Black Bear WV State Animal
Beartown, Barkers Ridge District,  Wyoming County, WV
2nd Residence to Pat & Jim Smith
(Pat is webmaster of McComas Memories.  
Jim (my husband) grew up at Beartown and now owns 28 acres that were once his parents (now deceased)  We return several times a year and stay in the old family house of my in-laws Mildred and Elmer Smith. We enjoy the visits and the family and friends we share our time with here.  The church is a beautiful place and now Pastored by Scott Bailey - Scott's (and Jim's) ancestors organized and build this church.  I've taken a drive from McComas to Beartown so my viewers can get a feel for the location of these two towns.  Its about a 1/2 hour drive.  So I get to visit my family at McComas frequently when I'm here. 

 

  • Drive from Thomas Coal Camp, McComas to Beartown, WV  October 2007 photos by Pat Smith
  • Beartown Memorial Church This beautiful church sits high on a ridge at Beartown, Wyoming Co., WV.  Pastor Scott Bailey is the son of Sandra Davis Bailey who was born and raised at Thomas Coal Camp, McComas.  Sandra was the 1st born of Everett and Margaret Huffman Davis.  Sandra is my 1st cousin - Margaret is the baby sister of my mother Helen Huffman Spicer.  Margaret still lives at McComas.  Sandra married Dennis Bailey and has made her home at Beartown since 1963.  She also retired as a Registered Nurse from St. Lukes Hospital in Bluefield recently.
  • Beartown School/Community Center Once a two room school this building is now leased by the church and used as a Community Center.
  • Crumpler, Indian Ridge, Zenith Coal Camp  I'm looking to expand this information if you share photos or stories/memories please email Patricia Smith

 

Background about the surrounding area

From the Beckley Herald Bicenteniel Edition, 26 Aug 1950
interesting reading about the Beartown - Barkers Ridge area


 

Map of the Flat Top Coal Area - includes this traingleMercer, Wyoming and McDowell Counties join together in a triangular shaped area near Beartown, Crumpler, and McComas below is a sampling of coal mining operations within a 50-mile radius of this area.  Just looking at this list gives you a feel for the boom times that existed in this area for the coal mining industry during the 1st 50/60 years of the 1900s.  Jobs were plentiful.

In 1950, McDowell County had a population of about 100,000 people. In 2000 there are 27,000 people.

Number of Physicians in Southern West Virginia Counties, 1881-1909

County 1881 1890 1909
Fayette 16 28 92
Logan 1 8 32*
Mercer 7 8 48
McDowell 1 6 57
Raleigh 12 11 28
Mercer County sampling of Post Offices
Post Offices years in existence Comment
Clark's Gap  (1874-1888) one ridge over from Beartown
Clarks Gap (1904/1915)  
Coaldale (1890-1990)  
Crystal (1910-1970)  
Giatto  (1892-1958)  
Godfrey (1901-1910)  
Goodwill (1891-1964)  
Hiawatha (1904-Date)  
Mannering (1902-1920) 1st PO at McComas
Matoaka (1904-Date)  
McComas (1884/1995) 2nd PO at McComas
Montcalm  (1901-Date) McComas is now a rural route from Montcalm
Springton (1905-1973)  
Springton Rur. Sta. (1973-1977)  
Wyoming County Sampling of Post Offices
Micajah (1922-1927) one ridge over from Beartown
Pinnacle (1891-1894)  
McDowell County Sampling of Post Offices
Ashland (1895-1998)  
Crumpler  (1906-Date)  
Elkhorn (1888-Date)  
Jenkinjones (1912-Date)  
Northfork (1901-Date)  
Keystone (1892-Date)  
Kimball (1902-Date)  

 

ALGONQUIN  (Mercer)
Algonquin Coal & Coke Co.
Lamar Colliery Co.
 
ASHLAND  (McDowell)
 Ashland Coal & Coke Co.
 
CRANE CREEK  (Mercer)
 American Coal Co.

CRUMPLER  (McDowell)
United Pocahontas Coal Co.

CRYSTAL  (Mercer)
 Crystal Coal & Coke Co.

DOTT  (Mercer)
 Turkey Gap Coal & Coke Co.

ELKHORN  (McDowell)
 Crozer Coal & Coke Co.
 Houston Coal & Coke Co.
 Upland Coal & Coke Co.

 ENNIS  (McDowell)
 Turkey Gap Coal & Coke Co.

GIATTO  (Mercer)
 Weyanoke Coal & Coke Co.
 Thomas Coal Co.

GODFREY  (Mercer)
 Godfrey Coal Co.

GOODWILL  (Mercer)
 Louisville Coal & Coke Co.
 Winding Gulf Collieries

HERNDON  (Wyoming)
 Flat Top Pocahontas Coal Co.

HIAWATHA  (Mercer)
 Ennis Coal Co.
 Smokeless Coal & Coke Co.
 Weyanoke Coal & Coke Co.

JENKINJONES  (McDowell)
 Pocahontas Fuel Co.

KEYSTONE  (McDowell)
 Keystone Coal & Coke Co.

KIMBALL  (McDowell)
 Houston Collieries Co.
 King Coal Co.
 Tidewater Coal & Coke Co.

LAMAR  (Mercer)
 Lamar Colliery Co.

 LANDGRAFF  (McDowell)
 Empire Coal & Coke Co.
 Vera Pocahontas Coal Co.

MABEN  (Wyoming)
 West Gulf Coal Co.
 Gulf Mining Company West

 MATOAKA  (Mercer)
 Pawama Coal & Coke Co.

MAYBEURY  (McDowell)
 Elkhorn Coal & Coke Co.
 Elkhorn Colliery

 McCOMAS  (Mercer)
 American Coal Co.
 Thomas Coal Co.

MICAJAH  (Wyoming)
 Micajah Pocahontas Coal Co.

MULLENS  (Wyoming)
 Mead-Pocahontas Coal Co.
 Mullens Smokeless Coal Co.
 Porterfield Coal Co.

NORTH FORK  (McDowell)
 Greenbrier Coal & Coke Co.

 PIEDMONT  (Mercer)
 American Coal Co.

PINNACLE  (Mercer)
 American Coal Co.

TRALEE  (Wyoming)
 Barkers Creek Coal Co.
 Harty Coal Co.
 Mead Pocahontas Coal Co.
 Tommy Creek Coal Co.

 WENONAH  (Mercer)
 Turkey Gap Coal & Coke Co.

WIDEMOUTH  (Mercer)
 American Coal Co.

 

 http://www.state.wv.us/mhst/results.cfm  Sampling of Coal Tonnage Reports before WWII and then after the war
note:  some of these mines combined or else separated their mining operations during this timeframe as shows in their Mine name descriptionss in the reports

Company Mine 1940

American C. Co. of Alleghany Co. Crane Creek Nos.1,2,6,9 572,826
American C. Co. of Alleghany Co. Piedmont No. 1 & 5 292,116
American C. Co. of Alleghany Co. Pinnacle north & south 409,945
Lamar Colliery Co Lamar 202,691
Pocahontas Fuel Co.,Inc Sagamore 1,2 & Cherokee 793,173
United Pocahontas C. Co Indian Ridge 93,027
United Pocahontas C. Co Zenith 1&2 37,503
United Pocahontas C. Co No. 1,2,3,4 (Wyoming) 183,190

Company Mine 1946

Algoma Coal & Coke Co. Ashland No. 6,9, & McDowell No. 6 275,992
American C. Co Deerfield 118,307
American Coal Co. Pinnacle 399,199
American Coal Co Crane Creek 242,352
Pocahontas Fuel Co.,Inc Sagamore 366,351
United Pocahontas C. Co Indian Ridge Nos. 3 & 6, Wyoming, Zenith 406,328

ORIGINS OF NAMES

BEARTOWN CREEK AND RIDGE - John Bailey a pioneer found bears hibernating in dens on this ridge.
PINNACLE CREEK:  Takes its name from some high pinnacles of rock on top of a ridge near head of the stream; located 5 miles southeast of Lamar
MICAJAH RIDGE:  Micajah Bailey, a brother to James Bailey and a pioneer settler from Mercer County had a hunting camp on this ridge and later moved his family to upper end of this ridge and became its first settler. - location from Beartown Church - next ridge over to the east
BARKERS CREEK AND RIDGE:  A man named Barker raised cattle in this area for some stock raisers of Tazewell County.
INDIAN RIDGE proper:  The ridge along which the Indian trail led from Tug Fork of Sandy River to the Indian village on Indian Creek.  The dividing ridge between Guyandotte and Sandy Rivers is now called Indian Ridge.
CLARK'S GAP:  This is the low Gap at head of Beartown Creek between Wyoming and Mercer counties under which the Virginian Railroad tunnel was constructed.  Altitude 2,495 feet
MERCER COUNTY: It was named in honor of General Hugh Mercer of Fredericksburg, who died at the Battle of Princeon, NJ, during the Revolutionary War.
MCDOWELL COUNTY: for James McDowell, Virginia Governor, 1842-44
WYOMING COUNTY: for the Delaware Indian word meaning "large plain"
KIMBELL: for Frederick J. Kimball, railroad operator
MATOAKA:  is another name for Pocahontas, the Indian princess
NORTHFORK: because of its location on the north fork of Elkhorn River at its junction with the south fork
WELCH:  for Isaiah A. Welch, a captain in the Confederate army