Photography of Howard Elson North

This is part of the photographic collection of Howard Elson North. Howard North was a coal miner with a camera...and pretty good with it too. He developed his own proofs and photographs. Many of these pictures were taken from small proofs found in the collection and scanned at high resolution. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. It's a side of the coal towns, the miners, and their families, not often seen.

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Howard North Photos page 2

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Howard Elson North at Mine Shaft

This is my grandfather, and the man behind the camera for all the pictures seen here. It was rare to have a camera in those days, and grandpa fancied himself quite the photographer. He developed his own film as well. He made his own dark room, sometimes in a coal shed.

I feel very fortunate to get to see his World as HE saw it.


  Glen Rogers, Wyoming County, West Virginia

Click here to request information on the Glen Rogers Reunion, for previous residents & laborers of Glen Rogers. Happening the summer of 2005

Click here to see other coal camp photos (offsite)

Glen Rogers, West Virginia, Coalmining Clubhouse
Glen Rogers, West Virginia, Head house / Engine house
Glen Rogers, Mine, West Virginia
Shaft at Glen Rogers, West Virginia
Looking down the Mine shaft, Glen Rogers, West Virginia
"Pour it Out", Glen Rogers Mine shaft, West Virginia
Persinger & J. Snyder at Hoist house, Glen Rogers, West Virginia
Glen Rogers Store & Post Office, West Virginia
Theater at Glen Rogers, West Virginia
School, Glen Rogers, West Virginia
J. Snyder, Acie Marks, Franklin Walton & Red Bullock

Glen Rogers, West Virginia

Patty & Gene Snyder
Dick Snyder
Dick Snyder

Dad said they had to cross this creek to get between home & the mine.

Dick Snyder's Kid
Mrs. Snyder & Mrs. Bradfield
  Shanty houses of Glen Rogers, WV

A 'shanty' is a coal miner's house. These shanty's were common. The pictures give you a good feel for the conditions the miner's lived in. Shanty's often were grouped together, and in "Brickyard Holler (Hollow)", seen below, there were about 6 or 7 shanties. The road dead-ended here.

'Shanty' of Les Waldron (or Waltern), Glen Rogers, WV
Snyder 'Shanty', Glen Rogers, WV
North 'Shanty', Brickyard Holler (Hollow), Glen Rogers, WV

The shanty is covered with something like tar-paper, to keep the elements out. My Father is the boy in the middle.

About 100 yards from the shanty was an air vent for the mine shaft, 710 feet deep. My dad rode down to the bottom of the shaft in the 'muck bucket' once. His father, the photographer, was the hoist operator for the shaft and 'muck bucket'.

pictures coming Other families in "Brickyard Holler" were the Burchfield's & the Bilbrey's. No information on the Burchfield's is known to me.

Four generations of the Bilbrey family lived in the hills of the same area. there were four daughters, of which my dad only remembers Betty Bilbrey. Their parents did not live there (possibly deceased). Also living there was the girls' grandmother, great-grandfather & great-grandmother.

The grandmother had a stroke and went into a coma. My father remembers that the doctor would come up there every day. He would run his car key along a blue vein in grandmother Bilbrey's skin, pressing the blood out. If the vein refilled, then she was still alive.

  The Powhatten Arrow & Other Trains

The Powhatten Arrow ran through McDowell County, near where grandpa worked.

Powhatten Arrow #136, close up
Powhatten Arrow # 136
North West Electric Engine

I don't know the exact location of this photo. Could be Superior, or Glen Rogers or maybe even Welch

"Train in the tunnel"

Anybody know where this is at?

  Superior, McDowell County, West Virginia

Lake Superior Coal Company 1940's

Ken Scarberry's Lake Superior Map, 1940's & 1950's

Kinsley Hopson, V. L. Hancock, P. W. Damon in Superior, WV, Newspaper

Grandpa didn't take this photo. It's included here because these men are in other photographs that he did take. Some of those are posted here. These men lived and worked with grandpa. He clipped this article and it was found in the box with his photographs.

Superior, West Virginia @ 1940's
Lake Superior Coal Company, Superior, West Virginia, 1940's
James & Pat North on a drilling rig #515 at Superior, West Virginia, 1949
James Roger North, late 1940's, Superior, West Virginia

Son of Howard E. North, photographer

Roger Hopson, A. K. Henderson & Jimmy North

Superior, West Virginia

A. K. Henderson

My Dad thinks that A. K. Henderson's Father as being a mine supervisor of some sort. The Henderson's lived either in the next house over from the apartment my dad lived in, or one more house over.

A. K. Henderson, Billie Steel & Noah Hopson
Christine Henderson
Roger Hopson & A. K. Henderson
Richard Eugene Cole,

age 15 months

Jim Carbaugh at Pinacle Rock, West Virginia

Pinacle Rock is near Bluefield, West Virginia

Bill Wyatt in Superior, West Virginia, 1948
Cauttle Family, Superior, West Virginia

The Cauttle family lived right next to my dad's family in the south end of Superior (upstream), just beyond the upstream end of the twin tunnels.

Beatrice Cauttle
Brenda & Beatrice Cauttle
Brenda Cauttle
French Family, Superior, West Virginia

The French family lived in the same apartment building as my Dad's 1st place in Superior. My Dad's family later moved upstream near the tunnels.

Jimmy French

Jimmy French
Jimmy French on the porch at the apartments
Jimmy French & dog
Sorah Family, Superior, West Virginia

My Dad thinks the Sorah Family lived in the same apartment building in Superior, as he did when his family 1st moved there. He isn't positive though. The apartment seen in the background is that apartment though.

Wanda Lee Sorah,

From Ken Scarberry & Teeny Sorah Beeman: Wanda in the photo is the daughter of Claude Sorah, brother to Teeny who did live in the apartments on Good Husband Row. Caude later became, I believe, Inside Boss and lived on the Hylton Hill and his house was the last house torn down.

Wanda Lee Sorah

at the apartments

Dewey McNew,

Superior, West Virginia

Late 1940's