Here’s a great-looking old coin from the Avis Eagle Coal Company. The mine from which this coal scrip came was part of a network of mines that sprung up along the Guyandotte River in Logan County, West Virginia. The Avis Eagle mine was serviced by the small town of Lyburn.

Construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in 1904-05 allowed access to most of the area, and numerous mines populated the river valley and other tributary hollows of the Guyandotte, including Island Creek, Snap Creek, Rum Creek and Buffalo Creek. The region became known as the Logan Coalfield, and it would grow to be one of the largest coal-producing areas of West Virginia.

It also has some history. During the 1920s, the sheriff of Logan County was thought to have received hefty payments from local coal companies to keep the United Mine Workers union out of the county. His name was Don Chafin, and he and his deputies would become notorious for their tactics of coercion. As a result, the union was displaced and could gain little foothold among workers in the area.

In 1921, local coal miners staged an uprising against Chafin and his army of deputies. It became known as the Battle of Blair Mountain – a skirmish that constituted one of the largest armed rebellions since the Civil War.

When I look at this old coin, I wonder about the men through whose hands it might have passed. And I have to ask myself, “Were they at Blair Mountain?”