Photo of theDay
January 22, 2000

Locomotive No. 108 ~ 1890

If you had lived in Historic Bramwell at the turn of the 20th century you would have perhaps observed Locomotive No. 108 traveling from Pocahontas to Bramwell delivering coal and freight. History reveals that Bramwell's John Cooper, who founded the Cooper's Mill Creek Coal and Coke Company, shipped his first coal in November 1884 on the Norfolk and Western Railroad ; making his Mercer County operations the first mine in West Virginia in the Pocahontas Coalfields. In 1884 his company, Mill Creek shipped 2,368 tons of "smokeless" coal. By 1890 coal baron John Cooper had sold nearly 200,000 tons of coal from one tipple alone. Mr. Cooper ran three tipples and 260 coke ovens.

The Mill Creek and Caswell Creek mines opened in 1884. The Booth Bowen mine opened in 1885 and the Buckeye Coal and Coke Company opened in 1886. All four of these Coal companies played significant rolls in the early history of Bramwell. The Caswell Creek, Booth Bowen and Buckeye Coal companies established their own separate company stores in colonial Freeman, WV in the late 1800s. Only the building that housed the Booth Bowen Company Store remains and is presently used as a church building.

Photo Source: Virginia Tech Image Base Library.