Coal Mining and Colleries in and around Saint Clair Part II

Coal Mining and Colleries in and around Saint Clair - Part II

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Hickory Colliery 1866

This was located across the Schuylkill River and   katy-cornered southwest from the St. Clair Coal Company.

Operated by Beck and Woodside from 1825 to 1835.   John Pinkerton ran it from 1835 to 1844.  Pinkerton dug a ventilation tunnel north to an earlier drift.  This mine at it's prime produced 100,000 tons per year. Benj. and Wm Milnes purchased the mine from Pinkerton and sank a new slope continuing westward.  Wm. Draper and Company had charge of it from 1871 to 1874 when it was abandoned.



breaker.jpg (126963 bytes) Wadesville
breaker1.jpg (49176 bytes) Wadesville
1877wadesville.jpg (463500 bytes) Article from the Evening Journal from Wednesday, May 9, 1877 telling the account of a mine explosion in Wadesville that claimed six (6) lives and injured another six  (6) men.
wadecoll_small.jpg (1836 bytes) Another picture of the Wadesville Colliery


Fatalities at Wadesville 1880

Mar. 15 Joseph DIX - Drivboy - 15 - Single - 0 - Wadesville - Fell from front end of empty wagon on which he was riding and dragged underneath, injuring him internally.

May 10 Patrick ROONEY - Boy - 15 - Single - 0 - Wadesville - Drowned in sump. Upon descending the shaft with his father to go to work in the mine is supposed to have lost his way and walked into sump.

Nov. 13 Griffeth LEWIS - Laborer - 23 - Single - Wadesville - Fall of slate at face of gangway.


SPLINTERS - Saturday, March 19, 1898

 James O’Donnell of Wadesville employed at the Wadesville shaft was instantly killed at his work Tuesday afternoon.  He was ascending the shaft in a cage and was almost near the top when he lost his footing and fell outward.  his head caught between the timber and guides breaking his neck and fracturing his skull.  He leaves a wife and six children and was 44 years of age.  Coroner Hillan was notified and after holding an inquest his jury rendered a verdict of accidental death.  Funeral takes place this morning.  High Mass will be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church after which interment will be made in the parish Cemetery

SPLINTERS - Saturday, January 21, 1899

 - Iron for the erection of Wadesville breaker has arrived at Pottsvillle shops.

SPLINTERS - Saturday, April 1, 1899

Thrilling accident

- An accident occurred at the new P&R breaker in Wadesville on Saturday.  One of contractor Simmons men was at work clinging to the iron beam at least 200 feet from the gravel.  A wooden beam was hoisting to a point about him, and falling, struck the iron worker on the head, cutting a deep gash.  By a superhuman effort the man clung to the iron framework and was saved from being dashed to death on the ground below.  It is described as a thrilling scene by those who witnessed it.  The injured man was taken to the Pottsville Hospital and walked from its railroad to the physicians office.

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The Saint Clair Shaft

Hailed as the most potential coal producer of it's time in Saint Clair, Enoch McGinness was celebrated by a grand party by the elite of Pottsville.  In 1853-54 this was the first vertical shaft sunk in Saint Clair.  It was located at the end of Carroll Street across the railroad tracks.  The breaker was built directly over the shaft and used a hoisting system designed by George Martz of Pottsville. 

Ventilation, flooding of the tunnel when it rained and poor workmanship caused lower production than anticipated.  McGinnis predicted production to be 1,000 tons but the average yearly production was only 50,000 tons.  

In July of 1855 the mine was sold to Kirk and Baum.  Tragety struck the following year in August when tar running down a wooden beam next to  a lamp left lit caught fire and spread quickly.  The breaker with most of the other buildings burned and collapsed into the shaft.  

After this fire breakers were no longer permitted to be build over the shafts.


St. Clair Shaft 1873

The breaker was rebuilt but by 1860, Kirk and Baum gave up their lease.  E.L. Hart took over the mine in 1862 and lasted until 1864.  In July of 1865 the Saint Clair Coal Company of Boston took over the lease.  Again in 1868 the breaker was destroyed by fire.  The mine was then flooded and abandoned.  Local operators tried to reopen and enlarge the site but soon gave up and sold the mine to P. & R. C. & I. under the supervision ion of William Kendrick. Because of the many problems with this site the Saint Clair Shaft was closed for good in 1874.

Some shafts are sunk 3,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth, meaning that some of the coal is actually mined below sea level. In many of these deep mines it is necessary to have extensive pumping equipment to remove the inflow of water.  Compared with most mines in Europe Pennsylvania mines are shallow. Some of the European mines are over a mile in depth.  The first miners in Saint Clair were English and Welsh miners who learned their craft in there homeland.


Coal Mining and Collieries in and around Saint Clair - Part I

Coal Mining and Collieries in and around Saint Clair - Part III