The remainder of the Follansbee brother’s land not used for the Tin Mill was conveyed to a corporation called the Brooke County Improvement Company that surveyed and laid out a grid of town lots. William Banfield, who was the able manager of Follansbee Brothers Tin Mill, was also the President of the Brooke County Improvement Company.
As the Improvement Company laid out the town lots, some major obstacles were destroyed, including two Indian mounds located near what is now Main Street. The larger of the mounds was thirty feet in diameter and twelve feet high. When the mounds were removed, a number of arrowheads, tomahawks, scalping knives and other relics were found. Also, a number of creeks had to be bridged and a sizable hill descending to the intersection of Main and Alleghany streets was leveled.
The Pan Handle Abstract Company was contracted to sell the lots for the Improvement Company. Advertisements appeared in the local papers for the lots, which totaled 931 by June 1, 1904. In a short time, streets were graded, boardwalks made, and the construction of homes began.
One of the city streets is named after William Banfield who was born in England in 1854. After coming to America, he worked in the first tin mill ever operated in the United States, that being at Leechburg, Pa. By 1885 he was at Irondale in Jefferson County, Ohio. He and others purchased the Pioneer Iron Works plant and established the Irondale Rolling Mill Company. Banfield then went to Chester, WV, and built the sheet mills there. Following other successes, he joined the Follansbee Brothers Company and played a significant role in the thriving town of Follansbee. The building now occupied by the James Funeral home located on upper Main Street in Follansbee was originally the residence of William Banfield. Banfield’s home was constructed by the Follansbee Brothers Company.
- The History of West Virginia, Old and New Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, Volume III, pg. 255-256
William Banfield, first manager of Follansbee Brothers Tin Mill.