Lawton, West Virginia, a former coal camp in Fayette County, was home to the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 3 mine. Constructed in 1878, the town has just a few scant homes remaining.
Lawton is 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 was completed through the area in September 1873, Beury began shipping his coal out to the markets and became the first shipper of coal from the New River coalfield.
By 1878, the branch line 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 rail line was acquired by the C&O in 1904. There were nine mines operating in the valley by 1919, with most closing by the 1950s. Layland, due to its 60,000 acre lease, lasted until the 1980s.