John Heth

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John Heth (1798 – April 30, 1842), of Black Heath in Chesterfield County, Virginia, was the son of Colonel Henry "Harry" Heth, who had emigrated from England in 1759, and established himself in the coal business in the Virginia Colony.

John Heth served in the volunteer forces of Virginia as an officer in the U.S. Navy in the War of 1812. On January 15, 1815, he was captured with Commodore Stephen Decatur Jr., the commander of the U.S. frigate President, and taken to Bermuda with Decatur and his crew as a prisoner of war. With two others, Captain Heth escaped from Bermuda in an open boat. [1]

Captain Heth married Margaret L. Pickett (1801-1850) of Richmond, Virginia on May 15, 1822. They became the parents of future Confederate Major General Henry Heth, who was born at Black Heath in 1825.

Near his home, John Heth operated the Black Heath coal pit near present-day Midlothian, a business inherited from his father, who died in 1822. Ten years later, in 1832, he petitioned the Virginia General Assembly to form the first coal mining corporation, and succeeded despite protests, the following year. After two serious fatal accidents from explosions in 1839 and 1844, the Black Heath pits were closed until 1938. [2]

John Heth died in Powhatan County, Virginia in 1842.