Early Exploration of the Area
Excerpts taken from an article in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
on November 1, 1896
called "The Pocahontas Flattop Coal Fields
  • In 1873 Captain Issiah A. Welch was engaged to explore and prospect for timber and minerals on the Wilson Cary Nicholas survey. He traced a bed of coal down the Valley of the Bluestone River. Prospecting was done on the following creeks: Mill, Simmons, Flipping, Crane, Widemouth, Rich and Camp Creeks. Captain Welch lived with a Mrs. Henry Tabor below Pinnacle Rock and rode horseback up and down the river. He had two helpers who were paid fifty cents per day. The report contained some of the following information:
  • 307,200 square acres were covered in his report

  • Coal was found:

    13 feet thick at Pocahontas
    10 feet thick at Elkhorn
      6 feet thick at Bottom Creek in McDowell County
    An average of 6 foot thick was found for the entire surveyed area.

  • Deeds on record found by the railroad:
  • William H. and Mary Witten May 5, 1881
    J.B. and M.E. Higgenbotton May 6, 1881
    Andra S. Higgenbotton May 7, 1881
    George P. and Elizabeth Bailey May 7, 1881
    James K.P and E. B. Bailey May 7, 1881
    Estill and Agnes C. Bailey May 7, 1881
    Alexander J. and Hannah L. Bailey May 7, 1881
    Leland and Rebecca Bailey May 7, 1881
    C. M. and Martha White May 7, 1881
    Eliza J. Mullens May 7, 1881
    A. A. Belcher May 7, 1881