January 22, 2000
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
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.
Source: Virginia Tech Image Base Library.