Archive for the ‘Coal mining’ Category


His Case is a Peculiar One

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 31, 1904

His Case is a Peculiar One

A Man With a Broken Back Lives Nearly Two Years – Case of Joel Johnson

The case of Joel Johnson of Coalville, whose death occurred Friday, is one of the most peculiar and sad ever occurring in Webster county.

It will be remembered the unfortunate man was hurt while working in a coal mine in Coalville nearly a year and a half ago. He was buried under a fall of coal and his back was broken just below the points of the shoulder blades. He was brought to the hospital in this city and in the hope of relieving the pressure on the spinal cord, an operation was performed. It was discovered, however, when the incision was made, that the spinal cord had been almost entirely severed. It was thought that man would live but a short time, but a part of the injured vertebra was removed and the patient recovered apparently his health, but of course, not retaining any action or feeling in any of the organs below the region of the injury. Having no relatives he was removed to Coalville, where he was cared for at the expense of the county. He gradually began to grow worse again after his return to Coalville and about six weeks ago became so bad he was brought back t o the hospital in this city, where he remained under the care of the county physician until death.

Previous articles:

Is Paralyzed From Waist Down

Juel Johnson in Sad Plight


In The Mines Around Lehigh

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 11, 1903

In The Mines Around Lehigh

Great Activity Has Been Evidenced of Opening Lehigh Coal Fields

New Mines are Numerous

Several New Shafts are Being Sunk and Output From Lehigh Will be Increased.

The Lehigh Argus in its last issue has an interesting and comprehensive review of what is being accomplished toward the opening of coal fields around Lehigh, more especially in Deception Hollow.

The statement will be of more than ordinary interest to Fort Dodge people and is as follows:

“The work in Deception Hollow of opening the new mines by Sam’l McClure Co. is progressing rapidly. A large shaft 7×14 feet has been sunk and the work of driving the entries is now under way. It is only seventeen feet down to the coal where the shaft is located but the shaft has been sunk below the coal several feet to make a sump. Double shifts have been put on and the men are driving back into the thicker coal. The entry will be driven due south. At the shaft the coal is two feet six inches thick, 200 feet south from the shaft is it three feet and six inches thick. The coal is very bright and fine looking and those best posted claim it to be the Tyson vein.

“The coal is there and in good quality but until the entry has been driven back and the Great Western people can be convinced of the quantity and qaulity (sic) they will not expend $50,000 in extending their line to the mines. From present appearances it is quite probable the road will be built.”


Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 9, 1903

Unions Boycott Lehigh Stores

Deadlock is On as Result of Establishment of Cash System by Lehigh Merchants

Buy All Goods Elsewhere

Unions are Purchasing Goods by Carload. May Establish Co-Operative Store

A deadlock is on at Lehigh between the merchants and the laborers and the outlook is a very serious one for the store keepers of the city.

The trouble all arose over the establishment of the cash system on February 15. The merchants of Lehigh held a meeting some weeks ago and decided to adopt the cash system, putting themselves under bonds to stick to the cash basis.

The miners, brick makers, and other laborers took exceptions to this move and immediately made arrangements for trading elsewhere, going to Dayton, Burnside, Homer and Fort Dodge for all their goods, while the business men and clerks of the town were left with nothing whatever to do.

the labor unions of the city got together immediately after February 15, and ordered a car of flour, while each individual family sent to Chicago m ail order houses, cutting out entirely the home trade. The laborer unions have even invited the farmers tributary to Lehigh to join with them and take advantage of the wholesale prices they get in their car load lots of flour, potatoes, feed, etc., and many of them have done so, thus still farther hurting the trade of the merchants. The business men still hold to their agreement, but all or nearly all of them are willing to sell out. N.H. Tyson, who has always been a leader in a business way in Lehigh, has sold his general store and will move to Fort Dodge, according to report.

It is understood that as soon as a building can be obtained, the labor unions will start a co-operative store, and claim that they will effectually put a stop to other business enterprises in the town.

Lehigh has always been a credit town since its establishment, and the sudden adoption of the cash system came as a shock that upset the business tranquility of the town and brought on the crisis which now threatens. It has been the custom for the merchants to carry the people from the fifteenth of one month to the next. It is understood, also, that the state organization of the united Miner Workers of American have $750,000, a part of which they will invest in establishing a wholesale house at Des Moines for the distribution of supplies to the members of the labor unions at actual cost. The outcome of the present difficulty at Lehigh will be awaited with much interest, as the situation is considered a serious one. More orders are bening (sic) sent out for car load lots of flour, feed, potatoes, etc., every day or two, and neither side will give an inch.

There was an unusually large crowd of Lehigh people came to Fort Dodge on Saturday to trade as a result of the business situation there. The Great Western morning train brought about one hundred and fifty passengers.


Mine is Lighted by Electricity

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: July 1, 1903

Mine is Lighted by Electricity

United States Gypsum Company Inaugrates (sic) Improvement at Mineral City Mill.

Is Running Day and Night.

Both Mill and Mine are Thoroughly Lighted – Drilling is Also Done by Electricity – Improvements at Blanden Mill.

Improvements have just been completed in the Mineral City mill and mine of the United States Gypsum company, which the officials of the company in this city claim,  make it the most modern and best equipped mill in the country.

Both mill and mine have been fitted up with electric lights thruout, and the work is now carried on there day and night without intermission. The drilling is also done by electricity. These improvements have only just been completed, and the mill is now running under them.

The Blanden mill has also been greatly improved by the addition of new machinery.

One of the mills and mines of the company has been closed down and the men transferred to the Mineral City mill, but Manager Duncombe stated this morning that this was merely temporary and quite in accordance with the usual policy of the company when it was necessary to close the mill for repairs. The company had some trouble with water in the mines during the heavy rains, but this is now entirely over, and the damage done is less than was expected.


Coalville Has More Coal Veins

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 13, 1905

Coalville Has More Coal Veins

Favorable Prospects for New McEwen and Collins Mine.

The Shaft Has Been Finished

Was Pushed Down at Very Rapid Speed – Will Install Machinery and be Ready to Work Fifty Men by Next Winter – Excellent Facilities.

William McEwen of Coalville, was in Fort Dodge on Saturday and was able to report very favorable conditions on his new mine he is opening at Coalville. The Collins Brothers are interested with Mr. McEwen in the new mine which is located under the town of Coalville just alongside the railway track and near to the store. Many people had supposed that the coal deposits in this part of the town had been mined out long ago, but Mr. McEwen has demonstrated in his preliminary work of the past six months that there is a fine coal deposit there and he firmly believes it is of considerable size.

The prospecting drill demonstrated that there are two seams of coal, one at a depth of about 65 feet and the other about 80 feet down. Both veins are of lump coal of good quality and the top vein is about three and one-half feet thick and the lower four feet thick.

As soon as this was demonstrated and other drill holes had revealed the proof that a good many acres surrounding them were underlaid in the same way, Mr. McEwen started sinking a shaft and has just completed the work. It is a large shaft with three compartments, two for hoisting and the other for ventilation. The work was crowded with three shifts of men working eight hours each and the entire shaft was put down at an average speed of four feet per day. They went through some soft ground that required careful handling and through a great deal of very hard rock that needed large charges of dynamite. It was by no means an easy job to do so and the speed accomplished was very creditable.

Hoisting machinery will be installed and they will get the mine in shape to put large quantities of coal on the market this winter. Being right on the railroad track, they will be well equipped for shipping their product. They expect to work about fifty men net (sic – should be next) winter mining coal. There is but little water in the mine. They are able to hoist all that accumulates in the sump in twenty-four hours in about an hour and a half each day.


Webster County Coal Mines Idle

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: April 2, 1906

Webster County Coal Mines Idle

Coal Barons as Well as People in the Grasp of the Shortage.

Not Fifty Ton in the City

“Only a Few Ton on Hand” say most of Dealers – About Two Hundred Men In This Locality Out – Ten Mines closed Down.

Fort Dodge is, or shortly will be, in the grasp of the coal situation. Pursuant to agreement made among miners and operators all local mines are shut down pending agreement at the joint conference of miners and operators in Des Moines.

Fort Dodge coal dealers who have been on the verge of a shortage for weeks, owing to the gradually tightening marking report today that that shortage in local conditions is practically at hand. One dealer stated to a Messenger reporter today that he did not think there were more than fifty tons on hand among the dealers of the entire city.

Each retailer when asked about his supply comes forth with the reply, “Only a few tons left” and in some cases, “All out” is given.

Orin W. Collins reports that his company is totally out. The Gleason company have a similar report, and McClure coal company, Parel Coal company, Townsend and Merrill, Butler and Rhodes, and numerous others say their supply is running low. Graig Coal company, John Amond and a few others have a fair supply on hand.

Fortunately the private coal consumption for the year is nearly done with and all the large consumers are supplied against emergency. Some two hundred men through the county are out of employment and ten or more mines are shut down.