Pine Bluff, WV 1905

Pine Bluff, WV 1905

Located approximately four miles northwest of Shinnston is Pine Bluff, a small village that mainly occupies land once part of a large tract granted by Virginia in 1783 to Levi Shinn (1748-1807) Shinn's two youngest children, Moses (1791-1862) and Isaiah (1794-1871) in the 1820's settled upon this land and by 1835 had erected a waterpowered combination gristmill and sawmill on the waters of Bingamon Creek, a stream which flows though the village and which for a time formed a small portion of the boundary between Monongalia County and Harrison County the latter was created in 1784.

Of considerable importance for years to Bingamon inhabitants, this mill gave the village its original name of Shinn's Mill and also was the reason for Harrison County in or about 1853 erecting a covered bridge for the convenience of the mill's patrons who had to cross the creek.

About 1900 the mill stopped operation and soon there after was razed.

The 1920's were perhaps, the Golden Years in Pine Bluff's history, for coal mines changed the village into a community that was fairly prosperous until the Great Depression began in 1929.

There was a large company store that stood beside the railroad, not far from the cemetery; and smaller stores were kept during this period by Guy Audia, Andy Bartis, Basil Crim, David A. Jett, Lewis Jett, James B. Martin, Lawrence Martin, James and Mae Rowe, and Fredrick Lincoln Sandy.

The railroad built to connect Wyatt to Bingamon Junction not only was traveled by trains carrying coal and freight but also by streetcars that made travel to Fairmount and Clarksburg much more convenient.

Like hundreds of other small communities, Pine Bluff was severely stricken by the Great Depression. Prosperity melted and more than just a few families were in desperate need by the 1930's. The coal mines that were still operating worked sporadically, and the population dwindled as people moved away in hopes of bettering themselves elsewhere.

Slowly things improved as the decade of the 1930's drew to a end, and by 1940 the worst effects of the Great Depression were disappearing. In the 1940's the last of Pine Bluff's deep mines closed. By then, however, strip mining started and afforded employment to local men. A tipple that spanned Bingamond Creek near Isaiah Shinn House was built, and a ramp was constructed farther down in the village at what had long been know as "The Knoll" (once thought to be a Moundbuilder relic but later proved to be only a product of erosion).

1940's were worries and anxious years as the nation prepared for and entered into World War II The community's young men left to fight in foreign lands; some never returned. An Honor Roll in the church bears the names of those who fought in that war. Pine Bluff men have never been wanting in patriotism and have bravely served their country ever since the village was settled.

1940's the village also witnessed the destructive Shinnston Tornado, which during the evening of Friday, June 23, 1944, cut its deadly path though the Bingamon county as it roared and twisted toward Shinnston. It by-passed the village but was plainly visible as it crossed Peora Hill and traveled down Pigott's Run.

Today no coal tipple can be seen standing in the village, and the railroad has been removed. The people of Pine Bluff who have jobs work elsewhere and must commute to their place of employment. The mining houses and company store have been gone; the surrounding hills are again heavily wooded; and the village has become, as it was in the earlier days, a tranquil country community.

From an article by: Jack Sandy Anderson, A History of Northern Harrison County West Virginia, Clay, Eagle, Sardis Recalling the Past, Looking to the Future, Shinnston Historical Association, 1982. Lula Fae Parsons Doverspike owned a copy of this book.


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