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Many areas in West Virginia aren’t just haunted grounds with ghosts flying around — most of the places have a historic memory or disaster. These places are known for sadness, haunted and abandoned grounds. The story behind these hauntings show purpose, not just a short story to tell around a campfire.

The Battle of Blair Mountain was one of the worst and deadliest battles in the state of West Virginia. These grounds are sacred to our hometown and this story shows how terrible this event was for just Logan County.

In late August 1921, union miners and coal company supporters clashed near Blair Mountain, in what has been called the largest armed uprising since the Civil War. The Battle of Blair Mountain was the result of years of bitter labor disputes between the miners and coal companies of Southern West Virginia.

Since the late 1800s, the coalfields of Mingo, Logan and McDowell counties had operated under a repressive company town system.

“Workers mined using leased tools and were paid low wages in company currency, or ‘scrip,’ which could only be used at company stores,” according to history.com. “Safety conditions were often deplorable, yet despite the efforts of groups such as the United Mine Workers, the mine operators had kept unions out of the region through intimidation and violence. Companies compelled their workers to sign so-called ‘yellow dog contracts’ pledging not to organize, and they used armies of private detectives to harass striking miners and evict them from their company-owned homes.”

Armed warfare erupted on August 31, 1921, on Blair Mountain in Logan County when the miners’ army clashed with armed forces marshaled by the county sheriff, the coal companies and the state police. The three-day Battle of Blair Mountain was the climax of a war that had rocked West Virginia since the early years of the 20th century when the United Mine Workers, led by Mother Jones, tried repeatedly to penetrate tightly controlled company coal towns. The history behind this has a lot of meaning due to how our entire town is mostly made up of retired coal miners.

Up to 100 people were killed, and many more arrested, according to upworthy.com. “The United Mine Workers saw major declines in membership, but the long-term publicity led to some improvements in working conditions.”

Many people around the area that live towards Blair Mountain have claimed to hear screams, gunshots and have even supposedly seen a headless coal miner. They say if you wander around the mountain at night or visit on the anniversary of the battle, you could hear gunshots and men going into battle.

This battle took place in the deepest areas of Logan County. If you visit, watch out for the Headless Coal Miner because he may try to sneak up on you.

If you would like to visit or learn more information visit the website, coalheritage.org or wvminewars.org. These tours tell more information about how this small state managed to break out into a deadly civil war.

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