William H. Thomas owned and operated the Thomas Coal & Coke Company. He opened this coal mining company in 1902. Col. Thomas was born in Wales and came to the Flat Top coalfields, by way of Pennsylvania, to work for the Southwest Virginia Improvement in Pocahontas. In 1889, he became store manager for John Cooper & Co., at Coopers, where he remained until June 1890 when he became General Manager and majority stock holder of the Algoma Coal & Coke Co. near Northfork.
Upon the death of his partner, John Chalmers of Salem, Virginia, Mr. Thomas became the sole owner of the company. Subsequently, Thomas sold Algoma to William Buery. Col. William Thomas died unexpectedly on January 20, 1918 at age 55 and his only son John Cooper Thomas died just two years later. Upon the death of Col. Thomas' wife, Anne Cooper Thomas, the name of Thomas Coal & Coke Company was changed to the Virginia B. Coal Company. Virginia Perry Buery was the wife of William Buery. His family continued on with his operations having partnerships with the Coopers and Bill Buery. The name was changed in 1940 to the Virginia B. Coal Company (the name of the wife of Mr. Beury) which it remained for the last 12 years it operated.
WILLIAM BEURY DIES SUDDENLY: Man Who Became Wealthy us Coal Operator Passes Away in Philadelphia Slinmokin, Pa., Oct. 30. 1919. William Beury, millionaire coal operator and for many years one of Shamokin's foremost citizens, died at his home in Philadelphia on Tuesday night from the effects of a complication of diseases. News of the death was conveyed in messages to relatives here yesterday. Although relatives and close friends here were aware of his illness, there had been no intimation that his condition was critical and it is supposed his death was sudden. William Beury was born May 19, 1844, in what is now Port Carbon, Schuylkill county.
His father was one of the first settlers and a pioneer coal operator of that section. As a young man, William Beury look up the occupation of anthracite mining and in the years that followed became an expert on every phase of the industry.
W. H. Thomas was well liked by everyone who knew him.
It was about 1902 when W. H. Thomas started his Thomas Coal & Coke Company. He built a coal tipple, 127 houses, a company store, church, payroll and a doctors office at Thomas, WV. Mr. Thomas later started his Crystal Coal & Coke operations at Crystal, WV. Crystal was a pet name tnat he called his wife, Annie. Mr. Thomas and his wife also build a house and lived at Crystal, WV until they eventually build their beautiful English Tudor Thomas House "mansion" in Bramwell, WV.
ANNE COOPER THOMAS (22 Sept. 1867 - Unknown) was the wife of Col. William H. Thomas. Mrs. Thomas was always recognized to be one of the outstanding pioneer women who helped develop the town of Bramwell. She was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania and was one of five daughters and two sons of John Cooper, another noted Bramwell coal baron and pioneer.
The below early 1900s photograph is of Mr. Charles Cox & Miss Thomas of Bramwell, West Virginia. Miss Thomas is believed to be the daughter of W. H. Thomas and wife Anne Thomas.
Partial text from the McComas Web Site. More information on the Thomas Coal & Coke Company and the Thomas family coal operations may be found at the McComas, WV Web Site under Ken Bowen's Articles.
HISTORIC THOMAS HOUSE
BRAMWELL PIONEERS INDEX FILE