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Prestonburg, Kentucky To Pearisburg, Virginia On June 8


June 10, 2022

Another night, another Walmart!

Betsy Layne is a census-designated place (CDP) and coal town in Floyd County, Kentucky, United States. It was established in 1875 along the Levisa Fork. The post office opened on May 1, 1908, with Clayton S. Hitchins as postmaster. Its ZIP code is 41605. The 2010 census reported the population to be 688. Stage actress Bette Henritze (born 1924) was a native of Betsy Layne.

Betsy Layne is located along the eastern border of Floyd County at 37°33′05″N 82°38′01″W (37.5514880, -82.6334884) and at an elevation of 650 ft (198 m).[4] It is bordered to the east by Pike County. U.S. Route 23 passes through the community, leading northwest 13 miles (21 km) to Prestonsburg and southeast 12 miles (19 km) to Pikeville.

The community began on the Layne farm in the early nineteenth century and was named for Elizabeth Johns Layne. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad arrived about 1908 and the Betsy Layne post office opened that year. The post office moved several times over the years and the original location became known as Justell, but was later absorbed by a growing Betsy Layne.

Next to Betsy Layne is Harold. Can't make this up.

Harold is an unincorporated community located in Floyd County, Kentucky, United States.

A post office was established in the community in 1905, and named for local merchant Harold Hatcher of the Hatcher family of early area settlers.

Professional baseball player Dixie Howell (pitcher) was born in Harold. He should not be confused with the Dixie Howell (catcher) who was born in Louisville.

Millard Filmore "Dixie" Howell (January 7, 1920 – March 18, 1960) was a relief pitcher who played in six Major League Baseball seasons between 1940 and 1958, as well as 19 years in the minors. Listed at 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 210 lb., Howell batted left-handed and threw right-handed. A native of Bowman (or Harold), Kentucky, he grew up in Dehue, West Virginia.


Howell spent three years in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system (1937–39) before joining the big team in 1940. While in the minors, he set a record in the Eastern League by striking out 20 batters in a single game (1939). In three relief appearances for the Indians, he posted a 1.80 earned run average in five innings pitched and did not have a decision. Despite being regarded as one of the finest prospects in the Cleveland organization, recurring illness and sore arm problems kept him from reaching his full potential.

In 1943, Howell was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds and assigned to the International League. He helped the Syracuse Chiefs clinch the league pennant with a 13–9 mark and was promoted to the major league roster for the next season. But in November 1943, he entered military service with the U.S. Army. He served in France and Belgium during World War II and was taken prisoner by the German troops in September 1944, being liberated by advancing Allied forces six months later. He returned to the United States and was discharged from military service late in 1945.

Howell went to spring training with Cincinnati in 1946, playing for Syracuse for the next four years. He had a 17–12 record with the Chiefs in 1948, and appeared in five games with the Reds in 1949.

In 1950, Howell was purchased by the New York Giants and assigned to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He enjoyed a fine season with the Millers, going 14–2 during the regular season and pitching a no-hitter against Columbus on August 10. Recurring arm problems made him consider retiring before returning to Minneapolis in 1952, but he decided to keep playing. Nevertheless, he was sold to Philadelphia Phillies on January 20, returned to the Giants on May 15, purchased by the Chicago White Sox a week later, and assigned to the Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association, where his timely relief pitching led Memphis to the Dixie Series title.

Howell remained with the Chicks in 1953 and 1954, before returning to major league action in 1955 with the White Sox as an experienced relief specialist, and for the next four years. His most productive season came in 1955, when he recorded career-highs in wins (8), earned run average (2.93), saves (9), games finished (25) and innings (73+2⁄3).

In a six-season career, Howell posted a 19–15 record with a 3.78 earned run average and 19 saves in 115 appearances, including 99 strikeouts, 103 walks, two starts, 68 games finished and 226+1⁄3 innings of work. He also helped himself with the bat, hitting a .243 average (18-for-74) with five home runs and nine run batted in in 124 games, including two doubles, one triple, eight runs, and a .500 slugging percentage.

After that, Howell pitched for the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association in 1958 and 1959. He died at age 40 after suffering a heart attack while running at the Indians' 1960 spring training camp in Hollywood, Florida.


Howell holds two of the most unusual records in major league history:

  • the longest time (16 years) between his first major league pitching appearance (1940) and his first win (1955)

  • the all-time regular-season record for most hits (5) without collecting a single (3 home runs, double, triple in 27 at-bats in 1957). As of 2019, he is the only player ever to have a season where his singles total was less than any of the other three totals (doubles, triples, home runs).

No Harold sign on the post office in Harold.

Coal Run Village (sometimes simply Coal Run) is a home rule-class city in Pike County, Kentucky, in the United States. Bordered to the north, south, and east by Pikeville, the population was 1,706 at the 2010 census. It was the fastest-growing city in Kentucky from 2007 to 2008, with a population increase of 17.3%.


Virgie is a Census-designated place (CDP) located along Kentucky Route 1469 in Pike County, Kentucky, United States. Virgie's post office was established as Clintwood on April 3, 1890, with James M. Damron as postmaster. It was later renamed "Virgie" after the daughter of local resident, W.O.B. Ratliff, who was a lawyer and lumber dealer in Pikeville.

The 2020 United States census reported Virgie's population was 274.

Todd May – 1982 Kentucky "Mr. Basketball". Todd May attended Virgie High School while Phillip M. Johnson was the principal there.

A coal mine.

Highway cut through rocks.

I cannot find any reference to a community named Mudhole in Virginia. Bummer.

Pound is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States.[1] The population was recorded as 1,037 in the 2010 United States Census.


The Pound area was explored in 1751 by Christopher Gist, and it is traditionally said to be the oldest settlement in Wise County.[4] Also known as "The Pound," the name may derive from a family name, or from a pounding mill built in the area in 1815. The county's first post office was established there in 1848. Pound was not incorporated until 1950, the last town in Wise County to do so.

Historically, the town's economy benefited from the area's coal mining industry. In the 1940s, the town had nearly a dozen bars catering to miners from nearby Kentucky. As mining declined in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Pound—like much of Southwest Virginia—saw its economy and tax base collapse.[5] Over the following decades, fiscal and political difficulties led the Virginia General Assembly to pass a law in 2022 that would revoke the town's charter in 2023 unless improvements were made. (See Government section, below.).

Notable crimes

On November 30, 1927, Leonard Woods, a black coal miner and resident of Jenkins, Kentucky, was lynched on the Virginia-Kentucky border in Pound. Woods had been jailed in Kentucky for the murder of 29-year-old Herschel Deaton of Coeburn, Virginia, following an altercation on November 27.[7] On the night of the lynching, a crowd estimated between 400-500 surrounded the Kentucky jail Woods was held in and demanded he be released to their custody. The crowd then transported Woods to a wooden structure located in Pound adjacent to the recently constructed US 23 highway. By this time the mob, estimated at 1,500, oversaw the hanging of Woods, followed by the firing of over 500 shots at his body, according to a local reporter. Both Virginia and Kentucky authorities claimed they were not responsible for investigating the crime, and no one was prosecuted for the death of Leonard Woods.

In 1935, Pound gained national attention for the case of Edith Maxwell, who was convicted in 1935 of murdering her father, Trigg Maxwell. She was pardoned in 1941 after appeals from Eleanor Roosevelt and the Washington Post raised funds for her legal defense.


At the 2000 census there were 1,089 people, 455 households and 322 families in the town. The population density was 417.6 per square mile (161.1/km2). There were 516 housing units at an average density of 197.9 per square mile (76.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.71% White, 0.09% Native American, 0.09% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.18%.

Of the 455 households 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 25.9% of households were one person and 14.3% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.

The age distribution was 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% 65 or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $29,107, and the median family income was $33,688. Males had a median income of $32,065 versus $22,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,375. About 19.4% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.9% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Bummer again. Can find no history of Donkey, Virginia.

I did not make it into Princeton, West Virginia but here is some information about it. It appears to be a major intersection on Interstate 77.

Princeton, is a city in and the county seat of Mercer County, West Virginia, United States.[5] The city is coined the "Heart of Mercer County" or the "Jewel of the South" in past decades. The population was 6,432 at the 2010 census with approximately 35,000 residents living in the greater Princeton area.[2] It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VAmicropolitan area which has a population of 107,342. The city hosts the Princeton WhistlePigs baseball club of the Appalachian League. A main tourist destination of the city is the Mercer Street Grassroots District located in Downtown Princeton. This area has been revitalized and is now home to cafes, restaurants, shops, and artistic venues.


Princeton and the Civil War

The Battle of Pigeon Roost took place in Princeton on May 17, 1862. Although Princeton did not see any major battles on her soil, there was the Battle of Pigeon Roost, or the Battle of Princeton Courthouse on May 17, 1862, a victory for the Confederates defending the Dublin railroad.

Princeton had been burned a couple of weeks earlier on May 1 under the command of Captain Walter Jenifer, CSA to prevent the Union army from acquiring their supplies. The town was not burned in retaliation or anger toward the residents of Princeton. In fact, according to local history, many of the residents of Princeton torched their own homes and moved on from the area. Few structures would remain after the fire. The Robert McNutt house is the only structure that remains in Princeton which, ironically, served as headquarters for the Union army at one time. Princeton and Mercer County would remain supportive of the Confederacy, and was not included in the original counties that made up the new state of West Virginia.

By the end of 1865 Judge Nathaniel Harrison was appointed as circuit judge, and Princeton residents shunned him because he was a Confederate turncoat. Princeton slowly rebuilt during Reconstruction, but the railroad would eventually bring significant growth to Princeton.

Coal and Southern West Virginia

In southern West Virginia, in the late 19th century, coal mining and transportation by the emerging technology of the railroads combined to form a new industry. Much of the region's bituminous coal was sent northwest to the Great Lakes, or northeast to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's coal piers at Baltimore, or to the world's greatest ice-free port of Hampton Roads in eastern Virginia.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's coal piers were located at Newport News. Across the harbor, the Norfolk and Western Railway's coal piers were located on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. The eastern-bound coal transported by the C&O and the N&W railroads was highly valued for local use and for steam-powered ships, notably those of the U.S. Navy. Loaded into large ships called colliers, the West Virginia "smokeless coal" was sent in coast-wise shipping to the Northeastern U.S. points such as New York City and New England, as well as exported to other countries worldwide.

Princeton's location was east of the primary coalfields, and most of the coal mining and railroad activity was initially elsewhere. However, a combination of factors would soon change that, and have profound financial and developmental impact on Princeton.

William Nelson Page

According to local folklore, in the early 1870s, a young civil engineer named William Nelson Page came to West Virginia to help survey and build Collis P. Huntington's C&O railroad through the valleys of the New River and the Kanawha River to link Virginia with the Ohio River, a line which was completed in 1873 at the new city of Huntington. As his career developed, Page busied himself with many enterprises to develop the natural resources which lay all around him, primarily working with iron and coal operations, often as the manager for wealthy absentee owners. Among these was David T. Ansted, a British geologist who mapped many of the coalfields of southern West Virginia. Dr. Ansted became the namesake for the town of Ansted, where William Nelson Page moved and became his protégé. Of course, with his background with the C&O, Page was also heavily involved in railroads.

Page settled with his family in the Fayette County hamlet of Ansted, located high above the New River Valley along the old James River and Kanawha Turnpike. As president of the Gauley Mountain Coal Company, in 1890, he had company carpenters build a palatial white Victorian mansion on a knoll overlooking the town. Eight servants were employed to care for the family, which included his wife Emma, and their four children.

"Colonel" Page, as he became known, was in truth a uniformed major in a locally recruited Spanish–American War militia. ("Colonel" was an honorific title used informally in the South for many notable men in the years following the American Civil War). A colorful character by all accounts, he was described as a slight man who was known for his handlebar mustache, pince-nez glasses, iron bowler derby, and elegant suits. He was considered to be somewhat aloof by the local population, and could frequently be seen riding a bicycle on the sloping lawn of the mansion. He found time to serve as a mayor of Ansted for ten years, rose to the rank of brigadier inspector general in the West Virginia National Guard, and was also an incorporator and director of Sheltering Arms Hospital in neighboring Kanawha County.

However, William Nelson Page's consuming interest was his work. He was described by former West Virginia governor William A. MacCorkle in his autobiography The Recollections of Fifty Years as a man who knew the geology of the area "as a farmer knows a field." Page spent long hours working in the den just off the main entrance to his resplendent home. As he studied the areas mapped out by Dr. Ansted as containing coal, he became fascinated with some of the most rugged terrain of southern West Virginia, and the fact that these lands were not yet reached by the major railroads. Years later, author and photographer H. Reid, who wrote The Virginian Railway (Kalmbach, 1961), labeled him the "Idea Man from Ansted."

1902: Deepwater Railway

In 1896, Page developed the Loup Creek and Deepwater Railway, a logging railroad connecting a small sawmill on the old Loup Creek Estate at Robson with the C&O railroad's main line at Deepwater on the Kanawha River. In 1898, it was rechartered as the Deepwater Railway, with modest plans to extend to nearby coal mines at Glen Jean. Around 1903, the new town of Page became the location of one if the earliest stations on the expanding Deepwater Railway, as well as home of the Page Coal and Coke Company.

In 1902, William Page enlisted the support of millionaire industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers as a silent partner to finance the expansion of the Deepwater Railway much further, about 80 miles through Mullens to reach a N&W railroad branch line at Matoaka to open up new territory with untapped deposits of high volatile bituminous coal. Page, Rogers, and other wealthy investors owned much of this land.

Rogers was a self-made man who had become a principal in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. Even after he was well-off financially, Henry Rogers continued to be what was many years later termed "a workaholic". He was an active developer of all types of natural resources and transportation enterprises. Soon, he had investments of his own in natural gas, copper, steel, coal, and railroad industries. By 1899, he had become one of the richest men in the United States.

Henry Rogers was also an old hand at West Virginia short line railroads. He had helped build and sell several earlier enterprises which were initially not a great deal different than those proposed by Page.

Overcoming collusion of the big railroads

However, as construction of the expanded Deepwater Railway line got underway, William Page found he was unsuccessful in negotiating fair rates to interchange traffic with either major railroad, nor in interesting them in buying his short line railroad. This was later revealed to be caused by collusion by the leaders of the big railroads, notably Alexander Cassatt, William Kissam Vanderbilt, and Frederick J. Kimball, who sought to control shipping rates and coal prices, and prevent any newcomers from entry. They assumed that any entrepreneurs of modest means, such as William Page appeared to be, would become discouraged and give up. In their experience, building costly enterprises such as railroads customarily meant raising large sums of money through public stock offerings and bonds.

As construction on the Deepwater Railway continued, William Page's continued efforts to establish reasonable joint rates with the big railroads continued to prove fruitless. To the puzzlement of the leaders of the big railroads, who were unaware of Rogers' financial backing, Page (and Rogers) did not give up. Instead, they quietly expanded their plans again to build to the Virginia state line. This expansion brought right-of-way for the planned the Deepwater Railway through Mercer County and Princeton.

1904: Tidewater Railway

In Virginia, Page (and Rogers) formed another intrastate railroad, the new Tidewater Railway, which was legally based in Staunton, a city located along the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). Notwithstanding its corporate location on the C&O, agents for the new Tidewater Railway quietly surveyed and secured rights-of-way many miles away from the C&O across southern Virginia, roughly paralleling the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W). With the help of Rogers' fortune, they were successful, even in the City of Roanoke, where the N&W had its corporate headquarters and major shops.

From Roanoke, the new line ran almost due east, missing major cities and towns, to reach Suffolk. With the help of local leaders in Norfolk, (and more funds from Rogers), a route was obtained set which passed around the City of Norfolk (and the N&W) in a wide, 13-mile long circular path through rural Norfolk County to be headed almost due west again when it reached the site for a new coal pier on the harbor at Hampton Roads at Sewell's Point.

By the time the leaders of the big railroads finally realized that the Deepwater and Tidewater railroads were related, the rights-of-way were secure, and the new competitor could not be blocked. In 1906, N&W president Lucius E. Johnson was brought to the Standard Oil building at 26 Broadway in New York City by Andrew Carnegie to meet with one of Carnegie's old friends: Henry Huttleston Rogers. N&W corporate records only record that the meeting lasted only a few minutes. Thus, the leaders of the big railroads finally learned the source of William Nelson Page's deep pockets. Despite their collusion, there would be new player in their games.

1907: Virginian Railway is born

In 1907, The Deepwater and Tidewater were combined to become the Virginian Railway (VGN). Victoria, a new town created in Lunenburg County, Virginia, became the Division Headquarters east of Roanoke.

Using more modern techniques than had been available to the older major railroads during the 19th century, and the Rogers fortune to build to the highest standards and acquire the finest equipment and rolling stock, it was widely considered an engineering marvel of the times when completed all the way from Deepwater to reach a port near Norfolk, Virginia on Hampton Roads in 1909, a distance of about 450 miles.

Virginian Railway: Division headquarters and Shops

Princeton was designated to be the headquarters of the New River Division, extending from Roanoke westward.

Roundhouses, vital for servicing the new steam locomotives, were established at Sewell's Point, Victoria, Roanoke, and Page. Princeton became site of the VGN's major shops and yards. Throughout its lifetime, the largest number of Virginian Railway employees were concentrated at Princeton. In the 1930s, the VGN even added the capacity to build railroad cars to the Princeton Shops.

The tiny Class 1 railroad was very profitable and became known as the "Richest Little Railroad in the World." Of course, the VGN's more modern gradient and facilities and profitability were all coveted by the competition. There were many attempts to acquire it. All failed throughout the first half of the 20th century. Finally, as the Interstate Commerce Commission began to realize that railroads needed to be able to compete successfully with trucking and other modes of transportation more than primarily each other, in 1959, the Norfolk and Western succeeded in reaching a merge with the VGN and gaining regulatory approvals, marking what became called the "modern merger era" in North American railroading which eventually resulted in Princeton's current service by Norfolk Southern Railway, one of only 6 large class 1 railroads operating in the United States in the 21st century.

The changes from steam to diesel-electric motive power and the mergers and consolidations resulted in elimination of many shops and jobs, aggravated by a reduction in coal mining activity in West Virginia. Eventually, all but a few of these jobs in Princeton were eliminated by the late 20th century. The N&W (and later NS) maintained coal piers and export facilities at a major facility near downtown Norfolk known as Lambert's Point. After the 1959 merger, the VGN's former coal piers and yards at Sewell's Point were redundant with the Lambert's Point operations. They were eventually shut down, and the land became part of the massive U.S. Naval Station Norfolk, the largest Navy base in the world.

Most of the unused former VGN Princeton Shops facilities were demolished by 2006. The local residents of Princeton were devastated. However, despite the community's loss, a new replica of the VGN's two-story Princeton Passenger Station and Offices had been recently built, the largest such effort in the entire state. A modern structure functionally, while appearing like the original built 100 about years earlier, the new Princeton Station Museum should last for future generations. It hosts a museum to the town's rich railroading heritage and the Virginian Railway.

In the tiny hamlet of Ansted along the Midland Trail, the Page-Vawter House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The old Victorian mansion on the knoll overlooking the town as a testament to the area's coal mining heritage and the man who planned the railroad through Princeton: William Nelson Page.

Origin of North and South Walker Streets[edit]

According to burned documents: In 1837, veteran of the War of 1812 Chrispianos H. Walker was chosen by a committee to select a site for a new courthouse for Mercer County. Princeton was selected. North and South Walker Streets are named after him.


As of 2010, Princeton has an estimated population of 6,432.[2] The city is a secondary hub[7] of the Four Seasons Country area[clarification needed What is the Four Seasons Country area?] of Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Immediately outside of the city limits, a number of hotels, restaurants and shopping areas have developed near the intersection of the West Virginia Turnpike and U.S. Highway 460 in recent years.

The cultural hub The Chuck Mathena Center, which opened in July 2008, contains a 1,000-seat theater and meeting rooms for civic groups and events.[8] Other cultural endeavors include the RiffRaff Arts Collective,[9] the remodeled Princeton Public Library and a Railroad Museum.

Next stop -- Pearisburg!

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