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Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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Christian County, Illinois
Featuring Coal Mining
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coal Miner's Monument
Photographed July 11, 2010

Donated by
William A. Stone

coal Miner's Monument inset
Photographed July 11, 2010
Christian County is a county located in central Illinois.
the 2000 US census shows the population as 35,372.
The county seat is Taylorville, Illinois.
Dane County was formed February 15, 1839 out of Sangamon, Montgomery and Shelby Counties.
Dane County was renamed Christian County in 1840.    It was named for Christian County, Kentucky.
            Source :
            Chritian County Monument
            Photographed July 11, 2010
Christian County has seventeen townships:
      Assumption, Bear Creek, Buckhart, Greenwood, Johnson, King, Locust, May, Mosquito, Mount Auburn, Pana, Prairieton, Ricks, Rosamond, South Fork, Stonington, & Taylorville.
      Retirement Biography of Mike J. Burke,
           Miner, Cutting Machine Operator, Peabody No. 7 Coal Mine
      Biography of Thomas H. Devlin,
           Superintendent, Assumption Coal & Mining Company
      Biography of Karl Hight,
           Instrumental in the coal mining interests of Assumption
      Biography of D. W. Johnston,
           President, Christian County Coal Company
      Biography of George V. Penwell,
           Owner, Penwell Mine
      Biography of Warren Penwell,
           Secretary and Treasurer, Penwell Coal Mining Company
      Biography of J. J. Piepoint,
           Bookkeeper, Penwell Coal Mining Company
      Biography of Charles C. Schwartz, Coal Miner
           of Tovey, South Fork Township, Christian County, Illinois       including Obituary
      Biography of Edward C. Watson,
           Chief Clerk, Assumption Coal & Mining Company
      Berea Cemetery - Mosquito Township, Christian County, Illinois
           One tombstone photo
      Monument of G. F. Bilyeu       Oak Hill Cemetery
      Taylorville, Taylorville Township, Christian County, Illinois
           One monument / tombstone photo

Coal Mines
      List of Coal Mines in Christian County, Illinois.

           including Photographs, Histories and Fatalities
      Taylorville Primary School - Taylorville, Christian County, Illinois
           circa 1920s class photos

COAL in Christian County, Illinois

Source : Past and Present of Christian County, Illinois.
By Hon. J. C. McBride, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, p134-135
      One of the greatest industries of the county, second only to that of agriculture, while yet in the infancy of its development, is the mining of coal. It is certain that at a depth, of from three to eight hundred feet an immense vein of an excellent quality of bituminous coal from six to eight feet in thickness stretches all over the more than 720 square miles of this county. Only in about a dozen places has it been reached by digging, but sufficient has been done to demonstrate the truthfulness of the above statement. It is undoubtedly true that this county possesses enough coal to supply the entire United States with a cheap fuel for a period of time, were it found necessary to use it. Beneath the ground lies this munificent but necessary commodity but it will be many years before much of this virgin fuel will ever be touched by miner's pick or drill. A vast, untold and almost unlimited field of power and wealth lies beneath us while above grows that which will feed the men while they are digging out this treasure. And as if nature had been most profuse in her gifts to this region, above these immense veins of coal is a rock covering many feet in thickness, thus insuring to the laborer beneath the surface that protection so much needed and desired by those who toil for this latent and almost limitless product, that was stored for the use of man when the earth was young. It is an ideal mining county and one which should always possess cheap fuel.
      All over the county there may be obtained water in abundance, so that the three essentials to a manufacturing center, viz., cheap fuel, abundant water and cheap food, are everywhere present, With a large home consumption for our food, and an abundance of coal there is no reason why this should not become one of the great manufacturing counties of the west. But it was not always known that we possessed these great treasures. For years most of these lands were thought to be untillable and the existence of coal in any considerable quantity was unknown.
      It was not til the year 1882 or 1883 that this vast field of wealth was discovered. To be sure, small veins not to exceed 22 inches in thickness had been known to exist on Coal creek in the southern part of the county. At White's Bank on section 34. township 11 north, range 1 east, the largest vein was found and the coal was dug out by drifting into the hillside about thirty feet above the level of the creek. Another ten-inch seam was found near Greenwood's mill on the South Fork, but the coal was of poor quality. Near the North Fork mills, a 17-inch vein was known to exist several feet below low water mark.
      But these evidences of coal were inconsequential and it was not until 1882 that the Pana Coal Company sunk a shaft something more than 700 feet deep, found a vein of coal from seven to eight feet thick, and in 1884 began taking out coal.
      Other mines followed in rapid succession. The second shaft of the Pana Coal Company was sunk in 1887. The Penwell Coal Company sunk a shaft in 1888 and began removing coal in 1889. The Springside Coal Company was started in 1889 and coal was removed in 1890.
      In Taylorville the meeting of the first stockholders to perfect the organization of a company was held on Monday, March 1, 1886. W. W Anderson was chosen president of the directors, A. G. Barnes treasurer and D. D. Shumway secretary.
      On May 11, 1886, a contract for boring was let to S. A. Warner of Wadsworth, Ohio, to prospect for coal, but coal was not found till some time in 1887.
      On January 6, 1888, a contract was made with Mr. S. Ainsworth for sinking a shaft and the shaft was completed before the close of the year.
      Numerous other shafts have been sunk since that time.
      One was at Edinburg and was in operation for several years, one in Assumption which furnishes a peculiarly valuable quality of coal and in 1900 the Christian County Coal Company in Taylorville, which works a large force of men.
      And still others are in course of construction. A drill hole is being rapidly sunk near Clarksdale and a mine just outside the county, at Blue Mound, and still others are contemplated.
      From the mines in the county about 15,000 tons of coal contribute to the uses of man daily, and many mills and factories from all over the west pour forth their smoke, telling of this immense industry in Christian county that is yet in its infancy.
      From a beginning in Pana, when Mr. Julius Broehl sold the first carload of coal in 1884 and but few men were employed, now but little less than 3,000 men are kept busy and the output is transported by five or six trains of cars each day. And what of the future? Who can tell? The amount to be produced is unlimited by any conception of man. The ease with which it may be raised to 'the surface, the comparative safety of the location of the veins, the cheapness and the nearness of the food needed, the abundance and superior quality of the water, all proclaim this county as not only an agricultural center, as not only a mining center, but in the near future the place where many manufactories will be located because the raw products can be turned into wares for the uses of men cheaper here than elsewhere. The rich glimmerings of prosperity now experienced are but the faint, golden glow of the richer realizations that may be looked for in the future.

Coal & Coal Mining in Illinois
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