The West Virginia. Cyclopedia
Discovery of Coal
John Peter Salley is credited with the discovery of coal along the Coal River during his 1742 exploration of western Virginia and present-day West Virginia.
Salley, accompanied by Charles St. Clair, John Howard, and his son Josiah Howard, left his home at the base of the Blue Ridge in Augusta county, proceeding through the Greenbrier Valley. Upon reached the New River, the party descended to Richmond Falls. From there they journeyed over the mountains to the westward of Coal River, down to its mouth to the Great Kanawha River. From there, they traveled to the Ohio River, arrived there May 6th, 1742.