Map shows main railroad line, but does not show the extensions to the Right Fork of Crummis Creek or to Frozen, Spruce and Nicut
By Bob Weaver 2000
The history of transportation in Calhoun County has often stated that no railroads reached into Calhoun County,
although several efforts were made. Calhoun County, however, did have a railroad, the tail end of the Elk and Little
Kanawha Railroad, a narrow gauge railroad laid from Gassaway to Rosedale and Shock in 1912, with spur lines
extending into the Bear Fork backwoods and parts of Calhoun.
Railroad Piers Near Shock
Rail Bed is
Along Steer Creek.
Frank Miller Talks About Railroad
Memories at Rosedale,
Beside His '57
Jerry Moore at Fletcher Stout Place (circa 1880) at Shock.
Nearby was Shock Railroad Station at Mouth of Tanner.
She Grew Up in Log House and is daughter of Ralph Perrine.
Knotts and Lauson Store on Frozen.
The Elk and Little Kanawha Railroad, owned by the Interstate Cooperage Company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil,
was to have connected Gassaway with Parkersburg. Calhoun native, Harlan Stump, researched the fingers of the
railroad into Calhoun, considering it an "amazing phenomena," since little had been recorded of the venture.
Rail Lines Extended Down Frozen to Left Hand.
Store was operated by R.J. Knotts, Sr.
and Lex Lauson (Larson)
"The Bennett Land Timber was sold to Interstate Cooperage, and to transport the vast amounts of stave timber,
square timber and softwood, the railroad was built," he recorded. The Elk and Little Kanawha transported
passengers and freight in both directions.
The railroad beyond Shock was a spur line that ran up Tanner (now known as Tanner #4) and across the divide ridge
into the head of Laurel (considered to be the head of Bear Fork) and down stream to the mouth of Trace Fork. There
the main Bear Fork Mill was located, as well as a store and several houses. (SEE map in earlier Hur Herald article)
The Bennett Land was not only in Bear Fork, which dwells mostly in Gilmer County, but extends into Calhoun,
including Frozen Run, Spruce Run (a branch of Frozen), Little Frozen, Left Hand of the West Fork, Upper Big Run,
Mount Run, Bear Run, Head of Crooked Run, and the Right and Left Forks of Crummies Creek.
There were two spurs into Calhoun, according to Stump's research. The first ran down Frozen and back switched up
Spruce Run, and continued up the Left Fork of the West Fork of the Little Kanawha to the mouth of Upper Big Run,
a distance of four to five miles.
The second spur came into Crummies Creek through "Deep Gap" from Sugar Camp, a branch of Trace Fork of main
Bear Fork, a feat which he describes as amazing. "This distance was about three miles," he said. Total spur mileage
was about eight, with turnaround switches included.
Stump did most of his railroad research in the early 1980's, interviewing old-timers, studying aerial maps, county
maps, topo maps and actually inspecting the old grades.
Stump talked at length with Mary Schoolcraft Cottrell, who was 95 in 1983. She lived in the immediate vicinity since
1909. Cottrell said that the train ran to the mouth of Frozen, twice a day. "The main mill on Frozen was the Boggs
Fork Mill, where Grey Robinson lived. Claude Rogers lives on Oak Log Holler," she said.
"There was a back switch at the foot of Frozen Run Hill. There is a picture of the cut at the head of Bear Fork,
including 'Ross" over in Gilmer." The Normans, Cottrells and Millers worked for the Interstate Cooperage
Bly Miller who lived close to the Shock Post Office, and was the son of Grover Miller, worked for Interstate
Cooperage as a fireman on the mill boilers. "Grover told Bly the train engines were 'Climax' engines," reported
Stump. Ray Cottrell, who had a "sheepskin deed" to land on Bear Run, told Stump of the evidence of tram roads on
Edna Yoak Altizer, Post Mistress at Millstone in 1983, told of living in adjoining rooms to the Field Office of the
Interstate Cooperage Company. Her father, Lloyd Yoak, Sr., ran a general store and post office at the Mouth of
Tanner, known as Shock.
Bly Miller also reported that Park Woodyard had told him the E and LK Railroad ran up Spruce Fork of Frozen to a
mill near the Spurgeon Smith Farm. He said Bob Tucker lived as a lad near the Mouth of Spruce, and said that "The
switch at the foot of the hill was a double switch.
The train when loaded ran up Frozen Run toward where Ezra Cottrell lived, then backed into Oak Log Holler, then
went toward the hill climb." This gave an advantage on the grade and still let the train continue in the proper
Tucker maintains there never was a mill on Spruce, but was on Frozen just above the Warren Knotts farm. "The
train ran up through the John Smith farm almost to the head of Spruce," he told Stump. "There was another back
switch on the ridge where the Chapel Baptist Church is now. The mill at the mouth of Frozen was the only one."
Homer King, when he was 81, reported that the county road up Frozen was the original railroad grade. He said as
young lad he saw the No. 5 mill in operation on the Right Fork of Crummies Creek. His father worked for the
Cooperage Company on this mill, which was located half way between the head and mouth of Crummies. The railroad
came down Crummies Creek a short distance below the No. 5 Mill.
Samuel Rector "Rex" Woodyard, father of Park Woodyard, was an engineer on the train. Stump said they had several
pictures of train engines and a picture of stave blocks stacked at Rosedale, exceeding 500,000 in number. Also
reported was a picture of the train station at Rosedale, and the much smaller station at Shock, which had large sliding
doors, but no windows.
Part of the right-of-way deal for hauling wood products, was an agreement to haul passengers out of the area between
Shock and Gassaway.
EDITORS NOTE: We gratefully acknowledge the work of Harlan Stump for his extensive research on Calhoun's
unknown railroad, which until now has not been printed. Harlan lived for many years at the top of Millstone Hill,
where he operated a small store and grist mill. We also acknowledge the cooperation of Harlan's daughter, Robin
Stump of Spencer, and others who have assisted in this piece. We will continue the railroad story soon from a
Braxton County newspaper account.