TERRY,WV

Terry is right on the banks of the New River in Raleigh County. A C&O rail spur served the Terry mines, and there were no other mines on the spur. (The steel girder bridge over Piney Creek of this rail branch is still there in the 21st Century.) The coal mines and coal camp at Terry, WV were opened by the Stonewall Coal & Coke Company (who also ran Stonewall a few miles away on Piney Creek) in 1904. Since the president of Stonewall C&C was named R.S. Terry, we can assume that Terry, WV was named after him. Stonewall ran the Terry operation until 1918, when Cook & Carter Coal Company became the new owner. In 1925 Terry was sold again, this time to Terry Coal Company, and they mined only 18,723 tons of coal in 1925. Yet in 1926 production shot up to 79,521 tons (must have got some new contracts). In 1934 Dunedin Coal Company took over the Terry operations, and their production peaked in 1941 with 155,943 tons. When Dunedin closed the mine at Concho they moved several of the mining families to Terry. The Terry mines closed in 1944. After that people began to leave Terry, and today only a small group of residents live in the few remaining structures at this New River Gorge village.


Vintage bird's eye view of Terry, probably taken from high on the mountain on the Fayette County side of the river. This photo shows the company store in the middle of the camp, as well as the mighty New River flowing nearby. The Terry mines would have been to the left of this picture. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


There are a few coal camp houses (and some post-coal camp structures) extant at Terry. The stone foundations are from the company store. (January 2013 image by author)


This abandoned and nearly overgrown coal company house at Terry shows the original "board and batten" siding from when the house was constructed over a century ago. Also, this house has two chimneys, whereas most single family coal camp homes in Southern West Virgina only had one. A 1906 C&O Railway shippers' directory states that Terry "has nearly one hundred houses, all of which are comfortable and rented to the employees at a reasonable figure." I find the "one hundred houses" claim to be incredulous. By looking at the bird's eye view above there are much less than one hundred houses. Also, I don't think there was room for one hundred houses between the cliffs and the river. (January 2013 image by author)


Terry Independent Christian Church, with a few original company structures on the hill behind it. (January 2013 image by author)


These stone ruins of the Terry mines probably supported an incline bringing coal down to the tipple.(February 2003 image by author)


Coal miners riding down just such an incline (or "hoist" as the caption reads) at Terry. This incline was for men and supplies, and coal would have came down another nearby incline. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


Miners with their low-vein caps (and a few fire bosses with their safety lamps) pose at Terry in 1932. These men were lucky to have their jobs in the depths of the Great Depression. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


As you can see, the caption reads "Hoist House - Shop - Lamp House." Actually a hoist house would be at a shaft mine, and Terry mines were drift mines. So this is somewhat of a misnomer in my opinion. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


RC emailed in this 1953 picture of the former company store in Terry, WV and writes, "Did you ever do any research on Cook and Carter Coal Co, at Terry WV? From what my granddad told me, it was a company-built town, by Dunedin Coal Company back in early 1900's. There was a company store, and a post office too ... When my family moved to Terry in 1951, the store was owned by Harry and Pauline Miller, [and] it was called Miller's Grocery. Back in the 40's and 50's, even 60's the tipple was going strong. I worked on the tipple in the 60's, a fellow by the name of Charlie Richmond owned it then. My grandfather Arnold A. M. use to run the hoist that would bring the coal from the top tipple up on the mountain to the bottom tipple, where it was loaded into C&O railroad cars. The loaded car would pull the the empty car back to the top, which they called Terry top, [or] Garden Ground, WV. When I came to Terry, there were a lot of families living up there. Some of the kids walked the mountain to come to school at Terry. There was a couple of saw mills up there too, and my father was a sawyer on the mill."


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