HISTORIC BRAMWELL PIONEERS
THE PRITCHARDS OF BRAMWELL
From Martha Jane Becker's book: "The Pritchard Tree"......
WILLIAM JOHN PRITCHARD learned mining in Wales, and for some years had the role of an ordinary miner in the Pennsylvania fields. His long and commendable career of industry has brought him a position among the leading operators and mine owners in the Pocahontas fields of Southern West Virginia. Mr. Pritchard, whose home is at Bramwell, Mercer County, was born at Llandovey, Wales, in March, 1863, and his parents were also natives of the same country. Mr. Pritchard had a limited education in Wales, and was about eighteen when he came to America in 1881. For several years he was a coal miner in the Pennsylvania fields near Wilkes-Barre, and rose to the responsibility of mine foreman there. In 1889 he came to West Virginia and went to work for the pioneer in the development of the Pocahontas coal fields, the late John Cooper. Under Mr. Cooper he be- came mine foreman, and remained with him about three years. His next period of service was with the Algoma Coal and Coke Company as mine foreman, and was there superintendent until this company sold its properties.
William John Pritchard was born in Thrandrourey, Wales in March 1863. He received a limited education in Wales and came to America in 1881. He spent his first two weeks in America at Ellis Island. On Jan 10, 1888 he became a naturalized citizen and also rose to the position of mine foreman.
In Feburary, 1888, he married Miss Ann Harris Thomas in Wilkes Barre, Pennsyvalnia and brought his family to Coopers, WV where he lived for three years , while working for the pioneer of the development of the Pocahontas Coal Field, John Cooper. In 1902 the Pritchards moved to Bramwell and resided in a house on the hill above the Historic Goodwell House. In the late teens they moved across the bridge below Bramwell's Episcopal Church to the Keller - Pritchard House ( Built during 1893 and 1896 by Benjamin Franklin Keller ) Benjamin Franklin Keller (April 21, 1857 – August 8, 1921) was a United States federal judge. Born in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. He was in private practice in Bramwell, West Virginia from 1891 to 1901.
Mr. Pritchard also worked for the Algoma Company became general manager of the Thomas Coal Company and opened their properties, and for a number of years has been general manager of all the Thomas coal interests, distributed among the Crystal Coal and Coke Company, Thomas Coal & Coke Company and Flat Top Coal and Mining Company. Mr. Pritchard also controled and was president of three properties in Kentucky, the Superior Harlan Coal Company, Virginia Fuel Company and Algoma Block Coal Company. In West Virginia he is president of the Burnwell Coal and Coke Company and the Long Flame Coal Company.
After 40 years in the coal business Mr. Pritchard suffered a serious breakdown in health and died of Bright's Disease on September12, 1922. Mrs. Pritchard died in 1942 at the age of 77. They were the parents of seven children. They were truly a memorable coal mining pioneer family of southern West Virginia.
William John and Ann Pritchard's Children: