Skip to main content

Pocahontas Mines Collection

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-2004-002

Scope and Content

The Pocahontas Mines Collection, 1883-1997, documents the mining operations of CONSOL Energy, Inc. and its predecessor coal mining companies in the Pocahontas, Virginia, area, including numerous counties in southwest Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

The collection is divided into four series based on type: I. Scanned rolls, II. Unscanned rolls and documents, III. Books, and IV. Ledgers. The scanned and unscanned rolls are primarily of mining maps and related oversized items, such as mechanical building and equipment drawings, plats, and topographic maps. The books and ledgers generally relate to mining surveys.

Series I. Scanned rolls, 1891-1992, contain 3475 maps in 261 boxes, totaling approximately 135 cu. ft. Most of these rolls are mining or mine survey maps, and when possible, the maps are identified with title, company, coalbed, mine name, county, state, USGS quadrangle, dates, and notes. Related scanned rolls are identified by CON number, and some related items are unscanned and identified in Series II. The items in this series have been scanned, and their digital file ids are the CON# (e.g. CON1_1 or CON3209) assigned by the DMME. Some maps also have OSM Doc, MSHA, and/or USBM numbers.

Please note: An inventory of the scanned rolls is available to view online; descriptions are currently in progress. Please contact Special Collections to request a copy of an image.

Series II. Unscanned rolls and documents, 1883-1997, contains 464 boxes, totaling approximately 360 cu. ft. Most rolls are mining and topo maps, mechanical and architectural drawings, and photographs that have not been scanned. Some rolls may be duplicates, very similar to, or of the same mine/area as scanned maps in Series I and are noted when possible by identifying the CON digital file number (e.g. "similar to CON2501" or "see also CON153").

Series III. Books, 1914-1995, contains 2940 vols. in 62 boxes, totaling 64.48 cu. ft. It consists of mainly field notebooks from mine surveys and some related papers for surveys. There are publications in boxes B61 and B62.

Series IV. Ledgers, 1916-1993, contains 42 boxes, totaling 45.02 cu. ft. It primarily consists of survey record books (not field notebooks). Many record "Survey By", "Traverse by", Notebook No., Page No., Station, Azimuth, Reduced Vernier, Cosine, Horizontal Distances, Sine, Latitude (North and South), Departure (East and West), Sums of Latitude (N&S) and of Departure (E&W), Remarks. N.B.: TT looks like pi sometimes.

Dates

  • 1883 - 1997

Creator

Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. A few files are restricted for confidentiality, and these are identified in the inventory.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Historical Note

Named for its proximity to Pocahontas, Virginia, and Great Flat Top Mountain in West Virginia, the Pocahontas Coalfield or Flat Top-Pocahontas Coalfield spans 900 square miles along the Virginia-West Virginia border. Discovered in the mid-1800s, the coalfield was eventually mined in the 1860s, when local blacksmith Jordan Nelson started selling coal from his land. Cartographer Jedidiah Hotchkiss began boasting about the coalfield in his publications, and he engaged Isaiah A. Welch to survey the resources in the area.

In 1876, Hotchkiss had the coal exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition by Thomas Graham, who banded several Philadelphia businessmen together to exploit the resources of the coalfield. They expanded the Norfolk & Western Railroad (later Norfolk & Western Railway) to transport coal out of the coalfield, established the Flat-Top Trust (later Flat-Top Coal Land Association) to manage land holdings, and formed the Southwest Virginia Improvement Company (later Pocahontas Colleries Company) to develop mining operations.

In 1882, the town of Pocahontas, Virginia, was founded to support the mining operations, and the first mine in the coalfield was opened to Pocahontas Seam #3 (now known as Pocahontas Mine No. 1 or Baby Mine). A number of competing mining and land companies developed in the 1880s around the Pocahontas Coalfield. John Cooper formed the Mill Creek Coal & Coke Company in 1884, J.P. Bowen founded the Booth-Bowen Coal & Coke Company, and William McQuail operated the Turkey Gap Coal & Coke Company. Jenkin Jones established the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company, Inc. of West Virginia (later Pocahontas Fuel Co., Inc.), by merging the Pocahontas Colleries Company and other companies together in 1907.

In 1901, the Flat-Top Coal Land Association, a subsidiary of Norfolk & Western Railway, reorganized as the Pocahontas Coal & Coke Company of New Jersey. The next year, the Railway leased land to U.S. Steel in a deal granting it acreage to form the United States Coal & Coke Company at Gary, West Virginia. In 1939, Pocahontas Coal & Coke became Pocahontas Land Corporation, chartered in Virginia, and, in 1977, the company chartered the Pocahontas Kentucky Corporation (later Pocahontas Development Corporation). In 1982, Norfolk & Western merged with the Southern Railway to become Norfolk Southern.

In 1860, several Maryland coal operators merged their companies into the Consolidation Coal Company. The company began mining operations in West Virginia when it acquired the Fairmont Coal Company in 1903. After further expansion, Consolidation Coal merged with the Pittsburgh Coal Company into the Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company in 1945. In 1956, the company acquired the Pocahontas Fuel Co., Inc., and in 1991, DuPont Energy and RWE A.G. acquired and changed the company's name to CONSOL Energy, Inc.

Sources

  1. Bailey, Kenneth R. “Pocahontas Land Corporation.” The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1877.
  2. CONSOL Energy Inc. "Our History." Accessed November 2014. http://www.consolenergy.com/about/our-history.

  3. McGehee, C. Stuart. “Pocahontas No. 3 Coal Seam.” The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1880.
  4. McGehee, C. Stuart. “U.S. Coal & Coke Company.” The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/844.
  5. McGehee, Stuart, and Eva McGuire. A Century of Stewardship: The History of Pocahontas Land Corporation. Bluefield, WV: Pocahontas Land Corporation, [2001].

  6. “Pocahontas Mine No. 1.” National Register Information System ID #94001651, National Register of Historic Places, Accessed June 28, 2021. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/AssetDetail?assetID=031d4c80-95d8-49ae-b10a-dcc828d079f7.
  7. Wikipedia. “Consol Energy.” Accessed June 28, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consol_Energy.
  8. Wikipedia. "Pocahontas Fuel Company Store and Office Buildings." Accessed November 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocahontas_Fuel_Company_Store_and_Office_Buildings.


Extent

ca. 600 Cubic Feet (798 boxes)

Abstract

The Pocahontas Mines Collection, 1883-1997, documents the mining operations of CONSOL Energy, Inc. and its predecessor coal mining companies in the Pocahontas, Virginia, area, including numerous counties in southwest Virginia and eastern West Virginia. The collection is divided into four series based on type: Scanned rolls, Unscanned rolls and documents, Books, and Ledgers. The scanned and unscanned rolls are primarily of mining maps and related oversized items, such as mechanical building and equipment drawings, plats, and topographic maps. The books and ledgers generally relate to mining surveys.

Arrangement

The Pocahontas Mines Collection is divided into series based on material type:

Series I. Scanned rolls, 1891-1992
Series II. Unscanned rolls and documents, 1883-1997
Series III. Books, 1914-1995
Series IV. Ledgers, 1916-1993

Physical Access

Please note: This collection is in off-site storage and requires 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

Source of Acquisition

The Pocahontas Mines Collection was donated to Special Collections and University Archives between 2004 and 2009.

Appraisal

Several items in the collection were deaccessioned: a slip screen, assorted hardware and pencils, paper wrappers and sleeves, blank forms, blank columnar pads, blank substitution cards, blank hardback maps, and blank ledgers.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of items in Series I, Scanned Rolls are available. An inventory of the scanned rolls is available to view online; descriptions are currently in progress. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives to request a copy of an image.

Related Archival Materials

VT Special Collections and University Archives maintains several collections from related coal mining companies and the Norfolk & Western Railway.

The Archives & Special Collections in the University of Pittsburgh Library System has two collections from CONSOL Energy Inc. related to mining operations in Pennsylvania, CONSOL Energy, Inc. Mine Maps and Records, 1857-2010, AIS.1991.16 and Consolidation Coal Company Records, 1854-1971, AIS.2011.03.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Pocahontas Mines Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Pocahontas Mines Collection was completed in 2018. The historical note and sources were revised in 2021.

Title
Pocahontas Mines Collection, 1883-1997
Status
Completed
Author
LM Rozema, Archivist; Ryan Mair, Student Worker; and Special Collections and University Archives Staff
Date
2019, 2021 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Contact:
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US
540-231-6308