(Editor’s Note — The following articles were published in The Logan County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 30, Issues II and III, in 2007)
Norfolk and Western Surveyors Locating the New Road Will Be An Important Feeder to Open up Valuable Coal Property on Headwaters of Guyan in Mingo and Logan
(published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, March 6, 1902_
The Norfolk and Western railway company now have engineering corps at work surveying for a line from Dingess station to Logan courthouse, a distance of ten miles. The road will open up the mammoth coal veins on Copperas mine and Island Creek. It is the belief of many people that the road will be extended from Logan along the Guyan river to the mouth of Gilbert creek and down Ben creek to connect with the main line of the Norfolk and Western at Warncliff in Mingo county. The belief is stimulated round the fact that capitalists and coal operators from the Thacker coal field have recently purchased huge boundaries of coal and timber lands on both Gilbert and Ben creeks in Logan.
Railroading in Logan County
By Wib G. Whited (1952)
The progress of industry in Logan county was made at the completion of the railroad. In 1902 Major McKindrey, chief engineer for the Guyan Valley Division came to Logan by way of Dingess on the Norfolk & Western lines. He went from horse and buggy where he met his engineering crew.
The residents of this section were anxious to have a railroad - so anxious were the farmers that they cut down rows of corn in order for the engineers to run the preliminary line.
In 1904 the first scheduled passenger train came into the Logan station, which was an old cheap dilapidated wooden structure. There was only a single track from Logan to Barboursville and when a freight coal train happened along, the passenger train had to be side-tracked to allow the freight to proceed.
When the first train arrived with passengers to Logan the entire population turned out. The crowd gathered at the Peck Hotel, owned and operated by the late J.E. Peck Jr. At that time the station agent was Charley York, the first C&O station agent in Logan.
In the meantime, the railroad bridge across the Guyan River was being built jointly with the United States Coal and Oil Company, now known as the Island Creek Coal Company. The bridge, close to where the power plant is now situated, was completed in 1905. By that time the company had all of their track laid from Holden to the end of the bridge. The rails for the track were hauled on pushboats on the Guyandotte River and moved from the river by ox teams.
Merchants began opening stores along the railroad tracks for this was the chief walkway into and out of town. There were no country roads - people either walked along the tracks or followed the creek beds with horse teams. Some of the first doctors in the county had railroad bicycles and traveled along the tracks to visit their patients. When a freight train happened along, the bicycle was removed and as soon as the train passed travel was resumed.
In 1906 a passenger train was started at Ethel, leaving there at 6:30 a.m. and arriving in Huntington at 11:30 a.m., then in turn leaving Huntington at 5:25 p.m. and arriving at Ethel at 10:25 p.m. – maybe.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway has progressed all along the line. They now (1952) boast of completely mechanized road bed cleaning facilities to radar installation on its carry ferry service. They have the finest in freight-expediting equipment to the last word in streamlined passenger accommodations. With the railroad the county has progressed, which gives credence to the over-all policy of the railroad policy that a railroad never stands still - it must “grow” forward, for progress is its very life’s pulse.
Logan County Genealogical Society meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Logan Area Public Library at Logan. Anyone wishing to learn more about researching their ancestors is welcome to attend the meetings or follow them on Facebook at Logan County WV Genealogical Society.