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(A copyrighted publication of West Virginia Archives and History)

The Early Development of the Coal Industry in the Western Counties of Virginia, 1800-1865

By James T. Laing

Volume 27, No. 2 (January 1966), pp. 144-55

Just when coal was first discovered in those counties of old Virginia which, after their separation from the mother state in 1862, came to be known as West Virginia1 is a matter that will probably never be definitely known. Oddly enough, until recently, no student or scholar has as yet seen fit to write any exhaustive treatise on the history of coal mining in West Virginia. Consequently, what data there are must be gathered chiefly from brief and scattered sources. Although there were quite a number of early county histories written, the authors, almost without exception, seem to be much more interested in Indian battles than in the economic and industrial phases of history. This fact is not so surprising when one remembers that there was no mining on any considerable scale before the Civil War.2

The first mention of coal in West Virginia of which we have any record was made by John Peter Salley who found "a great plenty of coals" on a river which he named, in 1742, Coal River. The stream, which now flows through a developed coal field, still bears the name he gave it.3 Christopher Gist, in what is now Wood County, saw "a little branch that was full of coal" in March, 1751.4 George Washington mentions in his notes taken on his trip to the Ohio River that he saw a "cole hill on fire." From other records this coal was supposed to be located in what is now the village of West Columbia.5

These meager references are about the limit of what was known about West Virginia coal prior to the nineteenth century. Such a situation, however, is not so strange when one remembers that the Trans-Allegheny frontier was pushed westward only with the greatest difficulty and that only toward the latter part of the eighteenth century were many permanent settlements made.6 At the beginning of the nineteenth century the only people using West Virginia coals were the cross-roads blacksmiths or some pioneer whose cabin happened to be situated near an outcrop.7 After 1800, however, we have increasing numbers of definite discoveries of the various coal veins in different parts of the state. In 1800, Philip Null found the Pittsburgh seam on the Pocatalico River in Putnam County, within thirty miles of Charleston, the present capital of the state.8 A French physician and botanist, F. A. Michaux, saw a five to six foot stratum of coal between Wheeling and West Liberty in Ohio County on July 16, 1802, which he mentions in his "Travels to the Westward of the Allegheny Mountains."9 It was not, however, until 1810 that the people of Wheeling began to use coal in their dwellings which was obtained from the first mine operated near that city.10 Conrad Cotts, an experienced miner, came to Wheeling from Pittsburgh at that time for the purpose of making coal available to the residents of this northern metropolis of Virginia.11 Cotts presumably got his experience in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.

It was not domestic consumption, however, that gave the greatest impetus to the early development of the coal industry. The two most important factors in the early days were the beginnings of the salt industry and of steam navigation on the Ohio, Kanawha, and Monongahela Rivers.

The first salt furnace on the Great Kanawha River in Kanawha County was built in 1797 near the present site of Charleston.12 Ten years later the method of manufacture was improved by the Ruffner brothers and soon the "Kanawha Salines" became widely known. The manufacture of salt developed rapidly.13 In 1814, 600,000 bushels were produced.14

It was in connection with the salt industry that the coal industry of the Great Kanawha Valley was started. John P. Turner, a New Yorker, discovered coal there and opened a mine in 1817 for the purpose of supplying the Kanawha Salines.15 The salt industry provided work for many people in the furnaces. Others built keelboats and distributed the manufactured products along the Ohio River and its tributaries.16 Evidently salt was not the only commodity taken down the rivers, for a Cincinnati merchant estimated that in 1818, 116,000 bushels of coal were used that year between the mouth of the Kanawha and the Falls of the Ohio.17

The West Virginia, or rather Virginia salt industry continued to grow with rapid strides until the Kanawha Valley became what was perhaps the chief salt producing area in the country. Professor William Barton Rogers, of the University of Virginia, was sent by the state to survey the land over the Alleghenies. He visited all the mines in what is now West Virginia between 1836 and 1840.18 He stated in his report in 1840, his second, that there were ninety furnaces along the Kanawha River which made annually a million bushels of salt and consumed five million bushels or two hundred thousand tons of coal. Nine hundred ninety-five miners and workmen were employed and $1,301,855 was invested in the industry.19 This growth continued until about 1853. From then until 1857, the salt industry of the Kanawha Valley was impoverished by the development of the Ohio River Salt Company as well as by certain developments in Mason County, Virginia, and Meigs County, Ohio,20 counties being located on opposite sides of the Ohio River. The number of furnaces on the Kanawha declined rapidly after that time. The demand for coal, however, did not suffer as great a decline owing to the use of cannel coal in the production of cannel coal oil.21

The other early impetus given to the coal industry was the development of river travel and the consequent use of coal by the boats on the rivers. The importance of river travel was early recognized by the law-makers of Virginia. Ferries began to appear as early as 1776, were firmly established by 1785, and, by 1803, were found over the Ohio and the Little Kanawha at Parkersburg, at the mouth of Fishing Creek and Guyandotte River (which now flows through Huntington), as well as over the Great Kanawha at the mouth of Coal River.22 It was not merely the establishment of ferries, however, that made travel faster and easier at this time. As early as 1785, when the Potomac was cleared of rocks at Harper's Ferry, the state took action to provide for river transportation.23 The Legislature passed the first act providing for the extension of navigation of the Monongahela and West Fork Rivers in 1793.24 Such a project was to make it possible to travel in canoes or flatboats.

The invention of the steamboat was of the greatest importance for the coal industry. In 1784, James Rumsey, who was employed by the Potomac Company (which included George Washington among its members) to improve the navigation of the Potomac, was successful in a private steamboat experiment at Shepherdstown. In 1786, however, at the same place he was able to propel his boat by steam against the current at the rate of about four miles per hour.25 This experiment thus antedated the similar one of Robert Fulton on the Hudson by over twenty years. In 1809, Nicholas Roosevelt came to Ohio as an agent of Robert Fulton and Chancellor Livingston of New York, to investigate the question of possible navigation on the western rivers. Finding the Ohio River open and also some coal deposits, he stored some coal aboard and burned it in the "New Orleans," the first steamboat west of the Allegheny Mountains,26 trial trips being held in 1811-12.27

The effects of Mr. Roosevelt's experiment were not long in bearing fruit, for, in 1819, the steamer "Robert Thompson" came up the Kanawha River as far as Red House Shoals.28 This particular boat was not able to run the current at this point, but the next year the "Andrew Donnally," a steamer built for Donnally and Noyes, salt makers, made the first successful run to Charleston and thus inaugurated an era of steam navigation between Charleston and points on the Ohio.29 Stimulated by the inability of the "Robert Thompson" to ascend the shoals at Red House, the state directed the James River and Kanawha Company to improve the navigation of the river so that a channel of three feet of water could be had at all times during the year from the mouth of the river at Point Pleasant (two miles from Gallipolis, Ohio) and Kanawha Falls, a distance of about a hundred miles. Packets soon began to run from Charleston to Gallipolis once a week, later three times a week, and, finally, in 1845, daily.30

This development of the river service not only provided a demand for coal on its own behalf, but provided also a means of shipment to meet the demands of other places and other industries. In 1819, David Bradshaw opened a mine on the Ohio side of the river across from Mason City, in Mason County. He mined 1,200 bushels of coal that year.31 In 1832, Samuel Pomeroy, the founder of Pomeroy, Ohio, put a thousand bushels of coal from the mine mentioned above on board a New Orleans boat to be shipped from there to Boston. The boat sank in the Ohio, however, and this long distance enterprise was never renewed. George Birthistle began shipping down the Ohio from a mine between Clifton and West Columbia in Mason County the same year.32

By 1840 mining operations were open in eight of the Virginia counties which later became part of West Virginia, according to the census of that year.33 Although no differentiation is made between coal mining and other forms, it is to be assumed that most of those engaged in mining were coal miners. According to the census, Kanawha County had a hundred sixty persons engaged in mining; Mason County had five; Monongalia County had one hundred twenty-eight; Ohio County (including Wheeling) had eighty-five; Brooke County (adjoining Ohio) had twelve; Hardy County had three; Jefferson County had forty-two; and Marshall County had four.34 In another volume of the census reports of 1840, however, some seemingly contradictory figures are given. The figures on coal mining in the western section of Virginia are as follows:35

County No. of Bushels Produced No. Men Employed Capital Invested
Brooke 194,574 33 $3,900
Harrison 200,940 -- --
Kanawha 6,325,000 209 206,105
Logan 2,000 -- --
Monongalia 167,200 73 --
Ohio 1,178,000 85 17,500
Preston 3,150 4 1,150
Tyler 2,500 1 --
Total 8,073,364 405 $228,655

If we add to these the number of men employed in other types of mining as given in the census compendium36 of 1840 we may see the extent of the disparity. The figures for the men employed in certain other industries, but classified under mining, are contained in Table 2.37

County Iron Salt Granite, Marble, etc.
Berkeley 2 -- --
Braxton -- 8 --
Hardy 30 -- --
Jefferson 80 -- --
Kanawha -- 421 --
Monongalia 65 -- --
Morgan -- -- 12
Ohio 115 -- 64
Total 292 429 76

Thus, we see that in the volume on enumeration the census gives the figure of all persons engaged in mining in Kanawha County as only 165 and in the compendium the figure on coal mining alone is 209. If to this figure is added the 421 persons engaged in the salt industry, which is considered under the head of mining by the census, the total persons in all kinds of mining in Kanawha County in 1840 was not 165, as recorded in the first volume, but 630. There is apparently no explanation for this seeming error in the census tables as it is to be assumed that both volumes were compiled from the same schedules.

Not only does there appear a disparity between the census figures themselves, but there is also considerable difference between them and the figures given by Professor Rogers in his report of 1840, quoted before.38 His figures on the combined salt and coal industries in Kanawha County were a total of 995 workmen, against a bare 630 by the census. The question would logically arise as to whether the figures of Professor Rogers or the census are the more reliable. Although the writer does not know Professor Rogers' method of collecting his figures, he prefers to accept them in preference to the census figures unless the census technique of 1840 was much more effective than that of 1920 in the mining fields. Concerning the taking of census data in the mining fields, the Bureau of Negro Labor and Statistics has the following to say:39

We are basing all of the figures relating to population upon the U. S. Census reports, because they are official, but we know them to be glaringly inaccurate as regards Negroes in coal mining camps. For example: on six coal mining operations in McDowell County a representative of the McDowell Times, a Negro newspaper, checked the Negro population behind the census enumerator in 1920 and found 148 Negro men who were not enumerated. This is accounted for by reason of the fact that a large number of Negroes working in and about the mines "batch" in shanties, that is, in mining parlance, one or more men live in company-owned houses and do their own cooking. When they leave the house to work, it is locked and no one is there until they return from work. The census enumerator passed while they were at work and did not return. It is estimated by the McDowell Times, based upon its investigation in McDowell County alone, that approximately 2,000 Negroes were not enumerated, and this condition prevailed throughout the coal mining sections of the State.

There is little reason to believe that the census reports of 1840 were taken with more care than was the one of 1920. Suffice it to say that, whether one accepts the figures of the census or those of Professor Rogers, it is clear that by 1840 some degree of development had taken place in the coal industry, especially in regard to domestic consumption either by the steamboats, by the salt industry, and, to some extent, by industry outside the state.

In 1841 there occurred the discovery of a product that was later destined practically to eliminate coal from domestic use in certain parts of the Kanawha Valley. William Tompkins "struck" natural gas near Maiden and used it for boiling salt. He was the first person in America to utilize natural gas for manufacturing purposes.40 There is no evidence, however, that his discovery had any marked effect on the consumption of coal at that time. In 1846, Sutton Matthews discovered the first cannel coal known in the Kanawha Valley, perhaps the first in America, on Falling Rock Creek, a tributary of the Elk River, near Charleston.41 This discovery was to have far more immediate effect on the industry of the Kanawha Valley than was the discovery of natural gas. The mining of cannel coal rose in a very few years to take the place of salt mining, which was soon to be a "vanishing industry."42 The reports of the Kanawha coal deposits by Professor Rogers attracted much foreign capital, which began to flow into the cannel coal industry in the later forties. In addition, another tributary of the Kanawha in Kanawha County, Coal River, was made navigable. Work began about 1847-48 by W. M. Payton and his resident engineer, Mr. McCloud, on a system of locks and dams which were to be used until the Civil War began.43

Development continued in other parts of the state as well as in the Kanawha Valley between 1840 and 1850. In 1843 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was completed to Piedmont, in Mineral County. Shipments of coal at once began to be made to Baltimore and Philadelphia, which fact stimulated greatly the mining operations in the eastern Panhandle.44 Four years later mines were opened at West Columbia in Mason County on the Ohio River.45 Small shipments by river from Mason County were started in 1847.46

Although the census of 1850 showed only a total of 1,044 persons engaged in coal mining, of which only 348 were miners,47 the decade which followed that census was one of rather rapid development in the coal industry. In 1852 Mason City was planned by coal operators and in 1853 and 1854 Ohio River operations were opened at Clifton and Hartford City, respectively, all in Mason County.48 Corporations were formed as early as 1854 for the development of the western Virginia coal fields and by 1860 twenty-five of these companies had organized.49 Several of these companies had organized between 1849 and 1856 for the purpose of developing the cannel coal resources on the Kanawha, Elk, and Coal River.50 Hale points out that the first shipments of coal on a commercial scale commenced in 1855 and 1856.51 In 1857 the Kanawha Cannel Coal Mining and Manufacturing Company erected a factory in Charleston for the purpose of making cannel coal oil.52 During this period another of these factories was built about thirty miles farther up the Kanawha Valley at Cannelton.53 In 1858, the Corwin Cannel Coal Company erected another factory at Mill Creek, seven miles up the Elk River from Charleston.54 Callahan points out the fact that the various companies advertised for all classes of laborers in 1859 and that they were in a prosperous condition by 1860.55 It is an interesting question here as to whether this labor policy was in any way influenced by public sentiment at this time. On October 10, 1859, the editor of the Kanawha Valley Star, published at Charleston, wrote somewhat at length editorially, expressing grave concern as to what the prevailing policy of having outside capital develop the industry and then renting the Negro slaves to be used in these factories meant for the future prosperity of the valley.56

In any event, the number of cannel coal oil factories increased. The census of 1860 shows that they appeared not only in Kanawha County but in every coal field of the state, with the possible exception of the eastern Panhandle and on the Ohio River.57 Kanawha County had four coal oil establishments which employed a hundred twenty-one hands;58 Fayette County, although it had no coal operations, had one for the manufacture of coal oil, employing forty hands, just over the line from Kanawha County;59 Marion County, in the extreme northern part of the state, had one factory which employed ten hands.60

The census of 1860 showed that there had been some gain in the number of miners over the figures of 1850, although the growth is not as striking as might have been suspected when one considers how many new enterprises were begun in the decade from 1850 to 1860. The total number of miners in Virginia is shown to be 1,112. This figure indicates a gain of sixty-eight. However, the number of operations in the different counties in western Virginia does not indicate that they have all the miners by any means. It should be pointed out here, I think, that there is very little uniformity in the uses of certain terms in the different censuses. That fact may account for some of the apparent failures to show all the data. One census may refer to "Miners" while another may refer to "Persons in Mining." One of these may be a more limited term than the other. I know of no way of determining just what the terms include. However, Table 3 shows something of the distribution of mining hands in the counties of western Virginia.

County Number of Operations Number of Hands
Brooke 1 50
Kanawha 3 43
Marion 1 20
Mason 2 280
Ohio 3 51
Putnam 1 2
Total 11 446

Here, again, one must conclude either that the historian is inaccurate or the census incomplete. If we compare the list of counties in which there were coal operations in 184061 with the list above (Table 3) we will notice that some of the counties named as having mining operations in 1840 do not have them in 1860. Does this fact mean that those counties ceased their developments? I think not. As was pointed out62 above, the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1843 opened up the Eastern Panhandle field.63 Yet no Eastern Panhandle county is included in the list for 1860. Preston County, which had an investment of over a thousand dollars in 1840 is also not included. Since these counties are now among those important in the coal industry, I do not consider it likely that operations were discontinued after once starting, especially when we have historical evidence to the contrary. Further than those seeming omissions already mentioned, Hale points out that in the years 1855-1856 there were large shipments of coal from Cannelton and from Elk River. In addition, he says that shipments of splint coal from Field's Creek, in Kanawha County, Paint Creek, in Kanawha County, and Armstrong Creek, in Fayette County, were begun.64 Coalburg Mines on the Kanawha River were opened also in 1859.65 Fayette County is not listed as a coal-producing county in the census of 1860. These and other evidences seem to indicate that perhaps the historical writers are to be trusted here rather than the census reports.

The era of relative prosperity and rapid development was retarded or postponed by the Civil War. In spite of this fact the production of coal increased somewhat every year. For instance, the production of coal in 1863 was 444,648 short tons; 454,888 in 1864; and 487,897 in 1865.66 At the close of the War, however, there was a pronounced awakening of interest in the development of the resources of West Virginia. A pamphlet published in 1865 tells of this opportunity for outside capital. It mentions the valuable mines in Mason County and announces that "Mr. Alfred Edwards of New York has recently commenced to develop coal property on Cabin Creek" in Kanawha County.67 At the same time the "Winifred Coal Company, on Field's Creek, nearby, are now over two hundred yards into the main hill."68 In 1865 the Averill Coal Company began operations at the mouth of the Pocatalico River at its confluence with the Kanawha,69 while not far away the mine of the Marmet, Smith Coal and Mining Company was opened the same year in Putnam County.70 The following year the Peytona Cannel Coal Company prepared to open its operation on Coal River in Boone County.71 In 1869 operations also began in Wayne County up the Big Sandy Valley, the first openings in that valley.72 Two mines were open and operating in Monongalia County by 1870.73

In this article the attempt has been made to deal somewhat briefly with the early development of the coal industry in the western counties of Virginia up to the time they became a part of the new state of West Virginia. The Civil War, in general, would appear to be the dividing line between the conditions of small production and small numbers engaged in mining and the conditions of rapid development with greatly increased numbers. It will be remembered that by the end of the War only the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the northern part of the state provided an overland outlet either to the east or the west. The last thirty years of the nineteenth century, with the building of mainline railroads in all directions, were those of greatest development. Specific treatment of this period, however, will be the subject of another article.


1. James Morton Callahan, Semi-Centennial History of West Virginia. (Charleston, 1913.) 145. This name was not adopted, however, without a good bit of a straggle. The name, Kanawha, was proposed but was rejected. One delegate said that several of his constituents throught [sic] it too hard a name to spell. Another delegate wanted Virginia in the name because it reminded him of the Virgin Mary.

2. Ibid., 352.

3. C. E. Lawall, I. A. Given, & H. G. Kennedy, Mining Methods in West Virginia, West Virginia University Engineering Experiment Station Research Bulletin, No. 4, (Morgantown, 1929), 3. Also W. S. Laidley, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, (Chicago: Richmond-Arnold, 1911), 315.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Callahan, op. cit., 14-47. It should be noted, however, that coal was known on branches of the Monongahela in the northern part of what is now West Virginia before 1800. In the eastern counties, moreover, coal seams had long been opened on both sides of the James River for several miles fifteen or twenty miles above Richmond. These pits were owned by different persons and were worked to an extent equal to the demand. By 1789 coal was exported to Philadelphia in considerable quantities. J. Leander Bishop, History of Manufactures in the United States, (Philadelphia: Edward Young & Co., 1868.) I, 605; II, 35.

7. Ibid., 352.

8. Lawall & others, op. cit., 3., 9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., 4. Although, as has been pointed out, coal had been used for a considerable period in the eastern counties of Virginia, and even exported to Philadelphia, we have little reason to believe that, prior to 1800, much of this coal was used for industrial purposes; for, as Victor Clark has indicated, "In the Eighteenth Century the only great resource of the Atlantic slope that was not applied to industry was coal." (History of Manufactures, 1790-1860, Carnegie, 1916, 86).

11. Ibid.

12. Callahan, op.cit., 51.

13. Joseph Ruffner came to the Kanawha Valley in 1794 and was making salt by 1807. (American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 29, January 1836), 117.

14. Callahan, op. cit., 51.

15. Lawall & others, op. cit., 4; Laidley, op. cit., 315. Colonel David Ruffner first used coal in 1819, He makes it clear that coal was not used until the available supplies of wood were exhausted. After Colonel Ruffner used coal his example was promptly followed by others. (American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 29, January 1836), 119.

16. Callahan, op. cit., 51. Cincinnati in 1826 imported 46,000 barrels of salt from the Conemaugh works in Pennsylvania and from "those upon the Kenhawa (Kanawha), in Virginia." (B. Drake, and E. D. Mansfield, Cincinnati in 1826 (Cincinnati: 1827), Morgan, Dodge, and Fisher, 76-77.

17. Lawall & others, op. cit., 4. At the close of the War of 1812 the City of Cincinnati had glass works, four cotton mills, a woolen factory, white lead works, flour and lumber mills, furniture shops, and a barrel factory using patent machinery. Several of these establishments were operated by steam and "though at first not necessarily using coal, soon came to depend upon that fuel, which was cheaply brought down the river." (Clark, op. cit., 346).

18. Laidley, op. cit., 315.

19. Lawall & others, op. cit., 4. Professor Rogers' report of 1840 was preceded by an earlier report in 1836 authorized by an act of the Virginia Legislature bearing date March 6, 1835. (William B. Rogers, Report of the Geological Reconnoissance of the State of Virginia, (Philadelphia: Desilver, Thomas & Co., 1836.) In this report he states (p. 123) that in the Kanawha Salines "about three millions of bushels of salt are now annually made from them, and that in the manufacture of this article alone, more than twice the quantity of coal is consumed every year than is furnished by all the coal mines of eastern Virginia put together."

20. Callahan, op. cit., 88. Charles Cist, in a book published in 1859, indicates the change of market when he says: "Until within a short period, the Kanawha salines were our principal sources of supply, but the best quality and largest quantity are now derived from our own State - salt being extensively made in and adjacent to Pomeroy, Meigs county." Cincinnati in 1859, (Cincinnati, 1859), 362. The production of salt, however, varied a great deal from year to year. The two peak years in the industry were 1846 and 1850 when 3,244,786 and 3,142,100 bushels were produced respectively. The production from 1853 to 1857 was as follows:

Year No. of bushels
1853 2,429,910
1854 2,233,863
1855 1,483,548
1856 1,264,049
1857 1,266,749

The production thereafter never reached 2,000,000 bushels and had declined to 967,465 bushels in 1875. (Laidley, op. cit. 138-139.)

21. lbid., 87.

22. Ibid., 53.

23. Ibid..

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid., 60.

26. Drake & Mansfield, op. cit., 72; Lawall & others, op. cit., 4.

27. Callahan, op, cit., 53. It should not be assumed, however, that steamboats universally began to use coal immediately. Doubtless some of the boats on the upper Ohio did so but those on the Mississippi and lower Ohio, as well as those on the Kanawha, certainly did not do so very soon. An English traveler from New Orleans to Cincinnati on the Steamer "George Washington" says: ". . .wood being the only fuel made use of, they (river steamers) are consequently not incommoded by the effects of the dense smoke so annoying in some of our steam vessels." (W. Bullock, Sketch of a Journey Through the Western States of North America from New Orleans, by the Mississippi, Ohio, City of Cincinnati, and Falls of Niagara, to New York, in 1827." (London, 1827, xii.) By 1841, however, the use of coal by steamboats was extensive enough to induce a Cincinnati coal dealer to advertise "Steamboats supplied on the shortest notice." (Advertisement in the appendix of Charles Cist, Cincinnati in 1841, published by the author, Cincinnati, 1841.)

28. John P. Hale, History of the Great Kanawha Valley, 1891. Vol. I, 199.

29. Ibid. Some idea of the growth of the river steam travel and shipping is obtained from the increasing number of boats on the Ohio after 1811. The following table will show the number built each successive year:

1814 ------1
1815 ------2
1816 ------3
1817 ------7
1818 ---- 25
1819 ---- 34

1821 -----5
1822 ----13
1823 ----15
1824 ----16
1825 ----27
1826 ----56

Total 215

(Drake & Mansfield, op. cit., 73.) Of these, only 125 remained in service by 1826. Ninety had ceased to operate - 28 sunk on snags; 6 burned; 1 stove by ice; 1 sunk by another boat; and the remainder were wornn [sic] out. (Ibid., 73-4.)

30. Ibid., 54.

31. Lawall & others, op. cit., 5.

32. Ibid. Some of this coal doubtless was used in the fast developing iron industry growing up in Lawrence County, Ohio and Greenup County, Kentucky on both sides of the Ohio River about this time. Four or five of the iron furnaces in Greenup County used coal in 1837. (Clark, op, cit., 332.) Wheeling mines were also supplying the manufacturing plants as well as domestic trade in 1836. (American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 29, January 1836, p. 80.) The manufacturing industry was, no doubt, the chief source of demand for fuel along the lower Ohio rather than domestic consumption, as coal had not yet come into its own. Drake and Mansfield say of Cincinnati in 1826: "Wood is the chief article of fuel; which is boated down the Ohio and Licking rivers, or brought in wagons from the adjacent country. Coal, from the mines above, is brought to the city in considerable quantities, but is not yet extensively used, except in the manufacturing establishments." (Op. cit., 32.) In 1826 Cincinnati used 200,000 bushes of coal for which it paid $20,000.

33. Census of 1840, Vol. I, 213-214. (No census prior to this date gives any data on coal mining in Virginia.)

34. U. S. Census, 1840, Vol. I, (enumeration) 213-14. Although Kanawha is by far the greatest producer of coal in 1840 it is very likely that its products were consumed mostly by salt furnaces in the state and less of its tonnage shipped to points outside the state than was the case of Ohio County. A coal dealer in Cincinnati advertised in 1841: "Keeps constantly on hand Youghiogany, Brownsville, and Wheeling coal of the best quality." (Cist, op. cit.)

35. Compiled from the Census Compendium, 154-177. It is interesting to note here that, although coal mining in the eastern counties of Virginia had been conducted for a long period, the western counties produced over three times as much tonnage as the eastern countries in 1840. This is especially interesting inasmuch as the eastern "sea coal" was distributed along the eastern coast from Baltimore to Boston and was, for many years, the chief source of home consumption (Clark, op. cit., 331). As early as 1820 the annual output was supposed to have approached 50,000 tons. The peak of production in the eastern counties, however, was reached early. The Chesterfield district reached its maximum productivity about 1833 (Bishop, op. cit., Vol. II, 275). The western counties (later West Virginia Counties), however, were increasing their production year by year. The superiority of the western coal counties is indicated by the fact that the eastern counties (Chesterfield, Goochland, Henrico, and Powhatan) with almost five times as much capital invested, and with 185 more men employed, produced less than one third as much coal in 1840. (Census Compendium.)

36. Census Compendium, 166-167,

37. Ibid., 166-167.

38. Supra, 6.

39. State of West Virginia, Bureau of Negro Welfare and Statistics, Report, 1921-22, 12. Kathleen Bruce says: "The returns of the census of 1840 cannot be accepted as exact, but they at least reveal the general economic trend." (Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era, (Century, 1931, 83.)

40. John P. Hale, op. cit., Vol. I, 167.

41. Ibid., 167.

42. Callahan op. cit., 87.

43. Stephen P. Capehart, Coalsmouth, West Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 1905, 46.

44. Lawall & others, op. cit., 5.

45. Ibid.

46. Callahan, op. cit., 352.

47. Census of 1850, 272. Again it is questionable whether the census figures are entirely reliable. Bruce says: that in 1841 "nearly a thousand men were at work in the Richmond coal fields. . . ." (Op. cit., 95.) Certainly if there were nearly a thousand men in the Richmond fields alone it would stand to reason that there were more than 1,044 in the entire state, which would include all of the western counties.

48. Lawall & others, op. cit., 5. Callahan, op. cit., 83.

49. Ibid., 5. The Point Pleasant (Mason County) Independent Republican (Issue of October 4, 1855) gives an account of a coal convention held at Charleston on Sept. 15, 1855. The following companies were represented, the names in some instances identifying the location of their developments: The Paint Creek Co., Great Western Mining and Manufacturing Co., Forks of Coal Co., Mt. Carbon Coal Co., Wyoming Coal Co., Mithcomah Cannel Coal Co., Old Dominion Coal Co., Kanawha Coal Co., Coal River and Kanawha Mining and Manufacturing Co., Cannel Coal Co. of Coal River, Coal River Navigation Co., Pioneer Coal Co., Virginia Cannel Coal Co., of Peytona, Coal River, Iron Hills Coal Co., Kanawha Salt Co.

50. Callahan, op. cit., 87.

51. J. P. Hale, op. cit., 167. As has been pointed out above (note 34, p. 12), It is likely that Kanawha coal was not so well known outside the state as was the Ohio (Wheeling) and Pennsylvania coals. Dr. Drake in his "Narrative and Statistical View of Cincinnati in 1815" points out that coal was brought from Pittsburgh by that date (quoted in Bullock, op. cit., appendix). In 1841 Brownsville and Youghiogany coals, both Pennsylvania coals, were advertised with Wheeling coal. (loc. cit., 8.) Even in the year 1858 the Pennsylvania coals continued to constitute an important part of the coal on the Cincinnati markets, there being sixty-eight coal yards there in that year. (C. Cist, Cincinnati in 1859, published by the author, Cincinnati, 1859, 365.)

52. Callahan, op. cit., 87.

53. Interview with the writer's mother, Annie Tamplin Laing, whose father, William Tamplin, was superintendent at this operation before and after the Civil War.

54. Callahan, op. cit., 87.

55. Ibid.

56. Kanawha Valley Star, Charleston, October 10. 1859, 2.

57. Census of 1860, Volume on Manufactures, 607-628.

58. Ibid., 619.

59. Ibid., 607.

60. Ibid., 621.

61. Supra, (Table 1), 13.

62. Supra, 17.

63. Supra, 17.

64. J. P. Hale, op. cit., Vol. I, 199.

65. First Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines, State of West Virginia, 1883, 20.

66. I. C. White, special article in Callahan, op. cit., 390.

67. "The Oil-Dorado of West Virginia," American News Co., (New York, 1865), 2.

68. Ibid.

69. Lawall & others, op. cit., 5.

70. West Virginia State Department of Mines, Report of 1895, 28.

71. Callahan, op. cit., 352.

72. Ibid.

73. Lawall & others, op. cit., 5.

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