The Comstock Load
In the early 50’s Clinchfield Coal Co. paid men who wanted an advance on their salary with silver dollars. At that time the company didn’t have bath houses for the miners. One enterprising gentleman made the bottom of his 2 story block house into a bath house while he lived on the top floor. He charged $1 for the shower and often was paid with silver dollars.
My Dad’s brother-in-law Bill frequented the showers and said that on the day in question he saw 2 cigar boxes full of silver dollars behind the counter. The block house sat in a strip of land about 30 yards wide between the railroad tracks and a small creek on the right side of the road as you went up toward the mines. Up the creek a ways the company had a large pond of water called a settling pond that allowed the coal dust to settle out before the water went on down the creek.
After several days of heavy rain the dam on the pond gave way and the water washed down the creek. The men in the bath house were just able to get out (many of them wearing nothing but a thick layer of coal dust) before the water washed the block house away. My uncle lost his clothes including his wallet and watch as did many of the other men.
Thirty years later he showed my Dad and myself the site and using metal detectors we recovered many of the missing silver dollars. To date we have found 98 of the approximately 200-300 silver dollars that we figure were in the two cigar boxes that day.
The Miller’s Yard Mystery
Down toward Dungannon just below the train yard called Miller’s Yard where Little Stony Creek enters the Clinch River an eldery gentleman lived with his oldest daughter. As with many older folks the gentleman didn’t like or trust banks and kept his money hid somewhere close to home. It seems that this gentleman was also a coin collector and had quiet a few gold and silver coins buried in quart and half gallon canning jars.
After his death his daughter contacted my father and requested help in locating his buried coins. She agreed to split evenly anything we found.
According to her, her father would come home with newly acquired coins for his collection and go out the back door towards the river with a shovel. He would only be gone for 15-20 minutes before returning. Though we searched several times we found nothing. So somewhere on Route 72 near where Little Stony Creek joins The Clinch River are several canning jars of gold and silver coins waiting to be found.