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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pax Once Had a Bank

When coal mining boomed during the early 1900s, banks sprang up in several of the smaller towns in Fayette County, offering banking services to the local mining companies and their employees.

Located in Pax, WV, the Bank of Pax operated from October 1, 1915 until September 4, 1931. Dr. A, L. Hunter was the bank's president and Otis Lively its vice-president. In 1921, the Bank of Pax moved into a handsome new building in town constructed of native sandstone, shown in the photo below.

Former Bank of Pax Building, Pax, WV
The Bank of Pax was one of several West Virginia banks closed during The Great Depression. Following the bank's closure, the Fayette County Board of Education used the building as a school house for a while.  Year later, the building briefly served as city hall.

William Humphrey, early settler of Pax, came to the area from Monroe County, in about 1840. Originally known as Paintsville, the Town of Pax, WV, was incorporated in 1920 and named for Pack's Branch, a tributary of Paint Creek. Pack's Branch, in turn, was named for a family hunters named "Pack" who camped near the present location of the town. Packs Mountain rises to the east of the community. Plum Orchard Lake is located northwest of Pax.

Coal mines operating near Pax during the 1900s included the Packs Branch, Willis Branch, and Weirwood mines.  In 1920-21, near the end of the "West Virginia Mine Wars," a series of shootouts took place between union miners and company mine guards in the Pax area.  A nearby tipple and its incline was dynamited and a gun battle waged between 56 mine guards and miners left homes and buildings in Willis Branch were left riddled with bullet holes from machine gun and Browning rifle fire.

Pax Photo Gallery - Photos of Pax, WV and vicinity.


The Raleigh Register · Wed, Jun 19, 1963 · Page 48
Beckley Post-Herald · Wed, Oct 7, 1964 · Page 4 · "The History of Little Pack's Branch"
The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia) · Thu, May 28, 1936 · Page 1

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