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Coalwood Robins

Coalwood Robins 1922
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
This was a postcard which was commonly distributed to promote the team.


We received this e-mail from Tim Gilley in Florida:

"Having been born in Coalwood in 1932 (two doors down from the house subsequently housing the Hickams), I am curious as to whether you would want photos of the Consolidated-Coal-Company-sponsored Coalwood Robins Baseball Teams of 1920-1927? The teams played in the semi-pro Coalfield League at that time. 

My father (James L. Gilley) was mine foreman for Consul, along with Homer Hickam, Sr., until they sold out in 1934.  At that time, Homer, Sr. became the mine superintendent, and Dad transferred to Letcher County, Kentucky, along with others with Consol Coal. 

Both Homer Sr. and dad played for the Coalwood Robins. Dad also played at times with the Welch Senators in the 1930s, and Knoxville, Tennessee, the latter a farm team for the New York Giants. He played with Lil Dixie Walker, Paul Derringer, Kelsie Jennings as they progressed up. Paul Derringer was a stand-out pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds ultimately.

Dad got married in 1928, at which time Mother laid her foot down that she would not be following Dad on his potential progress to the Major Leagues.  Thus, he obtained his release from the New York Giants Knoxville Farm Team in April, 1928.

Peace, R. Tim Gilley
grad. Welch Maroon Wave 1950"


Of course, we said we'd love to see the pictures which Tim immediately sent.  The pictures are shown on this page, and you may click on a picture to enlarge it. 

Thanks, Tim! 


Coalwood Robins 1926
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection


Coalwood Robins 1926
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
Reading from left to right, the team members' names are:  Ray Penny, Peck Baxter, Eddie Wohlevender, Ed Welder, Jim Gilley, Willie Dunkle, Roy Bssenbach, Joe Bockshoff, Bus Swift, Jeess Nidifer, Pete Vanderberg, Pete Sullins and Nick Weaver.


Coalwood Robins 1927
James L. Gilley wrote the players' names on the photo. 
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection


Coalwood Robins
Batting & Pitching Statistics - 1927
Scan Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
(Tim attributes this chart to Carol Dehaven, who provided it to him several years ago along with copies of the Consol Coal Company Mutual Magazine as it was called.  Carol was the secretary in the Olga Coal Company office around the mid 1940s.)
Note that a man named Hickam (possibly a relative of Homer, Sr.) played on the team this year.


Coalwood Robins
Batting & Pitching Statistics - 1928
Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
(Tim attributes this chart to Carol Dehaven, who provided it to him several years ago along with copies of the Consol Coal Company Mutual Magazine as it was called.)




Ninth Grade Class
Industrial Grade School
Coalwood, West Virginia, 1920
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
Tim Gilley comments: "This picture was in the Consolidated Coal Company News Chronicle, from which David Goad extracted some of his photos used on his website www.CoalwoodMemories.com.  Dad [James L. Gilley] is the tall young man in the middle, back row.  David Goad had another photo of a larger class, the 12th, where a male student has his arm around dad's shoulder that was also included in the News, and used by David on his website. 

I have the original photo, on the back of which has the names of the class members shown in the photo and the teacher's name. Unfortunately it was glued to a page years ago, and when the photo was removed, some of the dark paper to which it was glued has adhered to the back. The names cannot be read. I can only read the name of Mr. Cross as teacher who is presumed to be the gentleman in that particular photo.

As for Schooling, Dad attended The Coalwood Industrial High School, and was Valedictorian of his graduating class 1922-1923. (May 18, 8:00 PM.) I have a copy of the program for that event. The Principal was George West Diehl.  [See the picture below.]

As for the photo of the 9th grade, the Senior High class photo, and a Sunday School photo of the same era that I have, all were taken on the same steps of the building used also as a Community Center.  The building was across the street from the boarding house [the Club House] and medical offices in the center of Coalwood's business district.   Other faculty at that facility: Iva Shafer Diehl, Mary Helen Dollar, Josephine Gore Peck, Janey Hughes Seay, Francis Williams, Louise Bridges and Edith Knarr.  [See the picture below.]

This Community Center was used also as a theater in the basement, where plays like Tom Thumb (with men totally) were held."


Consolidated Coal Company Mutual Magazine
July 1923
The graduating class of Coalwood W.Va. Industrial High School.
Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
(Tim attributes this to Carol Dehaven who provided copies of the Consol Coal Company
Mutual Magazine


Coalwood Community Center
Photo Courtesy of R. Tim Gilley Collection
(Tim attributes the photo to the David Goad Collection)
This building was located next door to the Big Store in Coalwood Main.  At one time, the building housed a community center, the Industrial Grade School, and a theater.  After the building was torn down, the floor and walls of the basement were covered with concrete and turning into the Coalwood swimming pool!



Tim Gilley and his wife Doris.
Taken in Florida in the 1980s.