Lawton, West Virginia - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Lawton, West Virginia

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.



  1. Layland, WV was the name of the town where New River and Pocahontas #3 mine was located. It was originally named Gentry but name changed when NR&P developed the mine. Lawton coal mine was called Greenwood Coal Company and managed by Joseph Lawton. Railroad depot was called Brownwood. Lawton had some undetermined connection to Joseph Lawton Beury who leased mineral properties to many coal operators.

    • I’m working on researching my family heritage and my grandfather, Owen Cox who married Eleanor Lawton, daughter of George Lawton. Evidently, he ran the coal mines for his father-in-law. Do you have any more information or where i could go to find any more? My email address is
      Thank you.

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