Coalton, West Virginia

Coalton, West Virginia, located in Randolph County, is a former company town operated by the West Virginia Coal & Coke Company.

The community was founded on May 8, 1895, 2 as Womelsdorf, an Irish immigrant community. 1 It was named after the founder O.C. Womelsdorf of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. 3 Womelsdorf had hoped that the completion of the Rolling Creek & Charleston Railroad from Coalton south to Charleston would spark the town’s development. 4 The community was ultimately reached by the Roaring Creek & Belington Railroad.

After the richer Sewell coal seam was discovered in the New River Valley, activity in the Roaring Creek region began to decline. 5 For 1916, coal production at Coalton was 240,000 tons but declined sharply to just 22,000 tons by 1928. 5 Coalton’s population peaked at 833 in 1920 but subsequently declined to 373 by 1930.

Further Reading


[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]

  1. Rutkowski, Ryan. “Sacred Places.” Catholic West Virginia. Charleston: Arcadia, 2010. 32. Print.
  2. Reger, David Bright, and West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. “History.” Randolph County. Vol. 1. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1931. 26. Print.
  3. Bosworth, A S. “Miscellaneous.” A History of Randolph County, West Virginia: from Its Earliest Exploration and Settlement to the Present Time. N.p.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1916. 262. Print.
  4. “Corporations.” Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia. Charleston: Moses W. Donnally, 1895. 17. Print.
  5. Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Works Progress Administration. “Tour 22.” West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State. N.p.: n.p., 1941. 502. Print.Clarke, Alan. “The B&O Years and Beyond.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 133. Print.



  1. My grandmother worked for a physician in Coalton in 1909. I have the original letter of recommendation he wrote for her, but I cannot read his signature, nor find a listing of physicians for that time period.

  2. Coalton was actually founded by my great great great great grandfather Antonio Sylvester he came here from Italy to start a coal mine company and found himself in Coalton West Virginia

    1. Antonio was my Grandfather….His son Louis was my Dad….I have an extensive history on the family if you care to contact me…

      1. James…I stumbled across your comment as I was looking for old pictures of Coalton, WV. You see, the name “Lou Sylvester” was commonly heard around my home as I was growing up around Pittsburgh many years ago, because your father, Lou and my father, Tony were friends.

        My name is Roger A. Ross. I’m now 77 years old and I am the son of Anthony “Tony” Ross. His dad (my grandfather) was Charlie Ross. Charlie Ross “americanized” his name when he emigrated through Ellis Island in 1893. He was born Rosaria Gallo in Volturara Irpina in the Campagna of italy (near Avellino).

        They settled in Coalton, WV, and he brought with him, his wife Pasqualina (nee Volpe) and my father Antonio when dad was 6 months old. Charlie and Pasqualina raised a family of nine kids in Coalton(6 boys, 3 girls) Antonio, Verbino, Eldridge, Asprey, Furey, Roger (Buck), Carmenella, Mary, and Alicia.

        Charlie had the General Store in town at about the same time your Grandfather, Antonio also started in Coalton…1895. I have a photo of Charlie and his family standing in front of the store taken about 1900, and I’d love to send it to you if you’ll share your email address. I have lots of other photos and family records if you have any recollections of “The Ross Family” of Coalton.

  3. This is NOT Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church which is just north on another street. Saint Patrick’s is still an active church, with Mass celebrated every Sunday. What is pictured is a Protestant church which does appear to have been abandoned even after it had been converted to a City Hall.

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