N&W in 1920--Pocahontas, VA

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Aug 26 11:36:46 EDT 2009

Thorne was actually far along in building when it was stopped. The following is all speculation on my part:

Pocahontas Collieries Co was rechartered in 1901 as sucessor to Southwest Virginia Improvement Co. The company was pushing down Abbs Valley to put in more coal mines which is where you getting Thorne and Frazier from. Thorne being president of Pocahontas Collieries. Problem was the Pocahontas No. 3 coal seam had gone underground as you went down Abbs Valley which is why Boissevein was a shaft mine. If you continued to approach the coal seam from Abbs Valley it would have meant more shaft mines. Also all of the coal was west of Abbs Valley.

In 1907 Pocahontas Collieries Co was acquired by Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co which had been formed in 1904 by Jenkin Jones, Isaac Mann, Stuart Buck and others from their existing operations. The new company was known as Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries. By 1907 the N&W had extended the Tug Fork to Pageton and was on the way to Anawalt for the No. 12 Operation of United States Coal & Coke. It was simpler to approach the coal seam from the Tug Fork side of the mountain than it was from the Abbs Valley side of the mountain. Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries did just that when they built Jenkinjones around 1912 and put in operations No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 which were all drift mines. Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Co became Pocahontas Fuel in 1917.

A new company, Frazier Pocahontas Coal Company, was chartered in 1917 and opened a mine near O'Toole on land subleased from Pocahontas Fuel Company.

Other factors that probably played a role in the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries re-thinking the planning for Thorne and Frazier were:

1) The capital involved of connecting the Pocahontas and Boissevein coal plants to the new power plant at Switchback that Pocahontas Consolidated had built at Swithcback
2) Establishing a coal marketing agency known as Pocahontas Fuel in 1907
3) the coal market situation in 1907 leading to the bank panic of 1908 and the demise of the coal market for nearly a year

Alex Schust

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Subject: N&W in 1920--Pocahontas, VA

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 19, 1910

Hope for Road's Extension
Colonel W. F. Kirby of Cedar Bluff was in the city yesterday. Colonel Kirby was for several years chief engineer of the Pocahontas and Western Railway between this city and Boissevain, and it is hoped he will be sent back at an early date to complete the road to Frazier and Thorne, which is now under advisement.
[The June 1908 N&W annual report contains the following:

"At date of June 30th, 1908, the operated length of the Pocahontas

and Western Railroad was 3.29 miles of main line and 1.13

miles of sidings. Work upon the extension to the Thorne

Operation of the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company, Inc.,

a distance of 3.81 miles above Boissevain, was temporarily stopped

in November, 1907, upon which date the roadbed was about 70 per

cent. completed". Maybe this explains Thorne, but where was Frazier?]

In Search of Health
J. F. Ward, agent for the Norfolk and Western at this place, left last night for a western trip. While away he will visit West Baden Hot Springs, Seattle and San Francisco in search of health. Mr. Ward expects to be away until he first of March.

City-Like Appearance
Charles W. Akers, the newly appointed trainmaster of the Pocahontas division, was in the city this week, which is the first visit Mr. Akers has made to Pocahontas for a few years, and was much gratified at the city-like appearance of the place, with paved streets.
Gordon Hamilton


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