Early Railroad Logo

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Jun 18 09:10:29 EDT 2021

Presumably the dash-line railroad to the west of the Mississippi & Ohio are early surveys of the Virginia, Kentucky & Ohio RR. Below is an excerpt from Part 1 of an upcoming  3-part article in “The Arrow” on Narrows Branch. A highly detailed map of the Virginia, Kentucky & Ohio RR was published in 1881, followed by a highly detailed map of the Richmond & Louisville RR in 1882 showing the railroad being built along the dashed line route. Around 1916 the N&W ran survey’s along the dashed line routes as a possible connection of the N&W-owned New River, Holston & Western with the N&W’s Clinch Valley line near Tazewell.


Alex Schust


Railroading in Bland County, the Round Mountain Property, and Building to Mendota

The first railroad organized to go through Bland County was the narrow-gauge Virginia, Kentucky & Ohio Railroad chartered by the

Virginia General Assembly on February 20, 1878. It was to start near the New River bridge (Radford) of the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio

Railroad and go through Pulaski, Giles, Bland and Tazewell counties toward the Kentucky state line. A map of the proposed railroad

shows it going northwest toward Poplar Hill and White Gate on Big Walker Creek and then turning southwest toward Mechanicsburg

and Hollybrook where it followed Kimberly Creek and Wilderness Creek to South Gap and then north through Rocky Gap and then

west along Clear Fork toward Tazewell. At South Gap a branch line, labeled the Saltville Branch, was planned to run along Hunting

Camp and the North Fork of the Holston River into Smyth County to Saltville. The Virginia, Kentucky & Ohio Railroad was combined

with the Richmond and Southwestern Railroad and reorganized as the Richmond & Louisville Railroad, which was chartered by the

Virginia General Assembly on January 20, 1882. The Richmond & Louisville Railroad went out of business sometime in 1884.

The second railroad organized to go into Bland County was the Virginia & Kentucky Railroad which was chartered by the Virginia

General Assembly on March 3, 1884. The charter allowed the railroad to operate from some point on the N&W between Dublin and

Marion to some other terminal point on the Kentucky or West Virginia state line.

(Note: The first Virginia & Kentucky Railroad was organized in 1852 to build a railroad from Abingdon to Cumberland Gap. The

railroad could not get financing after the Civil War and its franchise was awarded to the Bristol Coal & Iron narrow-gauge railroad in

1876. The third Virginia & Kentucky Railroad was organized in 1902 and became the Norton and Northern Railroad,)

The possibility of a railroad in Bland County became public in September 1885 when the Breen Steel, Coke and Composite Brass

Manufacturing Company purchased 18,000 acres of Round Mountain property with plans to spend $2.5 million to build a plant near

the mouth of Hunting Camp Creek. The plant would be at the end of a branch line of the Virginia & Kentucky Railroad.

In March 1887, the investors in the steel plant sold their Round Mountain property, now 36,000 acres, to C.G. Holland, president of

the Virginia & Kentucky Railroad for $126,000.

In November 1888 the franchises of the Virginia & Kentucky Railroad, including the Round Mountain property were sold to Baltimore

capitalists including J. Wilcox Brown.

In January 1890 the Round Mountain Mining & Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Virginia. Among the incorporators were

C.G. Holland of Danville, J. Wilcox Brown and others who had been associated with the Virginia & Kentucky Railroad and the Breen

Steel project on Hunting Camp Creek. The objective of the Round Mountain Mining & Manufacturing Company was to develop the iron

lands in the Round Mountain section of Bland and Tazewell Counties.

In August 1890, J. Wilcox Brown recorded several tracts of land sold to the Round Mountain Mining & Manufacturing Company

totaling 21,416 acres on Round Mountain, Garden Mountain, Little Bushy Mountain, Lick Creek,Walkers Creek, Kimberling Creek and

Hunting Camp Creek. The property sellers got stock in the Round Mountain Mining & Manufacturing Company.

Presumably, seeing no activity from the Round Mountain Mining & Manufacturing Co. since 1890, other than meetings, Merriman and

Younkin chartered their railroad to run from Narrows to the Kentucky or Tennessee border. Probably with an eye toward George L. Carter’s

Virginia & Southwestern Railroad, which Carter created in 1899 from several smaller railroads. Both the Virginia, Kentucky & Ohio and the

Richmond & Louisville maps showed a line running along Hunting Camp Creek to Saltville and on to Mendota. The Virginia & Southwestern

ran from Tennessee to Bristol, through Mendota and on west to Kentucky. The Southern Railroad bought the Virginia & Southwestern in 1906.

W.E.Mingea had written to N&W president L.E. Johnson in November 1904 about foolish newspaper talk about starting a railroad

from near Abingdon and building to Giles County. G.T. Porterfield wrote to Johnson on January 2, 1906 with the rumor “... that The

Virginia South Western, New River Holston & Western, and Tidewater


From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2021 11:48 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: Early Railroad Logo




Just for at least a note from my research on the North Carolina Branch, the line out of Pulaski to the northwest is called the Altoona Railroad and was built by the Bertha Mineral Facilities Company in 1880.


The map is curious, and incomplete with no locations along the line listed. Does not help much, but does narrow down the date. I have a large file on the Virginia and Kentucky including a large wall map, I’ll try to pull those out and take a look



Ken Miller

On Jun 17, 2021, at 11:17 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:


While working at archives we entered an early natural resources map (ore, coal, etc.) showing AM&O (Shows Mississippi & Ohio Railroad which is assumed to be a truncated AM&O name) from just west of Roanoke to Glade spring. Map is untitled with no date. There are two versions of the drawing and on the blueprint version there is a "stacked" railroad logo.


It appears to show either "RN RR Co." or "NR RR Co.".  Anyone have any ideas of the name / history of this railroad?


Blueprint Drawing:


Line Drawing:



- Roger


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