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Winding Gulf Coal Field

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The Winding Gulf Coal Field is a coal producing area of West Virginia that includes the following counties, in whole or in part: Raleigh and Wyoming counties.

Coal Seams

The coal seams of the Winding Gulf Coal Field lie in the Pocahontas and New River group of the Pottsville series. The primary seams mined in the Winding Gulf Coal Field have been the No. 3 Pocahontas, No. 4 Pocahontas, Fire Creek, and Beckley seams.

The Beckley seam, named from the town of Beckley, in Raleigh County, generally consists of two parts, an upper and lower seam. The Fire Creek and the Beckley occurred primcipally in the northeastern part of the field. The Fire Creek has been mined extensively on Stone Coal Creek.

Development of the Field

By 1909 the Virginian Railway had completed a branch line along Winding Gulf from Mullens to Pemberton. The line, named the Winding Gulf Branch, facilitated the opening of mines in the previously undeveloped Winding Gulf Coal Field.

Prior to the completion of the line to Pemberton, several mines were prepared to open as soon as Winding Gulf Branch reached the area of the mine. The first shipment from the Winding Gulf field was made in 1907 by G. H. Caperton and W. Gaston Caperton from the mines of the Slab Fork Coal Company at Slab Fork. Another early mining operation was opened by Justus Collins in 1909, at Winding Gulf, WV, an operation later consolidated into the Winding Gulf Collieries. On 2/29/1956, Winding Gulf Collieries merged with and into Winding Gulf Coals, Inc. On 12/31/1970, Winding Gulf Coals, Inc. merged with and into Westmoreland Coal Company.