COAL MINING PIONEERS
Writings from Mary Jane Becker based on research of BHS students in the 1940s indicate:
Southern West Virginia coal barons Jairus and Justus Collins were brothers. Jairus Collins born in Clayton, Alabama, December 14, 1859. He was the son of Hartwell and Louisa (Williams) Collins. Jairus Collins was a pioneer coal baron and lived in Historic Bramwell, WV for part of his life. His historic home is located in Bramwell. He was responsible for much of the early coal mining development in the Goodwill, WV coal mining community. Jairus Collins came to West Virginia in 1893 and worked as the auditor of the Collins Colliery Company located in Glen Jean, WV for about three years. After that time he moved to Bramwell and served as as the general manager of the Louisville Coal & Coke Company operations in Goodwill, WV and the Greenbrier Coal & Coke Company of McDowell, WV.
Jairus Collins was a long tine resident, home owner and business man of Bramwell, West Virginia. He owned two of present day historic houses in Bramwell. Both still stand in restored conditions. He was known for his many successful coal operators He also served as treasurer and director of the Pocahontas Operators Association. He was born to Hartwell and Louisa (Williams) Collins, natives of Alabama and of English ancestry.
He served general manager for the Greenbrier Coal & Coke Company of McDowell. He also was once the general manager of the Louisville Coal & Coke Company of Goodwill. He was one of the organizers of the Pocahontas Operators Association, with headquarters a Bluefield, and was a active representative of thes operators in handling several strikes in the Pocahonta fields.
Mr. Collins was a member of the democratic party. He was once a candidate for the State Senate. He also served as treasurer of the Episcopal Church at Bramwell. In 1902, he married Miss Blanch Dudley (1881 - 1910 ). Blanche Dudley Collins was the daughter of Andrew Dudley. They were maried in the town of Bramwell, WV. They had two children: Jairus, Jr. and daughter Virginia C.
Jairus Collins was the son of Hartwell and Louise Williams Collins of Clayton, Alabama. Jairus Collins and brother Justus Collins were coal operators with mines in McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Kanawha Counties.
Jairus Collins' brother, JUSTUS COLLINS was born in 1857 and died in 1934. His wife was Lucy G. Dent Collins. His parents were Hartwell Collins and Louise Williams. Justus Collins and his brother Jairus were early coal operators in West Virginia. In 1887,they started the Louisville Coal and Coke Company at Goodwill, Mercer County. Then in 1905, they bought the Goodwill Coal and Coke Company from Philip Goodwill which was the beginning of Winding Gulf Collieries Corp. established by Justus and Jairus Collins.
In 1893 Justus Collins opened the Collins Colliery in Glen Jean, Fayette County, WV. He also opened the Whipple mine near Mount Hope, WV and the Greenbrier Coal & Coke. He built two octagonal company stores. The WHIPPLE COMPANY STORE remains a local landmark. Justus Collins left the West Virginia coalfields as his business interests grew. He moved his family first to Charleston, WV and then to Cincinnati, OH.
ANOTHER ACCOUNT OF JAIRUS COLLIN'S LIFE BY HISTORIAN KEN BOWEN
JAIRUS COLLINS ( 1859 - 1932 )
Jairus Collins was born in Clayton, Alabama on December 14, 1859. After spending some time in Louisville, Kentucky, he moved to Goodwill, West Virginia in 1887 where he, Isaac T. Mann, and J. J. Tierney established the Louisville Coal and Coke Company on the west fork of Flipping Creek. In 1890, Jairus Collins and Isaac T. Mann organized the Greenbrier Coal and Coke Company in Northfork Hollow in McDowell County. They bought coal property again in 1896 in the Loop Creek Branch Area of Fayette County. In 1902, Collins, Mann, and company formed the Smokeless Fuel Company to sell all of their coal. In 1903 and 1904 they bought three more coal mines in McDowell County and formed the Superior Pocahontas Coal Company. On December 1, 1905 Jairus Collins and Isaac T. Mann bought the Goodwill Coal and Coke Company from Philip Goodwill and his brothers, William F. and Anthony G.
In 1909 Collins and Mann dissolved the Pocahontas Company and merged all of their coal mines into the Winding Gulf Collieries. It is thought that Jarius and his brother, Justus Collins both servered as general manager of the Greenbrier and Louisville Coal and Coke Companies. Philip Goodwill was appointed general manager of Winding Gulf Collieries at Goodwill where he served until his death in 1916. Then, Emory Jones, and E. V. Bowman were appointed general managers.
Isaac T. Mann died in Washington, D. C. in 1932. Jairus Collins died in Charleston, West Virginia on May 18, 1932. His brother, Justus Collins died on October 18, 1934, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery at Bluewell, WV.
The last day of operation for Winding Gulf Collieries in Goodwill was on January 4, 1958. At that time the Sprague Family of Beckley owned the company. They were also the owners of the New River Company.
Text furnished by: Ken Bowen, Bluewell , WV.
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