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Coal & Coal Mining
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Franklin County, Illinois
Featuring Coal Mining

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

Franklin County, Illinois Coal Mines
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Early Coal Mines - Opening prior to 1911 18
1889 - King Coal Mine (Strip Mine), William A. King - Township 5 South, Range 3 East Section 16
      1892 - King Coal Mine (Strip Mine), Aaron King - Township 5 South, Range 3 East Section 21
           See: King Coal Mine
 
1904 - Dering Coal Mine No. 11, Dering Coal Company - Township 7 South, Range 3 East Section 18
      See : Peabody Coal Mine No. 19
1904 - Zeigler Coal Mine No. 1, Zeigler Coal Company - Township 7 South, Range 1 East Section 13
      See : Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 1
 
1905 - Benton Coal Mine No. 1, Benton Coal Company - Township 6 South, Range 3 East Section 19
           See : Benton Coal Mine No. 1
1905 - Franklin Coal Mine, Franklin County Construction - Township 5 South, Range 2 East Section 19
           See : Old Ben Coal Mine No. 16
 
1906 - Big Muddy Coal Mine No. 1, Big Muddy & Carterville Mining Company - Township 7 South, Range 1 East Section 28
           See : Royalton Coal Mine
1906 - United Coal Mine No. 1, United Coal Corporation - Township 6 South, Range 2 East Section 30
           See : Old Ben Coal Mine No. 12
1906 - North Coal Mine No. 1, Zeigler District Colliery Company - Township 6 South, Range 1 East Section 24
           See : Old Ben Coal Mine No. 10
 
1907 - Big Muddy & Carterville Coal Mine No. 2, Big Muddy & Carterville Mining Company -
           Township 7 South, Range 1 East Section 33
1907 - Dering Coal Mine No. 18, Dering Coal Company - Township 7 South, Range 3 East Section 8
           See : Peabody Coal Mine No. 18
1907 - Hart-Williams Coal Mine No. 1, Hart-Williams Coal Company - Township 6 South, Range 3 East Section 30
           See : Benton Coal Mine No. 2
1907 - Rend Coal Mine No. 1, William P. Rend Coal Company - Township 6 South, Range 2 East Section 4
 
1908 - Weaver Coal Mine No. 2 / Rend Coal Mine No. 2, W. P. Rend Coal Company -
           Township 8 South, Range 1 East Section 1
 
1909 - Hanaford Coal Mine No. 1, Carroll & Franklin Counties - Township 6 South, Range 3 East Section 35
           See : Logan Coal Mine
1909 - Possum Ridge Coal Mine, Southern Illinois Coal & Coke Company - Township 7 South, Range 2 East Section 33
           See : Energy Coal Mine No. 5
 
1910 - Wilmington Star Coal Mine No. 8, Wilmington Star Mining Company - Township 7 South, Range 2 East Section 25
           See : Old Ben Coal Mine No. 8

1921
Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46, Number 232
Friday, January 14, 1921, Page 2
MEN OUT OF WORK FLOCKING TO ILLINOIS COAL MINES
      BENTON, Jan. 12. -- Hundreds are flocking to the Southern Illinois coal field fro the industrial centers where the plants have been closed down. One mine has had 75 applications from men and boys, but was unable to use any of them, and operators say there are more applicants right now than at any time in years.
 
      Several miners from the West Virginia coal fields, where the union men are locked out, have recently found work in Franklin county, one mine putting on 18 of these men. It is expected that the influx of strangers to the coal fields will continue to increase. Most of these people coming in have no experience in mines, but the industries in which they have been employed are shut down.

Bell & Zoller Coal Mines
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Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 1
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 13, NE SW SE
An underground mine at a depth of 392 feet to 420 feet with a coal seam of 7 feet to 25 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Zeigler Coal Mine No. 1   Zeigler Coal Company   1904 - 1909
Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 1   Bell & Zoller Mining Company   1909 - 1925
 Idle in 1910
Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 1   Bell & Zoller Coal & Mining Company   1925 - 1948
The last production was reported in December 1948.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 53 ]
The mine had gas problems; 50 men died in a 1905 explosion, and in 1909, two explosions killed 29 men.
      See : Explosion at Zeigler Coal Company Mine, April 3, 1905
      See : The Zeigler Disaster, January 10, 1909
      See : Explosion at Bell & Zoller Coal Company Mine, December 5, 1917
 
The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois
Volume 8 Number 236
Thursday Evening, May 11, 1905, page 4
REPORT JOE LEITER AT FAULT
Officials Make Statements on Zeigler Mine and These Cause Inquiry
      Springfield, Ill., May 11. -- It is learned that the trip of Attorney Guneral Stead and Assistant Attorney General Gillespie to Zeigler to investigate the explosion at Joseph Letter's coal mine was owing to portions of the report of the state mining board and mine examiners, who investigated the explosion, in which, they gave as their opinion that there was faulty construction of the mine, inasmuch as the proper quanity of air could not be pumped into the mine and that the mine was not properly inspected. If these findings are substantiated legal proceedings may be instituted against the Zeigler Coal company for violation of the law. There was no evidence showing that the explosion was due to crime instead of accident.
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The Urbana Daily Courier, Urbana, Illinois
Volume 8 Number 256
Saturday Evening, June 3, 1905, Page 8
INDICTS THE ZEIGLER COMPANY
Illinois Grand Jury Decides Mining Laws Have Been Violated
      Springfield, Ill., June 3. -- As result of a ten days' investigation into alleged violation of the mining laws of Illinois, a Franklin county grand jury, in session at Benton, has returned four indictments against the Zeigler Coal company, whose mine was the scene a short time ago of an explosion that cost the lives of a half hundred miners.

 
June 1909
JOSEPH LEITER DENIES MINE SALE
      "I'll sell anything I've got if I can get more for it than I think it's worth," said Joseph Leiter last night when he put a price of $8,000,000 on his mines at Zeigler, Ill.
      Mr. Leiter's statement was in answer to a report that he was about to sell his mine to a syndicate of Eastern and Chicago capitalists who are said to have inspected the property recently. He denied any deal was on foot or was projected, but added he would sell if he could get his price. The mine has been closed since February, when a disastrous, explosion occurred in the colliery.
      He states that the present price of coal does not warrant his working the mine, but that he would open it again in time for the fall business.
      It was also reported that the Illinois Central Railroad had abandoned Zeigler since the mine closed. F. H. Harwood, coal traffic manager of the road, denied this. "We have taken the agent away," said Mr. Harwood, "as his only duties were the billing of coal shipments. We are still running trains through Zeigler and will continue to do so. As soon as the mine opens again we will put an agent at Zeigler."
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 6, Chicago, Illinois; June 8, 1909]
 
September 1911
      In Franklin county this last week the mine of Bell & Zoller, of the Wilmington Star Coal Mining Company, and the No. 2 mine of the W. P. Rend & Co., were closed down because the miners had demanded the employment of shot firers. The operators refused to comply, knowing that this was to be the opening wedge of the miners to demand the employment of shot firers in all parts of the state. the mines have been closed down a greater part of the week.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 14, Chicago, Illinois; September 30, 1911]
 
December 1917
      Ziegler -- Sixteen men were severely burned in two explosions in the Bell & Zoller mine No. 1 on Dec. 5. The first occurred in a chamber near the main shaft. It set fire to the mine. The second explosion occurred three hours later while miners were fighting the flames. The damage to the mine was not great, but 700 miners are thrown out of work temporarily.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 24, New York, December 15, 1917]
 
      Ziegler -- Two of the 18 men burned in the three explosions in the mine here are dead. The mine is afire and is sealed. The average daily output was 4500 tons. Last year the mine produced over 1,000,000 tons of coal.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 26, New York, December 29, 1917]
 
      See : Explosion at Bell & Zoller Coal Comapany Mine
 
July 1918
Ziegler -- The Ziegler Coal Co., which has completed the purchase of 2000 more acres of coal lands in Franklin County, Illinois, now has 9000 acres of the finest coal lands in the county. Best of all, these lands lie in one body. The Bell & Zoller Mining Co. is now operating the large 5000 ton-a-day mine on these holdings. and is at present sinking a new mine south of Ziegler which will give them a daily capacity of 6000 tons. The sum of $1,500,000 is being expended on the new mine. which will be one of the finest in the state. There are now 1000 men employed at Mine No. 7, and it will require 1400 men at the new mine. Most o the men earn from $5 to $9 per day. There are now 116 new residences in Ziegler all built along modern lines, and 200 more houses will be constructed by Jan. 1, 1919. Ziegler is now an incorporated town and has been since Aug. 17, 1917. Prior to that date it was only a mining camp owned by one man.
[Coal Age, Vol. 14 No. 2, New York, July 13, 1918]
 
March 1922
      In one day in January Mine No. 1 of the Bell & Zoller Coal Co. broke its previous record of coal hoisted. It had a 45-minute interruption that day and came within 34 tons of the world record made by the Orient Mine, a few miles away. The first record was made with an interruption of only 4 minutes. Could the Zeigler Mine No. 1 have the 41 minutes which the Orient Mine had they would not only have broken the world record but woul have set a mark that it would have been a difficult matter for any mine to pass. The total hoist on this day was 6,716 tons in 7 hours and 15 mnutes, while the world record is 6,750 tons in 7 hours and 56 minutes. Franklin County now has the two largest producing mines in the world.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 10, New York, March 9, 1922]
 
Illinois Mine Hoists 7,214 Tons in a Day
      The world's record for a single day's output has been broken again. This time the Bell & Zoller Mine No. 1 at Ziegler, Ill., takes the palm. On March 9 the mine hoisted 7,214 tons. When this mine was sunk in 1903 by Joseph Leiter, top works were constructed of a size previously unheard of, for Mr. Leiter had taken a long look into the future and prophesied that within the life of those buildings that mine was going to be producing 5,000 tons a day.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 12, New York, March 23, 1922]
 
Zeigler Miners Averaged $259.42 Each for
"Buster" Month of March
      Given a steady-working mine, the men who dig coal in Illinois certainly have had a chance to make a good living under the old scale of wages. Figures on the March production and earnings of every man in Zeigler No. 1 mine of the Bell & Zoller Coal Co., just made public, show that the average production for the entire 27-day month was 277 tons per loader and the average pay check for that month $259.42. The averages for all machinemen for the month were 3,880 tons and $259.42, or exactly the same average pay as loaders got. The swiftest loader put 491 tons on his pit cars and collected $406.04. The swiftest pair of machinemen got credit for 4,630 tons and collected $401.30 each.
      This mine was pushed along at full blast during must of the 27 uninterrupted working days of the month, for it was racing Orient No. 1 mine, its neighbor, for the world's championship in production. It raised 164,085 tons, which was about 2,000 tons more than Orient. The employed daily average at the Zeigler mine was 804 men. Thirty-five breast machines were used straight run and eight gang run. Haulage was done with 21 gathering, 6 main-line and 2 bottom-pusher locomotives. The mine was in charge of Superintendents Joseph Yerley and E. L. Berger and Mine Manager Edward Pruden.
      The following table shows how many of the mine's 800-odd employees earned more than $300 during the month of March:
 Tons
Produced
Earnings
Average per loader277$259. 42
    Melosco Angello491 406.04
    Jno.Huloanich425 351.49
    O.Tymits394 325.83
    Mike Yankoff394 323. 35
    Chas. Messina402 332.54
    Chas. Semesky390 322.52
    Mathew Gasnas388 320.47
    Joe Cape376 304.64
    M. Tadonovich390 322.52
    G. Cockie403 333.27
Average machineman, each3,880 $259. 42
    Adam Sesoch4,630 401.30
    Frank Vuk401.30
    Geo. Hall4,484 320.60
    Mike Kalovinch320.60
    Chas. Koski4,251 303.94
    John Sambakoski303.94
    Rocco Orlevic4,370 312. 45
    Tony Ratkovich312.45
    Mike Nickovich4,263 304.79
    Melos Dovich304.79
    Mike Popovich4,464 319.16
    Jos. Varrus319.16

[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 15, New York, April 13, 1922]
 
April 1922
      The Bell and Zoller Coal Co. is opening up a section of Zeigler No. 1 Mine at Zeigler, which was sealed off four years ago to stop a fire.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 16, New York, April 20, 1922]
 
May 1922
More Illinois Mines Install Improvements During the Strike
      It is evident that a good many Midwestern mining companies are looking into the future with confidence and are preparing now for next year's business.
      The Bell & Zoller Coal Co., of Chicago, is installing a 300-kw. generator set deep in the workings of the Zeigler No. 1 mine, at Zeigler, III. This is but one of the units in the mine that serve to maintain voltage at the working faces in spite of their distance from the power plant.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 18, New York, May 4, 1922]
 
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Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 2
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 26, NW SE NW
An underground mine at a depth of 301 feet to 310 feet with a coal seam of 7½ feet to 11½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Bell & Zoller Coal Mine No. 2   Bell & Zoller Coal & Mining Company   1919 - 1951
The last production was reported in June 1951.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 145 ]
 
Zeigler Mine
Fig. 1. General view of Zeigler Mine of Bell & Zoller Mining Co.
 
New Plant of Pioneer Operation in Franklin County, Illinois
By George W. Harris, Editorial Staff Coal Age
      Probably few (if any) coal mines in the United States in the last quarter of a century have been more prominently advertised than the old Zeigler mine of the former Zeigler Coal Co. The real development of the Illinois Franklin County field dates from the time Joseph Leiter prospected and took over approximately 8000 acres of coal land upon which he located the town of Zeigler and developed the mines ofthe Zeigler Coal Co., now being operated by Bell & Zoller Mining Co., of Chicago, Ill. The subsequent history of this noted plant is too well known to require comment beyond reference to the stormy days when the mine was having such serious labor difficulties.
 
      Coal history in Franklin County dates back about a third of a century, when a prospect hole was drilled for the purpose of finding coal in the vicinity of Benton, the county seat of Franklin County. It is stated that after drilling to a depth of 584 ft. the promoters of the enterprise became discouraged and stopped the drill. At the time prospecting operations were stopped the drill was within about 50 ft. of the No. 6 seam, and the failure to continue drilling probably greatly delayed development in southern Illinois.
 
      A number of years afterward the late W. P. Halliday, of Cairo, Ill., prospected extensively in Franklin County, putting down drill holes and covering this territory systematically. Parallel rows of holes one mile apart each way thoroughly investigated conditions, but unfortunately the results of this investigation were not disclosed. After Mr. Halliday's death it was announced that his policy was eventually to take over a large area of the Franklin County coal which he had prospected and found of such high quality. The next prospecting, and the first one by which the general public was made aware of the rich seam of coal underlying this county, was made by some citizens of West Frankfort in 1896.
 
      It is always interesting to note the successive steps in the development of such a famous field as the Franklin County coal region. In this development the Zeigler mine has always taken a prominent part. Probably the latest investigation of a practice which bids fair to assume importance in big production is along the lines of rotary dumps and skip hoisting. The Bell & Zoller Mining Co. has such equipment for large tonnage (Fig. 1) which has been modified as certain features of the original installation proved unacceptable to its requirements. In this connection the old bottom-dump mine cars have been replaced by solid-end cars; the rotary underground dump and skip have been retained, have been operating for a year and a half, and are a success. In the bottom dump car (Fig. 2) the dog would work loose while trips were en route to the shaft bottom, and the car would empty along the entry. This old car bottom included two doors, each 2 x 3 ft. in dimension, and there was a cross-bar in the center of the bottom. As the trip moved continuously over the dump the bottom was easily knocked open -- that part was all right. But sometimes there was difficulty from large lumps of coal lodging in the bottom, and these had to be broken up or barred loose. This special Zeigler installation and the whole matter of rotary dumps and skip hoisting has been fully covered by a most interesting article entitled "Hoisting Coal in Skips," by John A. Garcia, which appeared in the June 22, 1918, issue of Coal Age.
 
Old Bottom Dump Mine Car
Fig. 2. Old Bottom Dump Mine Car at Face of Room

      Comments on the practice of the Bell & Zoller Co. at its No. 1 mine are especially interesting when taken in connection with the new plant this company is developing two miles southwest of this operation. The Zeigler mine is close to the top of the leading producers of Franklin County. There are 21 mines in this county, which produced 11,317,657 tons of coal for the year ended June 30, 1917, out of a state tonnage of 77,412,054 for the same period. At this time the Zeigler mine produced 1,065,359 tons of coal.
 
      Substantial progress has been made at the No. 2 mine of Bell & Zoller. The main and air shafts are well down to coal, and a permanent steel headframe is in place at the latter shaft, together with a Litchfield hoisting engine which is being used to sink the shaft; also some of the permanent buildings about the plant have been constructed. Before the shafts were starteddiamond drill holes were put down to coal at the site of each shaft. This plan might seem to be an unnecessary precaution in the Franklin County field to some, but instances are on record in other coal fields where this policy would have saved a large amount of money, considerable time, and permitted a much better layout of plant. In one special case in mind, a number of drill holes were put down systematically covering a large tract of coal. The engineers advised the management to locate shafts, tipple and other surface plant on the strength of general information as to depth and condition of the seam to be worked. But no hole had been drilled at the proposed shaft location. It took an expensive main hoist shaft, considerable rock tunnel and valdable time to prove a serious disturbance to the coal at this point. Meanwhile a steel tipple and other modern buildings were practically completed on a layout fitting in with this hoist shaft and could not well be changed to suit other and better development. The shafts at this new No. 2 mine will not have steel buntons, as the management considers the injury done to such construction by falling coal to be a serious objection to the use of steel for that purpose. Wood buntons will be used here and made fireproof with concrete, strengthened and secured to the wood by metal lath and staples. The air shaft will have three compartments; an airway, stairway and a compartment for a cage hoist. The main hoist shaft will have two compartments. The cover over the No. 6 seam at these shafts is about 317 ft., or 100 ft. less than at the hoist shaft at No. 1 mine at Zeigler.
 
      The new mine will be laid out on the four-entry system, and the main entries will be north, south, east and west to fit the boundaries. The panel system is used in the old mine and a modified panel will be adopted for No. 2.
 
      The middle entry pillar of the four entries will be left solid; there will be no break-throughs, and the pillar will only be broken where entries cross it. This plan makes it much easier and safer to block off one side of the mine from the other. Also each panel is to have no connection with any other panel, but is to be a proposition by itself. The new mine is to have a capacity of 5000 tons in eight hours, or about the same as mine No. 1. The mine car will hold 5¼ tons; the Zeigler car is a 4¼-ton car, and that would have been considered a novelty a few years ago. But in the Franklin County big-seam mines, where tonnage is sought and headroom is available, one way to achieve this end is to send trips of big units to the shaft bottom. Also, when coal is hoisted, quantity cargoes count; in fact big cars and double-deck cages or skips are practically essential when a mine aspires to large production.
 
      At the new place a self-dumping cage of the Olsen type, manufactured by the Eagle Iron Works, of Des Moines, Iowa, will be used. The Olsen cage is popular in Illinois, and it is significant that it is used at two other plants which are close to the top, not only on record daily production (5508 and 5502 tons in eight hours respectively) but also on yearly tonnage -- substantially over a million tons a year, according to the last Illinois coal report. In connection with a changein policy from skip hoisting at mine No. 1 to self-dumping cage at the new operation, Robert Zoller, the general manager of the company, stated that breakageof coal in the use of the skip was not the reason for giving up that method of hoisting -- that the breakage was not a serious matter. A self-dumping cage was preferred, as it gave a better opportunity to dock cars for dirt. When one car was dumped into a weigh hopper it was an individual lot of coal; if it was dirty, the man who loaded it was docked. When cars are dumped into a bin, or even when two cars are dumped into a skip direct, then individuality is lost. There is no opportunity in skip hoisting to send a condemned car of coal to the outside, shovel it out on the ground and show the loader the exact state of affairs.
 
      In commenting on opportunity to dock dirty coal in skip hoisting, John A. Garcia, of Allen & Garcia, engineers, Chicago, Ill., states that ideal docking schemes are offered in skip hoisting -- that there are two good chances with the skip to one with the cage to detect impurities in coal. First, Mr. Garcia states, cars may be tested at unexpected times so that the men may never know when a test will be made; or secondly, one car of coal at a time can be placed in the skip when the cleanness of the coal is questioned. Then the skip can be dumped at the top and the coal spread out on a wide feeder, where there is a better chance for inspection than in the case of the cage and weigh hopper. This can be done 20 times during the day, and the time consumed will be negligible -- there is a world of leeway to do this in a day's run. A further comment was made that in a mine of 5000-tons capacity it would be a physical impossibility to comply with the miner's contract. That the only way in a big-tonnage mine is to watch a car as it dumps, pick off all impurities possible and then go and see the man who loaded the car and discipline him. The writer would suggest that with any system of docking, a foreman could readily go through the working places and notice where rooms or entries failed to have such impurities in the gob. If seam impurities are not in the gob, it would be well to examine cars from such places, for the chances are that the impurities are being sent out with the coal. Rotary dumps and skip hoisting are attracting considerable attention, are being installed in some of the big new plants not only in Illinois but in other sections as well, and the progress of this combination will be watched with considerable interest.
 
      The No. 2 mine will be electrically equipped through out. At the old mine 26 motors are in use of some of the leading makes -- Jeffrey, Westinghouse, Goodman and General Electric; cable and reel gathering locomotives are used here. One lonely mule is kept to haul powder. Each panel includes 28 rooms; units of 14 rooms were decided upon to fit in with machine mining employed at No. 1 mine, 14 loaders being apportioned to each machine. Goodman mining machines are used at this plant, made by the Goodman Manufacturing Co., of Chicago, Ill. Pick men are placed in sections where there is a shale top and long rooms are to be worked.
 
Drilling a Hole at Zeigler Mine
Fig. 4. Drilling a Hole at Zeigler Mine

      In Fig. 4 is shown a man drilling a hole for a shot at the face of a room. The mining coal drill used here is the Hardsocg made by the Hardsocg Manufacturing Co., Ottumwa, Iowa. The height of the coal is well brought out and emphasized by the fact of his standing on a bench to reach the drill. If the man standing in the corner of the room is 5 2/3 ft. high, the height of the coal might easily be 10 ft. Where electrical apparatus is used in the new plant, it is easily possible that those types which have given satisfaction in the older operation will be favorably considered for the new mine. The management contemplates having every convenience for facilitating operations. An inspection was made of other plants, and good ideas which have worked out satisfactorily for others will be utilized when they will be an improvement over old methods.
 
      A rescreening plant will be installed at No. 2 which will be a little larger than the one at No. 1. Ordinary Illinois coal preparation will be adopted, and any coal washing will be done by the gravity process -- either by the Luhrig or Stewart jigs. Plans for the plant were made by the Link Belt Co., which will put in necessary coal and ash conveyors. Among other mechanical devices for simplifying operations will be stokers for firing boilers. Draft for the boilers will be furnished by a 240-ft. brick stack. All men and material will be handled through the air shaft.
 
      A large amount of grading for the No. 2 mine yard has been done by a Marion dragline steam shovel (Marion Steam Shovel Co., Marion, Ohio) borrowing on both sides of the track to form the fill. An additional machine has just been placed on this job -- a Bucyrus dragline machine -- made by the Bucyrus Co., of South Milwaukee, Wis. It is the intention to avoid disturbance to the handling of cars by placing the car sidings above the high-water line wherever possible. The ground at the tipple will be filled up to the high-water line. From the tipple the empty tracks will be graded so that cars will run to the tipple by gravity; this will mean a maximum fill of 31 ft. on the siding and 14 ft. at the tipple. This arrangement will leave the lower end of the loaded yard at the high-water line. The tipple foundations will be secured by starting the footings below the fill and concreting through it to a point above the ultimate surface.
 
      The Leiter interests own the coal and most of the surface at the Zeigler plants, and Bell & Zoller operate under lease. The lessor is building a town between mines No. 1 and No. 2 for the accommodation of the employees who will work at the new mine. A feature of some of the big plants in the Franklin field is provision to stock coal at times of insufficient transportation.
 
      There will be no new storage plant at No. 2 mine, as there is an 80,000- to 90,000-ton plant for this purpose at No. 1 mine which will be convenient for use by mine No. 2. Fig. 3 shows a locomotive crane loading coal from this stock pile into the railroad cars at mine No. 1; the top of the tipple can be seen in the background. Bell & Zoller hope to get the new plant in shape by early next winter, but feel doubtful about being able to do so; labor is scarce and it is hard to obtain electrical machinery and supplies.
 
Storage Plant at Zeigler Mine
Fig. 3. Storage Plant at Zeigler Mine

      The officials of this company are: H. E. Bell, president; Robert H. Zoller, general manager. At the mine Joseph Yerley is superintendent; G. C. Breckenridge, mining engineer; Andrew Leslie, top foreman, and Edward Prudent, mine manager.
[Coal Age, Vol. 14 No. 6, New York, August 8, 1918]

Benton Coal Mines
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Benton Coal Mine No. 1
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 19, 1825 FFSL, 625 FWL
An underground mine at a depth of 618 to 624 feet with a coal seam of 6 feet to 13 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Benton Coal Mine No. 1   Benton Coal Company   1905 - 1922
Benton Coal Mine No. 1   Chicago, Wilmington,
& Franklin Coal Company
  1922 - 1924
The last production was reported in March 1924.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 432 ]
Gas may have been a problem; one man was killed in an explosion.
 
1909
FRANKLIN COUNTY, ILL., RECORD
      The mine of the Benton Coal Co., Benton, Ill., hoisted 1,990 tons of coal Thursday, a record for Franklin county mines.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 15, Chicago, Illinois; August 10, 1909]
 
Benton Coal Company's Big Day
      The Benton Coal Company, Benton, Ill., made a record run when 1,990 tons of coal were hoisted in eight hours. This is thought to be the largest amount of coal ever hoisted from a mine in Franklin county in that length of time. The capacity of the Benton Coal Co.'s mine has been climbing toward the 2,000 mark for some time, and with another ten minutes' run on the above day that amount could have been hoisted.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 16, Chicago, Illinois; August 17, 1909]
 
1914
      Benton -- A "squeeze" at the mine of the Benton Coal Co. recently shut down the property for several days when the book were overloaded with orders.
[Coal Age, Vo. 5 No. 9, Hill Publishing Co., New York, February 28, 1914]
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1917
      Benton -- Fire was discovered at 6 pm. Dec. 7. in the rescreener of the Benton Coal Co.'s mine here. The rescreener was filled with coal. The mine water-works was out of order, and the flames spread to the engine and boiler rooms. Dynamite was used to destroy the rescreener and check the flames. The estimated loss is $200,000, and the mine will not be able to resume under six months. It employs between 500 and 600 miners. and the output has been 3000 tons a day. The principal owners are P A. Pearce and Robert Williams of Carmi, Illinois.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 24, New York, December 15, 1917]
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Benton Coal Mine No. 2
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 30, NE NE NE
An underground mine at a depth of 617 to 630 feet with a coal seam of 6½ feet to 12 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Hart-Williams Coal Mine No. 1   Hart-Williams Coal Company   1907 - 1916
Idle   1916
Taylor Coal Mine No. 6   Taylor Collieries Company   1916 - 1917
Hart-Williams Coal Mine   Chicago, Wilmington,
& Franklin Coal Company
  1917 - 1918
Benton Coal Mine No. 2   Benton Coal Mining Company   1922 - 1923
Benton Coal Mine No. 2   Chicago, Wilmington,
& Franklin Coal Company
  1922 - 1923
The last production was reported in March 1923.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 52 ]
November 27, 1911 Tonnage Record
 
1912 Annual Coal Report 9 - Improvements
      Hart-Williams Coal Company has installed one 6-ton Morgan Gardener gathering motor, which reduces the number of mules from 30 to 16.
 
1915
      L. W. Brand, of Benton, Ill., was recently appointed receiver for the Hart-Williams Coal Co., of Benton. The assets are given as $400,000 and the liabilities are $200,000. The property will be disposed of as soon as possible.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 10, Hill Publishing Co., New York, March 6, 1915]
 
1917
      Benton -- The Hart-Williams mine, taken over about a year ago by the Taylor Coal Co. of Chicago, passed back to the Hart-Williams Co. recently after the Taylor Coal Co. had succeeded in putting the mine in first-class shape, whereas when it took it it was a total wreck. The former owners, bankrupt, sued to recover under a technicality, and won.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 7, New York, August 18, 1917]
 
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
Quick Shifts of Empty Cars Make for Mine Speed
Hart-Williams Coal Company Establishes a New Hoisting Record Because of an Arrangement of the Interior of Its Benton, Ill., Mine.
 
      The tonnage record for Franklin county, Illinois, variously held by the Ziegler District Colliery Company and C. M. Moderwell & Co., is now held by the Hart-Williams Coal Company. On Monday, November 27, that company hoisted through its shaft at Benton 2,841 tons in seven and a half hours, which is the equivalent of hoisting 3,020 tons in an eight-hour day or full time. This record could have been made on the day in question, as everything was running smoothly and without sign of interruption, had the company not run short of cars at the last minute.
 
Benton locomotives
The Electric Locomotives Which Are the Keys to Speed
Benton main entry
The Main Entry and Cars of the Benton Mine
      In this particular case it was not merely the breaking of a tonnage record for a single shaft which was interesting; the main points of interest are the method of handling pit cars at the bottom and the spirit manifested by the men who made the speed. More especially, the interesting feature is the height to which the coal had to be hoisted to produce this record.
 
      At the Benton mine of the Hart-Williams Coal Company, the coal was struck at a depth of 630 feet. The mine cars used have a capacity of three tons. This means that for the entire seven and a half hours of working time the cars must be dumped on the steel tipple at the rate of two per minute -- one every thirty seconds.
 
      To do any such thing means that the cage must, through seven hours and a half, travel 1,260 feet every sixty seconds and stop twice -- once to take on a loaded car and another time to dump that car. Thus, including the stops, the traveling speed of the cage must be twenty-one feet per second in the shaft; excluding the stops, it must be twice that amount. In the vernacular, "this is going some."
 
      We have been preaching speed -- or the appreciation of the value of time -- as the producer's salvation if he is to avoid the crushing effect of competition under our present system. This record means that if anyone is going to get the best of Hart-Williams in future he must not only exceed this speed in the shaft but he must excel this company in the speed of getting down the coal and getting it to the foot of the shaft.
 
      It will be found, therefore, that to tell how this company succeeded in beating the records held by such concerns as Moderwell & Co. and the Ziegler District Colliery Company, is really to tell first what speed is being made in mines today and second what sort of organizations have been created in our coal mines. This is, in itself, a sufficient rebuke to any charge of incapacity of our mining men.
 
      The shaft at this mine carries two cages -- a thing which is not at all unusual. The tipple is a good strong steel structure -- also common in mining plants. The engine which does the hoisting is a Litchfield double motion -- another common asset of the good mining companies. These things are valuable aids to speed, but they do not assure it; there must be something behind an appliance and we call it by the comprehensive term of organization.
 
      The mine is laid out on the panel system. That is, the main entries have been driven back a considerable distance and the panels are worked parallel to the main haulageway with the stub entries and the rooms turned off these panels. The company manages to keep its main entries or haulageways driven back almost abreast of the last development of the panel so that the gathering from the cross entries does not have to be done over a long distance. From the panels or cross entries the gathering is done by mules. A level territory permits the mules to haul trips containing quite a number of cars.
 
      At the main entries these trips are made up into trains and are hurried to the foot of the shaft -- an average distance of about 2,000 feet -- by two twelve-ton Morgan-Gardner locomotives. It is when these cars have reached the assembly yard at the foot of the shaft that the interesting point of the system is struck. Although the coal is coming from the main west and the main east, it is all caged from one side -- the east side. The cars from the main west are moved around the foot of the shaft and are caged along with the trips from the main east.
 
      It is a speed suggestion which is struck at this point. One motion will both move an empty off the cage and put a loaded car on. In fact, as the cage checks before stopping completely at the bottom of the shaft, the loaded car is set in motion. Thus, instantly the cage comes to a stand still, the loaded car moves into place, throwing the empty off on the opposite side.
 
      To get the greatest efficiency with the least motion, the mine at that point has been so arranged that when the empty car leaves the cage it passes, by gravity, down an incline. If it is to return by the main west, it runs into, at same distance, an imposing incline and stops. At that point the following cars join it and are made up into a trip to be taken back into the mine by the electric locomotive. If it is destined for the main east, it passes down another incline, runs up on another small incline, automatically throws a switch and starts down another incline to a small yard, where it is soon joined by others. These cars made up into a trip ready for the electric locomotive.
 
      This arrangement of the mine for handling the empty cars makes for speed by permitting the cagers to devote all of their time to getting the loads ready to start the swift flight up the shaft. To make the record established this week, they must cage two cars every minute for seven and a half hours.
 
      Walter Williams, the president of this company, said when talking about this achievement:
      "This thing means that there cannot be an idle man in the mine and that no one can possibly be without work, which means, in a mine, earning power. The man at the face must have cars to load; the locomotives, which are most economical when kept busy, are kept running about at their maximum capacity."
 
Benton engine room
A View of the Engine room Showing the Hoisting Drum
Benton power plant
Another Interesting View of the Rapid Power Plant
      That really is a word picture of a modern coal mine; it not only appreciates, but takes advantage of each minute of time. That sort of time saving means economy. It seems almost like the last word on mine speed, but Mr. Williams has a goal not yet reached. It has been found that a single car can be caged, hoisted the 630 feet, dumped, and returned to the shaft bottom in twenty seconds. If that thing could be duplicated over and over again, it means that three cars could be hoisted a minute instead of two, and that means nine tons of coal per minute instead of six. The men at the Hart Williams mine at Benton have caught the competitive spirit of the district. They want to beat every other mine in that field and in the state. Mr. Williams has suggested to them that he would like once, for an entire hour, to show a record of nine cars per minute. This speed, it is probably impossible to keep up for any one-day period, but it might be made for a single hour or mote. All the men at the mine, their present temper being to excel, are working toward that record. Knowing the system for keeping the men at the face supplied with cars ; for keeping just enough, but not too many, cars at the foot of the tipple, and of getting rid of the empties, it is not improbable that, before the winter is over, this record hoist will be made. Nine tons per minute will mean an output per hour of 540 tons; making allowance for heavy loading of cars, it might mean 550 tons. In eight hours -- if it could be sustained so long -- this would mean 4,400 tons. This from one shaft.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 23, Chicago, Illinois; December 2, 1911]
 
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Brewerton Coal Mine No. 22
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 5 South, Range 1 East, Section 12, NW NW SE
An underground mine at a depth of 650 to 693 feet with a coal seam of 8½ feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Modern Coal Mine No. 1   Modern Coal Company   1917 - 1919
Southern Gem Coal Mine No. 2   Southern Gem Coal Corporation   1919 - 1927
 Idle 1925-1927
Brewerton Coal Mine No. 22   Brewerton Coal Company   1928 - 1934
Brewerton Coal Company was also known as Interstate Coal Company, Sesser No. 22 Mine, but did not report under this name.
The last production was reported in November 1934.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 134 ]

Energy Coal Mine No. 5
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 33, NW SW SW
An underground mine at a depth of 339 feet with a coal seam of 10 feet in thickness.
Possum Ridge logo
The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 3, Chicago, Illinois; July 15, 1911
Mine Name Operated By Years
Possum Ridge Coal Mine   Southern Illinois Coal & Coke Company   1909 - 1914
Possum Ridge Coal Mine   Taylor Mining Company   1914 - 1916
Taylor Coal Mine No. 5   Taylor Coal Corporation   1916 - 1923
Energy Coal Mine No. 5   Franklin County Coal Corporation   1923 - 1950
The last production was reported in April 1950.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 421 ]
Gas may have been a problem, as one man was killed by an explosion.
 
August 17, 1909
ACQUIRING COAL LAND IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
Recent Purchases Indicate a Strong Belief in Promise of Future Wealth
      The largest coal deal put through this season was consummated early last week when General Superintendent George Spiller of the Southern Illinois Coal Company began to close options on 700 acres of coal rights lying east of here and adjoining the Oak Ridge holdings, writes the editor of the Herrin News. The average price was $100 an acre, amounting to $70,000. Only a small tract of surface was purchased. The entire body of land was secured from seven or eight owners who were farmers that had held onto their land until they realized a price at which coal rights have been selling for the last two or three years. The largest owner was Fletch Ferges, who deeded to the mining company one contiguous body of 274 acres.
      With this additional acquisition, the Southern Illinois Coal Company has 1,604 acres about Herrin. Hemlock, south of the city, stands on 162 acres and the new mine north of the city known as Possum Ridge has 320 acres. This is the largest and most modern mine owned by the company.
      The Southern Illinois Coal Company is the result of the reorganization of the Big Muddy River Consolidated Coal Company, which had its general offices in Louisville, Ky., and later in Hopkinsville, Ky. The new company is a strong financial concern, being financed by Boston capitalists. William A. Jepson is president and Hiram J. Potter is treasurer. The general offices are located in the Fisher building in Chicago, and T. J. Hudson, Jr., is in charge of the sales offices there. Sales offices are also located at St. Louis in the Bank of Commerce building, with J. D. Barth in charge, and at New Orleans, in the Maison Blanche building in charge of Orville Virder.
      The local office is in the Alexander building in this city, with George Spiller as general superintendent of the properties, George C. Blee superintendent of transportation and W. C. Westermier chief clerk, who constitute a polite and amiable office staff.
      With the valuable holdings the Southern Illinois Coal Company has in this field and the sort of men behind it, this mining company gives promise of taking first rank among the large shipping mines of Illinois.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 16, Chicago, Illinois; August 17, 1909]
By selling out his entire holding of stock in the Big Muddy River Coal Company, Theodore R. Troendle retires from the management of that company with a fortune. The purchasers of the stock are the Southern Illinois Coal Company, which is composed principally of Massachusetts capitalists and is headed by William M. Wood, multimillionaire, and president of the American Woolen Mills, of Boston. Mr. Troendle remains in Hopkinsville, Ky.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 14, Chicago, Illinois; August 3, 1909]
1921
      A new rescreening plant is being installed at Mine No. 5 of the Taylor Coal Co., at Freeman. This with other additions to their present equipment, is expected to almost double the capacity of the mine.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 14, New York, April 7, 1921]
 
      The Taylor Coal Co., of Herrin, has contracted for the complete installation of a new steel tipple and loading booms at Mine No. 5. The tipple will load on five tracks and will be equipped with balanced Marcus screen and loading booms on four tracks.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 23, New York, June 9, 1921]

Franklin Coal Mine No. 11
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 33, NW NW SW
An underground mine at a depth of 214 feet with an average coal seam of 8.9 to 10.33 feet in thickness.
 
Mine Name Operated By Years
Big Muddy & Carterville   Big Muddy & Carterville Coal Company   1909 - 1910
      No production was reported under this name; this company may have only dug the shaft.
Mitchell Coal Mine No. 1   Franklin Coal & Coke Company   1910 - 1923
Franklin Coal Mine No. 11   Franklin County Coal Company   1925
      No production was reported under this name.
The last production was reported in June 1923.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 2071 ]
 
The mine had gas, and an explosion in 1914 killed 52 men.
See : Gas Explosion at Royalton, October 1914
 
May 29, 1915
      Belleville -- Damage suits aggregating $33,000 have been instituted in the Circuit Court against Franklin Coal & Coke Co., as a result of the mine accident at Royalton, Ill., Oct. 27, 1914, in which 29 miners lost their lives.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 22, Hill Publishing Co., New York, May 29, 1915]
 
January 12, 1922
      The Franklin Coal Co. has increased its capital stock from $50,000 to $150,000.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 2, New York, January 12, 1922]
 

Franklin County Coal Mine No. 15
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 32, SE SE SE
An underground mine at a depth of 154 feet with an average coal seam of 8 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Lida B Coal Mine
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 15
  Franklin County Coal Corporation   1949 - 1952
The last production was reported in May 1952.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 735 ]

King Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 5 South, Range 3 East,
      Pit - Section 16, SE SW SW
      Pit - Section 21, NE NW NW
A surface (strip) mine with an average coal seam of 1½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
King Coal Mine   William A. King   1889 - 1892
King Coal Mine   Aaron King   1892 - 1893
The last production was reported in 1893.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 2068 ]

Logan Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 35, NE SE SE
An underground mine at a depth of 693 feet to 716 feet with a coal seam of 6 feet to 8.33 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Hanaford Coal Mine   Carroll & Franklin Counties Coal Company   1909 - 1913
Hanaford Coal Mine   Benton District Coal Company   1913 - 1914
Logan Coal Mine   John A. Logan Coal Company   1914- 1917
 Idle in 1915
Logan Coal Mine   Black Star Coal Company   1917 - 1929
The last production was reported in November 1929.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 140 ]
February 6, 1915
      Duquoin -- The mining property of the Benton District Coal Co., at Hanaford which recently went into the hands of a receiver, has been sold for $60,000. This deal was completed by Herman Rea of Christopher, receiver of the property.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 6, Hill Publishing Co., New York, February 6, 1915]
 
April 10, 1915
      Hanaford -- The mine at Hanaford recently acquired by a Chicago coal syndicate has been thoroughly reorganized, and put in condition, and will soon be one of the busiest spots in the country. This mine is owned by the John A. Logan Coal Co., and an effort is being made to change the name of the post office to Logan.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 15, Hill Publishing Co., New York, April 10, 1915]

M-Class Coal Mine No. 1
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 4 East, Section 4, NE SE SE
An underground slope mine at a depth of 730 feet with a coal seam of 6 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
M-Class Coal Mine No. 1   M-Class Mining   2010 - ?
[ Source - No. 76, Index 1047 ]

Middle Fork Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 21, NE NE NE
An underground mine at a depth of 602 to 609 feet with a coal seam of 5 feet to 11½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Middle Fork Coal Mine   Middle Fork Mining Company   1915 - 1916
Middle Fork Coal Mine   United States Fuel Company   1916 - 1925
The last production was reported in July 1925.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 139 ]
June 6, 1914
      Benton -- The Middle Fork Coal Co., a new undertaking, is sinking a mine a few miles southeast of this place. it is understood the mine will have a capacity of 4000 tons a day, and the work of sinking the shatf is now in progress.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 23, Hill Publishing Co., New York, June 6, 1914]
 
June 13, 1914
      Benton -- The Middle Fork Mining Co., which is sinking a mine two miles southeast of this place, has secured 1700 acres and will make it a 4000-ton per day mine. It will be operated entirely by electricity, and the work is in charge of J. M. Seymour, who has had charge of sinking every mine in the vicinity of Benton.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 24, Hill Publishing Co., New York, June 13, 1914]
 
April 10, 1915
      Benton -- It is expected that the first coal will be taken out some time this coming month, from the new mine of the Middle Fork Mining Co. The electrical machinery by which the mine will be operated entirely is practically ready.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 15, Hill Publishing Co., New York, April 10, 1915]
 
January 15, 1916
      Benton -- Operations have begun at the new Middle Fork mine of the Middle Fork Mining Co., east of here, on the Illinois Central and the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroads. Up to this time mine-run only has been produced, but in a few days the company will be preparing domestic sizes. The company has several thousand acres of land and the mine is to be operated by elecricity.
[Coal Age, Vol. 9 No. 3, Hill Publishing Co., New York, January 15, 1916]
 
February 5, 1916
      Benton -- The first coal was hoisted recently from the mine of the Middle Fork Mining Co., Ground was broken for the shaft in August, 1914, and coal was reached five months later. The capacity is 4,000 tons daily. By Apr. 1 the mine will be giving employment to several hundred men. The shaft is two miles east of Benton and connects with three railroads. the Edwards & Bradford Lumber co., with several hundred yards scattered over the Northwest, is to take the entire output. this makes the 19th mine in Franklin County.
[Coal Age, Vol. 9 No. 6, Hill Publishing Co., New York, February 5, 1916]
 
November 7, 1918
      Benton -- The new coal washer of the United States Fuel Co. at the Mlddlefork mine was tested out a few days ago in the presence of all of the company officials from Chicago. It cost $500,000 and is said to be the largest in the world.
[Coal Age, Vol. 14 No. 19, New York, November 7, 1918]
 
February 3, 1921
      It has been announced that the United States Fuel Co., is making plans for the sinking of two more large mines in Franklin County, near its Middlefork mine now in operation. A sum of $2,000,000 is to be expended in the two mines which will soon be sunk. The company also maintains a large washer and crusher at Benton near the Middlefork mine. Plans are under consideration for the erection of byproduct coke ovens at Benton where the output of the mines will be put through the Somali Solvay process. The ovens will cover an area of 25 acres. according to plans which have been formed. The United States Fuel Co., is the first to try the coking process on southern Illinois coals. At the present time the company after washing its coal is shipping it to its plants at Jollet, in the northern part of the state. Over 50,000 acres of rich coal land is controlled by the United States Fuel Co., all located in Franklin County.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 5, New York, February 3, 1921]
 
March 31, 1921
      The Middlefork mine of the United States Fuel Co., located at Benton, where a mammoth washer is in operation, is preparing to put in a plant for reclaiming the fine coal which is washed away. The plant, which will cost around $25,000, will completely and thoroughly separate the coal from the culm. This mine is only running three days per week at present, and the new installation will probably be made during the slack running season. The management will also in take advantage of the idle days to make other improvements and additions.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 13, New York, March 31, 1921]
 
April 21, 1921
      During the slack working time which is now causing all mines to operate from two to three days per week, the Middlefork mine at Benton is getting a new $25,000 plant for reclaiming and washing the fine coal. The mine is operated by the United States Fuel Co., which is a subsidiary of the U. S. Steel Co., and a large portion of the output is shipped directly to some of the largest steel pants in the country.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 16, New York, April 21, 1921]
 
May 19, 1921
STRIKE CLOSES BENTON MINE of U. S. STEEL C0.
      Refusal to give the mine examiners of the Middle Fork mine at Benton, Ill., pay regardless of the regularity of operation has resulted in a strike by which 700 men are laid idle. The mine is operated by the United States Fuel Co., a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. William Brinley, superintendent of the plant, is said to have declared that the company is quite indifferent as to whether the mine works or is idle.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 20, New York, May 19, 1921]
 

Old Ben Coal Corporation Mines
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 8
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 25, 625 FNL, 200 FEL
An underground mine at a depth of 440 feet to 472 feet with an average coal seam of 8½ feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Wilmington Star Coal Mine No. 8   Wilmington Star Mining Company   1910 - 1911
Ohio Valley Coal Mine   Ohio Valley Mining Company   1911 - 1913
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 8   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1913 - 1952
The last production was reported in February 1952.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 143 ]
 
January 14, 1921
      An explosion in which eight men were seriously burned and several others received minor burns occurred Jan. 14 in mine No. 8 of the Old Ben Coal Corporation of Chicago, located near West Frankfort, Williamson County. Officials of the company immediately ordered the Benton, Duquoin and other mine rescue teams from surrounding towns to their aid, and after hours of hard work the men were located and brought out alive. All are said to be out of danger. The mine is a large one and has been worked by the Old Ben people for several years.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 5, New York, February 3, 1921]
 
Gas explosions killed 36 men in four accidents between 1921 and 1947.
See : Explosion in Old Ben No. 8 Seven men killed on December 1, 1929
See : Explosion, Old Ben Coal Corporation Mine No. 8 Twenty-seven men killed on July 24, 1947
- - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -       - - - - -
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 9
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      Hoist shaft -Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 20, SE NE SE
      A shaft - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 20, SE SW SE
      C shaft - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 29, SE SW SE
      D shaft - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 27, SW SE SW
      E shaft - Williamson County, Township 8 South, Range 3 East, Section 2, SW SE SW
An underground mine at a depth of 440 feet to 482 feet with a coal seam of 6 feet to 9.3 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 9   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1913 - 1968
The mine was idle 1929-1943.
One of the shafts was used for disposal of acid water after 1968.
The last production was reported in February 1968.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 448 ]
The mine had some gas; an explosion killed one man in 1923.
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 10 Purity logo
Christopher Coal Mine 1917
Christopher Coal Mining Company, Christopher, Ill.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 10, New York, September 8, 1917]
 
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 1 East, Section 24, NW NW SW
An underground mine at a depth of 505 feet with an average coal seam of 7½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Zeigler North Coal Mine   Zeigler District Colliery Company   1906 - 1914
Christopher Coal Mine No. 1   Christopher Coal Mining Company   1914 - 1916
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 10   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1916 - 1924
The last production was reported in February 1924.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 434 ]
Christopher Coal Mine No. 1
The "Old" Mine in Operation
Ziegler District Colliery Company
F. J. Browning photo
New Manager Appointed
      The Zeigler District Colliery Company, Roanoke building, announced the appointment, this week, of Frank J. Browning as general manager of sales, succeeding W. P. McMillan. Mr. Browning has a host of friends in Chicago and western trade who will be glad to hear of his new connection. Although comparatively young in years, he is considered one of the old-timers in the coal business, having been connected with the Silver Creek & Morris Coal Company as far back as 1888.
      He remained with this concern until it was absorbed by the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company in 1892. The Sunday Creek coal Company then procurred his services and he remained with this company until the first of July, 1905, when he went with the Youghiogheny & Lehigh Coal Company. He remained with this corporation and with its successor, the Pittsburgh Coal Company, until last year.
      The Zeigler District Colliery Company has a modern mine adjoining the town of Christopher, Ill. It has two railroad connections, the Illinois Central and the Burlington, and is prepared to take good care of the trade in the northwest. The mine is getting out at present about a thousand tons per day, which will be increased later on to 2,500 tons, the capacity of the operation.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 40 No. 7, Old Colony Bldg., Chicago, Ill.; February 15, 1908]
1911 Annual Coal Report 8 - Improvements
      The Ziegler District Colliery Company, Christopher, has installed a Streeter-Amet Weighing and Recording Machine.
 
Slate Pickers
Preparing Purity Coal for Market
Two Slate Pickers in Every Car
Purity nut coal
"Purity" No. 1 Nut 3" x 2"
The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 1, Chicago, Illinois; July 1, 1911
The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 3, Chicago, Illinois; July 15, 1911
Chunks of Coal
"Purity" Chunk Coal
Purity lump coal
"Purity" Lump Coal

1911
      Fred Schroeder, secretary of the Ziegler District Colliery Company, returned to Chicago on Wednesday after completing negotiations in Franklin county for the acquiring of 2,000 acres of coal land adjoining their present holdings. Another shaft will be sunk at once and a tipple erected which will have a capacity of 3,000 tons of coal per day. Every modern device used in scientific coal mining will be installed in the new plant and when complete this operation will be the equal of any bituminous mining plant in the country.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 5, Chicago, Illinois; July 29, 1911]
 
      After a five-day shut down the miners employed at the Ziegler District Colliery Company's mine at Christopher, Ill., decided to return to work on Wednesday. The cause of the trouble was due to a dispute over loading out the bug dust. The men refused to obey their own officials and paid absolutely no attention to their agreement with the operators. After their five days' vacation the ardor of the men cooled considerably and they decided to return to work pending a settlement of the grievances.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 20, Chicago, Illinois; November 11, 1911]
 
1912 Annual Coal Report 9 - Improvements
      Zeigler District Colliery Company has installed six Jeffery electric mining machines, one 6-ton gathering motor. General Electric Co., also one hundred new mine cars, with a capacity of three tons each.
 
1912 - The Purity Coal Company
      The Purity Coal Company has been appointed exclusive selling agent for the entire output of the coal mined by the Ziegler District Colliery Company and the Christopher Coal Mining Company, whose mine adjoining that of the Ziegler District Colliery Company will shortly be in operation, mining same grade of superior coal. The combined output of the two mines at Christopher, Franklin County, Ill., is 7,000 tons daily. F. J. Browning, Secretary and Treasurer of the Purity Coal Company, will continue in charge of the sales, and E. C. Pratt, who has been identified with the Ziegler District Colliery Company as Northwestern Sales Agent, with offices in Minneapolis, will continue in that capacity.
[The Fuel Magazine , Vol. 19 No. 3, Chicago, Illinois; May 21, 1912]
 
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February 5, 1913
First Entirely Electrically Equipped Illinois Mine
      Stockholders and Directors of Three Companies Interested Visit the New Mine in Franklin County, Now Near Completion, Inspect the Progress of the Work and Spend an Ideal Day Out of Doors.
 
      As many coal mines as there are in the country, and as numerous as are the opening of new ones, sometimes there is a new plant opened which stands out conspicuously for one reason or another. Such an instance is furnished by the new mine of the Christopher Coal Mining Company, just nearing completion at Christopher, in Franklin County, Ill. The first coal was taken from the mine December 27, work having been started in May of last year, and the top of the coal being reached with the great shaft in exactly six months, without a single fatal accident and with scarcely half a dozen minor accidents of any character. In order to inspect this new mine with its 12-foot seam of unexcelled coal a party made a tour to the mine and spent last Wednesday at this mine and at the mine of the Ziegler Colliery Company, belonging practically to the same owners.
 
      The party was made up of stockholders and directors of the Ziegler District Colliery Company, the Christopher Coal Mining Company and the Purity Coal Company, the latter the selling agent for the two producing companies. Representatives of some of the coal trade journals accompanied the party as invited guests. The stockholders making the trip were Niels Buck. Fred Schroeder. Frank J. Browning. O. Haugan, E. A. Robinson, C. J. Driever, E. A. Hegner, William Weber, H. D. Moreland, F. Tufford, Frank E. Dougherty, John Clancy, Robert May, E. A. Ericson, J. R. Ledford, E. L. Ericson, all of Chicago: J. A. Rockwell, Omaha. These gentlemen occupied the private car Oceanic and an extra Pullman. Five leading officials of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad accompanied the party in their private car.
 
Inspection Trip
Among Those Present

      Leaving Chicago Tuesday night, Christopher was reached Wednesday morning and inspection of the mines followed. The mine of the Ziegler District Colliery Company is already a well known producer, turning out 2,500 tons daily. It has been in operation six years, coal being reached November 27, 1907. The coal is ten feet in thickness, and the bottom of the vein lies 517 feet below the surface. The mine is finely equipped with Litchfield hoisting engines 24 by 42, and about a year ago double-port cylinders were added. The Bond cages were the heaviest ever made until the new ones were made for the new mine now approaching completion. A twelve-foot fan ventilates the mine perfectly. and electricity was supplied by two Western Electric generators until a new motor generator set was installed, to be supplied with power from the new mine. Since this installation but one of the Western Electric sets has been retained. The machinery is modern in every respect, the shops complete, and now the company will build and repair their own cars.
 
      lt is a machine mine, operating twenty-one Jeffrey chain cutting machines, and one Morgan & Gardner machine. There are two Morgan & Gardner eight-ton motors and ten General Electric gathering motors, with two more of the latter to come. Only ten mules are used for haulage. The average number of men employed is 500. The record day's output is a fraction over 3,078 tons. The equipment for preparing and grading the coal is large and complete, four tracks enabling the company to make their six-inch lump, large egg, and No. 1 nut as the coal is dumped in the tipple. The screenings are then rescreened, making a smaller nut and screenings proper, thus giving five sizes of coal. As the various sizes are conveyed by chute to the cars men pick out by hand all the impurities, which are thrown into a separate chute and finally go to road-making. From the coal is also picked out a sufficient supply of coal of such quality as to compare with line smithing coal, which is used in the various shops for blacksmithing. etc.
 
      The company has worked out about one-third of its thousand acres
 
      The new mine is owned by the Christopher Coal Mining Company, is about a mile and a half from the above mine, and owns 2,000 acres. The coal seam is twelve feet in thickness, being 593 feet to the top of the coal at the main shaft and 604 feet 10 inches to the top of the coal at the air shaft. This is a general electric proposition, to be operated altogether by current manufactured on the premises. and to be electrical in every respect, both above and below. When fully developed it will have a producing capacity of from 4,500 to 5.000 tons, and will be the largest mine in the state. The construction end guarantees 4,000 tons in seven hours
 
      The utmost economy in time has been insured. For instance, in loading box cars it takes from five to seven minutes to make the change to an empty car when the car on track has been loaded. To save this time a separate track is provided for box cars, so that when one is loaded the coal can be instantly diverted into another car on another track while a new box car is being placed. There will be the regular four tracks and rescreening arrangement, in addition, just as in the other mine. With a view to ultimate economy, the buildings are of permanent construction, built of brick and covered with tile, foundations being cement. They are thus absolutely fireproof.
Tipple of New Mine
Tipple of New Mine
Power House
Power House of New Mine

      The power house is an unusually large structure, the equipment to be a new step in the making of modern mines. All the buildings are models in construction and equipment. The air shaft is designed so as to hoist men and to take down cars and material without interfering with the operation of the main shaft for hoisting coal even when the mine is fully developed. The buildings are the power house, blacksmith shop, engine room and air shaft house. The power house will develop electric power for both mines, and there will still be a surplus which can be sold to others if desired by them, the capacity for developing power being so large.
 
      The installation of the tremendous vertical tubular boilers was going on and attracted universal attention. There are two 750 k. w. turbines, connected with the condensing apparatus and from these the current is delivered into the switchboard with a power of 2,300 volts: thence it goes to the fly wheel and then to the hoist. Passing through the transformer. the current is changed from alternating current to direct current of 300 volts. which is not so deadly. From the motor generator sets a current of 250 volts is furnished to the bottom for power for cutting machines, haulage motors. etc. All shaker screens, fans, pumps, etc., are operated by the current thus generated.
 
      The company will be the pioneers in introducing the electric hoist, and this will be the first absolutely complete electrically equipped mine in Illinois.
 
      A few cars of coal have been shipped from the mine, but until the entries are opened production will be merely nominal. When the real production is developed to the full it will require from 700 to 800 men in and about the mine.
 
      As to the men employed, it may be said that no happier or better cared-for body of employes can be found in the state. The beautiful little city of Christopher is filled with pretty homes belonging to the men who work at the mining of coal. Almost every miner owns his home, the companies encouraging them in owning the houses they occupy. Of all the 500 employes of the Ziegler District Colliery Company, but six or seven rent houses from the company. They buy or build their own homes, and a prettier town can not be found in Illinois. Very few three-room houses are found. four-room homes with neat and attractive surroundings being the rule, though many are larger, some two-story houses: and the sight of an unpainted house is the rarest thing in Christopher. The men take a pride in their homes, because they are their own. The general superintendent of the Ziegler District Colliery Company and the Christopher Coal Mining Company is W. I. Watts, a man who has learned what there is to learn in many coal fields. He began as a boy, working with his father in West Virginia before the war between the states. He has worked in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and the Black Hills and sunk a coal mine in Michigan. He has four sons, all of whom worked with him in Pennsylvania and the Black Hills. and three of whom are employed in responsible position by the Ziegler District Colliery Company -- T. J. Watts as superintendent, W. G. Watts as electrician and C. H. Watts as assistant electrician. The fourth son, Alexander Watts. is superintendent of the Christopher Coal Mining Company.
 
Watts famly
General Suprintendent W. I. Watts and His Four Sons, T. J., W. G., C. H., amd Alexander

      The officers of the three companies interested in these two mines are as follows: Ziegler District Colliery Company -- Niels Buck, president; C. J. Driever, vice-president; Fred Shroeder, treasurer; A. A. Rolf, secretary.
Fred Schroeder
Fred Schroeder
Niels Buck
Niels Buck
Frank J. Browning
Frank J. Browning

      Christopher Coal Mining Company -- Fred Shroeder, president; E. A. Wegner, vice-president; Niels Buck. treasurer: A. A. Rolf, secretary.
 
      Purity Coal Company -- Fred Shroeder, president; Niels Buck, vice-president; Frank J. Browning, secretary-treasurer.
 
      The visit to the mines was not only a source of gratification to those financially interested in the work being so well done. but to those having the pleasure of accompanying them. Meals and refreshments were served on the Oceanic, and absolutely nothing left undone that could be done to add to any one's pleasure.
[The Fuel Magazine , Vol. 20 No. 15, Chicago, Illinois; February 5, 1913
 
Christopher No. 1 Mine
A Flywheel Induction Motor-Generator Set in Plant of the Christopher Coal Co., Christopher, Ill.
Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 21, Hill Publishing Co., New York, May 22, 1915
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 11
Christopher No. 1 Mine
1911
Christopher No. 1 Mine
Capacity 2500 tons daily
Brand "Christopher"
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 17, Chicago, Illinois; October 21, 1911]
 
Christopher No. 2 Mine
1914
Mine Mo. 2, Christopher Coal Co.
[Coal Age, Vo. 5 No. 11, Hill Publishing Co., New York, March 14, 1914]
 
Christopher No. 2 Mine
1916
Mine Mo. 2, Christopher Coal Co.
[Coal Age, Vol. 9 No. 24, Hill Publishing Co., New York, June 10, 1916]
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 1 East, Section 14, NE SW SW
An underground mine at a depth of 619 feet with an average coal seam of 8 1/3 feet to 12½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Christopher Coal Mine No. 1   Christopher Coal Mining Company   1912 - 1914
Christopher Coal Mine No. 2   Christopher Coal Mining Company   1914 - 1916
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 11   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1916 - 1953
 Idle in 1932 - 1935
The last production was reported in April 1953.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 666 ]
The mine had some gas; one man was killed in a gas explosion in 1932.
 
1917
      Christopher -- Eighteen men are believed to have perished in an explosion Thanksgiving night in Mine No. 11 of the Old Ben Corporation. Four bodies had been recovered up to last Saturday night. Although hope of finding any of them alive had been abandoned, rescue teams, working in shifts, continued the search. They are under the direction of Evan John, State Director of Mines and Mining. Neither he nor the officers of the company have determined the cause of the explosion, which occurred on the 600-ft. level. D. W. Buchanan, of Chicago, president of the company, estimates the damage to the mine at $150,000 to $175,000. He declares that the mine was sprinkled and inspected in strict accordance with the law. The mine was electrically equipped throughout and recently broke all southern lilinois records in the number of tons hoisted in 8 hours. The force of the explosion was very great. It was felt 20 miles away. Both cages were blown out of the shaft and the tipple was wrecked. The steps in the air shaft were blown out. Rescue crews had to be let down in buckets. The mine employed 700 men. That more were not below was due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 23, New York, December 8, 1917]
 
      Christopher -- The cause of the explosion on Nov. 29 in the Old Ben mine, in which 16 men were killed, has not been determined, according to Evan John. Directorof Mines and Mining. Inspectors are making a thorough investigation. Thirteen bodies have been recovered. Work cannot be resumed at the mine for at least a month.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 24, New York, December 15, 1917]
 
      See : Explosion in Old Ben Coal Corporation's Mine No. 11
 
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 12
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 30, SW NW NW
An underground mine at a depth of 493 feet to 500 feet with an average coal seam of 9¼ feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
United Coal Mine No. 1   United Coal Mining Company   1906 - 1916
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 12   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1916 - 1929
The last production was reported in March 1929.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 58 ]
This mine had difficulties with gas; one man was killed in a 1913 explosion, and nine were killed by a 1915 explosion
      See : Explosion at United Coal Company Mine No. 1, July 27, 1915
 
January 12, 1922
      The Old Ben Coal Corporation has begun cutting down expenses in the way of closing certain mines in the southern part of the state. Mine No. 12 at Christopher and No. 17 at Johnson City were closed on Dec. 20. It is said that the company might soon shut down others of its twelve mines in Franklin and Williamson counties. It is reported that other operators are now contemplating closing down, some being already forced to do so by the poor market conditions and strong competition from non-union fields.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 2, New York, January 12, 1922]
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 14
United Coal Mining Company No. 2 Mine
United Coal Mining Company - Christopher, Illinois
View of the Largest and Most Modern Coal Mining Plant in Illinois
Complete plant designed and built at No. 2 Mine
by Roberts and Schaefer Co., Engineers and Contractors, Chicago, Illinois
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 8, Chicago, Illinois; August 19, 1911]
 
United Coal Mining Company Buckner Mine
Buckner Mine of the United Coal and Mining Co.
[Coal Age, Vol. 9 No. 24, Hill Publishing Co., New York, June 10, 1916]
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 1, 580 FSL, 860 FEL
An underground mine at a depth of 451 feet with an average coal seam of 8½ feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
United Coal Mine No. 2   United Coal Mining Company   1911 - 1915
United Coal Mine No. 2   United Coal Corporation   1915 - 1916
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 14   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1916 - 1960
 Idle in 1933
The last production was reported in March 1960.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 665 ]
The mine had gas; eight men were killed in an explosion in 1915 ( United Coal Mine No. 1 ) and one man was killed in a gas explosion in 1931.
 
March 30, 1922
      No. 14 mine of the Old Ben Coal Co. at Buckner, has been closed down. The mine employed about 350 men. The company announced that lack of market made the closing necessary.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 13, New York, March 30, 1922]
 
 
Location of Old Ben No. 14 Coal Mine as it is in 2014
This is the site where Old Ben 14 was located in Buckner. Christopher concrete is there now.
Old Ben No. 14 Mine location in 2014             Old Ben No. 14 Mine location in 2014 photo No. 2
Photographs courtesy of Rich Krzemien
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 15
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 35, 740 FNL, 445 FWL
An underground mine at a depth of 419 feet with an average coal seam of 8 feet to 8.83 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 15   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1919 - 1954
 Idle in 1925
The last production was reported in January 1954.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 428 ]
Gas may have been a problem at this mine; an explosion killed one man.
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 16
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 19, SW SW NE
An underground mine at a depth of 644 feet with a coal seam of 7½ feet to 9 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Franklin Coal Mine   Franklin County Construction   1905 - 1906
Sesser Coal Mine   Sesser Coal Construction Company   1906 - 1907
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 1   Franklin County Colliery Company   1907 - 1910
Sesser Coal Mine   Sesser Coal Company   1910 - 1919
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 16   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1919 - 1923
The last production was reported in November 1923.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 50 ]
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 19
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 4, SE SW NE
An underground mine at a depth of 567 to 580 feet with a coal seam of 7 feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Rend Coal Mine   W. P. Rend Coal Company   1907 - 1920
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 19   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1920 - 1923
The last production was reported in March 1923.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 56 ]
Two gas explosions killed seven men in November and December of 1908.
A gas explosion in November 1908 killed four men - See : November Explosion
A gas explosion in December 1908 killed three men - See : December Explosion
 
September 1911
      In Franklin county this last week the mine of Bell & Zoller, of the Wilmington Star Coal Mining Company, and the No. 2 mine of the W. P. Rend & Co., were closed down because the miners had demanded the employment of shot firers. The operators refused to comply, knowing that this was to be the opening wedge of the miners to demand the employment of shot firers in all parts of the state. the mines have been closed down a greater part of the week.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 47 No. 14, Chicago, Illinois; September 30, 1911]
 
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 21
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      Main shaft -Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 8, NE NE NE
      Air shaft -Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 8, NW NE NE
      D & E shafts -Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 17, NW SW NE
      F & G shafts -Township 5 South, Range 1 East, Section 14, SW NE SE
An underground mine at a depth of 656 feet to 660 feet with a coal seam of 5.8 feet to 8.42 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 21   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1952 - 1960
      Listed in the Coal Reports as Old Ben Coal Corporation,
but bought by Zeigler Coal Holding Company on May 28,1990.
      The mine was idled from May to October 1990.
Plans were underway for longwall expansion in 1991, but the mine was idled instead and never reopened.
      The last production was reported on October 26, 1991.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 863 ]
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 22
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
Township 6 South, Range 1 East, Section 1, 600 FSL, 100 FEL, SE NE
An underground mine at a depth of 577 feet to 602 feet with a coal seam of 6 feet to 11½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Valier Coal Mine No. 1   Valier Coal Company   1918 - 1952
 Idle in 1950 and 1951
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 22   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1952 - 1960
The last production was reported in January 1960.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 136 ]
Gas was present in the mine and four men were killed in a 1930 explosion, one man was asphyxiated in 1945.
See : Explosion in Valier Mine, March 1930
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 24
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      A shaft, hoist - Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 1, SW SE NE
      B shaft - Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 11, NE SE NE
      C shaft, man & material - Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 2, NE SE NE
      D shaft, exhaust fan - Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 2, NE SE NE
      E shaft, fan - Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 25, SE NW NE
An underground mine at a depth of 625 feet to 666 feet with an average coal seam of 6.6 feet to 8½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 24   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1965 - 1996
 Idle 1981 and 1982
The last production was reported in 1996.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 866 ]
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 25
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      A shaft, hoist - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 26, NE NE NW
      B shaft, man & material - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 26, SE SE NW
An underground mine at a depth of 598 feet with an average coal seam of 6½ feet to 8½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 25   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1977 - 1994
The last production was reported in August 1994.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 962 ]
This mine became the National Coal Mine Museum in the 1990s.
It opened for public tours on August 15, 1996, but closed in January, 2000 for safety reasons per OSHA.
The Museum also owned the nearby Orient 2 mine which was an above-ground historical mine site
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 26
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      Hoist shaft, hoist - Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 20, SE NE NE
      Man & Material shaft - Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 20, NE SE NE
      C portal & D shaft - Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 32, SW NE NE
      E & shafts - Township 5 South, Range 2 East, Section 30, SW SW NW
An underground mine at a depth of 640 feet to 651 feet with an average coal seam of 8 feet to 8.8 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 26   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1968 - 1996
 Owned by British Petroleum in the 1980s;
bought by Zeigler Coal Holding Company in July 1990
The last production was reported in 1996.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 879 ]
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Old Ben Coal Mine No. 27
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      Main shaft - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 25, NE NE NE
      Air, man & material shaft - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 25, NW NE NE
An underground mine at a depth of 593 feet with an average coal seam of 8 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Old Ben Coal Mine No. 27   Old Ben Coal Corporation   1978 - 1982
The last production was reported in December 1982.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 975 ]
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Orient Coal Mines
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Orient No. 1 Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 10, SW SE SW
An underground mine at a depth of 512 feet to 520 feet with an average coal seam of 9 feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Chicago, Wilmington & Vermilion Coal Mine   Chicago, Wilmington & Vermilion Coal Company   1913 - 1914
Orient Coal Mine No. 1   Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Company   1914 - 1955
The last production was reported in March 1955.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 505 ]
1914
      Chicago, Ill -- T. A. Lemmon, receiver of the Chicago, Wilmington & Vermillion Coal Co., has appointed the Allen & Garcia Co., Engineers, McCormick Building, Chicago, as consulting and constructing engineers to complete the construction work at the Orient, Franklin County mine, including a new rescreening plant, concrete lining for shafts, etc.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 25, Hill Publishing Co., New York, June 20, 1914]
 
1917
      Benton -- Five miners were killed and six others seriously injured when a 2-ton counter-balance slipped from the guides and fell through the roof of a cage in which 14 men were working at the Orient mine here recently.
September 17, 1917 - The five killed were :
James Boyle, miner, age 30 years, single.
Joe Karber, electrician, aged 31 years, single.
Alfred Kurz, miner, age 22 years, single.
John Patkus, miner, age 34 years, single.
Andy Palo, miner, age 30 years, married. He leaves a widow and five children
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 13, New York, September 29, 1917]
 
1922
Big Outputs! Has Any Shaft Done Better?
      Our recent inquiry about production records has received an apparently satisfactory answer from Frank J. Smith, of the Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Co., of Chicago. Mr. Smith sends us a circular of the company telling of three production records made by its Orient mine in Franklin County, Illinois. These are as follows: Record for one day, 6,777 tons, made on March 6, 1919; for one week, 34,792 tons, made during the week of Oct. 24 to 29, 1921; record for one month, 144,576 tons, made in the 26 working days of October, 1921.
      These are given in each instance as the world's record for any single mine up to the date given. That they are not unbeatable is admitted by Mr. Smith, for he states that the weekly record of 34,792 tons given above has already been bettered by Orient with 36,185 tons produced in the week of Jan. 24 to 30, 1922, inclusive. Can any one else do better?
      [The daily record here set forth represents the total extraction of over ¾ acre of a 5-ft. bed of coal. It is recorded that the bed at Orient ranges from 8 to 10½ ft.in thickness. -- Editor.]
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 11, New York, March 16, 1922]
 
1923
      The mine had some gas; two men were killed in a gas explosion in 1923.
 
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Orient No. 2 Coal Mine
New Orient Mine in 1943
Illinois Coal Report Photograph 42
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
            Main Shaft -Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 13, NW SE SW
            Auxiliary Shaft -Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 13, NE SE SW
            Shaft No. 3, (air) -Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 1, SE NE NW
            Shaft No. 4, (motor) -Township 6 South, Range 2 East, Section 36, NE NE SW
An underground mine at a depth of 480 to 500 feet with a coal seam of 8 feet to 12½ feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
New Orient Coal Mine
Orient No. 2 Coal Mine
  Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Company   1922 - 1959
Orient No. 2 Coal Mine   Orient Number Two Coal Company   1959 - 1960
The last production was reported on November 30, 1960.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 366 ]
 
April 14, 1921
      The Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Co., one of the largest operators in the Franklin County field, will at once begin the work of sinking a new shaft between Benton and West Frankfort. According to the plans as given out, this will the biggest and most modern colliery ever constructed, and will have an hourly capacity of one thousand tons. The company now operates three mines in Franklin County and two in Williamson County.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 15, New York, April 14, 1921]
 
April 28, 1921
      The Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Co., of Chicago, has broken ground for its new mine to be known as Orient No. 2 and is located adjoining the present Orient mine No. 1. The company now operates nine large mines in Illinois and is one of the foremost companies in the state. An expenditure of over $2,000,000 will be made in the sinking and equipping of this new and modern colliery.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 17, New York, April 28, 1921]
 
May 5, 1921
      The new plant of the Chicago, Wilmington and Franklin Coal Co. in Franklin County, is planned on a huge scale. The contract for the shaft has already been let, and Allen & Garcia Co., engineers for the plant, are now working up the plans.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 18, New York, May 5, 1921]
 
January 12, 1922
      Work is progressing rapidly on the sinking of the two shafts of the Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Co.'s mine at West Frankfort. The mine, which will be known as Orient No. 2 will rank in capacity and equipment with Mine No. 1. which at the present time holds the world's record for hoisting coal.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 2, New York, January 12, 1922]
 
June 1, 1922
      Construction work at Orient Mine No. 2 at Orient, owned by the Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Co., of Chicago, will continue on through the strike under a special agreement turned over to the Dravo Construction Co., of Pittsburg, which is doing the work. When completed the mine will be as large if not larger in capacity than No. 1 Mine which holds the present world's record for eight hours' hoisting. The work is being done in three shifts daily and over 100 union men are employed. According to the agreement, all of the coal hoisted in the sinking and development of the mine during the present strike must be stored near the shaft and not be sold for commercial purposes until the strike is over.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 22, New York, June 1, 1922]
 
An explosion in December of 1951 resulted in the death of 199 men.
See : Explosion at Chicago, Wilmington & Franklin Coal Company's Orient No. 2 Mine
 
 
Location of Orient No. 2 Coal Mine as it is in 2014
Orient  No. 2 Mine location in 2014
Photograph courtesy of Rich Krzemien
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Orient No. 5 Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County -
      Main shaft - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 34, NW NW NE
      Man & Material shaft - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 34, NW NW NE
An underground mine at a depth of 630 feet with an average coal seam of 9.08 feet to 10.08 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Orient Coal Mine No. 5   Freeman Coal Mining Corporation   1960 - 1972
The last production was reported on December 15, 1972.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 847 ]
The mine was reputedly very gassy.
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Peabody Coal Mines
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Peabody Coal Mine No. 18
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 8, center SE SE SE
An underground mine at a depth of 504 feet with an average coal seam of 7 feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Dering Coal Mine No. 18   Dering Coal Company   1907 - 1908
Brazil Block Coal Mine No. 18   Brazil Block Coal Company   1908 - 1911
 Idle in 1910
Dering Coal Mine No. 18   Dering Coal Company   1911 - 1915
Producer's Coal Mine No. 18   Producer's Coal Company   1915 - 1916
By-Products Coal Mine No. 18   By-Products Coal Company   1916 - 1922
Peabody Coal Mine No. 18   Peabody Coal Company   1922 - 1924
Industrial Coal Mine No. 18   Industrial Coal Company   1924 - 1927
Peabody Coal Mine No. 18   Peabody Coal Company   1928 - 1947
 Idle in 1935
The last production was reported in January 1947.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 256 ]
Two gas explosions occurred at this mine.
The first killed 4 men in February 1909, and set the shaft on fire.
      See : Explosion at Dering Coal Company's No. 18
 
The second explosion killed 21 men in 1928.
      See : Explosion at Peabody No. 18
 
 
June 1909
THE FIRE OUT IN WEST FRANKFORT MINE
Messrs. Rice and Williams of the United States Geological Survey Experiment Technological Branch, Enter the Air Shaft and Find Unbreathable Atmosphere, but no Indications of Fire
-- The Hoisting Shaft Obstructed

      Monday, June 7th, George S. Rice, of Pittsburg, Pa., and R. Y. Williams, of the Urbana, Ill., experiment station, both connected with the Technological Branch of the United States Geological Survey, made an effort to enter the mine No. 18 at West Frankfort, Ill., where there were a series of explosions last February, resulting in the sealing of the mine until this attempt was made to enter it. The first trip was made down the air shaft. It will be remembered that following the explosions the mine took fire, which was the reason of its being sealed in order to extinguish the flames. The purpose of the attempt was to see if it were possible to explore the mine and ascertain if there were any fire remaining. The concrete seals were broken and trap doors put in their place, and about three o'clock in the afternoon everything was ready for the descent.
      The tub was first sent down to find if the way were clear and unobstructed. The shaft was found clear, and then Messrs. Rice and Williams went down in the buckets. They found the air shaft intact and in good condition. By analysis with the portable apparatus which the United States Geological Survey has the air was found to contain less than five per cent of oxygen, while there was seven per cent of carbonic acid gas. the balance being marsh gas and nitrogen. The low per cent of oxygen indicated that there was no active fire. The bottom of the shaft was sound, but as the water was so high, within two feet of the roof of the top entry and within three feet of the top of the other entries, that an investigation could not be made without removing the water.
      Going down the air shaft the bucket was lowered slowly and the new type of telephone was used having direct connection with the Draeger helmets. The line was paid out as they descended so that constant connection was kept with the top. As the depth was something like five hundred feet, this was a point of considerable value. The trap doors were kept closed while the hoisting was being done, so as to prevent the introduction of fresh air in the event there was any smother fire still underground which might be revived. This trip underground occupied thirty-five minutes. The investigators came up perfectly fresh, showing the eminent adaptability of the apparatus to the rescue work. The test was made in the presence of Carl Scholz, G. W. Traer, Inspectors John and Jenkins of the Illinois Coal Operators' Liability Insurance Company; General Superintendent Garcia, of the Brazil Block Coal Company; Local Superintendent Halbert and others, besides a large and interested concourse of the neighborhood people gathered about the mine.
      The following day Messrs. Rice and Williams proceeded to investigate the hoisting shaft, the one from which the flames escaped at the time when the mine was set on fire. After the concrete seal had been broken and trap doors put in their place, the tub was sent down as on the previous day before the investigators tried the descent, in order to see if there were anything to hinder the descent. Electric lights were attached to the tub to show if any obstruction was met with. These Went down within about twenty-five feet of the bottom when a slight obstruction was met which stopped the tub. The tub was being hoisted out when there came a slight puff or blow which threw open the trap doors of the hoisting shaft and threw down the brattice in the fanway at the air shaft. The force was not great, but it caused the crowd to scatter, under the impression that it was the fore-runner of another explosion. The investigating experts decided that it was only a heavy fall, probably of roof coal, in the vicinity of the shaft. However, as the lowering of the tub had disclosed an obstruction near the bottom of the shaft, they thought it was needless for them to go down, inasmuch as they would be unable to get to the bottom in any case.
      It was the general consensus of opinion that there was practically no probability of there being any fire, and that it will be safe to open the mine. The method of doing so, however, is still under discussion by the officials of the company.
      In this investigation the use of the helmet in an unbreathable atmosphere was shown to be feasible and was a point of great advantage in a case of this kind to be able to know just what the condition of affairs was at the bottom of the shaft.
      The local people who ran away when the roof coal fell are still under the belief that it was an explosion of some sort, but the experts who were on the ground deny this, saying that there was not only not an explosion but none of the indication of one. The slight noise could only have been caused by the fall of a mass of heavy material, and in all probability it was, as stated above, a mass of falling roof coal.
      There is some talk of the Williamson County mines establishing a fully equipped rescue station in a central location, ready for quick use in case of accident. This would be a wise thing to do, in the opinion of the men engaged in making these investigations, and would be a great preventive of accidents in the mines being so far-reaching, as well as a great aid in saving the lives of men overcome in the mine in such cases.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 7, Chicago, Illinois; June 15, 1909]
 
WEST FRANKFORT MINE ABLAZE: FLOODED
Despite the Promising Indications Found by the Experts the Flames Broke Out Again When Air Was Admitted and the Mine is Being Flooded
-- Matters of Interest in the Illinois Coal Fields Last Week.

      The report printed last week in Fuel that the fire was out in the West Frankfort, Ill., mine unfortunately proved to be a little premature. When the mine was fully opened at both shafts on the Saturday following the investigations by Messrs. Rice and Williams a slight smoke was discovered, showing that some fire was still smoldering beneath. The height of the water that had gathered in the entries precluded an entrance sufficiently to locate the flames exactly, and the existence of fire after so long a time convinced the owners that complete flooding was the only way in which they would completely conquer the fire. This was made an easy task because of the fact that the water was already high enough to almost completely flood all the working places. Pipes were secured and laid and the How of the water started, with the view of flooding every portion of the mine and stopping the work of the destroying element. Just how long this mine will be out of commission it is not now possible to say, though it should take but a comparatively short time to extinguish the fire after the flooding has been completed. There are cases, however, where after a mine had been supposed to be entirely flooded and the fire drowned out fire still remained when the water was pumped out. This is an exceptional case, however, and it is believed that the West Frankfort mine will behave better.
[Fuel Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 8, Chicago, Illinois; June 22, 1909]
 
August 1917
      West Frankfort -- Four miners were recently injured in an explosion in Mine No. 18 here. There was little property damage. Evan John, Director of the State Department, was notified and state inspectors were sent to make an investigation. The cause of the explosion has not been made known.
[Coal Age, Vol. 12 No. 6, New York, August 11, 1917]
 
January 12, 1922
      W. B. Miller, superintendent of Mine 18 at West Frankfort, has resigned his position after several years of service. He is one of the best known coal men in southern Illinois, having worked for various mining companies throughout Williamson and Jackson counties.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 2, New York, January 12, 1922]
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Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46, Number 246
Friday, March 4,1921, Page 2
MANY MORE MEN THAN MINE JOBS
      Mine 18, which has been shut down for several weeks during which time repairs were made, resumed work today with all the old men back who asked for their jobs and about 25 new ones were put on. It is the purpose of the management to put on more men in a few days. A great many more applied for work than could be used just now. Mine No. 19 of the same company has shut down for the present. -- West Frankfort American.
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MINE NO. 19 CLOSED DOWN INDEFINITELY
      WEST FRANKFORT, March 1.-- Mine No. 19 of the Peabody Coal Company has been closed indefinitely. Workers "pulled" their tools the latter part of last week. Of course some shift men will be employed but no coal will be hoisted. It is probable that repairs will be made during the inactive period.
 
      Time was, several years ago, that No. 11 (as it was then known) worked every day and the "tooting" of the whistle night and morning meant nothing to the men. In later years however, it has not done so well.
 
      It has been announced that the other local holding of the Peabody people -- No. 18 -- will run part time during the summer months. It is expected that both will "hit 'er up" again beginning with July or August.
 
      Supt. Elders of No. 19 has been transferred to Johnston City during the shutdown.
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Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46, Number 246
Friday, March 4,1921, Page 3
RUMORED SALE OF WEST FRANKFORT PEABODY MINES
MINE NO. 19 CLOSED DOWN INDEFINITELY
      A rumor was current in West Frankfort the first of the week that Mines Nos. 18 and 19 of the Peabody Coal Company had been sold.
 
      An inquiry at the office of No. 19 ascertained there was nothing known about the deal there. The C. W. & F. Coal Company and Middle Fork Mining Company were mentioned in the reported exchange of property.
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By-Products Coal Company
Mine No. 18 ~ 1916 - 1922
March 17, 1921
      Directors of the By-Products Coke Co., have declared a special dividend of 10 per cent on the capital stock payable March 25 to stockholders of record March 15.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 11, New York, March 17, 1921]
 
June 9, 1921
      The By-Products Coke Corporation has sold to a Chicago banking syndicate $4,000,000 fifteen-year first and refunding 8 per cent bonds. due May 1, 1936. The bonds will be offered at 99.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 23, New York, June 9, 1921]
 
January 12, 1922
      Mine No. 18 of the By-Products Coal Co., at West Frankfort, which is under control of the Peabody interests, was closed down Dec. 20, and no definite time was given by the company has to when the plant would be reopened. This mine is one of the largest and oldest of the Peabody properties and its closing is attributed to the innabllity of the producers to offer coal on the market at prices approximating those quoted by producers in other coal fields.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 2, New York, January 12, 1922]
 
February 2, 1922
      Following close on the announcement that Mine 18 of the By-Products Coal Co., at West Frankfort would be closed down indefinitely, the company made a similar announcement concerning Mine 19, also located near West Frankfort. The mine belongs to the Peabody interests.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 5, New York, February 2, 1922]
 
March 23, 1922
      The By-Products Coke Corporation, in its annual report for 1921, shows a net loss of $1,295,235, after interest. charges and adjustment of inventory. This compares with profits of $702,145 for 1920.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 12, New York, March 23, 1922]
 
March 16, 1922
      Mack Elders, general superintendent of mines No. 18 and 19 of the By-Products Coal Co., West Frankfort, has been transferred to mines owned by the company at Shelbyville.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 11, New York, March 16, 1922]
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September 1918
      West Frankfort -- Mines Nos. 18 and 19 of the Peabody Coal Co. will soon be equipped with individual electrical units. At Mine No. 19 a 450-kw. generator will be installed. to be connected with Corliss engines. Two new boilers will also be installed. Automatic hoisting cages were installed in this mine during the lull in business this summer. Mine No. 18 will be equipped with the same or a larger generator than Mine No. 19.
[Coal Age, Vol. 14 No. 10, New York, September 5, 1918]
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Peabody Coal Mine No. 19
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 3 East, Section 18, center SE SW
An underground mine at a depth of 500 feet with a coal seam of 9 feet to 11 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Dering Coal Mine No. 11   Dering Coal Company   1904 - 1908
Brazil Block Coal Mine No. 11   Brazil Block Coal Company   1908 - 1911
Dering Coal Mine No. 11   Dering Coal Company   1911 - 1915
Producer's Coal Mine No. 19   Producer's Coal Company   1915 - 1916
By-Products Coal Mine No. 19   By-Products Coal Company   1916 - 1922
Industrial Coal Mine No. 19   Industrial Coal Company   1922 - 1927
Peabody Coal Mine No. 19   Peabody Coal Company   1927 - 1936
The last production was reported in June 1936.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 51 ]
The mine had gas problems; eight people were killed in four explosions between 1907 and 1925.

Royalton Coal Mine
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 7
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 28, SW SW NW
An underground mine at a depth of 210 to 320 feet with an average coal seam of 9.83 feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Big Muddy & Carterville Coal Mine   Big Muddy & Carterville Mining Company   1906 - 1914
 Idle 1913
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 2   Franklin Coal & Coke Company   1914 - 1923
 Idle 1922
Royalton Coal Mine
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 7
  Franklin Coal & Coke Company   1923 - 1951
The last production was reported in September 1952.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 57 ]
 
1914
      Royalton -- A slope, 50 ft. deep, has been driven from the north workings of the South Mine of the Franklin Coal & Coke Co. here, to the lower vein. Several months ago, in working northward through the mine, the coal disappeared. Borings indicated the vein 50 ft. farther down, and this condition existed for two or three miles across the tract. No more coal will be worked from the upper vein. The coal of the lower vein is of superior quality.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 17, Hill Publishing Co., New York, April 25, 1914]
 
      Royalton -- The Franklin Coal & Coke Co. has plans for the erection by July 1 of a rescreening plant at its No. 1 mine.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 18, Hill Publishing Co., New York, May 2, 1914]
 
1915
      Chas. A. Sine, of Royalton, formerly general manager for John L. Mitchell's mining properties in Illinois, and J. B. Brown, manager of the Royalton mine, have resigned their positions to engage in the coal operating business at Sebree, Ky. They have acquired a mine at that place and are refitting it and expect to start operations shortly.
[Coal Age, Vol. 7 No. 14, Hill Publishing Co., New York, April 3, 1915]
 
1920
Bickett Company Reorganizes
      The Bickett Coal and Coke Company, which recently increased its capitalization from $600,000 to $3,000,000, has taken over 7,000 acres on Franklin County coal property, formerly belonging to the Royalton Coal and Coke Company and J. L. Mitchell, who have been operating in this district for the past ten years. Mr. Mitchell has become one of the directors in the reorganized Bickett concern.
      Two mines which are operated on the property have a daily production capacity of from 4,500 to 5,000 tons. The Bickett concern has been handling the entire output of these mines for the past eight years, so that the market is already established.
      Five sizes are made at both mines so that the range of demand met is wide. Modern machinery is installed.
      The Bickett Coal and Coke Company was organized in 1905 by C. A. Bickett, its president, who was formerly connected with the Manufacturers Fuel Company, during the regime of John W. Gates and Henry Weaver. The company annually handles a tonnage of approximately five million. It is closely associated with the Shirlies of Indiana, who are among the largest producers of coal in that state.
      Besides being the president and directing head of the Bickett Coal and Coke Company, Mr. Bickett is president of the Chicago Bearing Metal Company, which produces a wide assortment of railroad brasses. It is the largest plant of its kind in the country, located at Western avenue and Forty-third street, and is equipped with reverberatory furnaces. All the material is melted by electricity.
      The acquisition of the Franklin Company property further strengthens one of the strongest concerns on the street.
[The Black Diamond, Vol. 65 No. 24, Chicago & New York, December 11, 1920]
 
1921
      One of the largest deals in the history of southern Illinois coal mining recently took place when the Bickett Coal & Coke Co., of Chicago, owning extensive operations in Indiana, took over the entire property of the Royalton Coal & Coke Co., at Royalton, Franklin County. Included in the sale were 7,000 acres of undeveloped coal land and the two mines now in operation. The mines are the largest in the vicinity, having a daily tonnage of from 4,500 to 5,000 and make five sizes of prepared coal.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 1, New York, January 6, 1921]
 
Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois
Volume 46, Number 243
Tuesday, February 22, 1921, Page 1
LACK OF ORDERS CLOSES SOUTH ROYALTON MINE
      ROYALTON, Feb. 17. -- The south mine at Royalton closed down Tuesday for an indefinite period and will probably not reopen until there is an improvement in the sale of coal.
 
      The Franklin Coal & Coke Company operated both mines at Royalton. During the last two weeks a large number of orders have been canceled. One mine can now handle all the business. The south mine was closed because of the heavy overhead expense for the amount of coal taken out.
 
1922
      The North Mine, at Royalton, of the Franklin Coal & Coke Co., is undergoing some extensive repairs and improvements during the shutdown. The main shaft of the mine is being enlarged. New cages will be installed and when the shaft is completed five-ton cars will be used under-ground instead of two-ton cars now used.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 20, New York, May 18, 1922]

Southern Illinois Coal Mine No. 21
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 2 East, Section 24, SE NE SW
An underground mine at a depth of 450 feet to 460 feet with an average coal seam of 6 feet to 10 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
West Coal Mine No. 1
West Frankfort Coal Mine No. 1
  West Frankfort Coal Company   1911 - 1919
Southern Gem Coal Mine No. 1   Southern Gem Coal Corporation   1919 - 1926
 Idle in 1925 & 1926
Brewerton Coal Mine No. 21   Brewerton Coal Company   1927 - 1932
West Frankfort Coal Mine No. 21   West Frankfort Coal Company   1933 - 1934
West Coal Mine No. 21   West Mine Coal Corporation   1935 - 1936
 Idle in 1935
Frankfort Coal Mine No. 21   Frankfort Coal Company   1936 - 1937
Southern Illinois Coal Mine No. 21   Southern Illinois Coal Company   1937
      The company may have operated as Interstate Coal Company, No. 21 Mine
The last production was reported in December 1937.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 433 ]

 
1914
      West Frankfort -- The South mine here recently hoisted 3886 tons of coal in one day. The Zeigler mine a few days earlier hoisted 3401 tons.
[Coal Age, Vol. 5 No. 2, Hill Publishing Co., New York, January 10, 1914]

Ward Coal Mine
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 6 South, Range 3 East, Section 17, SW SW NE
An underground mine at a depth of 623 feet with an average coal seam of 6½ feet to 8 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Franklin County Coal Mine No. 1   Franklin County Mining Company   1917 - 1920
Franklin Coal Mine   Franklin Coal & Mining Company   1920 - 1921
Franklin County Coal Mine   Franklin County Mining Company   1921 - 1932
 Idle 1931-1932
Ward Coal Mine   Benton-Franklin Coal Company   1933
Ward Coal Mine   Franklin Mining Company   1934
The last production was reported in October 1934.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 2070 ]

March 31, 1921
      The Franklin County Mining Co., at Benton is preparing to install new equipment to properly care for the growing demand for Franklin County coal. Among the contemplated improvements is a rescreening plant, which will prepare several sizes of coal. This plant will probably be in operation in a few months. This company is also preparing fo erect a modern wash house for its men. The Franklin County company also plans to take advantage of the present dull period to make other improvements.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 13, New York, March 31, 1921]
 
April 14, 1921
      A special meeting of the stockholders of the Franklin County Mining Co. has been called for the purpose of considering the advisability of buying 5,000 acres of high-grade coal land lying in Cave township in Franklin County. The coal is owned by Robert R. Ward and W. W. McCreery, of Benton, and is one of the largest tracts of coal land in that county now owned by private parties. [Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 15, New York, April 14, 1921]
 
April 28, 1921
      While operating only three days per week the mine of the Franklin County Mining Co., at Benton, will undergo several improvements. A new rescreening plant will be built. A new and modern washhouse will also be constructed at this time.
[Coal Age, Vol. 19 No. 17, New York, April 28, 1921]
 
February 23, 1922
      Fire supposed to from an old gob pile broke out recently in the mine at Ward, resulting in the death of a pump man, who was suflocated by the smoke during the early morning hours. The mine was sealed the following day for a period of thirty days by state officials. it was recently purchased from McElvain-Hoy Coal Co., of Chicago, by W. A. Perrine, of Herrin. It is an old mine with an unfortunate speculative career with owners beyond recollection.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 8, New York, February 23, 1922]
 
March 2, 1922
      The mine of the Perrine Coal Co., at Ward, has been closed down and the two shafts sealed in an effort to smother a fire which gained such headway as to block all attempts of rescue teams to save the mine from disaster. Rescue teams from Duquoin and other surrounding towns worked for two days combating the flames with no results. The mine will be kept sealed and under state supervision until the flames have been smothered.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 9, New York, March 2, 1922]
 
March 9, 1922
      The mine at Ward has been unsealed by Robert M. Medill, Director of Department of Mines of Illinois. It is also understood that the property has been transferred from W. A. Perrin of Herrin, who had on lease to the Aladdin Coal Co., of St. Louis, which operates mines at Tamaroa, Pinckneyville and Cutler. The fire at the Ward Mine has been extinguished.
[Coal Age, Vol. 21 No. 10, New York, March 9, 1922]

Western Coal Mine No. 2
The legal description lists this as :    Franklin County - Township 7 South, Range 1 East, Section 31, SE NW SE
An underground mine at a depth of 152 feet with a coal seam of 6½ feet to 12 feet in thickness.
Mine Name Operated By Years
Western Coal Mine No. 2
Bush Coal Mine No. 2
  Western Coal & Mining Company   1916 - 1928
The last production was reported in March 1928.
[ Source - No. 76, Index 147 ]

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