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Illinois
Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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Franklin County, Illinois
Featuring Coal Mining
      Franklin County is a county located in the southern part of the State of Illinois.
            37.99° N, 88.92° W
As of 2000, the population was 39,018 and in 2010 the population was 39,561.
The county seat is Benton.
      Franklin County was established on January 2, 1818 and formed from parts of Gallatin and White Counties, and was named for Benjamin Franklin.
 
      Franklin County has twelve townships:
            Barren, Benton, Browning, Cave, Denning, Eastern, Ewing, Frankfort, Goode, Northern, Six Mile, Tyrone
 
      Some of the Cities, Villages and communities are :
            Benton, Buckner, Christopher, Ewing, Freeman Spur (north half), Hanaford, Macedonia (west half), Mulkeytown, North City, Orient, Royalton, Sesser, Thompsonville, Valier, West City, West Frankfort, Zeigler
 

 
A bit of History - Coal Deposits not Profitable for Mining
Extract from : History Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties, Illinois 1887 17
Franklin County
Geological Characteristics
      The geological formations belong exclusively to the drift and the coal measures, and the coal measures here belong to the upper division of the coal formation. The drift deposits consist mainly of brown and yellow sandy clays containing gravel and small boulders, the largest of the boulders ranging from two to three feet in diameter. The average thickness of the drift clays is about thirty feet. Frankfort is situated on a hill nearly 100 feet above the level of the surrounding country. The coal of Franklin County is of but little value, the seams being uniformly too thin for working, and there is no outcrop of stratified rocks in any of the deep gulleys that furrow the sides of the Frankfort hill. The drift clays are, however, much thicker here than in other portions of the county, their average thickness being about thirty feet. There is an abundance of sandstone suitable for building purposes, located mainly a few miles to the west, and particularly a few miles to the northwest of Benton. Coal No. 7 is believed to underlie the county at a depth averaging from about 150 feet in the northern and western portions to about 500 feet in the central and southern portions, too deep for profitable investment in mining operations at present. Limestone suitable for the kiln is found about two miles west of Frankfort, and is about eight feet thick. It has been quarried somewhat for building material.
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Mining in West Frankfort Quadrangle76
      The coal in Franklin County contained a lot of gas and explosions killed many people.
      Zeigler No. 1 (mine index 53) had one of the worst mine disasters in the state, an explosion that killed 48, with 3 more dying from asphyxiation during rescue attempts.
      Old Ben Mine No. 11 had a bad explosion, killing 17, in November of 1917.
      The worst explosion was in 1951 in the Orient No. 2 Mine, mine index 1951, killing 119.
 
      Ventilation was good at the working faces, but gas would accumulate behind stoppings. Factors that contributed to the mines' problems were open flames in miners lamps and coal dust that would promulgate the explosion throughout the mine. The open flames in the miners lamps were a known hazard, but the introduction of closed lamps caused serious labor antagonism, since the lamps only provided about 2 candlepower of illumination. The gradual development of 100-candlepower lamps eased acceptance of the battery-powered lights. Rock dusting required development also, although the process was known in 1917. Lime dust was often too coarse to apply effectively, highway dust was tried, but it became wet in the mine. Old Ben Coal Company worked aggressively to develop a shale dust and this was used from 1918 until 1928, when lime rock dust became available in paper bags. (John E. Jones, 1954 Coal Report, pages 143-145). Gas explosions killed 375 miners in Franklin County.
 
      Natural hazards also took down mines, a 1912 tornado destroyed the top works of the Possum Ridge Mine (mine index 421).
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Mining in the Sesser Quadrangle 76
      The earliest mining in the Sesser Quadrangle was the Old Ben No. 16 Mine (mine index 50) in 1905. Mining probably began so late here because of the coal depth; the Herrin Coal was generally over 600 feet deep. The last mining here was the Rend Lake Mine (mine index 877), which ceased production in 2002. The Herrin Coal was quite thick in this area, with average thickness between 7 and 9 feet. The coal was sometimes split. The accompanying map shows that very little area is left unmined, so the split coal apparently affected only small local areas. The seam bottom undulated, and rolls were common but apparently only affected local areas. The roof was commonly gray shale, and roof problems were noted in most of the mines. Top coal was generally left to support the roof and protect the shale from moisture in the ventilating air, which exacerbated the propensity of the shale to come down. The depth of the coal was probably a factor in forcing gas out of the seam. At least 6 explosions were noted, with a total of 21 fatalities.
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Mining in the Rend Lake Dam Quadrangle 76
      Methane gas seeping from the coal was a serious problem in Franklin County; 16 men were killed in explosions in the mines that operated in the Rend Lake Dam Quadrangle. Ventilation was good at the working faces, but gas would accumulate behind stoppings that shut off the abandoned areas of the mines, and the stoppings were not always airtight. Factors that contributed to the mines' problems were open flames in miners lamps and coal dust that would promulgate the explosion throughout the mine. The open flames in the miners lamps were a known hazard, but the introduction of closed lamps caused serious labor antagonism, since the lamps only provided about 2 candlepower of illumination. The gradual development of 100-candlepower lamps eased acceptance of the battery-powered lights. Rock dusting required development also, although the process was known in 1917. Lime dust was often too coarse to apply effectively. Old Ben Coal Company worked aggressively to develop a shale dust and this was used from 1918 until 1928, when lime rock dust became available in paper bags.
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Coal Mines in Franklin County, Illinois

Franklin County, Illinois
Coal Mine Fatalities
A - C D - H I - L M - P Q - T U - Z

Franklin County, Illinois
Non-Fatal Casualties

July 1, 1923 - June 30, 1924 & July 1, 1925 - December 31, 1925

Sources :
1 Twenty-third Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1904,
                also the Sixth Annual Report of the Illinois Free Employment Offices, for the Year Ended
                October 1, 1904, David Ross, Secretary; Springfield, -- Springfield, Illinois State Journal, State Printers, 1905

2 Twenty-Fourth Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1905,
                also the Seventh Annual Report of the Illinois Free Employment Offices, for the Year Ended
                September 30, 1905, David Ross, Secretary; Springfield, -- Springfield, Illinois State Journal, State Printers, 1906

3 Twenty-Fifth Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1906,
                also the Eighth Annual Report of the Illinois Free Employment Offices, for the Year Ended
                September 30, 1906, David Ross, Secretary; Springfield, -- Springfield, ILL.; Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1907

4 Twenty-Sixth Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1907,
                also the Ninth Annual Report of the Illinois Free Employment Offices, for the Year Ended
                September 30, 1907, David Ross, Secretary; Springfield, -- Springfield, ILL.; Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1908

5 Twenty-Seventh Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1908
                Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1909

6 Twenty-Eighth Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1909
                Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1910

7 Twenty-Ninth Annual Coal Report of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1910
                Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1911

8 Thirtieth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1911
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1912

9 Thirty-First Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1912
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1913

10 Thirty-Second Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1913
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1914

11 Thirty-Third Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1914
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, Illinois; Illinois State Journal Co.. State Printers, 1914

12 Thirty-Fourth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1915
                State Mining Board -- Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers, 1915

13 Thirty-Fifth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1916
                State Mining Board -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1916

14 1Twenty-Sixth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1917
                Department of Mines and Minerals; Year Ended June 30, 1917
                Printed by authority of the State of Illinois; Springfield: Illinois State Journal, State Printers, 1917

15 Thirty-Seventh Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1918
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1918

16 Thirty-Eighth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1919
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1919

17 History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Willaimson Counties, Illinois
                The Goodspeed Publishing Co., Chicago; 1887; John Morris Company, Printers, Chicago; 1887

18 Coal Mines in Illinois, Franklin County
                Illinois State Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL. 61820

19 Thirty-Ninth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1920
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Springfield, ILL.; Illinois State Journal Co., State Printers 1920

20 Fortieth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1921
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Phillips Bros. Print, Springfield, Illinois; 1921

21 Forty-First Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1922
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1922

22 Forty-Second Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1923
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1923

23 Forty-Third Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1924
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1924

24 Forty-Fifth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1925
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois State Journal Co., Springfield, Illinois., 1926

25 Forty-Sixth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1926
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1927

26 Forty-Sixth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1927
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1928

27 Forty-Seventh Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1928
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1929

28 Forty-Eighth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1929
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Journal Printing Co., Springfield, ILL., 1930

29 Forty-Ninth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1930
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1931

30 Fiftieth Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1931
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Illinois Printing Co., Danville, ILL., 1932

31 Fifty-First Annual Coal Report of Illinois, 1932
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Journal Printing Co., Springfield, ILL., 1933

32 Fifty-Second Coal Report of Illinois, 1933
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

33 Fifty -Third Coal Report of Illinois, 1934
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

34 Fifty -Fourth Coal Report of Illinois, 1935
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

35 Fifty -Fifth Coal Report of Illinois, 1936
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

36 Fifty -Sixth Coal Report of Illinois, 1937
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

37 Fifty -Seventh Coal Report of Illinois, 1938
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

38 Fifty -Eighth Coal Report of Illinois, 1939
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

39 Fifty -Ninth Coal Report of Illinois, 1940
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

40 Sixtieth Coal Report of Illinois, 1941
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

41Sixty First Coal Report of Illinois, 1942
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

42 Sixty Second Coal Report of Illinois, 1943
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

43 Sixty Third Coal Report of Illinois, 1944
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

44Sixty Fourth Coal Report of Illinois, 1945
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

45 Sixty Fifth Coal Report of Illinois, 1946
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

47 Sixty Sixth Coal Report of Illinois, 1947
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

47 Sixty-seventh Coal Report of Illinois, 1948
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

48 Sixty-ninth Coal Report of Illinois, 1950
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

49 Seventieth Coal Report of Illinois, 1951
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

50 Seventy-first Coal Report of Illinois, 1952
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

51 Seventy-second Coal Report of Illinois, 1953
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

52 Seventy-fourth Coal Report of Illinois, 1955
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

53 Seventy-fifth Coal Report of Illinois, 1956
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

54 Seventy-seventh Coal Report of Illinois, 1958
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

55 Seventy-Eighth Coal Report of Illinois, 1959
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

56 Seventy-Ninth Coal Report of Illinois, 1960
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

57 Eightieth Coal Report of Illinois, 1961
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

58 Eighty-First Coal Report of Illinois, 1962
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

59 Eighty-Second Coal Report of Illinois, 1963
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

60 Eighty-Third Coal Report of Illinois, 1964
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

61 Eighty-Fourth Coal Report of Illinois, 1965
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

62 Eighty-Sixth Coal Report of Illinois, 1967
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

63 Eighty-Seventh Coal Report of Illinois, 1968
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

64 Eighty-Eighth Coal Report of Illinois, 1969
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

65 Eighty-Ninth Coal Report of Illinois, 1970
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

66 Ninetieth Coal Report of Illinois, 1971
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

67 Ninety-first Coal Report of Illinois, 1972
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

68 Ninety-second Coal Report of Illinois, 1973
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

69 Ninety-Third Coal Report of Illinois, 1974
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

70 Ninety-Fifth Coal Report of Illinois, 1976
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

71 Ninety-Seventh Coal Report of Illinois, 1978
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

72 Ninety-Eighth Coal Report of Illinois, 1979
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

73 One-Hundred-First Coal Report of Illinois, 1982
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

74 One-Hundred-Fourth Coal Report of Illinois, 1985
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

75 One-Hundred-Fifth Coal Report of Illinois, 1986
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois

76 Coal Mines in Illinois, Franklin County
                Illinois State Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL. 61820

77 One-Hundred-Second Coal Report of Illinois, 1983
                Department of Mines and Minerals -- Printed by authority of the State of Illinois


Coal & Coal Mining in Illinois

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