COLONIAL FREEMAN, WEST VIRGINIA
YEAR - APPROX. 1915
This rural community of Freeman, West Virginia is located along the banks of the Bluestone River and is approximately two miles from the Town Bramwell, WV. Freeman has a heritage that was dominated by "coal" mining operations in the late 1800s. The Buckeye Coal and Coke Company opened operations in 1886 in the small building beside the railway tracks as shown in the picture as taken approximately 1915. Buckeye Coal and Coke operated two tipples at the turn of the century. This company produced over 100,000 tons of coal and 20,000 tons of coke each year from the Buckeye mine; located in Buckeye Hollow just north of Freeman on Route 52. John Davis Hewitt was Vice President and General Manager of the Buckeye Coal and Coke and was one of the Bramwell's true Coal Barons. He was interred in the Freeman Cemetery on October 11, 1903.
Many of the buildings in this picture still remain standing. The "Simmons" Depot and Freight Station , shown in the picture foreground, were heavily used with numerous coal trains traveling this line as late as 1955. The very small building visible just to the left of the Simmons Depot and next to the telephone pole was the "Coal House' for the depot. Daily mail was taken across the railroad bridge in a wheel barrow to the town Post Office that was located in the left end of the large building; shown in the center of the picture. Dr. Homer Luttrell's office was located brhind the Caswell Creek Coal Company store that is shown on the Bramwell side of Simmons Creek. In fact, there are three company stores visible in this picture. They are Caswell Creek, Booth Bowen and Buckeye Coal and Coke Company; along with a meat market, post office and "Crows Roost" (the hand rail along the sidewalk from the post office to the meat market; so named because the local men sat on the hand rail and loafed ). While the the Simmons Depot and Freight Station are shown at the near side of the railroad bridge in the picture, Oscar "Beef" Bennett, chief of police, had his office in the west end of the "Coon" Freight Station on the Freeman side, (north) of the Bluestone River. However, the Coon Freight Station building is not visible in the picture. Visible on the Simmons (south) side of the Bluestone River in the picture is the Lyman Tibb's home and the railroad section crew's tool shed.
Notice that in the picture Route 52 had not been built at the turn of the century. The road that is visible to the left of the picture center continued a short distance and than forked, with the right fork leading to Sinai Mountain, while the left fork went north up Simmons Creek to the Buckeye Coal Mines and then on into McDowell County.
Few people know that Simmons is on the south side of Bluestone River while Freeman is on the north side of this river. Another Fact: The historic Freeman "Oak Hill Cemetery" is located on the east end of the hill in the picture background. John Davis Hewitt and John Freeman along with their wives are burried in this cemetary. ( Our sincere thanks to Bill Myers for his memories, his help in identifying buildings in this picture and furnishing additional historic facts on Freeman and Simmons. )
This is an enlargement of the Simmons Depot that is shown in the foreground of the top picture. Note that the HISTORIC BOOTH-BOWEN COAL COMPANY STORE can also be seen in the right of this picture.
VIEW COLONIAL FREEMAN - 1918
VIEW COLONIAL FREEMAN - 1890
1939 CONSTRUCTION OF RT. 52 THROUGH FREEMAN, WV
VISIT HISTORIC BUCKEYE TIPPLE .... (Another page for history buffs)
TOWN OF BRAMWELL INDEX
FOR BRAMWELL HISTORY