First Coal Mine

Location: North of US 23: east of State Road 620 at Esserville. 

Date: About 1875

Owners: James F. Wells

Description: Drift bank or mine

History: About 1875 coal was discovered outcropping in a hill at present site of Esserville by the landowner, J. F. Wells.  He employed a man by the name of Sexton to open it up and "dig" the coal. Wells not only used it himself, but supplied his neighbors and hauled it to market in wagons as far as Lebanon,
Gate City and Abingdon.
     This is the first coal mined commercially in Wise County and probably the first mines for any purpose.
     After the coming of the railroads, the mineral rights were leased by the late John A. Esser who built (then) ___ camp and plant, built coke ovens and coked the coal. After Esser's death the plant was sold to John Whitson who was killed in the mine there. His widow still operates the plant including the coke ovens. 

Source of Information: James H. Kilgore


Return to Wise
Return to Articles

Copyright Notice
All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator. They may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from Vickie Sturgill Stevens . Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which they are presented, the notes and comments, etc., are.