If you've never tried Google Book Search you really should check it out. I've found lots of good stuff using it. I recently found a very interesting report from the U.S. Geological Service published in 1908. It is titled...
RUSSELL FORK BASIN
IN KENTUCKY AND VIRGINIA
I know what you are thinking, "Clyde has lost his freakin' mind! How can a century old government report about coal possibly be interesting?"
I must admit it isn't bestseller material and it is kinda' boring reading in stretches. It is a government report after all. But sprinkled here and there are familiar place names. Here are places listed in the Table of Contents;
|Powell Creek and Millard||Biggs Branch|
|Daniels Creek||Harless Creek|
|Jimmie Creek||Road Creek|
|Ferrell Creek||Beaver Creek|
|Grassy Creek||Marrowbone Creek|
|Pond and Jesse Creeks||Little Creek and Moores Branch|
I know what you are thinking, "Yeah, yeah, that's where many of us grew up. We've heard those names all our lives. But I still don't want to waste my time reading about a 21 inch seam of coal on Daniels Creek located at an elevation of 975 feet. Blah, blah, blaaah, blah, blah."
OK, I admitted it was kinda' dry reading in places, but consider the following entry from the bottom of Page 43 about coal deposits on Road Creek...
No, that isn't the Joe Looney you knew. Remember this was published in 1908. It is based on field work done in 1906. The Joe Looney mentioned here is Great-Grandpa Joe Looney.
A little farther up Road Creek we find on Page 44...
That name may not be familiar to some of you. Marshall Farmer was a brother to our Great- Grandmother Mary Farmer who married George Stalker. Dad says they pronounced his name MASH' ul.
Farther up the river is Pond Creek and Jesse Branch. On the bottom of Page 62 we find...
John Hawkins was a brother of Martha (Hawkins) Bailey, our Great-Great-Grandmother. Grant Hawkins was John's son and Martha's nephew.
In the discussion of coal in the head of Elkhorn Creek we find the following on Page 68...
The Levi Potter and Ben Potter mentioned here are most likely uncles or cousins of Ted Potter's Great-Grandfather William. The John Wright mentioned is almost certainly the famous 'Bad John Wright'.
There are lots of other names mentioned that could be related to us in some way. George Belcher mentioned several times in the discussion of Ferrells Creek may be Squire George that married Martha Bailey's daughter Mary Alice, but I don't know for sure. The many Coleman, Ratliff, Mullins and other names mentioned are, quite likely, distant relatives.
Interesting isn't it, all that coal under land owned or worked by our forefathers, and the only coal money we got is what Dad earned working in the mines for Republic Steel.
See, I told you it was interesting.