N&W in 1911--Explosion

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Mar 16 11:25:41 EDT 2011

This particular explosion as well as the mine development was covered in "Billion Dollar Coalfield" pages 331-334. Three of the nine men injured died . At the time the railroad station actually served the McDowell County poor farm, hence the name "Farm". The N&W signed an agreement with the Standard Pocahontas Coal Company on January 27, 1913 to build a large mechanical coaling station at the mine location. On May 19, 1913 the name of the location of the mine was changed to Capels, WV while railroad timetables listed the location as Shannon.

The mine was located less than 2 miles from the hospital.

One of the orignal buildings of the county poor farm is located between the highway and railroad near the coal tower at Farm.

THere was another explosion at the mine in 1927 that killed 8 miners. A roof fall at the mine in 1948 killed 6 miners.

Alex Schust
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Subject: N&W in 1911--Explosion

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
August 2, 1911

[Because the N&W was only mentioned briefly, just a few paragraphs about the accident itself are included below.]

Nine Men Injured in New Operation of Standard Pocahontas Coal Company
Norfolk and Western Appealed to for Engine Which Was Quickly Dispatched to be Used in Carrying Survivors to Miner's Hospital

Shortly after 11:30 last nigh an explosion occurred at the works of the Standard-Pocahontas Coal Company which, according to the reports received here, killed four men and injured nine others. The cause of the explosion could not be learned here this morning.
The mine is a new one and the coal is reached by a shaft which is 300 feet deep. The men who were in the nine were at work getting it in shape to commence shipments. About $250,000 has been spent in developing the mine which is equipped in first class style.
Following the usual custom of rendering immediate assistance to stricken coal companies aid was given as soon as an engine could be secured and dispatched to Farm, which is the railroad station at the works of the Standard Pocahontas Coal Company.
The poor telephone service between Bluefield and Welch rendered it impossible to secure additional information, Welch having been raised but once between 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock, although there is an all-night office at that point.
Gordon Hamilton


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