- JENKIN JONES - (1839- 1916)**

**Correction: According to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph Newspaper:

Jenkin Jones was born at Glyn Neath, Wales on Sept. 25, 1839. He came to the U. S. in 1863, and worked as a coal miner in Pennsylvania before moving to West Virginia, where he developed coal mines. Jones and John Freeman formed a partnership which opened the Caswell Creek Coal and Coke Co. and later, with Isaac T. Mann, they operated Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co.

From Martha Jane Becker's book: "Bramwell .... The Diary of a Millionaire Coal Town": Jenkin Jones was born in Wales in 1839. His educational opportunities were limited, owing to the fact that when he reached his eighth year, his father died and he was obliged to go to work in the mines with his elder brother, in order to contribute toward the support of the family. While thus occupied during the day, he attended night school long enough to acquire a rudimentary education and followed it up with a diligent application to hard study and to whatever facilities for further education were available.

His first employment in the mines was that of trapper and for the next ten years he remained there, being promoted from time to time, as his strength and experience fitted him for more important duties. In 1863 he came to the United States locating in Scranton, Pennsylvania; afterward he moved to Trevorton, Northumberland County , in the same state where he remained until about the time the New River Coal Field on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad began to attract attention, when he came to West Virginia, locating at Quinnimont. He later spent some time at Clifton Forge, Virginia, where he engaged in ore mining returning later to the Fire Creek Coal Field on New River. In July 1884, Jenkin Jones came to the Flat-Top Field and in connection with John Freeman leased a tract of 1400 acres from the Flat-Top Coal Association and started the operation of the Caswell Creek Coal and Coke Company, the third operation in the Great Flat-Top Field. In 1869 Jenkin Jones married Martha Ellwood (1849-1911), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ellwood of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of three children, James Ellwood, Edward and Mary, better remembered as May Jones.

Mr. Jones was prominently identified with the business interests of the Southern West Virginia coal field and was one of the most active agents in forwarding the work of industrial development in many different lines, being actively associated with a number of important business  enterprises in addition to mining operations. He inherited to a large degree the characteristics of the Welsh people for music. He was also the author of a number of poems which showed decided merit, although the public had little opportunity to judge these talents.There's one more small, rather sad anecdote about Jenkin Jones, worth the telling because it shows so much of the character of the man.

Jenkin Jones discovered, in his later years, that he had tuberculosis. He immediately took up his personal residence in a little structure in the backyard. There he kept entirely to himself, appearing only at meal time with his own plate, glass and eating utensils. He waited at the back door until his plate was served and then returned to his self-imposed solitude. When he died, he left instructions for the house and all the out buildings to be torn down, so that no other family would encroach on the close friends and relatives, the Bowens and Ellwoods, who had shared the hill with him and his family. His daughter, May had married and gone to California. His son, Edward, who had married Elizabeth Bowen, was dead. His remaining son, James Ellwood Jones, who died in 1932 built a showplace in Switchback and moved there. The widow of James Ellwood Jones, Edith ( later Mrs. Breckenridge Payne ) died at the age of 100 in 1987.

Jenkinjones community got its colorful name from pioneer coal baron Jenkin Jones, one of the founders of Pocahontas Fuel Company. This company opened its No. 6 mine here in 1917. Later Consolidation Coal Co. purchased Pocahontas's properties. Consolidated Coal Company closed their Jenkinjones No. 4 mine in 1989.

JENKIN JONES FAMILY GRAVE SITE in the Historic Oak Hill Cemetery, Freeman WV.

Wife of Jenkin Jones:

Martha Ellwood Jones:

BIRTH: 3 Jan 1849 - England

DEATH: 15 Nov 1911 (aged 62) - Simmons, Mercer County, West Virginia,

BURIAL: Oak Hill Cemetery, Freeman, Mercer County, West Virginia.

Jenkin Jones Son - Coal Baron James Elwood Jones:

Coal Baron James Elwood Jones

Coal Baron James Elwood Jones:


BIRTH: 26 Nov 1872
Pennsylvania, USA
DEATH: 25 Nov 1932 (aged 60)
Switchback, McDowell County, West Virginia, USA
BURIAL: WashingtonDistrict of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia,

James Ellwood Jones was born in Nov. 1872 and was the son of Jenkin Jones. He was often referred to as Colonel Jones, was the son of an immigrant from Wales who came to the United States in the mid-1800's, settled in southern Pennsylvania and became involved in the anthracite coal mining industry. It was In Pennsylvania that James Elwood Jones was born, His family move to southern West Virginia where he grew up in McDowell and Mercer counties.

He followed in the path that his father built his own coal empire. He became a coal baron and built a magnificent mansion on a mountain in Switchback, WV that was surrounded by his mines. He built a good community for his workers. He also became involved in the local government. He provided for college educations for many for the local residents.

James Elwood Jones and his wife, Edith had two children, Nancy and Jimmy. Nancy died a premature death and Mr. Jones suffered a fatal heart attack while playing cards with a good friend. The widow of James Ellwood Jones, Edith ( later Mrs. Breckenridge Payne ) died at the age of 100 in 1987.

Nancy W. Jones was born to James Ellwood Jones and Edith Mae Jenkins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1916. She was a loving sister to her brother James E Jones Jr. Her and her family eventually moved to Elkhorn, West Virginia in McDowell County due to a job for her father. Sadly Nancy passed away at a very young age from the Flu & Pneumonia on July 5, 1933 in Switchback, West Virginia.

His house is a historic home located at Switchback, McDowell County, West Virginia. This circa 1890's mansion was designed and built by coal baron James Ellwood Jones, son of Jenkin Jones. It is a two story, frame dwelling with an irregular plan. This palatial estate features over 20 rooms. It is located on a very private and serene mountaintop on Powerhouse Hill Road. It features a classically detailed, pedimented porch, and stained glass windows. Also on the property are a contributing swimming pool dated to the 1920s, a detached covered patio, a circular fountain, terraced garden, and greenhouse. It was built for James Ellwood Jones, an influential leader in southern West Virginia's coal mining industry. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The trees that he imported from Europe are still flourishing and the fish in the pond are still swimming. With the designation of this property as a National Historical Site, Colonel James Elwood Jones's mansion continues to welcome guests and shines as a beacon of times past when "coal was king."This histroic mansion of a coal baron can be viewd at ME AND MR. JONES B&B under "photos". This house is now a magnificant Bed and Breakfast is located in Switchback, WV on RT. 52 near the Town of Bramwell. This is a southern premier Bed and Breakfast and ATV host.

Wife of James Elwood Jones - Edith Jenkin Jones Bayne:
BIRTH: 1 May 1886
DEATH: 18 Sep 1986 (aged 100)
BURIAL: WashingtonDistrict of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia,


Historic McDowell County coal baron home is now a B&B, ATV lodge:

Bluefield Daily Telegraph Article Published on May 27, 2012:

SWITCHBACK — Of all the mansions that were built in the early 20th Century by the wealthy coal barons who made their fortunes from southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia’s rich coal deposits, none can compare to the mansion on Power House Hill in Switchback that was built by James Ellwood Jones.

Jones, who died at age 60 of a heart attack on Nov. 25, 1932, was the most powerful of the region’s coal barons and the only one who spent most of his life, living and working in the coalfields. He was the son of Mercer and McDowell county coalfield pioneer, Jenkin Jones, the McDowell County coal pioneer who had the town, Jenkinjones, named in his honor. The younger Jones was educated at Roanoke College and Columbia University, where he earned a degree as a mining engineer. He invented many machines used in coal mining including the "Jones Coal Loader", a predecessor of the modern continuous mining machine.

As vice president and general manager of the Pocahontas Fuel Company, he was among West Virginia’s wealthiest men. While the home he built on Power House Hill is spectacular, his philanthropy was even more impressive. During his life time, he paid for a college education for hundreds or perhaps thousands of young people from the coalfields, who received the money with the singular requirement of never disclosing the identity of their benefactor. He established and provided financial support for dental and tonsil clinics in McDowell County, built the gym/swimming pool building at Elkhorn High School in Switchback and spent 25 years on the county commission working to bring good roads to the county.

The palatial home he shared with his wife, Edith, and their children, Nancy and Jimmy, was spacious like many mansions in the coalfields, but had the singular feature of 66 stained glass windows that had been imported from Scotland that formed a semicircle around the grand room of the home. Jones was near the fireplace in that room playing cards with his physician, Dr. I.C. Peters, when he suffered his fatal heart attack.

After his death, the coal industry took a dramatic change. Fewer coal operators lived near the mines they operated. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put federal law behind the rights of coal miners to organize as part of the far-reaching New Deal legislation and almost overnight, the coal miners in the region joined the United Mine Workers of America. The mansion had some use, but was eventually abandoned and ultimately sold at a sheriff’s sale in the early 1950s for $15,000.

“When daddy bought it, my mother had no control in the way it was decorated,” Judy McDaniel said of the Jones Mansion on Power House Hill. Her father, Dale Henderson, owned the old Henderson Market in Maybeury, and her mother Grace Henderson (later Haynes) took care of the house. “She went along with what daddy said,” McDaniel said.

“When I lived here, I swept the whole house,” McDaniels said. “It was like a person.”

After McDaniel’s father died, Grace, kept the mansion and lived there with her husband Paul Haynes. Grace Haynes knew the history of the home, and was always eager to share the story of James Ellwood Jones. It was Grace who saw that the house was going to be sold at a sheriff’s sale and went with her husband to make the winning bid.

After Grace passed away, her son, David Henderson and his wife, Jennette, moved into the residence. After her father died, Jennette Henderson brought her mother, Martha E. Barber to live with them. On Feb. 14, 1998, the State Police made the gruesome discovery that David Henderson, his wife Jennette and her mother had all been shot and killed. Within days, the state police had arrested Stanford Tony Allen of Barlow Hollow for the murders. Allen was convicted of the crimes in the fall of 1999, and was sentenced to life in prison.

In the late fall of 1998, before the trial, McDaniel was distraught over the loss of her brother, and decided to sell the home and most of its furnishings. The auction drew a few hundred people to Power House Hill and the bidding was robust. Billy Cherry, then chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Keystone bought the house for $160,000. A year earlier in early November 1997, Cherry had made new signature cards for the four passbook savings accounts held by her late boss, J. Knox McConnell, who died on Oct. 26, 1997, and claimed that she and McConnell jointly held in excess of $4.2 million.

Cherry built a deck around the pool Jones had built on the grounds and tried to open it as a bed & breakfast called the “Blair House” in memory of Cherry’s late mother. However, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency declared the bank insolvent due to apparent fraud and closed it on Sept. 1, 1999, and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to serve as receiver of the bank’s assets. Cherry was convicted on various fraud charges in October 2001, and died in prison on Dec. 29, 2006. McDaniel purchased the Jones mansion from the FDIC, and started the process of rehabilitating it.

“Mr. Jones never intended to marry, but one of his college roommates introduced him to his sister and he fell in love,” McDaniel said. “Since I moved back, I’ve been in contact with some of Mr. Jones grandchildren. His granddaughter, Barbara Hirvela, sent me some pictures of the family when they were in the house.”

Within the past few years, McDaniel, a retired educator, has put a lot of time and effort into restoring the home to even better condition than it was when she grew up in it. While some of the furnishings that Jones had are long gone, McDaniel replaced them with comfortable furniture that is more in keeping with the overall decor.

She calls her bed & breakfast “Me and Mr. Jones Bed & Breakfast” and has been entertaining guests for the past two or three years in six extremely comfortable bedrooms along with informal and formal dining rooms. Although she is not located directly on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, ATV riders who have stayed at the Jones mansion can easily find their way through the mountains to the trail. As a result, she transformed a cottage on the site into the Powerhouse ATV lodge that has room enough for 6 on the first floor along with room for 8 in a spacious basement that includes two showers.

For additional information about the facility, contact McDaniel at 304-827-2887 or 407-301-3292 or visit (www.meandmrjonesestate.com) or (www.atv-lodge.com) for more information.

Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com




The Caswell Creek Coal Company operated near Freeman, WV with a third company store also located in that community. The Caswell Creek Mine opened in 1884 by Jenkin Jones and John Freeman. Both these men were of foreign birth. Freeman was born in England and Jones in Wales. The company mine was also located on Simmons Creek near Freeman. Their equipment was orignally one mule, one mining car and a few pick and shovels. The tipple was a simple wooden structure. Both these men dug coal in the mine to get it started.They ran the business as a co-partnership until 1889, when the Caswell Creek Coal and Coke Company was organized to take over the property of the Simmons Creek Mine. In 1907 these companies were incorporated under one corporation: The Pocahontas Coal Company, Inc.

Below is the Governer of West Virginia 1917 message honoring Jenkin Jones:

Welsh woman traces roots to coal baron Jenkin Jones
By: BILL ARCHER, Bluefield Daily
Telegraph Staff - March 25, 2001

( A story By Bill Archer from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 25 March 2001. )

Helen Nedahl, shown above with her daughter Leah and partner Paul, has been searching for information about her famous ancestor, Jenkin Jones.

JENKIN JONES - The names of southern West Virginia coal camps often appear somewhat unusual to outsiders, but the name Jenkin Jones holds a special meaning to a family from Caerphilly, a small community in eastern Mid Glamorgan, South Wales, United Kingdom. For the past 14 months, Helen Nedahl, a hospital clerical officer, has been searching for clues into the life of one of her relatives who traveled to "Big America," and made a fortune in a coal mine. "He was very poetic," Nedahl said in a telephone interview. "He was just a darlin'. That's what my grandmother used to say about him. But some of the stories that my grandmother told were so fantastic, you couldn't tell what was real and what had been romanticized." Nedahl's grandmother was Bertha Llewela. Her husband's first cousin was Jenkin Jones. "I don't know much about him, only that he was penniless when he left for America," she said. "He wrote frequently to my grandmother, but all those letters are gone now." Another relative who was fastidious about cleanliness, had thrown the letters out when cleaning Llewela's home following her death. Since January of 2000, Nedahl, 34, has pieced together the story of her illustrious ancestor's life. "So many people have been so fantastic," Nedahl said with an unmistakable Welsh accent. "It's all coming together. I'm still hoping to find some descendants of his family living in the United States." Jenkin Jones was born at Glyn Neath, Wales on Sept. 25, 1839, according to his front page obituary in the Dec. 20, 1916 edition of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1863, and found work in the anthracite coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania. Jones remained in Pennsylvania until 1872, when he relocated to Clifton Forge, Va., for work as an iron ore miner. Four years later, he moved to Fayette County where he developed coal mines along the New River. In 1884, he sold his interest in the New River coalfields, and traveled to Bramwell at the beginning of the Flat Top or Pocahontas coalfields. He formed a partnership with John Freeman, and together they opened the Caswell Creek Coal and Coke Company Mine near Simmons - the third large scale mine to be opened in the Pocahontas Coalfield. "He inherits, in a large degree, the characteristic love of the Welsh people for melody, and is the author of a number of poems which show decided merit, though as yet, the general public has had little opportunity to judge his talent in this direction, his personal friends being the only ones to whom his productions have thus far been accessible," according to the Daily Telegraph's 1896 "Industrial Edition." Jones was among the first coal operators to recognize the potential wealth that awaited developers of McDowell County coalfields. The coal mine that bore his name, Jenkinjones, was among the most prolific coal mines in the Pocahontas coalfields. It operated well into the 1980s. "He was so poor when he left, he had to work for his passage on the ship," Nedahl said. "He was so highly thought of by his family. They were always sorry he didn't come back to this country." In her quest to learn more about the man Jenkin Jones, Nedahl has discovered that the coal camp, Jenkinjones, has fallen on hard times in recent years. "South Wales was a big coal mining area as well, but you can't hardly find a coal mine around here any more," she said. "There is one local coal mine that was taken over and is now being run by the coal miners. It's doing quite well, actually. But stories like that are rare." On Thursday evening, Nedahl was busy being fitted for her wedding gown. She and her partner, Paul, are planning to be married Aug. 6, in the Dominican Republic. "With all the travel for the wedding, I don't think we'll be able to come to West Virginia this year. Maybe next." Nedahl handed the telephone to her mother, Christine. "We used to hear such a tremendous lot about him," Christine Nedahl said about Jenkin Jones. "We thought it couldn't be true. It's quite lovely now that Helen's worked so hard to find out what actually happened to him." Christine Nedahl said the family heard that Jones named the home he built in Simmons, Uwch Y Niwl. "That translates as 'Above the Mist' in English," she said. Jones' son, James Elwood Jones, became one of the most powerful coal operators in southern West Virginia. His mansion in Switchback is now the Blair House bed and breakfast owned by Keystone Mayor Billie Cherry. Nedahl has been in contact with Eve Cooper Murphy of Bramwell who is also a descendant of an early coal baron. Her grandfather John Cooper established the Mill Creek Mine that also opened in 1884. She said she is looking forward to coming to West Virginia and searching for her American relatives. "For me, that would be a dream come true," she said.