Lawton, West Virginia, a former company town in Fayette County, was home to the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 3 mine.
Lawton was named after coal operator Joseph Lawton Beury, who served as a Union captain during the Civil War and was known as the “colonel” in the coalfields of the state.1 In 1872, Beury established Quinnimont along Laurel Creek and opened a coal mine under his newly formed New River Coal Company. When the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) was completed through the area in September 1873, Beury became the first shipper of coal from the New River coalfield.
By 1878, a branch line from the railroad up Laurel Creek had been extended to Lawton by the New River Coal Company for the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 3 mine.2 The branch rail line was acquired by the C&O in 1904.
By 1919, there were nine mines operating in the valley with most closing by the 1950’s. The company had a 60,000-acre lease on additional coal seams that lasted until the 1980’s.