Origins of Place Names Near Beckley, West Virginia

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Last revision: March 23, 2021

AbrahamRaleighFor Abraham Lilly, prosecuting attorney of Raleigh County from 1904 to 1908
Alderson Monroe/ Greenbrier for John Alderson, Baptist minister who settled there in 1777
AlpocaWyomingfor Alpha Pocahontas Coal Co.
AmeagleRaleighfor the mining firm, American Eagle Colliery
AnawaltMcDowellfor Col. Anawalt, who was then manager of Union Supply Co.
AnjeanGreenbriernamed by Andrew Leckie, owner of Leckie Smokeless Coal Co., for his mother Ann and his daughter Jean
AnstedFayettefor David T. Ansted, British geologist, owner of the land where the town was built
AscoMcDowellnamed by R. E. Brockman, president of Atlantic Smokeless Coal Co., an abbreviation of the company name
Athens Mercer for Athens, Greece
Beard Pocahontas for Josiah Beard, who immigrated from Scotland through Ireland to West Virginia, according to his great great granddaughter Alice Beard
Beckley Raleighfor John Beckley, first Clerk of the Congress, named by Alfred Beckley, his son, early settler (see note below)
BellwoodFayettefor J. Wade Bell and J. E. Wood, who established a coal camp there
Besoco Raleigh for Beckley Smokeless Coal Co.
Big Stick Raleigh for Theodore Roosevelt, who believed in talking softly and carrying a big stick
Big Ugly Lincoln for Big Ugly Creek
Bluefield Mercer because of the growth of a dark blue flower and blue grass which grows there
Bolt Raleigh for postmaster George Washington Bolt (1864-1943)
BradleyRaleighfor Gen. Omar Bradley
BramwellMercerfor Joseph H. Bramwell, coal developer
BudWyomingfor Bud Adams, owner of a logging camp on Barker’s Creek
Caldwell Greenbrier for James Caldwell, who developed the first hotel at White Sulphur Springs
CarettaMcDowellfor Mrs. Etta Carter
Carlisle Fayette for a city in England, named by coal operator Samuel Dixon
Cass Pocahontas for Joseph K. Cass, chairman of the board of West Virginia Pulp and Paper Co.
ChapmanvilleLogan for an early settler
Cirtsville Raleigh for Curtis Vass, early settler
Clayton Summers for a Cincinnati balloonist who crashed on Keeney's Knob in April 1835
ClearcoGreenbrierfor Clear Creek Coal Co.
Cool Ridge Raleigh for cool + ridge or for Calvin Coolidge, U. S. President
Coopers Mercer for John Cooper, coal operator
Corliss Fayette for Corliss Amick who died in 1890 at age 3 [Shirey]
Cranberry Raleigh for Cranberry Creek, because cranberries grew in abundance
CranecoLoganfor Cole and Crane, a Cincinnati lumber company
CrowRaleighA history of Crow has: “Crow got its name by chance. At first the people thought that Pine Flats would be a good name, but the government rejected that because there was a post office with similar name. A resident, Douglas Scott, looked up at a flock of crows and said, ‘Let’s call it Crow.’”
DaneseFayette named by S. G. Bowyer in honor of his newly born daughter [Shirey]
Danville Boone for Dan Rock, first postmaster
Delbarton Mingo for one of the officials of the United Thacker Land Co.
Durbin Pocahontas for Charles R. Durbin Sr., banker, from Grafton and Morgantown
Edmond Fayette
ElgoodMercernamed by postal authorities for L. Goodwin of Oakvale, W. Va., whose own suggestion for a name was refused
Epperly Raleigh for John Epperly, an official of several mining companies in the area
Falling Spring Greenbrier because of a spring having a gentle fall into the Greenbrier River
Fayetteville Fayette for Lafayette, the French nobleman
Fireco Raleigh a name used to indicate heat
Freeman Mercer for John Freeman, coal operator (see note)
GamocaFayettefor Gauley, Moley, and Campbell
GaryMcDowellfor Judge Elbert Gary, president of U. S. Steel Corporation
GassawayBraxtonfor U. S. Senator Henry Gassaway Davis
GhentRaleigh(see note)
GilbertMingofor Gilbert Creek, which is named for an early traveler there who was killed by Indians
Glen DaleMarshallfor Glen Dale, the name of a farm owned by Samuel A. Cockayne there
Glen DanielRaleighfor Dr. George Preston Daniel, prominent resident
Glen HedrickRaleighfor Grover Cleveland Hedrick (Oxley post office changed to Glen Hedrick in 1926)
Glen JeanFayettefor Jean, the wife of Thomas G. McKell, a large landowner in the area
GlenraySummersfor Glen Gelespie and Ray Thomas, sons of stockholders in the Commonwealth Lumber Co.
Glen RogersWyomingfor H. H. Rogers, president of the Virginian Railway
Glen WhiteRaleighfor E. E. White, coal operator
Helen Raleigh for the daughter of G. W. Stevens, president of the C&O Railroad
Hemlock Fayette for the Hemlock Hollow Coal Co. [Shirey]
Henlawson Logan for Henry Lawson, property owner
Herndon Wyoming probably for A. M. Herndon, an official of the Winding Gulf Colliery Co.
Hillsboro Pocahontas for John Hill, instrumental in having the town laid out (or for Richard Hill, early settler)
Hinton Summers (see note)
Iaeger McDowell for Col. William G. W. Iaeger, whose son, Dr. William R. Iaeger, had a plat of the present town made
IsabanMcDowellfor Isabell Ann
ItmannWyoming for Isaac T. Mann, founder of Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co.
Jenkinjones McDowell for Jenkin Jones, coal operator (see note)
Jonben Raleigh for John Tolley and Ben Meadows
JosephineRaleighfor Josephine (Shrewsbury) Walker, the deceased mother of Conservator of Peace Bernie Walker. She married Christopher George Columbus Walker.
Jumping Branch Summers for a log that fallen over a creek, making an easy place to cross
Kermit Mingo for Kermit Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt
Keystone McDowell for a coal and coke company operating there
Kimball McDowell
Kopperston Wyoming from the Koppers Company of Delaware which opened the mine there. Heinrich Koppers of Pittsburgh founded the Koppers companies. Named in 1937.
Lake Logan for Nicholas Lake, who settled and named the town. First considered the name Lakes Mills but settled on Lake on the post office application, in 1880
Lanark Raleigh named by coal operator James K. Laing for his home county in Scotland
Layland Fayette named by the New River and Pocahontas Coal Co. [Shirey]; according to Donnelly, for Layland Ayers, b. Mar. 8, 1906
Leckie McDowell for Col. William Leckie, coal operator
Lester Raleigh for Chandler "Champ" Lester. The town started on land owned by him and John W. Gray
LewisburgGreenbrierfor Gen. Andrew Lewis
LillybrookRaleighfor Lilly and Hornbrook, the men who “opened up” this mining town
LitwarMcDowellperhaps for War Branch, thought of as Little War Creek, in contrast with War Creek in the southern part of the county; or from Little War Creek Coal Co.
Logan Logan for Logan, the Indian chief
Lookout Fayettebecause of Spy Rock, just west of the town, used by the Union Army [Shirey]
LoradoLoganfor Lorrain Coal and Dock Co.
Maben Wyoming for J. C. Maben of Philadelphia
Mabscott Raleigh for Mabel Shinn Scott, of Fairmont, wife of Cyrus Ellison Scott, coal operator
MacArthur Raleigh for General Douglas MacArthur
Madison Boone for Col. William Madison Peyton, coal operator, or possibly President James Madison
Man Logan from the last syllable of the name of Ulysses Hinchman, member of the House of Delegates from Logan County
Mannington Marion see note below
Manila Boone named in 1900 after Battle of Manila Bay during Spanish American War
Maplewood Fayette in honor of a large maple tree [Shirey]
MarfranceGreenbrierfor the two coal companies doing business there, Margaret and Frances
Marlinton Pocahontas for Jacob Marlin, who settled there with Sewell during the winter of 1750-51
Matewan Mingo for Matewan, New York, home city of the engineer who laid out the town
Matoaka Mercer is another name for Pocahontas, the Indian princess
McAlpin Raleigh named by John Laing in honor of his mother, whose maiden name was McAlpin
Meadow Bridge Fayette because a bridge was constructed across Meadow Creek there
Mitchell Heights Logan for the old Mitchell Farm there
MonavilleLoganprobably for Mona Coal Co., named for Mona Wilkinson, the daughter of a coal operator
Montgomery Fayette/ Kanawha for James Montgomery, early settler
Mount Hope Fayette for Mount Hope School, an early country school there
Mullens Wyoming for Andrew Jackson Mullins (1857-1938), land owner there (the name was inadvertently misspelled; later, residents of the town voted to retain the "incorrect" spelling)
Nimitz Summers for Admiral Chester Nimitz
Northfork McDowell because of its location on the north fork of Elkhorn River at its junction with the south fork
North SpringWyomingProbably because the creek there runs in a northerly direction
Nuttallburg Fayette for Englishman John Nuttall who opened a mine and built 150 coke ovens [Shirey].
Oak Hill Fayette because of a large white oak tree there and the fact that the town is on a hill
Oakvale Mercer for oak trees there
Oceana Wyomingsee note below
Odd RaleighPostmaster Edward Wallace said in 1937 that when the post office was established, the people had a meeting to decide about a name. When someone suggested that the name be a very odd one, Mrs. M. J. Brown approved strongly and proposed this name.
Orgas Boone for Orange Gas Co.
Page Fayette for Capt. William N. Page, coal operator
Paint Creek Kanawha/Fayette because Indians painted the trees to mark their trail
Parral Fayette for a mine in Mexico visited by Samuel Dixon, coal operator
Pax Fayette for the Pax Branch stream, which was named for hunters who had camped near there earlier
Peach Creek Logan for the large peach grove there
Peterstown Monroe for Christian Peters, Revolutionary soldier who founded the town
Pie Mingo named by postmaster Leander Blankenship (b. about 1870) because he liked pie (information from Kathy Deskins, his granddaughter)
Pineville Wyoming for a pine forest there
Pluto Raleigh for the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology
Princeton Mercer for Princeton, New Jersey, where Gen. Hugh Mercer was killed during the Revolutionary War
PrincewickRaleighfor Prince E. Lilly and Thomas Wickham, who established the town
Quinnimont Fayette Latin for "five mountains"
Quinwood Greenbrier for Quin Morton and Walter S. Wood, coal operators
Rainelle Greenbrier for Thomas W. and John Raine, lumber manufacturers (see note below)
Ravenseye Fayette for the flashing dark eyes of Mrs. Maggie Rodes [Shirey]
Raysal McDowell for Raymond Salvati, a superintendent for the Pond Creek Pocahonas Co.
Renick Greenbrier for Maj. William Renick, from Augusta County, Virginia
Rhodell Raleigh for I. J. Rhodes, one of the founders of the town
Ronceverte Greenbrier French for "green brier"
Rum Creek Logan because a keg of rum was lost in its banks by the settlers
Rupert Greenbrier for Dr. Cyrus A Rupert, founder
St. Albans Kanawha for St. Albans, Vermont
Sam Black Church Greenbrier for a church named in honor of Rev. Samuel Black (1813-1899), a native of Greenbrier county
Saulsville Wyoming for James Sauls, the mail carrier of the route between Oceana, Pineville, Spanishburg and Raleigh
Scarbro Fayette named by Samuel Dixon for the English town of Scarborough. The Post Office later shortened the name.
Skelton Raleigh named by coal operator Samuel Dixon for his birthplace, Skelton, England
Slab Fork Raleigh for the creek near the town
Smithers Fayette for James Smithers, early settler
SophiaRaleighfor Sophia McGinnis, early resident
Spanishburg Mercer for Spanish Brown, early settler
Sprague Raleigh for Phineas W. Sprague, head of C. H. Sprague Co. and a major stockholder in the New River Co.
Stanaford Raleigh for the creek branch on which it is located
Stotesbury Raleigh for Edward T. Stotesbury, president of the Beaver Coal Co., named by E. E. White, coal operator
Summersville Nicholas for Judge Lewis Summers, who introduced the bill in the Virginia Assembly creating Nicholas County
SurosaMingofor Sue and Rose, the wives of the president and vice president of the Dayton Coal Corp.
Thurmond Fayette for Capt. W. D. Thurmond, who acquired the land in 1873 as payment for surveying work
Union Monroe because the site of the town was a rendezvous for troops during the Indian wars
Ury Raleigh for Uriah Cook, land owner
War McDowell for War Creek, named by the Indians because of a battle that occurred near the source of the creek
Webster Springs Webster for Webster County and the various sulphur springs there
Welch McDowell for Isaiah A. Welch, a captain in the Confederate army
White Sulphur Springs Greenbrier for the sulphur springs there
Whitesville Boone for B. W. White, early settler
Wickham Raleigh for coal operator Thomas Wickham
Williamson Mingo for Wallace J. Williamson, founder of the town
Wyco Wyoming for Wyoming Coal Company; or for Wyoming and county (it is a mile from the Raleigh County line; on maps the county line was sometimes marked Ral-Co and Wy-Co on the two sides)

Beckley. According to The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States (1905) by Henry Gannett, Beckley was named for Alfred Beckley. However, other accounts say Alfred named the town for his father.

Ghent - West Virginia Place Names has: “Mr. W. O. McGinnis, who helped to have the mail route established here, informs me that Ghent was named in 1902 for the Treaty of Ghent.” Records show the Ghent post office was established in 1903.

Hinton - According to A History of Clayton Community (1923) by C. H. Graham, “In 1872 Summers County was formed, taking into its territory that part of Monroe to which we belonged. The first sheriff to whom we paid taxes in the new county was Evan Hinton, after whose family the town of Hinton was named and who also was the chief promoter in having the new county formed.” According to the city's web site in 2007, “Hinton was laid out on the land of Avis Gwinn Hinton by her husband, John Hinton, in 1831. The town grew very slowly until 1871 when the Chesapeake & Ohio River Railroad company blasted a path through the New River gorge and made Hinton the division terminal. The town then started to grow and was incorporated on September 21, 1880. Some historians claim that the town was named for Evan Hinton, who was active in the movement to create Summers County. Others suggest that it was named for John (Jack) Hinton, who was a prominent lawyer in the county and laid out the town in 1831.”

Jenkinjones and Freeman - Jenkin Jones was born at Glyn Neath, Wales on Sept. 25, 1839. He came to the U. S. in 1863, and worked as a coal miner in Pennsylvania before moving to West Virginia, where he developed coal mines. Jones and John Freeman formed a partnership which opened the Caswell Creek Coal and Coke Co. and later, with Isaac T. Mann, they operated Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co.

Oceana - One claim is that the town is named for Oceana, younger daughter of Cornstalk. Another theory is that it comes from an Indian word meaning big bottoms or level land. A third theory is that it is named for Ocie Anna, the Indian-stolen daughter of “old” William Cooke. Hamill Kenny of WVU believed this last explanation is most likely, pointing out that Ocie was a common West Virginia given name in earlier times and that the local pronunciation is oh-see-an-uh, not o-shee-an-uh.

Rainelle - The origin of the town name shown above is taken from the West Virginia Blue Book. Warren Napier writes, "Jeff, I grew up in Rainelle, as did my older brothers, and my father knew the Raines pretty well. You're right about it being associated with the Raines, of course, but, as we were told, it also is from the wife of one of the gentlemen, 'Nelle' Raine."

Wyoming. According to this web page, “There is no record of the name’s origin, though some say Wyoming County took her name from the Wyoming Indian tribe. Other historians believe that the name was suggested by its use in a poem written by Thomas Campbell entitled ‘Gertrude of Wyoming.’ Others suggested that the county’s name came from a loose translation of the Delaware Indian work Maughwauwama, meaning ‘large or extensive plains.’”


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