Both West Virginia and Maryland claimed the town of Kempton – Who does it belong to?

Kempton was a coal-mining company town at the headstream of the Potomac River that was claimed by both West Virginia and Maryland.

Play the song Coal loading machine while viewing the pictures by clicking on the arrow below. It was recorded in West Virginia of the Evening Breezes Sextet of Vivian, West Virginia from Library of Congress while you look at the photographs

A  sign on a road to Kempton taken by photographer John Vachon in May 1939

Sign on road to Kempton, West Virginia-Maryland. The post office and company store are in West Virginia. Miners pay the West Virginia sales tax. The rest of the town is in Garrett County, Maryland

The town actually straddled West Virginia-Maryland. While the post office and coal mine company store were in West Virginia and miners paid the West Virginia sales tax, the rest of the town was in Garrett County, Maryland.

Inspired by historical events and people, Discordance is a story filled with drama, suspense, humor, romance that takes the reader back to colonial days.

Company town Kempton, West Virginia in 1939 by photographer John Vachon

Company town Kempton, West Virginia in 1939 by photographer John Vachon

The Davis Coal & Coke Company’s Mine No. 42, and Kempton shipped its first coal in 1914. When the mine first opened.

Kempton, West Virginia sign at the entrance to coal mine

Kempton, West Virginia sign

There were many foreign-born miners so signs had to be written in more than English languages – This Sign was in English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Czech, and PolishSign in English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Czech, and Polish, Kempton, West Virginia kempton, WV

When the mine first opened there was not a road to the town so people moving there “loaded their furniture on flatcars and took the Western Maryland Railroad to the Kempton siding. A dirt road finally came to the town in 1928 and was the only way in and out.”

This was the street in Kempton, West Virginia

Street in company town, Kempton, West Virginia

Kempton, West Virginia. Company houses along the streetKempton, West Virginia. Company houses.3

Kempton, West Virginia. Company houses2

The schoolhouse (pictured below) also served as the churchSchool in company-owned coal town, Kempton, West Virginia

Only three homes had running water and indoor plumbing, the doctor’s, the mine superintendent’s and the store operator’s.

Doctor’s Office

Office of company doctor, Kempton, West Virginia

Company doctor leaving home of sick minerCompany doctor leaving home of sick miner. Kempton, West Virginia

Company doctor examining patient. Miners paid two dollars a month for medical careCompany doctor (West Virginia coal town) examining patient. Miners pay two dollars a month for medical care. Kempton, West Virginia

Company clerk in company-owned coal town, Kempton, West VirginiaCompany clerk in company owned coal town, Kempton, West Virginia

Privies were used by the rest of the town. “The coal company also provided the service of cleaning out the outhouses once a year. They would bring a truck around and haul the refuse off in it, and spread lime in the pit if needed.”

Clothes lines and privies

Clothes lines and privies. Kempton, West Virginia

“At Kempton’s peak, two hundred miners and their families lived in the community.” There were usually several men that frequently boarded with the families in their homes. The company charged two dollars a month for rent on the homes.

Crowded house in Kempton

crowded house in Kempton West Virginia John Vachon May 1939

Miners in front of the company Store
Kempton, West Virginia. Striking coal miners in front of the company store

FreeHearts: 2nd edition A Novel of Colonial America Col. John Washington (ancestor of President George Washington), Randall Revell, Tom Cottingham, Edmund Beauchamp ward off Indian attacks and conquer the wilds of Maryland’s Eastern shore in 17th century colonial America in this historical novel, inspired by true events.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She cohost the Podcast: Alabama Grist Mill and developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and

All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.