts of the Mounts-White Fisher Company for $20,000. G.W. Robertson was president of Gay Coal and Coke, while Gay was its secretary-treasurer. The company opened the Number One mine in the spring of 1903.
Monitor Coal Company (organized in 1904)
Monitor Coal Co. was organized in 1904 on the land of John B. Wilkinson. The accompanying town was named Wilkinson. Monitor merged with Yuma Coal and Coke Co. in 1935. In 1942, Wilkinson consisted of 166 company-owned houses. The mines eventually played out and real estate was sold through Monclo Corporation.
In 1905, seven coal companies existed in Logan County: Big Creek, Cora, Draper, Gay, Monitor, Stone Branch, and U.S. Coal and Oil Co. (Island Creek).
Island Creek Coal
Island Creek Coal also came to Logan during that time and created Holden. About 1902, William H. Coolidge and Albert F. Holden bought land from Vicie Nighbert. In early 1905, they established Island Creek Coal Sales Co. Holden was built by 1912.
Yuma Coal and Coke Company
Organized in 1905 by the same Pennsylvania interests behind Monitor Coal and Coke Co., Yuma Coal merged with Monitor in 1935.
In 1910, seventeen coal companies existed in Logan County.
Boone County Coal Company (organized in 1911)
Organized in 1911, the Boone County Coal Co. was headquartered at Clothier. William J. Clothier served as its first president. Its buildings burned and new buildings were erected at Sharples. The company held 30,000 acres just above Madison and about 2000 of it came into Logan to the top of Blair Mountain. The company had stores at Clothier, Sharples, Monclo, and Dobra.
Amherst Coal Company
In 1911, George M. Jones and his brother Herbert became interested in the Logan field. They leased 1300 acres on Buffalo Creek and organized Amherst Coal Company in January of 1912. In 1916, the company purchased the Virginia-Buffalo Company and the Huddleston Coal Company. It later purchased Buffalo Creek Coal and Coke Company.
Main Island Creek
In 1913, John Laing leased 30,000 acres in Omar from Cole and Crane Company of Peru, Illinois. Mr. Laing was the first president of the company. Later, West Virginia Coal and Coke, the Omar Mining Company, and Wheeling-Pittsburgh Coal Company mined this land.
In 1913, the Guyan Valley Coal Operators Association organized. In 1918, it became known as the Logan County Coal Operators Association. (For more on the association, follow this link: http://www.wvculture.org/history/ms90-82.html.)
In 1920, over seventy coal companies existed in Logan County (most were small and few survived).
By 1960, there were about fifty coal companies in Logan County; four coal companies accounted for about eighty percent of production. The four companies were Island Creek, Amherst, Omar, and Princess.
Appalachia, Charles Curry, cholera, genealogy, Harts Creek, history, Holden, Isaac Fry, Joe Blaine, John Workman, Logan Banner, Logan County, Luke Curry, McCloud School, miller, Rum Creek, Sol Riddle, Vinson Collins, West Virginia, Whirlwind, Will Farley
An unknown correspondent from Whirlwind in Logan County, West Virginia, offered the following items, which the Logan Banner printed on December 18, 1914:
We are glad to note that our people are busy, happy and peaceful in these parts.
Will Farley has added a new industry to our town, a gasoline grist mill.
Our drummer, Sol Riddle, has just returned from a trip through his territory.
Revs. Adams and Fry preached at Head of Heart last Sunday.
Mrs. Vinson Collins is very ill at this writing.
Joe Blaine has moved from this place to Holden.
Forest fires are very frequent here of late.
Rev. Charley Curry was elected pastor of the church at McCloud school house recently.
Revs. Border and Vance will preach at McCloud school house the second Sunday.
Luke Curry has returned home from Rum, where he has been working for some time.
Cholera has been raging among the hogs in this vicinity. Several people have lost hogs.
John Workman will move back to his farm in the spring, he says.
Good luck to The Banner and a happy Xmas to its readers.
Alex Johnson, Amos Jones, Appalachia, Charles Stovall, D.C. Dean, Daughters of Pocahontas, Fayetteville, H.N. Saunders, history, Holden, Independent Order of Red Men, J.M. Ellis, James Carey, Logan Banner, Logan County, Mitchell Jackson, T.T. Page, Tallahassee Tribe No. 48, West Virginia, William Jones
Accoville, Amherstdale, Appalachia, Banco, Barnabus, Big Creek, Blair, Braeholm, Chapmanville, Christian, Clothier, Corco, Crites, Crown, Curry, Davin, Dehue, Emmett, Ethel, Fort Branch, Henlawson, Hetzel, history, Holden, Isom, Kistler, Kitchen, Lake, Landville, Latrobe, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lorado, Lundale, Lyburn, Macbeth, Mallory, Man, Manbar, McConnell, Micco, Monaville, Monclo, Mount Gay, Omar, Peach Creek, Pecks Mill, Robinette, Rossmore, Sarah Ann, Sharples, Shegon, Shively, Slagle, Sovereign, Stirrat, Stollings, Stone Branch, Switzer, Taplin, Three Forks, Verdunville, Verner, West Virginia, Whirlwind, Whitman, Wilkinson, Yantus, Yolyn
36th Virginia Infantry, African-Americans, Appalachia, Battle of Kanawha Gap, Big Creek, Big Creek School, Burley Stollings, Buzzard Hill, Chapmanville District, Chapmanville School, Charles I. Stone, civil war, Confederate Army, Crispin Stone, Daisy Pettit, Daisy School, Dare Devils, Ed Stone School, Edith Richardson, education, Fort Sumter, French Dingess, Garrett Fork, genealogy, George Hill, Godby Branch, Guyandotte River, history, Holden, Hugh Thompson School, Hugh Toney, J.A. Vickers, J.G. Beymer, John Conley, John Garrett, John Godby, John stone, Kitchen School, Lane School, Local History and Topography of Logan County, Logan County, Lot W. Adams, Mabel Lowe, Native American History, Native Americans, Pigeon Mountain, Poplar Camp Creek, Prudential Coal Mine, Rosa Barker, Sid Ferrell, Simon Girty, Spanish-American War, Stone Branch, Stone Branch School, Thomas Huff, Thomas School, Union Army, Vette, Violet H. Agee, West Virginia, World War I
Teachers identified the following schools in Chapmanville District of Logan County, WV, and offered a bit of local history in 1927:
Big Creek School, est. 1852
Edith Richardson, teacher
Big Creek School was built of logs in 1870. Crispin S. Stone taught the first free school in his kitchen in 1870. A log building was erected the next year by the people. A Baptist Church exists here as of 1906. Many soldiers of the Civil War served from here. Two are still living. George Hill of Holden served in the Spanish-American War. Sid Ferrell of Big Creek was wounded in World War I when he left the trenches ahead of his command. The first merchant started here in 1904. Prudential was the first coal mine, just below here, in 1905. The first gas well was drilled here in 1909. Big Creek was formerly named “vette.” On the left of Big Creek (stream) looking downstream is Buzzard Hill and on the right is Pigeon Mountain. Pigeon Hill was named due to the great number of pigeons resting there. Big Creek was formerly called Poplar Camp Creek from a surveyor’s camp made of logs. The town was pretty well built up since 1902.
Lane School, est. 1887
Mable Lowe, teacher
Two room frame building
Four Confederate soldiers and one Union soldier lived here during the war. Garrett Fork was named for John Garrett, an old soldier.
Under the entry for Godby Branch: Godby Branch was named for John Godby. Old settlers claim that Simon Girty who married an Indian squaw lived on Godby Branch for several years. He cut his name on a large beech tree that fell in 1890. John Godby told the story.
Chapmanville School, est. 1892
Lot W. Adams, teacher
Four rooms and two outside rooms
There is a large Indian mound in Chapmanville. French Dingess reportedly fired the first gun at Fort Sumter. The Guyandotte River was reportedly named from the Indian word meaning “narrow bottoms.” Company D, 36th Virginia Infantry, known as the Dare Devils, organized here in May 1861 with Charles I. Stone as captain. Later it combined with Co. C, 36th Virginia Volunteer Infantry and was known as the Logan Wildcats with Hugh Toney as captain. The Battle of Chapmanville Mountain was fought in the fall of 1861 here. Major Davis was wounded and captured and his original is still kept by his relatives. He charged fifty cents a month per pupil and the textbooks were free. A large beech and a large white oak plainly marked a corner trees on the Thomas Huff 850-acre survey made on June 3, 1784.
Stone Branch School (colored), est. 1902
Violet H. Agee, teacher
Kitchen School, est. 1905
Uses three one-room buildings
John Stone said there were a few straggling bands of Indians here when he came to Stone Branch in 1807 but committed no depredations after he settled. John Stone taught the first school in this district and maybe in the county at Stone Branch in 1812. The textbooks were made by him with goose quill pens.
Hugh Thompson School, est. 1916
J.G. Beymer, teacher
One room frame building
A school house erected in 1916 was blown down in a heavy storm, killing John Conley, an old citizen who had taken shelter under the floor. The house was not used for school this year but was rebuilt the following year.
Ed Stone School, est. 1919
Rosa Barker, teacher
One room frame building
One Confederate soldier lived here during the war.
Thomas School, est. 1919
Burley Stollings, teacher
One room frame building
Two Confederate soldiers lived here during the war.
Daisy School, est. 1920
Daisy Pettit, teacher
One room frame house
Source: Local History and Topography of Logan County by J.A. Vickers (Charleston, WV: George M. Ford, State Superintendent, 1927).