N&W in 1912--History book

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Fri Dec 30 11:10:25 EST 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
March 9, 1912

History of Roanoke County, City and Norfolk and Western
The Daily Telegraph has received from E. B. Jacobs and George S. Jack, of Roanoke, a copy of a publication, just off the press, which gives an interesting history of Roanoke county, Roanoke city and the Norfolk and Western Railway Company. The three histories are entirely separate so that the reader may devote his time at leisure to the study of any of them, and it may be said in passing that the histories, while lacking in many of the details which make history romantic, are extremely satisfactory from the standpoint of a busy business man who wants to get at the facts quickly. In addition to the histories, which cover important events up to the present day, the book contains a number of biographies of prominent men of Roanoke county and the city itself. Regarding the Pocahontas coal shipments during 1883 a little story is told of the first car of coal shipped, which was robbed of a large lump at Roanoke. This lump was afterwards divided, half of it being presented to President Kimball, whose servant at Radnor, near Philadelphia, sometime later burned it up, not recognizing the associations connected with it. The other half of the lump was afterwards presented to the railroad through President L. E. Johnson and now occupies a place of honor in a glass case in the museum at Richmond, Va. When the car reached Norfolk it was decorated with flags and bunting, switched to the street car tracks and hauled about the city, drawn by six horses, while ahead of it went a brass band. The coal was afterwards by order of President Kimball, distributed among the poor of Norfolk, who received the benefit of the first car of Pocahontas coal ever hauled to tidewater.
[This description fits that of a book in the NWHS Archives. Regarding the ceremonial lump of coal, I wonder whether it is still in some Richmond museum. Regarding the first car of coal from Pocahontas to reach Norfolk, the story goes that it was actually the second car loaded, the first load having been used for locomotive fuel. So, I can imagine the reaction in the executive offices when they got the message: "They did WHAT with that first car of coal?"]

Gordon Hamilton
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