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. The Collins brothers were born in Clayton, Alabama, They were both sons of Hartwell and Louisa (Williams) Collins. Jairus Collins was born on December 14, 1859. He 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.
The Collins brothers parents were Hartwell and Louise Williams Collins of Clayton, Alabama. Jairus Collins and brother, Justus Collins were coal operators with mines in West Virginia counties, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Kanawha.
Jairus 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 Blanche Dudley ( 1881 - 1910 ). They were maried in the town of Bramwell, WV. They had two children Jairus, Jr. and daughter Virginia C.
Jairus Collins Burial: Woodlawn Cemetery - Bluewell, Mercer County, WV. (View death certificate photographs at end of this posting.)
The Find-A-Grave Site lists Jairus Collins' Spouse as Lucy G. Dent Collins. Other sites have Blanche Dudley as Justus Collins' wife. It is believed that this information may be incorrect and Blanche Dudley Collins was the wife of Jairus Collins. Lucy Gertrude Dent Collins (1861 - 1933) was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, per the Find-A-Grave site. This burial site is also the burial site of Justus Collins and indicates that Lucy Gertrude Dent Collins was the wife of Justus Collins.
Coal operator Justus Collins (December 14, 1857- October 18, 1934) was born in Clayton, Alabama. He was the brother of Jairus Collins (1859-1932). He began his coal career in his native South, reportedly supervising convict mine labor. About 1887, he resigned as secretary treasurer of Woodward Iron Company, an Alabama mining firm, to move to the new ‘‘smokeless coalfields’’ of southern West Virginia. In Mercer County, Collins organized Louisville Coal & Coke Company about 1887, one of the first mines to ship coal on the Norfolk & Western Railroad. In 1910, he pioneered the Winding Gulf Coalfields with Winding Gulf Colliery. By 1929, he had consolidated all of his mining properties into Winding Gulf Colliery Companies. Despised by workers and feared by competition, Justus Collins used integration and diversity in mines as tools to prevent miners from unionizing. Justus had 4 siblings:
Justus Collins ( 1857 - 1934 ) was born in 1857 in Alabama. his parents were Hartwell Collins and Louisa Collins. Justus had 4 siblings Minna Louise Collins, Jairus Collins and 2 other siblings. Justus married Lucy Gertrude Collins in 1883, at age 25 in Georgia.They had 5 children: Helen Mae Collins, Lucy Gertrude Collins and 3 other children. Justus lived in 1860 in Alabama. He lived in 1870 in Florida. He lived in 1880 in Alabama. He lived in West Virginia in 1900. Justus passed away in 1934, at age 76 in Charleston,West Virginia.
Below are Southern WV Coal Operators (YR. 1895) with Justus & Jairus Collins show seated (L_R) 4th & 5th.
Jairus Collins' brother, JUSTUS COLLINS was born in 1857 and died in May 18 ,1932. 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,
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. Justus Collins died in Charleston, West Virginia on May 18, 1932. His brother, Jairus 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.
JUSTUS COLLINS FIND-A-GRAVE
AUDIO ON LIFE OF JUSTUS COLLINS
JAIRUS COLLINS FIND-A-GRAVE
JAIRUS COLLINS HOUSES IN BRAMWELL, WV
JUSTUS COLLINS HOUSE IN CHARLESTON, WV
RETURN TO COAL MINING INDEX FILE
GOODWILL INDEX FILE