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Henry Ford and Nuttall Mine Visit

Fayette Tribune
October 20, 1921


Henry Ford Visits His Nuttall Mine

Shows interest in Old Operation and His Miner Friends

Henry Ford, the auto maker, and his staff, were business visitors in Fayette county last Thursday. He came to inspect his coal mine at Nuttallburg and make other observations in the New River coal field. It was his first visit to the old Nuttallburg mine which he purchased about two years ago to supply his Detroit plans with fuel.

Mr. Ford travelled in his special car which was placed on the Nuttall siding Thursday morning and was hauled away to Huntington that night.

In the party with Mr. Ford was his son Edsel, C. L. Sorenson, of the Detroit works, W. C. Cowling, head of the D. T. & I. railway, J. W. Smith, geologist of the Ford interests, and Abner Lunsford, chief mining engineer of the Ford coal interests.

Clad in overalls they went back in the mine some three miles to the working places of the miners. The coal seam is a think one and the party had to do some crawling on hands and knees. They were pretty well tired out before they finished the inspection. Mr. Ford showed great interest in every phase of mining operation and had some original suggestions to make to his employes.

Rumors that the Ford party was making this trip for the purpose of purchasing certain property, as hinted by press reports from Cincinnati were found to be erreoneous [sic] when both Mr. Ford and his son denied certain statements alleged to have been made by them.

“My father,” explained Edsel, “is making this trip to secure an insight into the working conditions of the miners and to briefly inspect his mine holdings in the sections we visited. All other reasons for the trip as previously given by the press cannot be relied upon.”

Ford admitted that he was “very much impressed with West Virginia and the possibilities of this region.

“I made the trip to my West Virginia holdings to learn the exact working conditions of my miners,” Ford is quoted as having said. “I was curious to see how coal was produced—how it looked down in the bottom of the mine—how the miners lived and ate and played. I am satisfied with the conditions as I found them.”

Ford visited the miners’ homes, saw their wives cooking, inspected the play grounds and schools provided by his company for the children and inquired both of men and of officers as to the general morale and working spirit of the miners.

It is to be regretted that the Ford party did not take the time to visit some of the real first class mines on Loop Creek. The Nuttallburg property is one of the oldest on New River and its operation has been almost abandoned for years on account of the expense of getting out the coal. It bears about the same relation to the Loop and White Oak mines that Ford’s D. T. & I. alleged railroad bears to the C. & O. or N. & W. railroad systems.


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