Historic Resource Study
Kay Moor
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Alderman Library, University of Virginia
Low Moor Iron Company Papers Accession 662

Department of Culture and History
Archives and History
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, Population, West Virginia
Mine Inspection Reports, West Virginia

National Archives, Suitland, Maryland
RG-68 Records of the United States Coal Commission

National Archives, Washington, D.C.
RG-28 Records of the Post Office Department, Record of Appointment of Postmasters

West Virginia Secretary of State Office
Corporation Division
Low Moor Coal Company, Book H, p. 100

The manuscript sources provided a bulk of the detailed knowledge of the mine operation at Kay Moor. The Low Moor Iron Company records revealed details of mine construction, operation, and management. The post office records gave details of postmasters who served the Kay Moor community. The West Virginia secretary of state office contained the Low Moor Coal Company's incorporation papers. The unpublished U.S. Coal Commission investigator's notes were invaluable in their description of Kay Moor in 1922-1923. Details of physical layout, prices of goods in the company store and other topics could not have been obtained elsewhere. The mine inspection reports provided data on the Kay Moor mine's construction, ventilation and safety measures, among other topics. The 1910 census data divulged names, ages, addresses, relationships and home states of Kay Moor district residents.


Anderson, L.C. "Mine Labor Conditions in West Virginia." The Outlook 82, no. 16 (1906): 861-862.

Anderson's letter to the editor is a first-hand opinion of the field conditions in 1906.


Jones, Mary Harris. Autobiography of Mother Jones. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1925; reprint ed., New York: Arno & The New York Times, 1969.

Tams, W.P. Jr. The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia. Morgantown, West Virginia: West Virginia University Library, 1963.

These two texts, written by participants on either side of the mine fence, provided details of the West Virginia coal industry and labor disputes. Mother Jones' account is full of errors but provides a feeling for the emotions of the times. Tams' text is a rare coal operator's view on the coal industry.


West Virginia State Gazetteer and Business Directory. Detroit: R.L. Polk and Co., 1900, 1902, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1918, 1923

These gazetteers provided only limited data concerning Kay Moor's population and these figures are probably inaccurate.


Fayette Democrat 1916, 1919, 1937.
Fayette Journal 1902-1904, 1906-1907, 1925, 1933, 1937.
Fayette State Sentinel, 1960.
Fayette Sun 1911-1913
Fayette Tribune 1906, 1909-1912, 1914-1931, 1934-1940

These local newspapers contained much data concerning the people and operations at Kay Moor. Articles on strikes, closings, violence, accidental deaths, community affairs, and social events were all found in the newspapers.


West Virginia Annual Report of the Department of Mines, Charleston 1900-1962.

These reports provided information on the numbers and nationalities of miners working at Kay Moor, numbers and types of accidents, tonnage of coal and coke produced, and the mine managers. These reports can be found at the West Virginia Department of Culture and History, Archives and History.


Burgess, Virgil by Paul Nyden. Oak Hill, West Virginia, March 30, 1982.

Chambers, Mrs. Celia by Jim Worsham. Minden, West Virginia, April 6, 1984.

Eades, Mrs. William (Nellie) by Lou Athey. Ansted, West Virginia, July 27, 1985.

Mathew, Russell by William E. Cox. Oak Hill, West Virginia, August 10, 1981.

Pashion, Mrs. Rosa by Ken Sullivan. Kaymoor, West Virginia, August 17, 1985.

Toney, William by James Worsham. Ansted, West Virginia, August 9, 1984.

Woodson, Dometrius by Paul J. Nyden. Beckley, West Virginia, November 7, 1980.

The transcripts of these oral interviews provided many details about the physical layouts and daily life in Kay Moor. Insight into life in the gorge can be obtained from these and others in the oral history collection at NERI.

Unpublished Material

"Journal of Baptist Minister S.J. Thomas." photocopy in NERI files, folder: "Religion New River"

The photocopy of pages of Reverend Thomas' journal provided details of church services held in Kay Moor. The pastor also performed marriages, baptisms and burials.



Athey, Louis L. "'A Kind of Pittsburgh': Beehive Coke Making in the New River Gorge." pp. 161-167, in Proceedings New River Symposium, Beckley, West Virginia, May 6-8, 1982. Copy available at NERI.

"Check Off Rule Drives Men Out in W. Virginia." Black Diamond 63, no. 21 (November 22, 1919): 480-481.

"Commission Finds Extreme Destitution Among Miners of New River Coal Fields." United Mine Workers Journal XXXIII, no. 14, (July 15, 1922): 8-9.

Ernst, Harry W. and Drake, Charles H. "Poor, Proud and Primitive." The Nation 188 (1959): 490-493.

Ford, Thomas R. "Status, Residence, and Fundamentalist Religious Beliefs in the Southern Appalachians." Social Forces 39 (1960): 41-49.

Gartin, Edwin V. "The West Virginia Mine War of 1912-1913: The Progressive Response." North Dakota Quarterly 41 (Autumn 1973): 13-27.

"General Review of the Markets." Black Diamond 30, no. 21 (May 23, 1903): 933.

"General Review of the Markets." Black Diamond 31, no. 1 (July 4, 1903): 17.

Gillenwater, Mack H. "A Geographical Analysis of the Demographic Changes in the New River Basin, 1900-1980." pp. 203-217, in Proceedings New River Symposium, Blacksburg, Virginia, April 14-16, 1983. Copy available at NERI.

Hadsell, Richard M. and Coffey, William E. "From Law and Order to Class Warfare: Baldwin-Felts Detectives in the Southern West Virginia Coal Fields." West Virginia History XL, no. 3 (Spring 1979): 268-286.

Hammond, M.B. "The Coal Commission Reports and the Coal Situation." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 38 (August 1924): 541-581.

"Hampton Roads 1916 Exports." Black Diamond 56, no. 23 (June 3, 1916): 467.

Harris, Sheldon H. "Letters from West Virginia: Management's Version of the 1902 Coal Strike." Labor History 10 (Spring 1969): 228-240.

Higgins, S.C. "The New River Coal Fields The Pioneer Semi-Bituminous Fields of the State." The West Virginia Review (October 1927): 26.

Huebner, A.F. "Houses for Mine Villages." Coal Age 12 (October 27, 1917): 717-720.

Kneeland, Frank H. "The Moving Picture in Coal Mining." Coal Age 5, no. 26 (June 27, 1914): 1036-1040.

Laing, James T. "The Negro Miner in West Virginia." Social Forces 14 (1936): 416-422.

"Miners Angered by 14% Increase." Black Diamond 63, no. 23 (December 6, 1919): 526.

Munn, Robert F. "The Development of Model Towns in the Bituminous Coal Fields. West Virginia History XL, no. 3 (Spring 1979): 243-253.

"New River Non-Union." Black Diamond 63, no. 13 (April 1, 1922): 314.

Norton, Helen G. "Feudalism in West Virginia." The Nation 133, no. 3449 (August 12, 1931): 154-155.

"Pocahontas Mines Operate; Some Union Mines Resume; Army Cowes 'Red' Element." Black Diamond 63, no. 19 (November 8, 1919): 426, 431, 433.

Simmons, Charles W., Rankin, John R. , and Carter, U.G. "Negro Coal Miners in West Virginia, 1875-1925." Midwest Journal 6 no. 1 (Spring 1954): 60-69.

Smith, W.O. "New River Contract." United Mine Workers' Journal XXV, no. 48 (April 8, 1915): 6-7.

"Stoppages Mark Adoption of Shorter Day: Smokeless Agreement Signed." Coal Age 39, no. 5 (May 1934): 199-205.

"Story of West Virginia's Famous Smokeless Coal Fields." The West Virginia Review (June 1926): 290-299.

"Strike Notes." Black Diamond 29, no. 1 (July 5, 1902): 23.

Towson, Charles R. "Replacing the Saloon in Mining Communities." Coal Age 8, no. 7 (August 14, 1915): 264-266.

Ulack, Richard and Raitz, Karl. "Perceptions of Appalachia." Environment and Behavior 14 no. 6 (November 1982): 725-752.

Walls, David S. and Billings, Dwight B. "The Sociology of Southern Appalachia." Appalachian Journal 5 (1977): 131-144.

"The West Virginia Mining Field." Black Diamond 30, no. 22 (May 30, 1903): 983.

"The West Virginia Mining Field." Black Diamond 30, no. 23 (June 6, 1903): 1031.

"The West Virginia Mining Field." Black Diamond 31, no. 5 (August 1, 1903): 211.

"Wheeling, W. Va. June 4, 1902." Black Diamond 28, no. 23 (June 7, 1902): 812.

"Wheeling, W. Va. June 18, 1902." Black Diamond 28, no. 25 (June 21, 1902): 886.

"Woman and Child Labor." Monthly Labor Review 21 (1925): 87-88.

The Ernst, Ford, Ulack and Walls articles provided useful information concerning conditions in Appalachia from a general viewpoint. They set the context for both historical and present educational, economic, sociological and other aspects of Appalachia. The Gartin, Hadsell, Hammond, Harris and Norton articles yielded data on strikes, the UMWA and coal operators responses to events which occurred during unionization attempts. The "Woman" article was concerned with women and children's labor, and education opportunities for them in the coal towns. Higgins and the "Story" article were useful for general background information on the New River fields. Huebner and Munn contained data on "model" coal town planning. Laing and Simmons provided data on black miners in West Virginia. The New River symposiums provided excellent information on the New River gorge. The Gillenwater and Hill articles provided data on coal town morphology and population figures. Athey's article is excellent on the New River coke industry. The Black Diamond and United Mine Workers Journal, one a trade paper and the other the formal voice of the union, provided an inside look into the economic, technological, social and labor issues facing the coal operators and workers.


Alinsky, Saul. John L. Lewis. New York: Vintage Books, 1970.

Ambler, Charles H., and Summers, Festus P. West Virginia: The Mountain State. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1958.

Athey, Lou. Kaymoor: A New River Community n.p.: Eastern National Park & Monument Association, 1986.

Bailey, Kenneth R. "A Judicious Mixture: Negroes and Immigrants in the West Virginia Mines, 1880-1917." In Blacks in Appalachia, pp. 117-132. Edited by William H. Turner and Edward J. Cabbell. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985.

Baratz, Morton S. The Union and The Coal industry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955; reprint ed., Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1983.

Barnum, Darold T. The Negro in the Bituminous Coal Mining Industry. Report #14 Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970.

Carnes, Cecil. John L. Lewis Leader of Labor. New York: Robert Speller Publishing Corporation, 1936.

Caudill, Harry M. Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962.

Cavalier, John. Panorama of Fayette County. Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Company, 1985.

Cohen, Stan. King Coal: A Pictorial Heritage of West Virginia Coal Mining. Charleston: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1985.

Coleman, McAlister. Men and Coal. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1943; reprint ed., New York: Arno & The New York Times, 1969.

Conley, Phil. History of the West Virginia Coal Industry. Charleston, West Virginia: Education Foundation, Inc., 1960.

Cox, William E. Life on the New River A Pictorial History of the New River Gorge. n.p.: Eastern National Park and Monument Association, 1984.

Corbin, David Alan. Life, Work, and Rebellion in the Coal Fields: The Southern West Virginia Miners 1880-1922. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981.

Dix, Keith. An Analysis of West Virginia Work Stoppages. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1971.

________. Work Relations in the Coal Industry The Hand-Loading Era, 1880-1930. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1977.

Dodrill, Gordon. 20,000 Coal Company Stores in the United States, Mexico and Canada. n.p.: Duquesne Lithographing Co., 1971.

Eller, Ronald D. Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880-1930. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1982.

Fetherling, Dale. Mother Jones: The Miners' Angel. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois Press, 1974.

Ford, Thomas R., ed. The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962.

Gaventa, John. Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980.

Goodrich, Carter. The Miner's Freedom. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1977.

Graebner, William. Coal-Mining Safety in the Progressive Period: The Political Economy of Reform. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1976.

Hennen, Ray V. West Virginia Geological Survey. Wheeling, West Virginia: Wheeling News Litho., 1919.

Hunt, Edward Eyre; Tryon, F.G.; and Willits, Joseph H., eds. What the Coal Commission Found. Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Company, 1925.

Johnson, Ole S. The Industrial Store: Its History, Operations and Economic Significance. Atlanta: University of Georgia, 1952.

Lee, Howard B. Bloodletting in Appalachia. Morgantown: West Virginia University, 1969.

Lewis, Helen Matthews; Johnson, Linda; and Askins, Donald, eds. Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case. Boone, North Carolina: The Appalachian Consortium Press, 1978.

Long, Priscilla. Mother Jones, Woman Organizer and Her Relations with Miners; Wives, Working Women, and the Suffrage Movement. Boston: South End Press, 1976.

McCormick, Kyle. The New-Kanawha River and the Mine War of West Virginia. Charleston: Mathews Printing and Lithographing Company, 1959.

Miller, Donald L. and Sharpless, Richard E. The Kingdom of Coal Work, Enterprise, and Ethnic Communities in the Mine Fields. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985.

Peters, J.T., and Carden, H.B. History of Fayette County West Virginia. Charleston: Jarrett Printing Company, 1926; reprint ed., Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Co., 1972.

Raitz, Karl B., and Ulack, Richard. Appalachia: A Regional Geography. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1984.

Rice, Otis K. West Virginia: A History. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1985.

Robinson, Neil. The Kanawha and New River Coal Fields of West Virginia, U.S.A. Charleston, West Virginia: n.p., 1904.

Sparkmon, William R. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in West Virginia Huntington Division. Charleston: Jalamap Publications, Inc., 1983.

Turner, Charles W. Chessie's Road. Richmond, Virginia: Garrett & Massie, Incorporated, 1956.

Turner, William H. and Cabbell, Edward J. Blacks in Appalachia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985.

Weller, Jack E. Yesterday's People: Life in Contemporary Appalachia. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1965.

Woodward, C. Vann. Origins of the New South, 1877-1913. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951.

These secondary sources provided much of the context within which to place the story of what occurred at Kay Moor. The UWMA unionization efforts, the mining wars, the leadership of John L. Lewis and the efforts of Mother Jones are all chronicled in Alinsky, Baratz, Carnes, Coleman, Fetherling, Lee, Long and McCormick. Conditions in the coal fields during the years of unionization efforts were discussed in the Hunt text. For general background information on West Virginia and Fayette County, see Ambler, Cavalier, Cohen, Cox, Henne, Peters, Rice and Robinson. Bailey, Barnum, Turner and Cabbell provided data on black miners in West Virginia. Very informative general texts on mining and miners were Conley, Corbin, the two Dix texts, Eller, Goodrich, and Graebner. The Miller and Sharpless text was an excellent treatment of anthracite mining in Pennsylvania. Writing on conditions, both historic and modern, in Appalachia were Caudill, Ford, Caventa, Lewis, Raitz and Weller. Woodward's text is a classic on southern economics. For a discussion of company stores and scrip, see Dodrill and Johnson. Sparkmon and Turner contained data on the C&O. Lou Athey's book provided many valuable leads in searching for data on Kay Moor. His text filled in many gaps of information this author was unable to fill due to time limitations.


Anson, Charles Phillips. "A History of the Labor Movement in West Virginia." Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, 1940.

Gillenwater, Mack H. "Cultural and Historical Geography of Mining Settlements in the Pocahontas Coal Field of Southern West Virginia, 1880 to 1930." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, 1972.

Merrill, William McKinley. "Economics of the Southern Smokeless Coals." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois, 1953.

Posey, Thomas Edward. "The Labor Movement in West Virginia 1900-1948." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1948.

Thomas, Jerry Bruce. "Coal Country: The Rise of the Southern Smokeless Coal Industry and Its Effect on Area Development, 1872-1910." Ph. D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1971.

Wells, John Calhoun Jr. "Poverty Amidst Riches: Why People are Poor in Appalachia." Ph.D. dissertation, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, 1977.

Several of these dissertations provided excellent data for the Kay Moor study. The Anson and Posey studies discussed West Virginia's violent labor history. Merrill's text provided general economic data on the West Virginia coal industry. Wells' text is a sociological and historical discussion of appalachian poverty. Gillenwater's dissertation provided data on coal camp settlement and layout, plus a discussion of housing architecture. Thomas' text was the most useful, supplying much valuable data on topics concerning the New River coal fields.


French, Jack Jr. "Segregation Patterns in a Coal Camp." M.A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1953.

Morris, Thomas J. "The Coal Camp A Pattern of Limited Community Life." M.A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1950.

Both of these theses provided general data concerning life in coal camps. French studied an unnamed southern West Virginia coal camps segregation patterns, while Morris' analysis of Wad, West Virginia, provided comparative social data for the Kay Moor study.


Dictionary of American Biography. vol. V, 1933 ed. S.v. "Huntington, Collis Potter," by Stuart Daggett.

______. vol. VI, 1933 ed. S.v. "Low, Abiel Abbot," by Richard B. Morris.

This dictionary provided excellent biographical information on two of the industrialists who influenced Kay Moor's development.

Government Documents

U.S. Department of the Interior. Bureau of Mines. Houses for Mining Towns, by Joseph H. White. Bulletin 87. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1916.

U.S. Department of Labor. Children's Bureau. The Welfare of Children in Bituminous Coal Mining Communities in West Virginia, by Nettie McGill. Children's Bureau Publication No. 117. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1923.

________. Women's Bureau. Home Environment and Employment Opportunities of Women in Coal-Mine Workers' Families, Bulletin of the Women's Bureau, No. 45. Washington, D. C. Government Printing Office, 1925.

U.S. Senate. 68th Congress, 2d Session. Report of The United States Coal Commission (Doc. 195, Part I) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1925 (Serial Set 8402, Pt. I).

U.S. Senate. 68th Congress, 2d Session. Report of The United States Coal Commission (Doc. 195, Part III Washington: Government Printing Office, 1925 (Serial Set 8402, Pt. III).

The U.S. Coal Commission published data was very helpful in determining the economic health of the coal industry and the living conditions in the coal mining towns. Comparative data with other coal regions was provided. The Department of the Interior and Department of Labor texts discussed conditions in the coal fields during the years of unionization efforts.

Unpublished Materials

Marowitz, Matthew, P. et al., "Guide, The Low Moor Iron Company Papers #662 in the Manuscripts Department of the University of Virginia Library." Typescript collection guide, available from Manuscripts Department, Alderman Library, University of Virginia.

The Marowitz guide provided an overall general history of the Low Moor Iron Company, in addition to a very general index to the collection.

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Last Updated: 30-Jan-2009