COLONIAL FREEMAN, WEST VIRGINIA

YEARS - 1900 & 1918

The above photograph was taken in 1918 along Bluestone Avenue in front of the Methodist Church. The large house in the foreground is the Sexton home. The photograph was featured on a 1918 post card. This photograph featured the village of Freeman, WV that is now a part of the town of Bramwell . Bob Gallagher, who furnished this card said, "the November 18, 1918 postcard is from cousin Rowland Toy who was in Bramwell area at the time. The postcard photograph is clearly of Freeman, WV in 1918 as you can see the Elizabeth Bowen Methodist Church as well as the large historic Sexton home in the foreground that still stands today. " The Baptist Church can be seen in the far center background of this photograph. It was formally the Methodist Church and was sold to the Baptist Church congration around 1906.

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 1901. 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.

Below is a photograph of business part of Freeman along the Bluestone River shortly after the the year 1900 . It shows two company stores, freight station and many houses.

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 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 OF COLONIAL FREEMAN - 1890

1939 CONSTRUCTION OF RT. 52 THROUGH FREEMAN, WV

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