"A Geological Report upon the Coal Lands of Mrs. J. R. Harrison & others in Fayette County, West Virginia" by Jed. Hotchkiss
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and this is but one of the dozen [or] more workable seams of coal that have been proven, above water level, in this portion of the coal field; varying in thickness, including the slate partings, from three to eleven feet. I have measured, upon the estate below this on the same side of the river and less than one mile distant, a seam of call 11ft. 8 inches thick, about 400ft. above the river level: this is splint and bituminous coal with thin slate partings.
The noted Cannelton cannel coal in mined from a seam, located as shown on the map. This seam is about 12 feet below the Black Flint ledge of the section and is here some 750 feet above the river: it is about 7ft. thick and is made up of 3 1/2 ft. of cannel at the bottom with 3 1/2 feet of splint at the top. This seam, - so high up in the hills covers but a portion of any given tract, since much of its has been carried away by the erosion of the valleys: but considerable portions of it are found on this property.
The following section, across this land, on the line A-B of the map, will better explain the statements made in reference to the situation and extent of the seams of coal that, with varying conditions, undoubtedly may be found here: - it has been compiled from the openings and measurements that have been made in the vicinity; and in this region, in any given portion of it, the same beds of coal, in similar relations, are always found. The right hand side of the section shows the seams of coal as they would present themselves if their outcrops were exposed on the faces of the hills of Lot "H," looking toward the S.E., and the left hand side shows the same seams as they would be exposed on the property of the Cannelton Co. on the opposite side of Smithers' creek.
This section shows the moderate inclination of the stratification of the beds to the N.W. and explains how and why mining can be done so that the mines shall be self-draining and -ventilating, and the coal can be easily run to daylight on a down grade. This also shows, in conjunction with the map, that this land is most favorably situated for mining purposes, for all its beds of coal may be entered from the valley of Smithers' creek and worked up their inclination to the S.E. consequently this property is much more valuable than one that presents the outcrops of its seams where they decline into the hills.
This property is exceptionally valuable in this, that it has so extended a frontage on the N.W. towards Smithers' creek, and that all its coal can be most conveniently mined into the moderately inclined valley of that stream and through it conveyed to the navigable Kanawha and to the Chesapeake & Ohio R.R.
The seam marked "w" on the section is the one from which the Cannelton Cannel, before described, is mined: the section explains why it has but a limited area.
The seams shown in the section may be judged by the conditions they present where they have been opened - "b" is, at Cannelton, a bituminous seam of 3 1/2 to 4 ft. - "c", at Armstrong's creek, is 3 ft. - "d" has already been described as the noted Coal Valley & Cannelton gas, &c. coal, this is from 7 to 8 ft thick on the section line: - "e" is 6 ft thick on Armstrong's creek; - "f" is 4ft. of splint at Coalburg: - "g" is 6ft. of bituminous on Armstrong's creek; - "f" is 4ft. of splint at Coalburg: -"g" is 6ft. of bituminous on Armstrong's creek: - "k" has a thickness of 3ft. in some places: - "l" has been opened, below this, with 3ft.: -"m" is 6ft. on Armstrong's cr., and up the river it contains cannel: - "o" measured 12ft. on Armstrong's cr. and included cannel coal: - "p" is 7ft. at Cannelton: - "q" varies from 3 1/2 to 4 ft. and is a superior splint: - "r" is 8ft. of splint on Armstrong's cr., and "u" 3ft.: - "v" is ft. just above this: - "w" is the Cannelton cannel as described before.
Nothing but actual openings can determine the exact thickness of the coal seams on any given tract, but it is settled, beyond question, - that the hills, which occupy most of the surface of this central part of the Great Kanawha Coal field contain from forty to sixty feet of thickness of the best varieties of free-burning coals known, above water-level. It may safely be asserted that nowhere can coal be mined more cheaply, for any kind of labor may be employed in mining, so simple are the requirements.
Enough has been stated in regard to the quantity, quality and accessibility of the coal on this property, and to show that it is in a centre of mining activity - one from which the shipments of coal are constantly increasing and in which new mines are being opened to meet the increasing demand for the superior coals here found. The success of the Cannelton Company proves that the intervention of the Kanawha is no [illegible] to shipment by the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. The works now in progress by the United States will soon furnish a new [illegible] greater to the vast coal [illegible] of the West. The sagacious president of the Chesapeake & Ohio R.R. C.P. Huntington, has purchased lot "C" of this patent, separated from this only by the property of the Cannelton Company.
From my personal knowledge of this tract I do not hesitate to recommend it as one of the most valuable bodies of coal land in the Great Kanawha Valley.
Timber covers the whole tract where my observations have led me, consisting of several varieties of oak, of birch, beech, tulip-poplar, &c, all having a fine growth and capable of supplying not only all demands for mining purposes, a very important consideration, but a large quantity for sale.
The valleys are all narrow and the land in them will all be needed for mining purposes, but the rolling country on the tops of the hills may all be utilized for farming and grazing, and to great advantage in a region abounding in consumers. The cultivated lands on the plateau of the adjacent Cannelton estate show what may be done in this direction.
The state of trade is such at this time I do not feel warranted in expressing an opinion of the money value of these lands: the only standard would be found, perhaps, in the royalties that are obtained, per ton, for mining rights near Cannelton Station. Leases have been made this year, at 10 cents per ton. The tonnage of an acre has been already stated. Lands on the Monongahela, Pa. where only a 4 1/2 ft. seam is generally worked, sell for from $150 to $900 per acre - (See Report of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. for 1876, Part II, page 133.
Jed. Hotchkiss, C.E.
(Address W.H. Fitzhugh Esq. Atty - in fact - Fredericksburg, Va.)
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