Central Coal & Coke Company, profiled in the American Lumberman magazine, November 1, 1902 issue.  
Source: "Western Coal and Lumber Resources, as Exemplified by the Coal Mining and Lumber Manufacturing Departments of the Central Coal & Coke Company of Kansas City, Mo.," American Lumberman, November 1, 1902. Chicago: American Lumberman, 1902.
This long-form article is organized generally into the following sections. Click to jump to that section:
  I. Western Developments
II. R. H. Keith—John Perry
III. Extent of the Company’s Operations
IV. The Men Employed
V. The Commissary
VI. Kansas City Retail Yards
VII. The Missouri & Louisiana Railroad Company
VIII. In the Forest
IX. Lumber Manufacture at Kennard, Texas
X. Lumber Manufacture at Neame, La.
XI. At Carson, Louisiana
XII. The Coal Industry of the West
XIII. Mining Methods
XIV. An Underground Trolley Ride
XV. Coal Mining in Wyoming
XVI. North Missouri Coal
XVII. In Western Missouri
XVIII. In the Cherokee Coal District, Kansas
XIX. Arkansas Semi-Anthracite Coals
XX. In the Indian Territory
XXI. In Conclusion

Western Development
The industrial development of that half of the great western continent which lies west of the Mississippi river began shortly after the days of ’49. The discovery of gold in California drew thousands of eager seekers after wealth across the prairie lands of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado and the rough hewn roads of the mountain trails. Thousands perished, but many lived to plant the vanguard of civilization along the overland route to the nineteenth century El Dorado. These outposts were for a long time dependent upon wagon trains for subsistence, but gradually the enterprise of the pioneers asserted itself and the nucleus of western immigration set about to provide some means of maintaining life independent of what was sent to it from the agricultural districts of the east.

Stock and grain offered the easiest solution and to these the attention of the early settlers turned. The results were beyond their wildest expectation and ere long a constant stream of grain and cattle flowed from west to east instead of vice versa. The progress was interrupted by the civil war, but was almost immediately resumed when the conflict was over. The first wild exodus was followed by a more conservative movement, until in a short time ranch and farm houses dotted the choice locations of a large part of the western territory.

The progress from this point was but a repetition of the settlement of the United States, except that the treeless plains of the west rendered the establishment of civilization more difficult. Firewood was scarce and in some places almost impossible to obtain. This was before the construction of the lines of railroad which now transect the western half of the Union. The question of fuel grew in importance as wayside inns grew into villages, villages into towns and towns into cities. Lines of glistening steel rails were constructed, connecting the more important towns with the markets of the east. Gradually the attention of the people was turned from the production of raw material to that of finished products, and it was at this stage of development that the need of an adequate supply of fuel was most keenly felt. How this need was met is an interesting story and the central theme of this book.

The west is largely treeless, with great areas absolutely without surface supply of fuel. In order to meet the demand for this imperative adjunct of civilization some of those in whose hands the development of the west was intrusted turned their attention to the solution of this problem. The result was the discovery and development of coal fields in a large number of the states where other fuel had been overlooked in the distribution of nature’s gifts or had disappeared before great forest fires of the distant past.

The companies that have been instrumental in furnishing this necessity to the west and the men who have been the means of opening up and working these stores of wealth furnish largely the foundation on which is built the history of western industrial development. The early progress was slow, but the continual pressure gradually overcame the inertia of the great mass and today the results of the patient efforts of those who have had this matter in charge for years are seen in a country that not only is one of the greatest in production but is furnishing a large part of the natural products and supplying the world with its riches. The one great factor needed was found and developed. Black diamonds came to the assistance of the early struggler and the future of the new country was assured. Without them that future would have been vastly different.


R. H. Keith—John Perry
The development of the western coal fields has been accomplished within the past forty years. Prior to that time but few attempts had been made to mine the rich coal veins of the west, nor was there a need for the fuel. With the demand came the men who took charge of the matter and who have been instrumental in carrying the development of the coal fields to their present position of importance, which is second to no other branch of commerce in the west.

Some idea of the rapidity with which this industry has been developed can be gained from a comparative statement of the aggregate coal mined in 1899 and the amount produced during the earliest years of which a record has been kept. In 1868 there were 6,925 tons of coal mined in Wyoming, in 1899 the output of the Wyoming mines aggregated 3,837,392 short tons, and the state now ranks third in the list of coal producing states west of the Mississippi river.

Kansas, the second in tonnage of the western coal states, has had an equally rapid growth. In 1860 the total product of the Kansas mines amounted to 48,263 short tons and in 1899 the coal production of this state aggregated 5,177,487 tons. The increase in the amount of coal mined in Kansas has been the greatest of any field in the western country.

A like showing could be made of the growth of this industry in other western states, but the two examples cited are sufficient to show to what extent the underground riches of the fertile west have received attention, though the greater part is yet untouched.

It will be seen from this resume of the coal development that it has been synonymous with the growth of the western country. Many of the citizens of whom the west is justly proud has had a great deal to do with this work. Two of the best examples of this class of men are Richard H. Keith and John Perry, who have been prime movers in this work, and a part of whose energies is exemplified by the Central Coal & Coke Company, the largest mining and distributing coal company in the west. Mr.

Keith is president and general manager of the company at the present time, but Mr. Perry has severed his active connection with it, although still retaining an interest.

Richard H. Keith wore the gray during the '60s and the end of the struggle at Vicksburg found him in possession of a colonel’s commission and a desire to continue the fight. Upon refusal to sign parole he was committed to prison, and from this point he started on a western tour without consulting his captors. His first active connection with the coal business was in 1871. For several years prior to that date he had been engaged in trading between Leavenworth, Kan., and New Mexico, and this was followed by a venture in dry goods for a year or so at Leavenworth. During the year mentioned, 1871, he opened a retail coal yard on Buff street in Kansas City, Mo. It is hardly necessary to say that this was a small yard, but at that time the demand for fuel in Kansas City was only about one-tenth its present volume. The venture proved remunerative and the business gradually increased. Later in the year a partner was admitted and the partnership of Mitchell & Keith was organized. This was during the latter part of 1871, and this firm was later succeeded by R. H. Keith & Co.


During the formative period the style of the firm name was changed several times before the present corporation—the Central Coal & Coke Company—was chartered. In 1873 the partnership of Keith & Henry was formed and this business connection was continued until 1881, when the name was changed to Keith & Perry. Prior to the last mentioned change Mr. Keith had opened a coal mine at Godfrey, in Bourbon county, Kansas, and this mine was operated until the consolidation of the Keith & Perry interests in 1881.

Out of these various partnerships, firms and corporations was evolved the Keith & Perry Coal Company, duly chartered by and operating under the laws of Missouri. This was in 1884. The combination of the individual interests represented respectively by Mr. Keith and Mr. Perry was singularly fortunate. One was essentially a seller of coals and the other a producer, though each had previously some experience in both ends of the business.


The late C. W. Goodlander, formerly vice-president of the Central Coal & Coke Company, as one of the pioneer settlers of Fort Scott, Kansas. His connection with the Central Coal & Coke Company placed in the services of the latter a practical mill man. Mr. Goodlander was, then prior to his connection with this company, heavily interested in timber lands and lumber manufacture. He was one of the representative men in the yellow pine business, and was accorded the honor of election to the presidency of the Southern Lumber Manufacturer’s association, holding that office for one year. Mr. Goodlander is widely known as the author of Recollections of a Pioneer of Fort Scott.”


Mr. Perry was born in Oxfordshire, England, February 4, 1850, and at the age of 19 came this country, where he was entered as a pupil the great practical school of western progress d development. He located at Fort Scott, Kan., at that time the terminus of what is now the Kansas City Fort Scott & Memphis railroad. Soon after reaching this point Mr. Perry became interested in mining coal and this was the beginning of a business career that aided largely in the development of southeastern Kansas and western Missouri. Mr. Perry continued to superintend the production of coal, while at the other end of the line Mr. Keith expended his energies in distributing to the company’s various customers the product of the mines owned and operated by it.

In 1888 the rapid advance of Kansas City toward her present commercial eminence and the increasing volume of business transacted by the company brought Mr. Perry to that city, and he has since that time made it his home.

When the change of name was made from Keith & Perry to the Keith & Perry Coal Company the capitalization was $800,000 and operations were continued under the company name with this capital until 1893, when the style of appellation was changed to the Central Coal & Coke Company, an incorporated concern, chartered under the laws of Missouri with an authorized capital of $3,000,000. The increase in the capital stock and the change in the name were practically the only changes of importance. Prior to this the operations of the company under the name of the Keith & Perry Coal Company had been a success in all parts of the territory in which it solicited business.

The growth of the company has three distinct stages. It was primarily a retail distributer of coal in a small way; after this business had been developed until it became representative, the second stage of its career began. This was when the company entered the field as a coal producer. Between the date of the opening of the first mines of the company, the subsequent absorption of those operated by other firms and individuals, and later of the properties of the Kansas & Texas Coal Company, an organization fully as large from a coal producing point of view as the Central Coal & Coke Company itself, time was found for establishing another branch of business that has experienced a growth equalled by few companies whose sole object has been the production of lumber. In this industry the advance has been so steady and continuous and on such a large scale, that the department of itself would form an epoch in the manufacture of yellow pine lumber of the south.

Probably a better idea of the growth of the company can be gathered from the number of men employed and the extent of the operations than from any other source. When the small retail yard was opened on Bluff street, Kansas City, Mr. Keith probably employed one or two men to assist him during busy seasons. After the formation of the partnership of Mitchell & Keith this force was doubtless augmented by perhaps a half dozen more. The firm as R. H. Keith & Co. enlarged upon the operations of its predecessors, and a few years later, after the opening of the mines in Kansas, it required three figures to express the size of the company’s pay roll. When the Keith & Perry interests were combined the value of the firm’s property and the number of employees were about doubled.


In 1900 the capital stock was increased from $3,000,000 to $3,700,000, the additional capital being used to purchase the property of the Sweetwater Coal Mining Company at Rock Springs, Wyo. The purchase of this mining property gave the company control of two of the largest mines in the west, capable of producing 3,200 to 3,500 tons of coal daily, and employing between 650 and 700 men throughout the year.

The capital stock of the company was again augmented in April, 1902. This increase raised it to $7,000,000, which is the present figure. At the time of the last increase the bonded indebtedness of the company was raised from $904,000 to $2,500,000, and the funds realized from the sale of these additional bonds were used to purchase the mining properties of the Kansas & Texas Coal Company and its allied companies.

This makes the holdings of the Central Coal & Coke Company at the present time the largest of any operating coal company in the west, and places it at the head of the western producers in the number of mines owned and operated, the amount of coal produced, railroad facilities, both as regards those owned by the company and the big lines of railroads which bring the important towns and cities of the west and south into close connection.

Chapter III.

Extent of the Company’s Operations.
The Central Coal & Coke Company is interested in six different fields, producing six different grades or varieties of coal. The quality of the coal ranges from the ordinary steam coal to high grade semi-anthracite, the latter being acknowledged to be the best coal for either domestic or steam generating purposes mined at any point outside of the anthracite district of Pennsylvania, and nearly on a par with that.

The coal properties of the Central Coal & Coke Company are located in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Indian Territory and Wyoming. A total of forty-five mines is owned and operated, and arrangements are being made to open up new shafts and slopes at a number of places as fast as the product of the additional mines can be utilized. On an average it requires about 9,000 men to operate the company’s mines. The average pay roll is largely in excess of $10,000 each day. The daily production of coal is about 21,000 tons; of lumber, approximately 750,000 feet.

The timber holdings in Texas and Louisiana embrace 285,000 acres of long and shortleaf pine.

Its coal lands and leases aggregate 70,000 acres of land, which have an average thickness of five feet of coal to the acre. Its total holdings are about 375,000,000 tons of unmined coal. Preparations are being made for opening up new mines in the territory near Henryetta, on the new line of the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad.

The extent of the territory covered by this company in its mining operations enables it to cover the entire western half of the United States. It sells coal from the Mississippi river to the Pacific coast and from the border line on the north to the sun-kissed coast on the south. It owns and operates mines in practically every mining section of importance in the west, and is able to enter any market on terms of equality with any other producer in the land.

As a producer of southern yellow pine lumber the company is in the lead of many, and in reality possesses but few rivals of importance in furnishing special bill stuff promptly and in accordance with the specifications submitted.

The Central Coal & Coke Company owns and is now engaged in cutting one of the largest tracts of longleaf pine controlled by any one company in the south. This timber is located in the heart of the famous Calcasieu parish longleaf pine district, and the quality of logs now reaching the saw enables the company to furnish timbers and special bill stuff that can be excelled by none. In addition to its longleaf timber holdings, the company controls 170,000 acres of short-leaf pine in the western edge of the pine belt in Texas. It is estimated that there is sufficient timber on this tract to run the mammoth mill that has been constructed thereon for a period of at least twenty-five years. This gives the company a life of activity with respect to the time it can operate its mills that is equalled by few other southern operators.


There is another branch of business in which the Central Coal & Coke Company is a recognized power, and which has not been previously mentioned for the obvious reason that it deserves separate treatment. This is the manufacture of southern pine lumber. The development of timber and milling resources of the company has been little short of the marvelous. Entering the field with a small mill and a moderate supply of timber lands only, it today controls some of the finest standing yellow pine timber lands of the south, both longleaf and shortleaf, and handles the output of two of the largest and best equipped lumber mills of the south. From a venturous beginner, it has grown steadily, increasing its timber supply as well as the equipment for turning the standing timber into commercial commodities. From the owner of a small circular saw mill near Texarkana, Ark., it has developed into a controlling factor in the production and marketing of long and shortleaf yellow pine lumber and timber from its mills in Louisiana and Texas.

The first venture in the lumber business was made in the early ’90’s, when the plant of the Bowie Lumber Company, at Texarkana, Ark., was purchased. Shortly after the purchase of this mill the company began to improve its machinery, changing the circular to a band saw, and adding many other improved appliances for cutting and handling the product of the mill plant.

Following this, plans for the construction of a new mill were made and in August, 1893, the ground for a new saw mill plant was broken near Texarkana and the mill completed and put into operation by the first of the year following —1894. This is what might be fittingly termed the beginning of lumber manufacture by the Central Coal & Coke Company. Since that time the facilities for turning out high class lumber have been steadily increased.

A few years after the construction of the mill plant at Texarkana, a second saw mill equipped with planer and all other necessary facilities for caring for the product of the mill, was constructed at Keith, now known as Neame, La. At the time this mill was built, it was one of the most complete in the south in every respect. Time, however, brings improvements in all lines of commercial life, and in no particular have more changes been made in any one line than in the machinery for the production of lumber.

The plant that was once the admiration of the south, while suffering no deterioration except that which time brings to all humanly constructed machinery, has been overshadowed by a monster lumber milling plant which the company has been instrumental in erecting in the heart of the shortleaf yellow pine section of eastern central Texas. This is the plant of the Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company, one of the largest and most modernly equipped saw mill plants in the south.

The timber supply for the Texarkana saw mill became exhausted during the present year, and the company secured a large tract of longleaf pine land in Louisiana, a short distance below Neame, and arrangements are now being completed for moving it to that place.

This, in a brief manner, is the outline of the company’s operations from inception to date. The individual properties of the different mills are discussed in detail in another part of the book.


The Men Employed.
This sketch of the Central Coal & Coke Company would be incomplete without some reference being made to the men who have been instrumental in working out the plans laid by the directors of its affairs—the generals of modern industrial developments. Many of those now in charge of departments started with Mr. Keith when there were but slight traces of the company’s present proportions. The work has been steadily pressed forward, each man using his best endeavors to make his department reach the perfection mark. Naturally the men who have had the direction of the affairs of the company in their charge have been men of large caliber, willing and capable.

There is another side of the personnel of the company that is of even greater interest than this. There are employees of the Central Coal & Coke Company who have been with it since their youth; others who started in early manhood and have grown gray in its service. One of the conditions of which President Keith is justly proud is the large number of men who have been with him in building up the properties of the company for five, ten, fifteen, twenty and even thirty years.

Among those to whom reference is made in the foregoing is E. R. Sweeney, manager of the retail coal department, having supervision of the yards at Kansas City, St. Joseph and Omaha. A brother, C. M. Sweeney, district agent at Weir City, has been with the company since 1882, starting when a boy and gradually working his way to his present office. The oldest employee of the company is William Monahan, at present shipping clerk at Kansas City. He has been with the company for twenty-seven years and doubtless has many years more to spend in its employ.

Numerous instances might be given of others who have worked their way to good positions with the Central Coal & Coke Company. It is the same in all departments. Many of its salesmen started with the company many years ago; the history of its superintendents and district managers is the same.

A word or two regarding those who delve for the coal and their counterpart, the men who furnish the mills with raw cutting stock: It is difficult to give in cold type anything like an accurate idea of the relationship between the company and the thousands of men in its employ. Naturally a personal acquaintance between the officers and the workmen is impossible. The welfare and comfort of these workers are not overlooked, however. The local agents and storekeepers know nearly every miner or timber cutter by name. They meet the men on their own ground, talk of the probable cut of a certain district, estimate the amount of coal an entry will yield, etc. In fact, they are merely neighbors, and act as such.

There are few companies in the west that have the welfare of as many people dependent upon them as has the Central Coal & Coke Company. The extent of its operations, the different conditions to be met with in different sections of the west and the wide difference in the habits of the workers in these various sections, call for a wise and judicious management of the men. With such vast interests at stake—the welfare of the employees and the success of the property interests of the company—a stoppage of its mining or lumber interests not only would result in a monetary loss, but would work privation and hardship upon thousands of deserving employees. Capital and labor must in the end recognize that the interests of one are identical with those of the other—that the two must work in harmony if the best results are to be obtained from the efforts put forth. The closer the employer and the employee are brought together the more satisfaction will both derive from the relationship.

The detail affairs of the company’s business are entrusted to district managers whose actions in the premises are subject to the approval of those in charge of that particular department. Owing to the extent of the company’s operations and the increasing need for men who thoroughly understand every phase of the business, there is a constant demand for men to assume charge of new points or to relieve those in charge of long established posts. Promotion is not merely a question of age with respect to service, but largely one of ability, the latter qualification being absolutely indispensable and sure eventually to be recognized.

With respect to the government of the thousands of employees, a system very similar to that known in our national government as civil serviceis in effect. As soon as an employee has proved his efficiency in one position and shown ability to take care of a more complicated or responsible point, he is on the highway toward promotion. A review of the lives of hundreds of the men now high in the service of the company would show that they began at the bottom rung and have steadily climbed upward under the inspiration of adequate compensation for meritorious service.

Keeping in touch in this manner with its employees, the company is enabled to form an accurate idea of the situation with reference to their frame of mind, the cause of grievances, etc., and to remove the provocation if incumbent upon the company to do so. This, in a brief way is the attitude of the company toward its employees.


This department of the Central Coal & Coke Company is presided over by Charles S. Keith, who also acts as assistant general manager for the company. A man who has the supervision of the distribution of about 22,000 tons of coal and 750,000 feet of lumber each day necessarily has a task of no small magnitude on his hands. This is the amount of coal and lumber produced by the company, and convincing evidence of its sale lies in the fact that the mines are working full time when supplied with the necessary number of cars, and that the lumber stocks at the producing points show signs of losing ground, notwithstanding the mills are being operated at their full capacity.

Those in charge of any department necessarily tinge it with their personality and this feature is true in this instance. During the past few years the sales have increased at a rapid ratio, especially with respect to the amount of lumber sold. For the fiscal year ending June 1, 1902, the company disposed of over 110,000,000 feet of lumber, compared with a little over 12,000,000 in 1897, and during the present year the amount of lumber and timber distributed by the sales office will aggregate close to 180,000,000 feet.

In the lumber business Mr. Keith's efforts are seconded by those of I. H. Fetty, assistant to the general sales agent.

I. C. Hatch assists Mr. Keith in handling the big coal tonnage the company sells each month.

John A. Sargent is traffic manager and exercises a general superintendency of the traffic business.

The car service for the company is in charge of C. E. Madrelle, with offices at Kansas City.

The Central Coal & Coke Company is a western organization and, with the exception of the lumber shipped to eastern states, operates throughout the great west. This half of the United States is divided into districts or territories, and each is provided with a sales office which acts in connection with the main office at Kansas City. These territories are in charge of district sales agents and are divided as follows:

The territory lying west of the Colorado & Southern railway in Colorado, all points in Wyoming north to the boundary line, with the exception of Deadwood, S. D., and thence to the Pacific coast, have been placed in charge of F. P. Gridley, assistant general sales agent, with sales offices at Salt Lake City, Utah.

W. E. Cooper has the territory north of the Kansas and Missouri state lines, including Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota as far west as Deadwood, S. D., and his territory also includes points on the Colorado & Southern line in Colorado. This point was formerly in charge of F. Richardson, who resigned recently, and whose position was filled by Mr. Cooper.

The territory bounded by the main line of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf railroad on the south, comprising parts of Oklahoma and Indian Territory; north of the ’Frisco in Arkansas, including Kansas and Missouri east to the Mississippi river, and following the northern boundary lines of these states west to Colorado, is in charge of A. P. Moore, with headquarters at Kansas City.

The southern territory, embracing Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, parts of Oklahoma and Indian Territory south of the main line of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf railroad; Arkansas south of Poteau, including Memphis, Tenn., is presided over by E. B. Carrigan, assistant general sales agent, with headquarters at Dallas, Tex.

The eastern lumber trade is handled by the general sales agent direct, as is also the export trade from the lumber mills.

It will be seen from the above that there is no part of the eastern half of the United States that is not covered by this distribution of power and authority. This division of labor enables the company to reach all parts through the district agents who are on terms of personal intimacy with the heaviest buyers in their respective districts. The results of this system have been extremely satisfactory.

The extent of the lumber business transacted by this company in the United States is shown by the schedule given below. The period covered by these transactions is from June 1, 1896, until June 1, 1902, and this lumber was all cut and shipped from the company’s mills; it does not include the amount purchased annually from small mills, which in the course of a twelve months represents many million feet. During the time stated the Central Coal & Coke Company has shipped lumber to the various states as given below: Cars.

Indian Territory and Oklahoma . . . 2,310 cars
Indiana . . . 2,504 cars
Illinois . . . 974 cars
Iowa . . . 979 cars
Kansas . . . 3,785 cars
Minnesota . . . 27 cars
Missouri . . . 5,558 cars
Nebraska . . . 1,231 cars
Michigan . . . 37 cars
New York . . . 6 cars
Ohio . . . 773 cars
Pennsylvania . . . 168 cars
Texas . . . 3,009 cars
Colorado . . . 520 cars
Arkansas . . . 292 cars
New Mexico . . . 55 cars
Wisconsin . . . 510 cars
Old Mexico . . . 302 cars
Utah . . . 1 cars
Wyoming . . . 20 cars
Canada . . . 14 cars
Louisiana . . . 224 cars
Massachusetts . . . 44 cars
Tennessee . . . 1 cars
Kentucky . . . 1 cars
West Virginia . . . 2 cars
South Dakota . . . 3 cars

This makes a total of over 21,060 cars since the company has entered the lumber field, and this does not include the purchases from small mills, the lumber exported or the sales locally, which would increase the amount materially.


Curtis Scovell is given the territory on the following lines of railroad: The Kansas City Southern, Poteau to Port Arthur; Southern Pacific in Louisiana and Texas to Houston, Tex.; Houston, East & West Texas from Houston to Shreveport; St. Louis Southwestern to Stamps, Ark.; and on the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific railway handles Arkansas and Indian Territory coal.

W. Bartrim entered the service of the Central Coal & Coke Company on August 15, 1902, as traveling salesman. His territory embraces all points on the Missouri Pacific railway in Kansas south of the main line of the Union Pacific and also points on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas between Palo and Parsons, including both points.

George W. Huff sells Arkansas and Indian Territory coals in Texas, in a rather indefinite territory.

John McAleer “sells coal.” He has been in the employ of the Central Coal & Coke Company for a number of years. His territory embraces points on the Santa Fe main line, from Florence to Arkansas City and also on the ’Frisco in Kansas east of Wichita.

I. C. Knotts is assigned to points on the Missouri Pacific and Rock Island systems in Nebraska, all points on the Burlington & Missouri River railway except York, West and Sutton on the west end of the main line.

George W. Eply assists the company to dispose of the product of its Kansas and Arkansas mines along the Rock Island railway in Kansas from Herrington to Woodbine, and also the Union Pacific in the same part of the state.

R. L. Darby covers the territory on the ’Frisco system south of Kansas City in Kansas and Missouri, and points on the Kansas City railway in the same part of the country.

M. J. Wilcox sells Rock Springs and other coals at Union Pacific and St. Joe & Grand Island towns in Nebraska. He has been in the employ of the Central Coal & Coke Company for ten years, the last two years in southern Nebraska. All towns on the Union Pacific and branches from Columbus to Cheyenne; St. Joe & Grand Island from Fairbury to Grand Island; Kansas & Omaha railway from Stromburg to Alma; points on the Burlington & Missouri River Railway from York and Sutton west to Holdredge.

C. E. Kearney is given the territory south and southwest of McFarland and Woodbine on the Rock Island system in Kansas; on the Santa Fe Newton to Wichita, not including Newton, and from Wichita to Winfield, not including the latter point, as well as all points on this road in Kansas west of the main line running from Florence to Arkansas City, and towns on the ’Frisco between Wichita and Lorraine, Kan. The coal sold in this district is principally the product of the Kansas and Indian Territory mines, though the output of the Arkansas mines has lately come in for big orders.

J. R. Everett manages to dispose of considerable of the Arkansas, Indian Territory and southern Kansas coals along the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railway in Kansas and the territories and along the Kansas & Southwestern in Kansas.

J. H. Rodgers is assigned to points in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Northern Missouri coal and the product of the Wyoming mines are the principal coals handled by this salesman.

W. O. Bridgeman calls on the trade in the neighborhood of Salt Lake City, where he has his headquarters. Rock Springs coal is sold exclusively in this territory.

W. T. Satterfield disposes of considerable Arkansas coal in its native state. His orders are intermixed with a sprinkling of Kansas and Territory coals, but the greater part of them are for the semi-anthracite of western Arkansas.

There are six traveling salesmen employed in the work of distributing the lumber manufactured by the Central Coal & Coke Company’s mills. These men are given individual territories, and their work is separate from that of the men engaged in selling coal.

B. B. Lee is assigned to the territory lying between Kansas City, Independence, Liberty and Kearney, Mo., with headquarters at Kansas City.

Harry C. Page makes all the important towns in Illinois and all points in Iowa east of Des Moines.

John F. Bruce has the territory north of the Missouri river, and Kansas, as well as all towns on the Union Pacific to the north.

Ransom Griffin is given the territory of Indiana exclusively, headquarters at Indianapolis.

G. C. Pratt is general agent for Texas, with headquarters in the Linz building at Dallas.

C. W. Dunakin covers all points in Kansas south of the main line of the Union Pacific railroad and all points in southwest Missouri.


The Commissary.
Mention will be made of the various stores or commissary departments maintained by the company. These stores are operated by it at the various producing points. The cuts and illustrations show on what scale they are maintained and incidentally something of the characteristics of their surroundings. They are all operated as branches of one house, with the general office at Kansas City. The local storekeepers report daily to the general store manager—Thomas Mackie—but they are given more latitude in the matter of executive authority than generally is conceded those occupying such positions.

These stores are operated for the purpose of supplying the employees of the company with anything in the way of material necessities they may desire. The local managers buy stock that is best suited to their respective territories and the matter of its selection is left almost entirely with them, though their actions in the premises are subject to the approval of the general store manager. All vegetables, fruits, etc., are purchased by the local manager on the best terms they can be obtained, and are usually bought from the truck growers of the surrounding country.

The variety of stock handled embraces almost everything offered on the market. Naturally this cannot all be carried in stock at each store, and orders for goods which are not kept in stock are usually forwarded to Kansas City and supplied by the purchasing department. There is nothing too small, nothing too large, to be supplied by this department, and an order for a 50-cent article receives the same painstaking attention as an order for a half dozen cars of steel, or something of like value.

The operations of this company, embracing the greater part of the western half of the Union and employing men of all nationalities, conditions and tastes, make the purchasing department’s books bear resemblance to those of a world’s supply house. To illustrate this a sample day has been selected, and it is a surprising showing of the extent to which this company furnishes supplies and the diversity of its business along the lines mentioned.

Assistant General Store Manager J. H. Morrison made up the following list: One car steel rails; one car blasting powder; one car railroad spikes; one gas plant, complete, size not specified; one automatic pump; machinist and carpenter tools; mining fuse; one dozen ladies’ hats, trimmed; 40 pounds of tobacco; 5,000 screws; iron bars for mining machines, etc. Mixed with these orders were calls for special bits of household furnishings and a dozen other things.

This department enables the miners to buy at a reasonable price anything they desire and it is delivered to them within the shortest time possible from the date the order is received.


Kansas City Retail Coal Yards.
The Central Coal & Coke Company conducts three large retail coal yards at Kansas City. These yards are in charge of E. R. Sweeney and are maintained solely for distribution of coal in wagonload lots. This local sales department handled between 175,000 and 200,000 tons of coal for the fiscal year ending June 1, 1902. The amount for this year, if the present demand shall continue, will be largely in excess of this tonnage.

All yards are centrally located and occupy a point of vantage that would be difficult to equal. The largest of the three yards is located on the corner of Twentieth and Main streets, facing 150 feet on Twentieth and 600 feet on Main street. There is room on the tracks which enter this yard for twenty-five cars of coal, and these tracks are filled and emptied every day. The coal is loaded directly from the cars to the wagons which are employed to haul it to the final place of destination. The coal handled in this manner is at least 90 per cent of the aggregate amount passing through the hands of the retail managers.

The only exception to this rule is the Pennsylvania anthracite, which is unloaded into sheds from an outside track which passes directly back of the yard and is used for placing the cars containing the Pennsylvania article. This is done in order to keep the tracks containing the coal mined by the company free and uncongested. Of late years the company has handled less and less of the Pennsylvania product, its place being taken by the semi-anthracite, the product of the Bonanza mines. About 85 per cent of the trade

which formerly toasted its shins before the eastern coal is now enjoying the same comfort by using the semi-anthracite, and that at a saving of about 50 per cent. The relative cost of the two coals is about 2 to 1, and during the recent anthracite strike the proportionate cost of the Arkansas coal was considerably less.

There are twenty-five teams kept on the move the entire year supplying the local demand for steam coals. Only wagonload lots are credited to the retail department, the coal sold in carload lots in Kansas City being added to the general sales account.

During the winter months the retail department employs 100 to 125 teams to supply the demand for coal in less than carload quantities.

William Monahan, Kansas City, Mo., The oldest employee of the company.

This includes domestic and the small steam coal trade.

At the yard at Twentieth and Main streets a machine shop is maintained. In winter the blacksmiths are kept busy shoeing horses and in the summer months are employed in the manufacture of coal wagons and repairs on them. This shop is equipped with a small gasoline engine which furnishes power to operate the drill, scroll saw, emery wheels, etc.

Kansas City, like the "Eternal City," is noted for its hills. In winter these hills form an effective barrier to the rapid handling of heavy freight, and this is true with respect to the coal business. One advantage of the Main street yard lies in the fact that wagons leaving this yard are able to reach almost any part of the city without climbing the hills, which render progress by wagon during sleety weather extremely difficult.

The product of the Cherokee district is sold very largely at Kansas City as a steam coal, though many buyers of steam coals have been using Bonanza and Huntington semi-anthracite. The latter coals are practically smokeless and are used in furnaces in place of the regulation anthracite. The Central Coal & Coke Company disposes in wagonload lots 35,000 to 50,000 tons of Arkansas semi-anthracite coal every season, and the trade along this line is constantly increasing. All retail business is "l. c. l." (less than carloads), the carload orders being credited to the wholesale department.

This business—the wholesale—amounts to about 600,000 tons annually.

This is composed of the semi-anthracite and the Cherokee coals almost exclusively, the latter leading in point of tonnage. Competition is met with from the Missouri and Iowa coals and also from shipments from Illinois as well as from other producers in the same territories.

The second retail yard of the Central Coal & Coke Company is located at First and Lydia streets. It occupies a space 121 feet wide by 827 feet long. There is trackage at this yard for placing about fifteen cars, and that number is unloaded from the tracks and sent to customers every day. The general character of the business transacted here is the same as that of the Main street yard, but of only about half the ?volume.

The third yard is located at 1111 West Twelfth street. This was the original retail yard operated by Mr. Keith. At present it is open only during the winter months, as all of the retail business of the company can be transacted at the other yards during the summer months. This is the place where E. R. Sweeney, who is now manager of all the retail business of the company, gained his experience. It is here also that Shipping Clerk William Monahan, who in years of service is the oldest employee of the company, has his office.

The Central Coal & Coke Company operates a local yard at Wichita, Kan. This yard has been owned and operated by the company for ten years. In April, 1902, the local yard of the Kansas & Texas Coal Company was consolidated with the one previously run by the Central Coal & Coke Company. The business at this point is under the management of E. A. Kinnaid. The average amount of business transacted varies from $75,000 to $100,000 each year.

When the property of the Kansas & Texas Coal Company was purchased the company secured control of a retail yard that had previously been maintained by that company at St. Joseph, Mo. C. L. McGrew, who has been with the company for about fifteen years, has recently been given charge of the St. Joseph business.

Both the wholesale and retail business at this point is managed by Mr. McGrew, though separate account is kept of the amount of each.

On September 15, 1902, the Central Coal & Coke Company opened a retail coal yard at Omaha, Neb., which was placed in charge of F. Richardson, assistant sales agent at that point. After the resignation of Mr. Richardson this point was placed in charge of W. E. Cooper, who was appointed assistant general sales agent for that section.


The Missouri & Louisiana Railroad Company.
This railroad company and the property it represents are adjuncts of the Central Coal & Coke Company. The officers of the railroad are practically the same as those of the coal company proper. For operative reasons and on account of future operations and extensions the road has been so named.

The general offices of the railroad company are located in the Keith & Perry building, Kansas City, Mo. The officers are: R. H. Keith, president; Charles S. Keith, vice-president and general manager; E. E. Riley, secretary and treasurer; J. C. Sherwood, auditor; W. C. Perry, general attorney, all of whom have offices at the place and in the building stated.

The rolling stock of the Missouri & Louisiana railroad consists of seven locomotives, standard gage, 200 logging cars and 200 coal cars, all of which are in active operation. The mileage, embracing a total of about 100 miles, is divided as follows:

The line from Bevier Mo., where connection is made with the Burlington railroad to Excello, where the Wabash is reached, gives a total of thirty miles in north Missouri. The trains on this road are run on special schedule, the line having been built and operated for the purpose of handling the output of the coal mines in that section.

The railroad company operates a line from Poteau, I. T., to Bonanza, Ark., a distance of twenty miles, including branches. This line handles freight business only and was constructed for the purpose of hauling the coal from the company’s mines in the territory traversed.

From Neame, La., to Camp Folk, La., a distance of twenty miles, including branches, the company operates a logging road which was built for the purpose of supplying the Neame mill with timber. This road connects at Neame with the Kansas City Southern, and in addition to supplying the plant at Neame with logs is used in handling lumber into and out of the territory mentioned.

The railroad company has under course of construction fifteen miles of road from Burt to Carson, with five miles in operation. Trains are run on special schedule and connect with the Kansas City Southern near Carson. This line is being built for the purpose of handling timber and lumber from and to the mill located at Carson.

The operation of these roads gives the Central Coal & Coke Company an advantage over competitors, as it is thus enabled to handle freight in a manner that other operators cannot be assured of from the operating lines in the districts in which they are producing coal.

Operating under a special charter, the railroad company is enabled to construct whatever mileage may be necessary, and the road will in time grow as the various districts are opened up.

It is the logical outcome of the old style logging roads, many of which have since been extended and absorbed by trunk lines. Instead of building a temporary affair the Central Coal & Coke Company has chosen the wiser course of constructing a standard gage line and under its charter it has the privilege of handling freight and passenger traffic when the country through which the roads have been built shall offer such business.


In the Forest.
Much has been said and written about the methods of manufacture and the equipment used by those who make a commodity from trunks of trees. The last few years have witnessed a wonderful improvement in this respect. This part of lumber operations has been worthy of all the space devoted to it. All the ingenuity and invention of man has been placed at the disposal of those who make lumber and the result has been equal to the energy expended.

All this is as a twice told tale, but something of the forests from whence the logs are obtained (like the story of love) is ever new.

The pineries of the United States are gradually disappearing. Those of the north are now but little more than a memory, a mockery of former greatness. There was a time when the white pines of the north covered almost immeasurable tracts, but scattering tracts are all that remain.

The fate that befell the pine lands of the north is slowly overtaking those of the south. Twenty years ago one could travel hundreds of miles through unbroken pine forests in Texas and Louisiana. Tract after tract has been denuded of its stately burden of sighing pines, and still the ax of the woodsman is heard in the land amid pines where the succeeding years of centuries have built an evergreen temple to Nature, every whit worthy of the goddess in whose honor it was erected.

Nature paused in admiration of her own handiwork after creating a southern longleaf pine forest. The light was softened by the interwoven branches of evergreen overhead, the ground was strewn with brown needles and fragrant cones, the trunks of the trees stretched away until lost in the misty distance like columnar supports to some mighty dome. Nature smiled at her creation and was content with her own handiwork.

A day spent in wandering through the endless passages of such a retreat is well employed. One can trace the history of our nation back to its beginning ere the youth of some of these mighty monarchs is reached. Take some lordly specimen whose top makes a hillock over an expanse of smaller brethren: It witnessed the first wanderers through the trackless forest; saw the waning of Spanish power on the continent; saw the passing of the red man and his dislodgment by the coming of the paleface.

When an army of choppers invades a forest the quiet gives place to the noise of crashing trees; the shouts of the drivers drowns the soughing of the pines; the vista of soft-colored gray trunks is blurred by the black smoke of a locomotive; the chirrup of birds gives place to the roar of steam whistles. Thus the despoliation goes on. Cars are loaded with the trunks of numerous pines, and after being made into trains are hauled bumping along the uneven tracks until the saw mill is reached from which the logs emerge in the shape of finished timbers and lumber.

It is of course unfortunate that we cannot keep the lordly kings of the forest and yet saw them up. The sensibilities must receive a shock when a tree that took a century to grow is in a few minutes by a couple of sawyers reduced to prone sawlogs, scattered lower branches and a bruised and battered tree top. Still, there is perhaps some room for sentiment about the happy homes whose roof trees are pine trees. Much of the sentiment that is wasted over the trees would do much more good if it would concern itself with the dirty waifs of its own city streets. Their lives, full of infinite possibilities, are all before them; the mature tree has lived its life, and even if spared by the woodsman’s ax falls a prey to worms and decay. The lumberman does not destroy it; he crowns its life of natural beauty with another and often a longer life of practical usefulness.

Attention has been called to the magnitude of this part of the operations of the Central Coal & Coke Company in the chapter devoted to the sales department. The extent of the company’s operations in the coal industry necessarily represents a greater investment of capital than the lumber end of the business. Notwithstanding this fact, were a disposition to be made of all coal properties the lumber part of its operations would be noteworthy, not only on account of their magnitude but owing to the manner in which the finished mill product is obtained.

At the present time the company is operating only two mills, although preparations are being made to move the machinery formerly used at Texarkana to Carson, La., where it will be set up and the saws given a taste of the genuine longleaf yellow pine owned by the company in that section. The mills being operated now are two in number, as stated. One of these is located at Kennard, Tex., in the shortleaf district, and the other at Neame, La., in the heart of the longleaf belt.

The mills as now operated turn out an average of at least 500,000 feet daily, 3,000,000 a week and between 12,000,000 and 15,000,000 feet a month, which will make the yearly capacity about 180,000,000 feet. Before the year shall have passed, however, the additional mill to be constructed, together with the increase in the cutting power of the Kennard mill, will give the company between 250,000 and 300,000 feet additional each day.

Not only are the mills cutting this amount of lumber but it is being sold, if anything, faster than it is being cut. The stock on hand at the Neame yard is from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 feet below the usual amount kept on hand. At the Kennard mill there is of course no precedent by which to measure the amount of stock, as compared with any former period, as that mill has been in operation only a few months.


Lumber Manufacture at Kennard, Texas.
"Do you want a stop over at Lufkin?" is a question frequently asked by conductors on either the Cotton Belt or the Houston, East & West Texas railway, when nearing the latter point. "You see, so many of our passengers stop over there in order to make a trip over the Eastern Texas railway to Kennard to see the mill plant of the Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company. It is the largest in the world."

There are scores of sightseers who visit this mammoth plant every week, drawn thither by the reports of its colossal proportions, its seemingly animated machinery and its wonderful capacity for cutting lumber and storing it after it is manufactured. Even the lay brethren are amply repaid for a visit to this plant.

There is only one term that can be used to describe the mill plant: It is the largest in every respect of any mill in the south. From the endless chain log haul-up to the dressed lumber shed wherein the product of the planer is stored, the justification for this term is in evidence. In order to avoid the repetition of it, it is to be understood at the outset that it applies to everything not otherwise designated. As large as the plant is, however, there is no sense of clumsy bulkiness in evidence. Everything has been built on a gigantic scale, yet symmetrical proportions have been maintained.

Kennard is located twenty-seven miles west of Lufkin, on the Eastern Texas railway. This road was built for the purpose of opening up the country in that section and for the development of its timber resources. The road traverses a tract of country to the west of Lufkin that bears on its surface some of the finest shortleaf pine timber to be found anywhere in the south. The company owns 170,000 acres of this land. The timber map of Texas shows this point is only a short distance from the western boundary line of the pine district. At the point indicated the pine forests are lost in the heavy growth of hardwoods, comprising oaks, pecan and similar woods.

The construction of this line of railroad opened up a section of country rich in timber resources, but which was beyond the reach of the manufacturer prior to its completion. It is the intention of the company to complete the road to a junction with the International & Great Northern at Crockett. When this shall have been done it will form an outlet for the product of the Kennard mill to the north and west. The road itself will form an important connecting line between the southeastern and the northern portions of Texas. It has not been a great while since there was a saying in effect that it was necessary in "making” Texas towns to go and return on the same road, but that day is rapidly passing. The short connecting cross lines now being constructed are rendering it much easier to go from point to point. Especially is this true of the line just mentioned, which will form one of the most important lines in the network of railroads now passing through the Lone Star state.

The Eastern Texas railway was completed in December, 1901, and the first train from Lufkin reached Kennard on the 21st day of that month. The mill was about half completed at that time, and most of the machinery now used was installed after the date mentioned. After the completion of the Eastern Texas railway work on the mill progressed rapidly and on May 20, 1902, the trial run of the mill was made. The material for the mill buildings was manufactured by the builders on or near the mill site. A brick kiln was started which furnished brick for the dry kilns as well as for the foundation of the mill proper, the supports for the boilers and for other purposes. The lumber and timber used in constructing the saw mills, planing mill and other necessary buildings were cut by a portable saw mill, as was considerable of the lumber used in constructing houses for workmen.


The mill is the property of the Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company. The officers of this company are the same as those of the Central Coal & Coke Company with one or two minor exceptions. The output of the mill is handled by the sales department of the Central Coal & Coke Company in connection with the lumber from the latter’s plant at Neame and the stock left from the Texarkana mill.

The logs are hauled from the woods to the log pond by the Eastern Texas railway.

Spurs are built from the main line to the point where the log choppers are at work, and cars are placed and removed by the railroad company as desired. There are three standard gage engines assigned to this work and they are kept employed supplying the mill with the requisite amount of logs. The logging crews live at the mill plant and ride to their places of employment each day on the logging trains. The spurs mentioned penetrate only a short distance into the heavily wooded country, but are being extended as fast as the timber is cut in their immediate vicinity. At present these spurs, four in number, which branch off from either side of the main track, aggregate only 6-1/2 miles after four months’ operation.

The log pond is large enough to store logs sufficient to operate the mills for five or six weeks when filled. There is usually enough kept in the pond to run the mill three weeks. The switches run on either side of the pond and logs can be dumped from two trains at the same time. The pond, covering 160 acres, was formed by damming a small stream, and this insures a plentiful supply of water throughout the year. Four to six men are employed in keeping the mill supplied with logs and these men also keep the bottom of the pond clear of "sinkers"—logs whose specific gravity is greater than that of water and which in consequence sink to the bottom of the lake—for this body of water should be termed a lake and not a pond.

The logs are taken from the lake by a rapidly moving endless chain conveyor. There are three log decks to be kept supplied with cutting stock—one for each band saw and one for the rosser which prepares the stock for the big gang saw. Keeping the directions to the right and left as the logs enter the mills, the machinery is located in the following manner: On the right is the long log carriage for the band saw, with its usual equipment; on the left is the rosser used in preparing the logs for the gang saw and also the short carriage band saw. After passing through the rosser the logs are conveyed by live rolls to a stationary platform where they await their turn at the gang saw. The smaller band side, or the saw used in cutting the shorter logs—logs not over twenty feet long—is placed directly opposite its mate, as is customary in a double band mill. There are two 12-saw edgers used to care for the side cuts of the band saws and these also are brought into service in trimming the sap boards from the gang saw.

The edgers are located just inside the line of live rolls that carry the slabs to the conveyor and are also used in caring for the timbers from the band saws. The trimmers, two in number, are to the left and at the side of the buildings. They cut from 8 to 40 feet, and are operated by levers from a cage placed over the line of live conveyors.

The scene is one of great animation. The long lines of live rolls and swiftly moving conveyors give the impression of a huge animated monster. There is a never ceasing stream of lumber flowing from each band saw, and this is augmented by the output of the gang saw, which is capable of cutting three logs at a time. A large part of the lumber for the latter passes directly from the gang saws to the trimmer, and from there is carried on and on until it is finally deposited in the cars for the dry kilns. One is never certain just what direction a piece of lumber is to take. A touch on a lever has the effect of diverting it from a certain course to one in an entirely different direction. The lumber passing through the edgers strikes a table of swiftly revolving live rolls, which give it impetus sufficient to carry it to the conveyors which pass under or through the trimmers, and by this route out of the building to the first sorting shed. The saw mill building proper is 90 feet wide by 486 feet long, and every foot of this immense space is necessary to care for the product of the swiftly revolving saws. The band saws have a capacity of about 75,000 feet each and the gang saw is capable of producing 100,000 feet of inch lumber daily, which gives this mill a daily output of 250,000 feet, log scale, now. After it shall have been in operation a while longer this will be increased materially.

The gang sawed lumber is given automatically first to one edger and then to the other. This is done so that a congestion shall not result from an endeavor to make one edger take care of the product of the gang saw in addition to that of the band.

The trimmer for the band saw that cuts the short logs is equipped with ten saws, each of which moves downward at the touch of a lever, while the trimmer for the long side has fourteen saws operated in the same manner. The ends cut from the lumber drop directly into the refuse conveyor and are carried to the burner.

As stated, after passing through the trimmers the finished product is conveyed to the sorting shed. Up to this time, except by the men who feed the trimmers, the lumber has hardly been touched by human hands. As it comes from the trimmers that part of the cut destined for the dry kilns is transferred by men stationed for that purpose to the second set of conveyors, which carry it to the car to which it is assigned, where it is automatically stacked and, as soon as the car is full, is conveyed to the dry kilns. The yard stock is allowed to drop into a different set of transfers, which carry it out into the sorting shed, where it is graded and from which it is hauled to the yard and stacked.


Three dry kiln rooms have been completed and are now in operation, and two more are in course of construction. These rooms are built of brick throughout, and are Globe kilns, of the Graham patent type. The rooms are without floors, the cars being run in on skeleton tracks. Heat is supplied by large sheet iron drums, the furnace part of which is lined with fire brick. There is one of those hot air producers under each line of track, which gives three to each room. There is a furnace at each end of the drums and this enables the firemen to keep an even heat day and night.

The kilns are protected from fire in the main by a wide fire space which separates them from the other buildings. As an additional precaution they have been equipped with steam pipes and perforated water pipes so that a blaze could be extinguished almost instantly should one occur. After being taken from the kilns the cars containing the lumber are left standing on an open fire space which separates the dry kilns from the second sorting shed, where the lumber is carefully graded and loaded on hand trucks. After the second inspection the lumber is taken to the rough sheds and stored until it is needed at the planer.

There are now two of these rough sheds in service and a third is being built. They will hold 1,000,000 feet of rough stock each. They are 60 feet wide by 400 feet long. The lumber is stacked between uprights which hold it in place and prevent warping.


The planing mill is in keeping with the remainder of this mammoth plant. Matchers, resaws, planers and molding machines are each given separate places in the huge shed which protects them from the weather. The various machines operated at this plant are capable of turning out 300,000 feet of finished material daily, and that without crowding the capacity of a single machine.

There is a bank of matching machines, ten in number, which take the product of the resaws located at the northern end of the building and reduce it to finished ceiling or flooring. At the opposite end of the building are located the matching and molding machines, as well as several auxiliary resaws.

The planer has not yet been equipped with all the labor saving devices that the company intends to install. The back of the building is to be fitted up with a sorter much on the order of the one now in use at the saw mill. At present there are ten swinging cut-off saws immediately back of the principal machinery, and it is the intention of the company to install the sorting tables and conveyors just back of these saws. Under the present arrangements the finished lumber is taken from the machines, loaded on hand trucks and carried by these to the dressed lumber shed, which is located just back of the planer building proper, with a track for loading cars between the two buildings. The work of transferring the lumber from the planer to the shed will be done by machinery as soon as it can be put in.

The planer building is 150 feet wide and 450 feet long. The dressed lumber shed is capable of holding between 6,000,000 and 7,000,000 feet of lumber. The pictures of this shed show an immense amount of unoccupied space, although there was over 3,000,000 feet of lumber in it when they were taken.

Six large exhaust fans are used to take the shavings and sawdust from the machines. Three of these are single 8o-inch fans, two are single 50-inch and the other is a single 60-inch. After supplying the furnaces which are used at the planer the remainder of the shavings and sawdust is driven through a blow pipe to the edge of the forest, nearly a quarter of a mile distant, where it is burned. The "cyclone" with connecting pipe forms a veritable network of pipes, closely resembling a still. There are, of course, individual pipes to each machine which collect the shavings, etc. This collection is gathered in the cyclone, from which are two exits, one leading to the furnaces with a percentage valve which controls the amount of fuel to be supplied the boilers, and the other a blind trail which returns the dust and shavings to the cyclone, where it again passes through the pipe leading either to the furnaces or the woods. This pipe is put in as a safety precaution, to lessen the possibility of clogging the main exhaust.


The power provided to run the machinery is in keeping with the general character of the plant. The engine used at the saw mill is a 1,200-horse power Corliss with 38-inch bore and 60-inch stroke. Steam for running this monster is furnished by nine automatically fed tubular 60-inch by 22-foot boilers. The band or drive wheels are 27 feet in diameter, one of which has a 46-inch and the other a 60-inch face. This power is used to operate the saw mill only.

That in use at the planer, while not so large as the power just described, is entirely ample. Five boilers, of the same type as those mentioned, are used to furnish steam for the 800-horse power Corliss engine, of Filer & Stowell make, as is all the power machinery used at this plant.


The refuse burner used at Kennard is constructed of sheet iron and measures 40 feet in diameter and 85 feet from the bottom of the burner to the screen. The fire screen on top is 15 feet above the top of the solid sides. It is hardly necessary to specify that this is the largest in existence, but large as it is it is kept going at its full capacity when the mill is being operated. This does not necessarily imply, however, that there is any unnecessary waste of cutting stock at this mill. Such is not the case. The fuel for the dry kilns is picked from the refuse conveyor after the slabs have passed through the slashers, and this is conveyed by mule propelled cars from the point where it is sorted out of the refuse conveyor to the place where it is used.

A 50,000-gallon water tank is located in the center of the mill site. The ground on which this is built is 21 feet above the saw mill floor. The bottom of the tank is 100 feet above this level and this gives a pressure on the first floor of the mill of over 50 pounds to the inch. The tank from the ground has the appearance of a very ordinary affair indeed, but is really 24 feet in diameter by 16 feet high, although one’s first impression is that its height is greater than its width.

This plant is equipped with an electric lighting plant, power being furnished by a Chuse directly connected engine and dynamo, giving a voltage of 220. This is used to light the saw mill and planer and also to furnish light in the stores and the office building. Steam for the engine is furnished directly from the planer boilers.

The company has a machine shop in operation at Kennard which, in addition to doing all the repairing for the company, attends to work of this nature for the Eastern Texas Railroad Company.

A new office building is being constructed. This building is 40x40 feet, with wide verandas on all sides. The lower floor will be used for offices and the upper part of the building utilized as rooms for officers.

A commodious store building is also being constructed which will replace the present small affair and add much to the comfort of both customer and storekeeper.

The company built a substantial school house which is donated to the county for school purposes. Should this building be diverted from the purpose for which it was erected it will revert to the company.

A complete city system of water works is in use at Kennard. In addition to the pressure from the water tank the company has a pump near the lake with a capacity of 900 gallons a minute, which can give a pressure of 180 pounds on short notice. The piping, so far as it has been installed, has been tested at a pressure of 285 pounds.

The work of erecting and equipping this monster plant has been done under the personal direction of W. H. Carson.

Edward C. Allen is in charge of the mill operations at Kennard.

The store at Kennard is under the management of J. H. Bester. John Kennedy is agent of the auditing department at this point. The present store and office quarters are very inadequate, but as soon as the new building shall be completed the men will have room to handle the big business they transact every day.

Interest never flags at Kennard. One could watch the mill in operation day after day and each time discover something new and interesting. There is a brilliant future before this southern giant, and those who are guiding and controlling its actions are fully capable of providing for the needs of the monster as they materialize.


Lumber Manufacture at Neame, La.
The completion of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf railroad, the road that is now known as the Kansas City Southern, opened up a stretch of longleaf yellow pine timber lands 200 miles long, and just as wide as it is found profitable to haul logs by the companies operating therein. Prior to the construction of this road there was a good part of the longleaf pine of western Louisiana that could not be reached by river, and was too far from any operating road for any single company to build tramways to it. Consequently the district so justly celebrated for its magnificent timber was only valuable as a possibility. The construction of this road, however, removed all doubts as to the value of the timber of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.

Indications of the efforts made by the companies operating in that section or that had timber holdings therein to reach their timber and get it to a point where it could be cut into lumber are still to be found. Some hauled it by wagon to a water course sufficiently large to float it to either Orange, Tex., or Lake Charles, La., where their mills were located. In several instances these companies went to the expense of putting in tramways which hauled the lumber from the pine forests to the waterways in question.

Among the first of those to take advantage of the opening of this district to the saw mills was the Central Coal & Coke Company. This company secured control of a large, heavily timbered body of land in the heart of the longleaf yellow pine district. In the center of this tract it built a combination circular and band saw mill and has since then built a small town to house its employees. The mill first constructed is still operated and is producing more lumber today than when it was started on the initial run.

The opening of this territory was an epoch making period in the history of western Louisiana. Prior to the construction of the Kansas City Southern railroad the timber lands of that section were practically valueless, so far as being utilized for commercial purposes was concerned. Since that time—and such is the condition today—they are priceless. There is hardly a price within reason that would tempt the holders of Louisiana timber lands to part with their titles to the lands in question. It has all been garnered in by those who are buyers not sellers, and there is not a single body of Louisiana longleaf pine of any consequence on the market that could be purchased at a reasonable figure. The reason for this lies in the fact that the extent of the southern pine forests is known and their probable life has been determined. The result has been to make owners of such property realize the worth of their holdings and the inadvisability of parting with them.

The mill at Neame, or, as the place was formerly called, Keith, has been in operation for about four years. In that time it has cut an average of between 40,000,000 and 50,000,000 feet log scale each year. Owing to the quality of timber obtainable at this plant much of it is being used now, as in the past, in supplying the demand for railway timbers, as well as for building timbers of all descriptions. Of late years a larger part of the product has been utilized to satisfy the railway demands. This has come not only from the roads engaged in building new lines but from repair and construction shops as well. The transverse strength of longleaf renders it especially serviceable when used for car sills. The sales department of the Central Coal & Coke Company is besieged with inquiries for stock of this description. It is obtainable in quantities and of a quality from the longleaf pines of Louisiana that bars competition from other sources. Several carloads of these timbers are made and shipped every day by the Neame mill.

The general outlines of the plant itself bear a close resemblance to those of the big Kennard factory. The saw mill, dry kilns and planer form the three points of a triangle.


This is a combination circular and band mill, the output being in the neighborhood of 155,000 feet, log scale, daily. The two saws are supplemented by a double edger and trimmer, which takes care of the product of both. Stock destined for the kiln and yard is carried by live rolls and chain conveyors through the trimmer to the sorting shed. That part of the cut which is to be given kiln treatment is placed on Graham lumber stackers. From this time until it is removed from the drying rooms it is handled only in dry kiln car lots.

The yard stock is carried by live rolls a short distance to the west, where it drops on a table of endless conveyors and passes slowly through a shed open on both sides. As the lumber passes to this table it is graded and then loaded on one of the many wagons used to haul the yard stock to destination. In this manner yard stock is handled only once before being piled in place to season.

Back of the dry kiln is the sorting shed, where the stock from the kiln is sorted and graded and from which point it is taken to the rough lumber shed several hundred yards to the rear, to be stored until its time comes to pass through the planer, and there be converted into the diversified forms of dressed product.

The railroad and other timbers, ties, etc., are allowed to pass out over the live rolls until the swinging cut-off saw at the tail of the mill is reached, where they are reduced to the desired length. If the stock is to be shipped in the rough it is then allowed to proceed to a point on the timber platform where the car is in waiting and is taken from the rolls and transferred to the car. When it is necessary to furnish sized or dressed stock the timbers are passed through a Fay sizer located at the tail of the mill. This sizer is capable of receiving any timber up to 14x30. After passing through this machine other rolls carry the timbers to the place of embarkment.

The dry kilns at Neame are the same type as those in use at Kennard—Globe kilns of the Graham patent. They are three in number and have a combined daily capacity of 125,000 feet. Each kiln has two tracks on which the lumber for the planer rests during the drying process. The story of how the lumber fares after leaving the kilns has been told.


There is a fascination about the process of manufacturing lumber that is irresistible. So many different sizes, even different grades of lumber, are cut from the same log that the ultimate destination of each piece is of absorbing interest. A huge pine log, straight as an arrow, without flaw of any kind, is loaded on the carriage. Cut after cut is made, the boards passing over the conveyors to the edger and on over the various routes until their final destination is reached. Part of one cut is sent to the dry kiln and from there to the planer, where it is made into flooring or ceiling or finish. Another part is sent directly to the yard, the fate of each being determined by the relative amount of sap and knots each piece contains. One, 2 and 3-inch stuff is cut from the same log, the heart of which may be made into a special stick of timber. It is like observing the scattering of a brood of checkens, the different paths of members of one family, the ultimate destination of a group of passengers, to watch the various purposes to which lumber cut from one log is diverted. It is all lumber and all very much alike—that of one grade—yet a part of one tree may be sent to Europe, another part be used to finish some mansion, still another to bridge a chasm over which trusting passengers are carried at high speed, and yet another part of the same tree help to bar the cold winds from the cottage of one of the lowly.

Following this perfect specimen of the pine in a warped and crooked member of the same family. Short work is usually made of these logs. One side is laid bare, another cut and the erstwhile log is given two parallel flat surfaces, and—if the log be small—the third cut reduces it to two 2-inch strips with uncertain edges, which are given a turn through the edger and emerge in a finished condition, so far as the work of the saw is concerned.

Where a band and a circular saw are used in the same mill the better class of logs are given to the band saw, while the longer and poorer grades fall to the treatment of the circular. The reason for this disposition is due to the fact that the width of a cut made by a band saw is only about one-half that of the circular. Naturally in cutting high grade logs the band saw is preferably used.

Most of the timbers cut by the Neame mill, especially the extra long pieces, are the product of the circular saw, which is due in a measure to the length of the carriage used and also to the fact that timbers can be cut much more quickly by the circular than by the band saw.

In discussing the individuality of the band and the circular with respect to cutting ability, the test runs made at Neame, showing the capacity of the saws in question, is interesting. On September 30, 1901, a test cut was made with the band saw used at this mill. In a run of 11 hours, using 453 logs, this saw cut 113,519 feet, log scale, or 130,546 feet of inch and 2-inch lumber. The total cut for the day of both average extension was less than 500 feet to each log.

The records of this mill show that during the fiscal year of 1902—ending June 1—the mill was operated a total of 292-3/4 days and made an average cut of 153,038 feet, log scale, the total cut for the year being 51,511,249 feet. For the fiscal year ending May 31, 1901, the mill was operated 285-3/4 days, producing an average of 139,881 feet. The industry of the new management is seen from the foregoing figures, as the record for 1902 was made under the administration of H. H. Folk.

The Neame mill supplied a large part of the 14,000,000 feet of railway timber and lumber furnished to Mexican railways last year. In addition to this, the Central Coal & Coke Company shipped to Liverpool 3,000,000 feet of lumber cut by the Neame plant.

About 40 per cent of the output of this mill is timber for both export and domestic consumption. A large part of the lumber and timbers used by the ’Frisco road in making the extensions to that system has been furnished by the Central Coal & Coke Company from the Neame plant. The extension of the ’Frisco system in Indian Territory and Oklahoma during the past few years has been on a grand scale, and the amount of timbers used in building these additions to that road system has been enormous. This road has 700 miles of additional construction on hand at the present time, and the Central Coal & Coke Company will fill a large part of the orders for the bridge and building timbers. The company makes a specialty of taking large contracts for timbers of this description, most of which are produced from Louisiana longleaf pine.


The planer is located to the west of the saw mill at a distance of about 150 yards. While it is not so large nor so well equipped as the plant at Kennard, it is capable of handling on an average of 175,000 feet of lumber daily. The planer is equipped with three Fay matchers with a daily capacity of 10,000 feet each; two Woods matchers which will produce 18,000 feet each; two Woods molders with an average output of 9,000 feet a day; two sizers; two resaws and other auxiliary machinery. Power for the planer is furnished by an Allis-Chalmers engine, fed by three tubular boilers 48-inches by 24 feet. The fuel used at both the saw mill engine and the planer is the shavings and sawdust which are collected by exhaust fans and fed to the flames as needed. The engine which drives the saw mill machinery is of the same type but of greater power, having a 24-inch stroke by 36-inch drive.

The spur leading to the timber platform passes near the platform in the rear of the planer, and a track has been built close to this so that the car floor is on a level with the platform. This enables the loaders to handle the stock from the machines with the least possible expenditure of time. The length of the platform enables the company to load six to ten cars at one time. The dressed lumber sheds are situated at a distance of several hundred yards from the planer building and in close proximity to the yard, where a reserve stock of about 15,000,000 feet is kept on hand constantly.

The mill is in charge of H. H. Folk, whose ability and experience as a saw mill manager are attested by the increase in the output of this plant since he has assumed control of its workings. The detailed operations are in charge of Mr. Folk’s lieutenant, A.C. Somers, who came to the mill with his chief. The work of finally preparing the stock for shipment from the planer is looked after by J. W .Hobby, who has been with the company at Neame for several years.

The commissary at this point is in charge of A. B. Finke, while J. W. Penfield acts as agent for the company.

The pictorial representation of the village and manufacturing plant at Neame is the best evidence of its completeness, as well as a tribute to its greatness.

Neame is a splendid type of the towns that spring up along a railway line through a southern pine forest. These villages are built primarily for housing the employes of a company operating at places similar to the one in question. After a town of this character has once been started, it forms the nucleus of the settlement of southwestern country. From the very nature of things the settlement of the southern pine lands is a matter of slow progress. Each mill point, however, is the. center of a permanent community which will, as its population increases, turn the cut-over lands into well-tilled farms.

Heretofore but little attention has been given this subject, but influential interests are now at work and the results of their labors are slowly becoming manifest. One hindering factor is the demand for labor from the mills. The remuneration given is greater than would now reward the same amount of toil on the part of the agriculturists, for as in all new countries, it requires the expenditure of considerable labor and capital to put the lands in condition to yield a proper and adequate return. A saw mill community, however, is itself a large consumer of farm products.


The pictorial representation of the two mill plants—Kennard, Tex., and Neame, La. —is perhaps the most complete of anything in this line ever attempted. The birdseye views are especially good at both points, and were secured from the top of the respective water towers.

One of the most unique photographs here reproduced is that of the car sills at Neame, La. The American Lumberman artist who took the picture was stationed on the water tower. The angle at which it was taken was very acute, as will be seen from the shadow of the man standing in the center of the timbers. It is perhaps the nearest approach to a birdseye ever attempted under such conditions.

Another especially fine view is that given of the saw mill plant at Neame. The picture apparently throbs with life and activity. Escaping steam and smoking stacks tell the story of strenuous life among the manufacturers in the south.

From an artistic point of view the pictures of the big plant at Kennard are not equal to those at Neame, but they portray the magnitude of the latter plant in a life-like manner. The saws, lumber conveyors, dry-kiln cars, and lumber sheds are reproduced in a manner that has seldom been equaled. Those devoted to the planing mill are especially fine and there is perhaps not another plant in the south that could furnish an opportunity for pictures of a like nature. The bank of matching machines offered an especially good subject.

A detailed description of each picture would involve a discussion too voluminous to find a place in this article. The merits of the different views are left to the critical judgment of the reader.


At Carson, La.
Up to within a few months ago the Central Coal & Coke Company had in operation a well equipped saw mill plant in southwestern Arkansas, near Texarkana. The timber holdings at that point were finally exhausted and, being unable to secure additional lands, it was decided to move the plant to a point about seventeen miles below the Neame mill, to Carson, a small station near the Kansas City Southern railroad which is connected with the latter by a branch of the Missouri & Louisiana railroad, owned and operated by the company.

This plant, when completed, will have a daily capacity of 180,000 feet. The timber holdings of the company at the point where the mill will finally be located are exceptionally fine, even for a district which has a worldwide fame for fine timber lands.

The mill when completed will be equipped with one Allis-Chalmers band saw, a circular saw, and a 52 inch gang saw, which will have a combined capacity of the amount stated. The details of the removal are now being carried out. The frame work for the new plant is being constructed from timbers cut at Neame, and as soon as the plant shall be completed it will be put into operation.

The stock now remaining at Texarkana is being drawn upon as the requirements of the company dictate, and this point will finally be abandoned as a distributing and as a manufacturing center.


The Coal Industry of the West.
There are comparatively few coal consumers in the west who are acquainted with the manner in which coal is produced; fewer still know in what district their fuel is mined; and only a very small proportion of the people west of the Mississippi river realize the colossal proportions the coal industry has assumed during the last decade. The great majority of those who use coal stipulate that it shall be of a certain grade, or mined at a place whose name guarantees quality, and trouble themselves no more about the manner or the district in which it is found and mined.

Owing to this and to the further reason that the great American public has little time in which to probe beneath the surface regarding sources of supply, but little attention has been given the coal industry of the west. It has been carried on so steadily yet at the same time so unobtrusively that it has not secured public attention in the same manner as have other industries of far less importance.

The development of this industry has been synonymous with the industrial progress of the western country, but, as stated, it has been overshadowed by other matters relatively of less importance yet claiming attention on account of the rapidity of their growth.

The rapid growth of the Central Coal & Coke Company, the greatest coal producing interest of the west, is an apt illustration of western progress. The operations of the company demonstrate that the great west is able to supply its own fuel even if all other sources were denied it.

As will be seen by the distribution of coal lands and the markets supplied by each coal district in the territories covered by the operation of the company in question, there is hardly a state west of the Mississippi river that cannot be supplied by the western mines. This distribution of coal is one of nature’s wise provisions by which man is enabled to continue the war of subjugation and is one of the greatest helps that have yet been utilized.

The west is able to supply all the fuel needed for railway consumption as well as for factory purposes, and the only exceptions of note are to be found in some of the cities located near the Mississippi river which draw their supplies from both eastern and western fields. In addition to this importation into territory west of the great dividing line might also be mentioned the anthracite coals furnished consumers by the Pennsylvania mines. There are only two true anthracite deposits of coal found in the United States— those of Pennsylvania and those now being opened up in Colorado and New Mexico. The output of the latter is comparatively insignificant, however, the total product of the latter district in 1900 amounting to only 98,404 short tons.

During the last few years the development of the rich deposits of semi-anthracite coal in Arkansas has placed restrictions upon shipments from the east. Many have tried this substitute for both domestic and steam purposes, and all have been highly pleased with the results obtained from its use. It answers all purposes for which the higher priced Pennsylvania coal is used and means a saving of 35 to 45 per cent to consumers.

Mining and mining operations possess a peculiar fascination for most people, although the manner in which coal and other ores are produced is but little understood. There is an apparent uncanniness about a hole in the ground which leads down into unfathomable blackness that is not without allurement solely on this account. The public’s curiosity has been whetted to such an extent by lurid accounts of mine disasters containing graphic descriptions of scenes that are possible only to such desperate calamities that there is a prevailing opinion to the effect that an underground operation is second only to Dante’s Inferno. This is by no means the case. The air in a well conducted mine is sweet and pure. The mines are laid out systematically and much on the same order as a city, with main and secondary thoroughfares. The latter term is hardly applicable, however, as they are thoroughfares for only a certain distance.

In the rooms opened off from the side entry of this undercity hundreds of men dig and delve for the substance which cooks your breakfast, warms your house and furnishes the heat which generates steam to turn the wheels of commerce. Most of the impressions regarding the manner in which coal is produced and the conditions existing in this underground world are obtained form accounts of mine accidents. While there are not words in which properly to describe a mine catastrophe the danger from gas explosions or cave-ins is not so great as generally is supposed. Under proper management a mine is as free from danger to life and limb as any other place where men toil for a livelihood. There are certain sources of danger peculiar to mining not common to other trades or to professions, but the same is true with respect to all avocations. There are also certain restrictions placed upon the workers to insure their protection that cannot be disregarded under any consideration. Naturally, in order and cleanliness a coal mine is not on a par with a lady’s parlor, but it is by no means "the bad place," as some would have others believe. It is dark and dirty and not a place in which to display flannels or immaculate linen, but the workers below find it very comfortable; there is no loss of time occasioned by rainy weather; it is cool in summer, moderate in winter, and the inclination of the men who spend their lives below the surface of the earth is best illustrated by the saying, “Once a miner, always a miner.”

The people of the west have not as yet realized the importance of this industry. Coal is the axis on which the commerce of our nation turns. It produces the vapor which makes our vaunted civilization a possibility. Without its assistance the wheels of progress would stop and the hands on the dial of time turn back hundreds of years; misery would stalk abroad and want invade our homes.


Mining Methods.
"Blanket" veins are worked by shaft, while coal veins lying at an angle or dip are usually mined on the slope; that is, the vein is opened at the outcrop and the slope at which the coal lies is followed back into the earth as the coal is removed. This is called the main entry or slope, and the same term is used where the vein is reached by a shaft and a cage is used to elevate the coal to the tipple house.

From the main slope or entry cross entries are opened at stated distances from each other to both the right and left, but there is usually a distance of forty to sixty feet from the bottom of the shaft to the sub-openings. The cross entries do not face each other. A space of twenty to thirty feet is left so that the roof will not be weakened by removing all the natural supports for a long distance, as would be the case were the entries to face each other directly.

After a cross entry has been driven a certain distance rooms are opened from it, and these rooms usually embrace a fairly large area. It is in the rooms that most of the coal is secured. As soon as a room has been worked out so that nothing but pillars of the size required remain work is abandoned at that point and another room opened. Naturally a large number of these rooms are being emptied of their coal at the same time and on the number of rooms operated depends the output of the mine. Two men are usually assigned to a room, though occasionally more and at times only one. When a cross entry has been driven as far back as desired, or as far as it is deemed expedient to haul the coal before reaching the main roadway, the work of tearing out the pillars left between the rooms as well as between the rooms proper and the entry is begun. This is the most dangerous part of coal mining, as the roof, upon which is piled millions of tons of weight, is supported only by frail props. Accidents from a falling roof under these conditions, however, are extremely rare, as the men bear in mind the precarious position they occupy and take all necessary precautions. After the pillars have been removed the entry is abandoned and, unless needed for an air course, is closed up.

Back in the rooms the miners labor with pick and drill. An incision is made in the base of the coal vein with a pick. A hole is then drilled through the top of the vein as far back as the undercut extends below, and a "shot" (a charge of an explosive) placed ready for firing. All shots are fired at night while the men are out of the mine. There is a special crew of men, called the "shot firers," who enter the mines after the whistle has blown and set off the shots prepared by the miners during the working hours. To fire these shots in the day time would mean a walkout on the part of the workmen in the mine.

“Brushing” consists in shooting down a part of the roof in order to give headway for the mules and men in hauling the coal from the entries to the top of the slope or bottom of the shaft. This is necessary only where the vein is not deep enough to admit the working of men and mules without it. The roof of a room where the principal mining is done is never brushed. It requires at least five feet headway in the main entries, and the same is true of the cross entries where they extend back a considerable distance. The rock so removed is usually thrown into a “gob” pile, or where space permits is piled up at one side of the main entry, or taken to the top and put on the dirt pile.

Where a mine is reached by shaft the coal is hauled, usually with mules, to the bottom of the shaft to a point where the cars rest on an incline track sloping toward the entrance to the cage. There are usually two cages or lifts to each shaft. The returning empty cars are taken from the lift on one side and a full car placed on the cage from the other. The two tracks at the end of the mine provide for the working of this system without confusion. After being placed on the incline track the loaded mine cars are transferred from that point to the cage by hand and the empty cars are sent out on the empty track by the same power. The cage elevates a loaded car and lowers an empty one at the same time. A system of signaling is used so that the engineer may know whether the cage to be brought up contains coal, men or mules, there being a landing at the surface of the ground for men and mules.

The use of machinery in a mine does away with the pick and the hand drill. The electric machines are used principally in making what is known as the undercut though the same power is usually employed in drilling the hole for placing the blasting powder. This work is done during the night time in order that the coal may be loaded and removed during the day run. This limits the work of the miners—the regulation pick miner calls them "shovelers"—to loading the loosened coal on cars. There are advantages obtained by machine mining that are not possible when the work is done with a pick, but on the other hand the pick insures advantages unknown in machine mining. The cost by operating with a machine is somewhat lessened, but in some instances the output of the mine is decreased by the use of the machine. It requires only about 5 minutes for a chain-breast machine to make an undercut 3x6 feet, and about the same length of time to drill the hole for the charge of blasting powder. This work when performed by hand requires several hours. The only drawback to machine mining lies in the fact that only the coal that is prepared during the night can be mined next day. Where the pick is depended upon entirely a miner, after cleaning up his room, can proceed with the work of getting ready for the next day, and does not necessarily have to lose an hour’s time. In the case of the "shoveler," as soon as the coal loosened has been loaded there is nothing more for him to do until another mass has been "shot down." Opinion among the old timers is naturally universally in favor of the pick, though the improved method of mining is growing in favor not only among the owners of the mine but with the local executive officers as well.

There is no coal kept in stock at any of the mines. As fast as it comes to the surface it is loaded on cars and as soon as one has been filled it is pushed away from the screen and another substituted. The empty cars are placed at the top of the incline road built directly under the screen and are held in position by setting the brakes or blocking the wheels. When a car has been filled it is pushed out of the way by hand and an empty car takes its position, propelled by the same force.

Where a shaft is used the loaded coal cars, after being weighed and checked, are pushed from the cage by hand to the tipples. The coal is dumped from the cars and the empty car sent back to the mine on the next return of the cage. The method of handling the cars in the mine has been illustrated. Where coal is mined on a slope the tracks leading to the tipple house are arranged on much the same plan as those used for the railroad cars below. The loads are placed on an incline and are moved from there to the scale, where the coal is weighed, after which the cars are dumped and returned to the mine entrance on an incline road. The object in each case is to lessen the cost of hauling the coal after it leaves the mine entrance.


An Underground Trolley Ride.
"Wait here a few minutes," said the "pit-boss” as he paused at the opening of one of the cross entries about half a mile from the mouth of the slope, “and we will go back to the rooms on the motor.” His companion nodded assent. Back in the depth of the entry at the mouth of which they waited danced an uncertain light, now sending a brilliant ray of brightness through the gloom and then fading out entirely. Gradually the light grew stronger and soon the rumble of the moving car was heard. In a few minutes the train of loaded cars came to a standstill at the entrance to the main slope, where the waiting pair stood. The motor presented a peculiar appearance in the flickering glare of the torches. It was probably eight feet long and half as high, but the uncertain light of the entrance caused it to appear longer and lower. It looked like some humanly constructed mole, the creators of which had provided it with eyes, and in this fact lay the chief point of difference. The loaded cars were soon placed and the motor car coupled to a long line of empties standing at the entrance of the opposite passage.

Out under the brighter light of the electric illuminated slope the iron monster grew even more sinister in aspect. It stood at the entrance of a passageway awaiting the signal to start. The electric headlight was not strong enough to illuminate the opaque road. From the sides of this road black diamonds caught and reflected the light from the motor, forming thousands of bright stars in a black firmament. The lamp carried by the motorman gave an uncertain light even when the cars were motionless. Here and there the light glinted from a rail worn bright through contact with the wheels. But little of the character of the road leading off into the darkness could be seen from the point where the cars stood ready for the signal to start.

The pit boss motioned his companion to take an indistinct spark in the surrounding gloom; occasionally a blue flash from the live wire overhead momentarily illuminating the roadway. The passenger’s light had been extinguished with the first ten yards; that of the mine boss still retained its fire, though casting but a feeble illumination.

Suddenly the speed slackened and the train came to a standstill with a bump.

“We will get out here a moment,” said the mine boss. “There is a system of signaling used underground that could not be duplicated under any other circumstances,” he explained. “You see this siding here is full of loaded cars. When a certain number of loaded cars have been placed on it the connection is broken by raising this piece of rubber hose,” showing a piece about two feet long directly over the loaded cars. “When this is raised as it now is the connection is severed and the lights go out. When it hangs free the lights burn steadily.”

He forced the flexible hose into a perpendicular position and the passage was immediately illuminated by the glare of a dozen or more electric bulbs.

“When the lights are not burning the motor-man stops to throw the proper switches before taking the empties to final destination,” he said.

“But how can the motorman tell when the lights are out in this blackness—how can he tell where there should be lights and where there should not? When everything is black I do not see how he can make any distinction.”

“Well, he can. Come, we are ready to proceed.” The other drew back involuntarily, but detecting a glance of amusement in the coal blackened face beside him resumed his uncomfortable seat in the car.

"All right, Jim; let ’er go. Guess we’re a little behind time; besides, our passenger is evidently in a hurry."

"Not at all,” began the other eagerly, but his remonstrances were lost in the noise of the now swiftly moving cars.

If the first part of the ride had been exciting what could be said of the second part of the trip? The cars careened from side to side, apparently leaping from rail end to rail end; sharp angles were turned without any diminution in the speed; from the rapidly revolving wheel on the trolley momentary splashes of blue light gave to the scene a sinister aspect. On and on, through interminable passages, past cross entries, and into others at sharp angles the swaying cars ran with increasing speed.

After a somewhat sharper turn than usual the train struck a down grade. The speed up to this turn had been frightful, but was nothing compared with the flying motion of the cars after turning into the slope. The train had apparently left the track and was falling through black, infinite space, gathering momentum with each second. The only evidence that the wheels still clung to the rails lay in the fact that the motion from side to side increased in proportion to the speed. Dust filled the eyes of the passenger and seriously interfered with his breathing arrangements.

“Turn your face backward,” bellowed the pit boss, and after this had been repeated several times the passenger finally grasped the idea. After that it went a little easier and some of the dust raised by the flying cars escaped, to settle in the rear.

In addition to the blue flashes from the electric wire it seemed to the passenger that the air gradually filled with stars, some stationary, but the majority comets, meteors, until it seemed to his mind that the heavens were being broken into bits and scattered into infinite space. The end came with a final crash which jumbled meteors, comets, fixed stars, the moon and the planetary system in a tangled confusion. This catastrophe was caused by a sudden reversal of the electric current. The cars bumped along a few yards and then came to a standstill in a rather tame manner.

“How did you like it?” queried the pit boss with a smile.

The other shook himself, dug a part of the dust from his eyes and admitted that it was an interesting ride. "However,” he added, “I think we had better walk back. I want to see how the mine is worked.”

“All right,” returned the miner, “but,” with a sly smile, “we don’t make such good time going back with a loaded train. However, it is only a mile and a half to where we started. Come, I’ll show you our electric pump.”

The ride was over, but the memory, together with certain bruises, still lingered.


Coal Mining in Wyoming.
To the investigating mind all countries are interesting. The usual exclamation of those who pass over the great western plains is one of tired disgust, but to those of an inquiring disposition there is not another trip in the Union so fraught with material for thought and speculation regarding the probable cause or reason for the great unfinished country as a trip over the Union Pacific railroad through the lower portion of Wyoming. Tourists describe the country as a place where one can retire at night in a sleeping car berth and upon awakening in the morning be unable to determine that the car has moved, so far as the physical formation of the country is concerned. Yet despite its seeming monotony there is a vast difference in the formation of the different parts of the state. The apparent likeness of one part of the lower end of the state to any other part of the same section is due largely to its treeless condition.

Rob any of the world’s famous scenery of its verdure, take from it its trees, shrubbery and velvety grass, and any one part would look very much like any other. Even so it is with the great American plain or desert. There is nothing to take from the hills their harsh outlines; the level country stretches away in a dreary, endless waste; as far as eye can see is nothing but a succession of barren plain and hills destitute of all ornament. It is little wonder that the casual observer who passes through the country merely because he cannot avoid doing so finds it difficult to tell that he had moved during the night.

From Omaha to Rock Springs, Wyo., the elevation gradually increases. In the western part of Nebraska there are great stretches of prairie lands which will some day be covered with the houses of thrifty farmers. The only drawback at present is the lack of a reliable water supply, and plans are now on foot to build huge reservoirs up in the mountains and establish a system of irrigation that will go far in making an agricultural community where at present grazing is the sole use to which land can be put.

As one ascends the slope leading to the great continental divide the appearance of the country gradually changes. At places the level of the country is broken by a succession of hills leading away far to the north, where they merge with the mountains in the misty distance.

Cheyenne is in the center of one of the largest ranch districts in the United States. The waters of the Platte make the section immediately adjacent thereto habitable the entire year for great herds of cattle, sheep and horses. Farther to the west the highest point is reached—an elevation of a little over 7,000 feet—before crossing the continental divide. Stunted pines adorn the tops of the foothill ranges. These pines grow to a height of from 6 to 12 feet. They are the poorest of substitutes for the lordly pine and seem half apologetic, lacking that firm, graceful carriage that is the emblem of the pine family. It is strange that pine, the citizen of luxurious soils, should eke out a miserable existence in the high, desolate places of the great American desert.

After crossing the great divide the appearance of the country gradually roughens. Vague, half formed hills change to sharply outlined ranges, with small canons or valleys between. Some of these depressions sink to a depth of several hundred feet and are from a few feet to as much as a mile or more in width. Through the canons or valleys the railroads traverse the plain, occasionally rising to the tops of some of the elevations like moles coming to the top for a breath of fresh air.


Such is the nature of the country surrounding Rock Springs, the greatest mining camp west of the Mississippi river. The coal mines of Rock Springs have been in operation since the construction of the Union Pacific railway. The first mine opened at Rock Springs is still being worked, which shows the longevity of a mine in that section.

The coal in the Rock Springs (Wyo.) district is apparently inexhaustible. The tests made so far show that there are five workable veins of coal, ranging from 4 to 10 feet in thickness. These veins are separated by a distance of 250 feet, with the exception of the lower stratum of coal, which is 320 feet below the one immediately over it.

The Central Coal & Coke Company has two large mines at Rock Springs, both of which are equipped with up-to-date machinery, are well cared for in every way and capable of producing a tremendous amount of high grade coal—now approximately 3,500 tons daily—under the capable management to which they are intrusted.

The extent of the coal that can be mined in this field is unknown and it is next to impossible to form anything like an accurate idea of it. The size of the veins worked and their number in the field have had the effect of discouraging investigators. There are five veins which will have an average thickness of about 7 feet, and these are to be found under a large portion of southwestern Wyoming. The amount that can be mined from an acre of this land would make a block of solid coal one acre square by not less than 30 feet deep. It would require acres and acres of the ordinary coal land to build such a mammoth coal monument, if mined from other fields.

The stratification of this section is peculiar. After crossing the continental divide attention is attracted by the formation of the various strata of rocks, soil, etc., which go to make up the country. There is a uniform dip in the formation of the land of between 6 and 7 degrees, a little to the north of west. This gives an incline of one foot in every ten. Watching this phase of the country for a few minutes gives the impression that either the beholder or the country is intoxicated.

The birdseye view of mine No. 1 of the Central Coal & Coke Company illustrates this better than it can be explained in words. At first sight it would appear that the camera had been tilted, but the horizontal lines of the railroads and buildings show the true reason for the illusion. The strata dip to the west. This is a typical Wyoming scene. The sage bush and grease grass in the foreground, the dry water course in the center and the bare hills in the distance, showing the unfinished manner in which the hills were constructed in the first instance, are typical of Wyoming, and the same scene could be duplicated at scores of places.

The Central Coal & Coke Company’s mine No. 1 was opened in 1886 by McKay, Hopkins & Co., and was purchased from them a few years later by the Sweetwater Coal Mining Company, the latter concern disposing of its interest in 1900 to the Central Coal & Coke Company. This mine, as is the case with nearly all of the mines in the Rock Springs district, is worked on a slope starting at the out-crop of the coal vein and following it downward. There are three slopes or entrances at mine No. 1 which come to the surface within a few yards of each other, but enter the vein in different directions.

The first is almost due west, following the dip in the coal vein, and has been opened for a distance of about one mile. The second passes through the hill immediately back of the tipple house, emerges on the other side and, after crossing a canon about 300 feet wide, strikes the vein on the upward slope in the next hill range. The third slope follows the dip a part of the way and then turns to the south, entering the vein immediately below the valley shown in the birdseye view.

Where the coal stratum lies on an incline or dip the usual mode of operating is to open a slope, following the course of the coal vein downward, and from this slope or main entrance to open levels at regular distances to the right and left. As will readily be seen, this gives a level track for hauling the coal to the main slope, where the individual cars are made into trains and hoisted by a cable worked by a steam propelled drum or core, winding or unwinding the cable as needed. The coal from the rooms which are in turn opened off of the secondary entrances is usually hauled to the slope by mule power, one, two or three cars comprising a load, the number being determined by the character of the road bed over which the cars must pass.

At mine No. 1 use is made of the three motive powers—mule, cable and electric motor. Cable is used in the westward slope to hoist the trains of coal cars after they have been brought to the entrances by mule power and made into trains. At the entrance to this mine, which penetrates the vein on a horizontal line, an electric motor is used to haul the cars from the side entrances to the switch leading to the tipple house. Mules are used to haul the cars on the other entrance, which brings them up to within a short distance from the top, where a short cable finishes the trip to the tipple house.

Mine No. 2 is a single slope, following the natural trend of the coal to the west, and at present is something over a mile long. There is room in this mine to work about 300 men, and as fast as the main slope shall be extended other entries will be opened at stated distances, and as these penetrate farther and farther into the coal vein more men can be added in proportion. At present there are thirteen entries branching from the main slope, and the latter has been driven far enough for opening the fourteenth entry, which will enable the company to increase the number of working miners.

At this time the company operates a motor car for hauling the coal from the rooms—which are in some instances at a distance of half a mile from the slope—to the main slope, where a cable hoist is used to bring them to the surface. The main slope at this mine is lighted by electricity, which to the eyes of the uninitiated serves only to increase the prevailing gloom.

Central Coal & Coke Company’s mine No. 2, operated at its full capacity, is capable of producing 1,800 tons of coal daily. The steam cable hoist is kept constantly hauling this coal to the surface from the entries, where it is deposited by the motor car, which is used to collect the cars as they are filled in the various rooms.

Such, in a general sense, is the mode of operation at the mines of the Central Coal & Coke Company at Rock Springs and also at Sweetwater, which lies about five miles to the south of the town. The power at both plants is a combination of steam and electricity. The cable hoists are driven by steam and the motors, fans and pumps by electricity, and to these means of locomotion is added the indispensable mule, a long eared, patient brute that serves a purpose in mining operations that could be filled by no other means.

While both of the mines come under the head of Rock Springs, the mine at Sweetwater has a separate post office, commissary, etc. It is located at a distance of about four miles from Rock Springs but is connected with the latter place by telephone, so that the office of the company at Rock Springs is in close touch with the management at Sweetwater.

Both the Sweetwater mine and the one nearer Rock Springs are connected with the main line of the Union Pacific at Rock Springs by spurs which lead from the terminals at that place directly to the mines. These spurs branch near the mines, which enables the trainmen to switch empty cars on the loading tracks when the loaded cars are removed. The empty cars are placed on a track at the farther end of the tipple house, and this track is built on a grade, so that as soon as one car has been filled the brakes can be loosened and the car moved out of the way without recourse to a locomotive, and an empty one substituted in the same manner. While this is a feature common to most mines it is a very valuable one, without which it would be necessary to keep an engine constantly on the scene, entailing considerable expense and delay in handling the output of the mines.


The size of the tipple house and the number of loaded cars after a day’s operations are the only outward evidences of the extent of a coal mine. The inner works are lost in blackness, and even after an outsider has traversed the interminable windings of the various “slopes,” “entries,” “rooms,” etc., there is only a confused idea of endless paths of blackness, with here and there a flaming lamp or torch relieving a small patch of this Stygian underworld.

It is not to be supposed, however, that this underground city is laid off in a haphazard manner, or that the apparently careless openings in the coal vein were the result of chance. The term “underground city” is appropriate. After a vein has been opened the distance between the sub-entries is determined by the height and character of the coal. In mine No. 2 of the Central Coal & Coke Company at Rock Springs the distance between the various entries is 350 feet. The main entry or slope is made 9 to 10 feet wide. As this is driven farther and farther into the coal vein entries are turned off at the distance stated.

All calculations regarding distance, depth, etc., are very accurately kept and as the coal is removed from an entry the fact is noted on the mine map. This is necessary in order to plan further developments, and also in order to push the main entry far enough ahead to give working room for a certain number of men.

After the cross entries are turned off from the main slope a third entry or room, as it is termed, is turned from it. At mine No. 2, Rock Springs, these rooms are turned at a distance of 75 feet from each other. It is in these rooms that the real coal mining is done. The entries or slopes mentioned are opened at a loss to the company operating the mine. There is but little coal taken from them in the first instance, and a big bonus is paid the miners for driving them. After a room is opened, however, the miners have space in which to work and are able to take out many tons of coal each day.

All of the coal cannot be removed, however, until the cross entry has been driven back to a distance where it is no longer considered profitable to haul the coal to the slope, and this distance varies with the haulage power in use. When an electric motor is used the depth of the cross entries is naturally greater than where mules are used to bring the coal to the main slope.

When it is no longer considered advisable to increase the length of the cross entry the work of tearing out the pillars of coal that have been left standing to support the roof is begun. This is the most ticklish part of coal mining, as far as danger to life and limb is concerned. The pillars left to support the roof vary from six to nine yards in width, and where the roof is good these may be entirely removed, but in places where there is a weak or bad roof it is often impossible to mine more than half of the coal left for roof supports.

A feature of the coal operations of Wyoming is the splendid roof afforded by the heavy stratum of hard sandstone which lies immediately over the coal vein. This roof enables the miners to remove the entire vein. It is the exception that a pillar of coal is lost in Rock Springs district, though this occasionally happens through a fall of shale or slatestone which separates the coal from the rocks above. The fewer the supports used in the mine the cheaper it can be operated, for these must be furnished by the company to the miners when called for.

In a treeless country like Wyoming the use of many supports would call for a big outlay of money by the company. Some of the rooms at the Central Coal & Coke Company’s mines at Rock Springs are worked without supports save an occasional prop to keep the slate in place. After the pillars have been removed from an entry it is oft times hermetically sealed, though occasionally left for an air course. The only danger in closing them up is the possible one of gas, which sometimes collects in an abandoned part of a mine and later finds its way to the parts in operation. Left to itself without support of any kind, the roof gradually yields to the tremendous pressure above and crumbles in, though it is only when the coal is near the surface that any indication of a cave-in is visible from above.

Despite the fact that very little water falls during the year it is necessary to keep a pump at both the mines owned by the Central Coal & Coke Company. These are operated two or three hours each day, which serves to keep the mines free from water. One of the principal advantages in working a mine on a slope lies in the fact that whatever water collects naturally seeks the lower end of the slope and can be pumped from there to the surface without the trouble of ditching and draining necessary in some instances. Both mines are equipped with electric pumps, located in about the center of the mines. These pumps pull the water from the lower end of the mine to the place where they are located and from there force it to the surface, where it forms a tiny stream which is soon lost in the sandy wilderness.


Naturally each coal district has distinct individual characteristics. A certain peculiarity in the formation of the vein, the natural character of the coal itself and many other traits distinguish one district from another. This fact is specially noticeable in the Wyoming field.

The permanence of a mine in this field makes it necessary to construct buildings and to install machinery of better and more substantial nature than in other operations. The ‘‘life” of an ordinary mine in other western fields varies from five to ten years, more than the latter number being the rare exception. The life of a mine in the heart of the Wyoming field is greater than the life of a man. Mine No. 1 of the Central Coal & Coke Company was opened in 1886. This mine is working in what is known as vein No. 1, which is the central vein, with two above and two below it. This was the original vein opened. Not only has it not been necessary to touch any of the other veins, but there is a life of usefulness of many years in the vein of coal which is now being mined.

The life of this mine, extending now over a period of sixteen years, shows to some extent the magnitude of the coal measures in that district; and it must be borne in mind that there are four other veins of the same grade of coal that have never been touched.


There are 650 to 700 miners employed and added to this are the men above ground—the machinists, engineers, tipple house crew, commissary department and office force—which will bring the total force of the Central Coal & Coke Company at Rock Springs close to 1,000 men. The pay roll of the company at this point averages about $3,250 a day, ranging from as low as $2,800 in dull seasons to as high as $3,500 daily during the busy months.

The machinery used at this point is the latest improved mining machinery obtainable. Electric undercutting machinery, electric drills, fans, pumps and motor haulage are features at both mines. At mine No. 1 three boilers are used to furnish power for a second motion engine which operates the drum or core on which the steel cable runs. This is the principal haulage power and is used in the main slope. All electricity is generated at the plant maintained at mine No. 2 and is transferred to mine No. 1 by wire. It is used at the latter mine to operate the 25-horse power Morgan & Gardner fan, and also furnishes power to operate the 10-ton Morgan & Gardner motor car used to haul coal from the level entrance to the tipple house.

The electric plant is located at mine No. 2. There are two generators, 100 kilowatt each, 500 volts, with a speed of 700 revolutions a minute. These are in turn driven by two “Erie” engines, first motion, 16x18-inch cylinder, 150-horse power each.

The motor at mine No. 2 is a 7-1/2-ton Morgan & Gardner locomotive. The electric power at this mine is supplemented by a directly connected engine of 250-horse power, with a 16x24-inch cylinder. There is 3,000 feet of steel cable worked by this engine.

The mining machinery at No. 1 consists of four Morgan & Gardner D type, undercut 3 feet 6 inches by 6 feet, and a like number of the same machines is used at No. 2. Each mine is provided with two electric drills. The voltage used on all this machinery is 504 volts.


In considering the Rock Springs mining properties the formation of the country must not be lost sight of. These mines, to use a miner’s term, are all above ground; that is, they start at an elevation of from fifty to seventy-five feet above the bottom of the valleys and at the outcrop of the coal on the hill side. With this in mind it will readily be seen that the vein will come to the surface wherever the higher land is broken by canons, and it is at these breaks or outcrops that the mines are located. It is entirely possible that the same vein may crop in again on the next hill, and so in and out until the dip or slant in the stratification carries it above the top of any hill or below the bottom of any valley. The formation of the country in that section gives the impression that the support to the earth’s crust during the “cooling” process gave way somewhere to the west causing the country to telescope. While yet in a primitive condition, the amount of resistance offered by some parts of the underlying strata was less than others, and in consequence minor disruptions took place which caused breaks in the regular formations. There are breaks in the coal veins of Wyoming where the coal has apparently been forced either up or down. At times in taking the coal from a room or in driving an entry the coal abruptly gives out and the vein is replaced by solid rock. When this occurs a diamond drill is used to locate the coal, and as soon as the drill encounters the vein and the location is accurately determined it is an easy matter to enter it again. If the vein is below the former level no effort is made to reach the coal until this main slope has been driven far enough to make the loss from the horizontal line equal the drop in the coal caused by the fault. An entry is then driven on a level until the coal is again encountered, and the work from this on progresses as formerly.

There are coal veins at Rock Springs seven to eight feet thick without a flaw of any description. It is a solid mass of coal, practically free from sulphur, slate and other adulterations which reduce the quality of coal.

Coal from the slope is carried to the tipple house or to the dump on an inclined railway; Mitchell tippers and shaker screens are used at both mines, and both tipple houses are also provided with coal crushers, which are used when a greater percentage of nut coal is desired. When these are in use the nut and slack are elevated on an endless chain elevator and then pass through a revolving screen, the slack being sent to one car and the nut into another. Morgan & Gardner box car loaders are used at both mines. After the cars have been dumped they are elevated to a height where the force of gravity alone will carry them back to the mine opening.

The coal produced at the mines at Rock Springs has a wide territory for distribution, though this is not free from competition. At San Francisco coal from the Orient is often brought in as ballast on some of the ocean freighters, and this is naturally sold at a low figure. The coal is shipped to San Francisco, Sacramento and common points; to the northwest it is distributed through Washington and Oregon as far as the Canadian line; to the north to Butte, Mont., and to the east to Omaha, Neb., and as far south as Topeka, Kan.

The analysis of this coal shows that 2,286 pounds is equal to a cord of standard oak wood, and through a country that is practically timberless the benefits to be derived from a splendid coal free of sulphur and with little ash or moisture are beyond computation.


The mines at Rock Springs are in charge of F. P. Gridley, who is assisted by P. C. Richards, assistant superintendent on the outside, and John S. Davis, who occupies the same position on the inside works. John Sharp is foreman at mine No. 1 and James Martin at mine No. 2. The 600 or 700 men employed at these mines embrace nearly every nationality in the known world. At one time the people of thirty-two different nations were represented on the pay rolls of the Central Coal & Coke Company— Japanese, Chinamen, Swedes, Slavs, Poles, Hungarians, Welsh, English, Irish, and enough others to make up the number designated.


The commissary department at Rock Springs is in charge of R. C. McDowell, who also has the supervision of the Sweetwater store. These stores carry general lines of goods such as may be found in any general mercantile establishment. The amount of stock carried at either store is valued at between $18,000 and $20,000.

When the company purchased the mines at Rock Springs it also bought the property of the Wyoming Mercantile Company, and has continued to operate it under this name until the present time. In winter the stores supply the employees with fruits and vegetables, which are stored away during the fall months in cellars specially provided for this purpose. This is necessary on account of the severe cold weather which prevails in Wyoming during the winter months.

The water used at Rock Springs is pumped a distance of fifteen miles from Green river by a private corporation. Naturally water is an item of moment in the expense of operating a mine, as well as in the household account. Water for the mines is furnished by a water works company, No. 2 having mains directly connected with it, and the water used at No. 1 is supplied by tank cars.


North Missouri Coal.
In taking up the various coal properties of the Central Coal & Coke Company for discussion it is advisable to associate them in groups or districts, each producing a certain grade of coal suited for a special purpose. The mines in each individual district are usually worked very much on the same order, so that a discussion of the individual mines would be not only tiresome and unnecessary but a wearying repetition of essentially the same facts.

Twelve mines are owned and operated by the company in the north Missouri district. Of these, two are at Bevier, two at Keota, four at Ardmore, two at Kimberly and two at Huntsville. Bevier is located immediately on the Burlington railway and connected therewith by a company line—a part of the Missouri & Louisiana railroad, which extends from Bevier to Excello, Mo., and together with branches makes a total of about thirty miles. The trains are run on special schedule and handle both freight and passenger business. This road connects at Excello with the Wabash railroad and at Bevier with the Burlington railway. The primary object of the building of this line was to handle the coal in the Missouri territory through which it passes. There are three locomotives used to handle the output of the mines in the district which this line operates.


The coal vein in this district varies in thickness from four to six feet. It lies on a level, spread out blanket-like over Macon, Linn, Chariton, Randolph and parts of the adjoining counties in that section. The plane or level of this vein is practically horizontal, as is shown by the fact that the deep ravines in that section cut into the coal, utterly destroying the vein at places. In some of these ravines or water courses the coal outcrops on either side.

Advantage has been taken of this fact to work the mines located near these places on the outcrop, entering the vein on the level. This saves the cost of maintaining a hoisting engine to take the coal from the mines, but the saving in this regard is counterbalanced by the cost of hauling the coal from the entrance over a long trestle to the top of the incline road which leads to the tipple house, so that in the end there is not much difference in the cost of mining.

Keota and Bevier mines are worked by shaft, the depth of the lift varying from fifty to ninety feet, according to the location of the mine. The mines at Ardmore, Kimberly and Huntsville are all worked on a slope at the outcrop of the vein, with the exception of mines Nos. 7 and 9.

The mines at this district when worked at their full capacity give a total production of between 7,000 and 7,500 tons daily.

Mine No. 7 at Kimberly has not been operated for several months, but it is the intention of the company to resume work at this mine.

As will be seen from the above schedule, the company has in operation in this district eleven mines, employing a total of 2,875 men and producing daily something over 7,500 tons of coal.

The northern boundary line of this north Missouri field is not definitely known. Kimberly and Huntsville are about thirty miles to the south of Bevier and are located on the Kansas City branch of the Wabash railroad. All the intervening country is underlaid with a stratum of coal 4 to 6 feet thick. The vein, so far as known, ends at a point near Higby, about eighteen miles south of Kimberly. The roof is a strong shale formation and the coal is covered by ground ranging from 85 to 110 feet thick, except where the coal has been laid bare by the action of water in cutting away the covering.

Other veins of coal have been found both above and below the vein in which the company is now working, but not of sufficient thickness or volume to pay for developing them. They range in thickness from six inches to two feet, and in some instances veins of a greater size have been found, but in most cases the roof was too weak to admit of working them.

The mines worked by shaft are much on the same order. The shaft is sunk in the middle of a tract of land from which it is desired to remove the coal. The tract is laid off in sections. Two parallel cross-entries are driven, 20 feet either side of the shaft, and two similar cross-entries at right angles to these, and from these rooms are opened at distances of 150 feet each, and other sub-entries are extended into the four main sections into which the mine is divided by the cross-entries.

Where the coal is reached by a slope, or where it is mined from an outcrop, the method of reaching the rooms after the main entry has been made is much the same as that in vogue in the mines reached by shaft.


Mine No. 5 at Kimberly is typical of the mines in this section that are worked on the outcrop. The tipple house in use at this mine is located at a distance of one eighth of a mile from the mine opening. The vein at this place outcropped at the base of a knoll or hill on a level with the bottom of the ravine which cuts through the vein at this point. There is a rise of probably 150 feet from the mine opening to the top of the tipple house, and this is bridged over by a trestle work extending from the opening of the mine to the tipples. The loaded cars are pulled up this incline by the regulation cable hoist.

A new opening has been made in the vein about an eighth of a mile to the west of the original No. 5. Coal from this mine, which is locally called 5-1/2 is hauled to the foot of the incline by mules and from there to the tipple house by cable, as previously stated. The roof in this section is composed of a heavy stratum of shale and affords good support to the weight of the earth and stone above.

Timbers for mining purposes are easily and cheaply obtained from the surrounding country, which abounds in scrubby white and post oaks. The company is able to secure all the timber needed for mining purposes at a very reasonable cost delivered at the mine opening.

The mines in this section are in charge of F. E. Doubleday, district superintendent, with headquarters at Bevier. The mines at Kimberly and Huntsville are under the immediate supervision of William McKinley, who is local superintendent of the four mines located at the southern end of the field.


There are four stores owned and operated by the company in this district: At Bevier, under the direction of C. S. Bardwell; Keota—G. L. Thomas, storekeeper; Ardmore—R. F. Weygant, manager, and one at Kimberly, which is used to supply the workmen at Huntsville as well as at Kimberly. This store is in charge of Edward Long. Z. T. Beatty is agent at Kimberly. The commissary at Bevier usually carries a stock of general merchandise valued at $20,000. The stock at the Keota store is about the same, except that at the latter place a lumber yard is in operation, and the same is true with respect to Ardmore. These lumber yards are owned and operated by the company. The stock carried by the store at Ardmore is valued at about $15,000, and that at the store at Kimberly is probably worth a like amount.

In this section the miners are paid twice a month. Between pay days they are allowed to draw checks or vouchers for the amount to their credit on the company’s books. These credit checks are issued at all the company’s offices for amounts ranging from $1 to $10. On the face of the check are figures representing amounts of from 5 to 50 cents, according to the size of the order secured. These figures are punched by the storekeeper or his representative when presented and the amount of the purchase then subtracted from the face of the credit slip. These serve to take the place of the regulation company scrip and are used much in the same manner as the ordinary coupon books used by the modern grocery and supply houses.

When the “faults” found in this coal field are taken into consideration the mind unconsciously drifts back to the formative period of the earth’s crust—to the time when, as it is generally conceded, it was in a semi-liquid state. These faults consist of seams or cracks in the vein where coal has in some manner disappeared entirely. According to some theories this was caused by the action of the sun upon the substance forming the coal when in a liquid or semi-liquid state, whereby it was caused to crack or spread apart. The seams were then filled with dust or mud which later overflowed the strata of coal.

The coal product of the north Missouri mines is all marketed north of the Missouri and west of the Mississippi rivers. This coal is sent to all of the northern central states, its principal market lying in southern Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northern and eastern Kansas. There is some competition from Iowa and from other Missouri coals, but the high standard of the coal produced at the mines at Bevier makes it a ready seller in all parts of the territory to which it is shipped.


The Central Coal & Coke Company owns and operates nearly half of the mining machinery used in Missouri. The mines at Keota and Ardmore are equipped with box car loaders, electric undercutting machinery and electric drills. The machines used are of the chain-breast type for undercutting, and the upright electric drill for sinking the blasting holes. The capacity of the northern Missouri mines, together with those in western Missouri near the Kansas line, gives the Central Coal & Coke Company more than half of the yearly output of the state. When it is considered that Missouri is surrounded on all sides by coal-producing states and that all of the larger cities of the state are much nearer other coal fields than those within its borders, the records of the mines operated by the company are equaled by those of few other mines or mining sections. The records for 1900 show that coal to the value of $4,280,328 was mined and sold, and in 1901 the value of the coal mined in Missouri was close to $5,000,000.


Western Missouri—The Panama Region.
At Panama, in the vicinity of Rich Hill, Mo., a deposit of rich steam coal is found, of an average thickness of about 5 feet 6 inches. The company has in operation three mines at this point, located south of Panama station, near the dividing line between Bates and Vernon counties.

These mines are under the supervision of J. Williams, superintendent. Charles McClure is agent at Panama, at which point the company operates a well supplied store under the management of J. G. Danaho.

The coal in this field is all reached by shaft and lies at a depth of 85 to 110 feet. The vein is undulating and closely follows the topographical formation of the country. A rise or depression in the surface is reflected underground, though hardly to the same extent. Shaft No. 14 is located in the central part of the company’s holdings, with No. 19 to the east at a distance of about two miles, and No. 21 three or four miles to the west.

No. 14 has been and still is a very productive mine, but the coal at this point lies on a slope and it is not considered advisable to haul the coal very far under such conditions. In consequence the pillars supporting the roof are being pulled out and as soon as this work shall be finished the mine will be abandoned.

In view of the proposed abandonment of shaft 14 the company has opened a new shaft about two miles to the east, and the coal will be taken from this until the territory shall be exhausted and the entries extended to connect with those of the old mine, enabling the workers to mine the coal up to the point where work on No. 14 was stopped. The vein grows much thicker as it dips to the east—there is a slight dip in the coal in that direction—and at the new shaft, No. 21, ranges from 6 to 6-1/2 feet. The bottom of the mine, or the formation on which the coal lies, is uneven, with depressions and rises which sometimes give an additional foot or two of coal, making the vein range from 6 to 8 feet.

Openings have been made from the main entry in mine No. 19 and rooms turned from the cross entries, giving space in which to work about 150 men at the present time, and this number will be increased as fast as new rooms can be added.

Mine No. 19 is at a distance of about four miles to the west of No. 14. The vein here is not so thick as at the other mines and it is necessary to "brush" the tops of the entries or drive ways in order to give headway for the mules and drivers.

The country in the vicinity of Rich Hill is an excellent agricultural district, which is rather unusual in the coal mining regions under discussion; most of the mining districts are rather poor farming sections.

The daily output of the three mines at Panama aggregates 1,200 to 1,500 tons. As soon as No. 19 shall have been developed so that more men can be employed this daily total will be increased materially.

Excellent transportation facilities are afforded, the mines being reached by the Missouri Pacific and the St. Louis & San Francisco systems, and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas and Kansas City Southern roads are also within easy reach, enabling the company to ship to any point desired.

There is no mining machinery used at Panama by the operators of the Central Coal & Coke Company. Hauling from the rooms to the cage or lift is all done with mules, except at mine No. 14, where the coal is hauled up the slope by cable.

There are only two grades or sizes of coal made from the mine run at this point—slack and lump—the former being in great demand by steam plants and the latter used for both steam and domestic purposes.

This is essentially a steam coal and the greater part of the tonnage of the mines at Panama is shipped to Kansas City for use in steam plants. The neighboring country and towns to the east and southeast are also partially supplied

with the output of the Panama mines. There is a small percentage of sulphur shown by the analysis of the coal from this district, but this is not sufficient to affect its usefulness as a steam generator.


In the Cherokee Coal District, Kansas.
The original Cherokee coal district lies between Weir City and Scammon, ranging from southwest to northeast. The first mines opened were numbered consecutively from 1 to 8, all of which have been worked out and abandoned with the exception of No. 7. This was the first place the famous Cherokee steam coal was mined, and it was thought at the time these mines were opened that the small area covered by them comprised the entire coal field. Since that time, however, the field has gradually been extended, until it now covers the entire southeastern portion of Crawford county.

One peculiarity about the Crawford county field lies in the character of the vein. At Scammon, about five miles southwest of Pittsburg, the coal reaches the greatest thickness, in some places a vein of six feet being struck. As it leaves this part of the field, looking toward the northeast, the vein gradually widens, but grows much thinner.

The mines at Scammon were opened in 1875; those at Weir City about two years later, and those at Pittsburg about 1878. It was several years after the opening of the mines at Scammon before investors were convinced of the existence of coal in other districts adjoining the Scammon field. The same grade of coal, however, is found in all parts of the district. The vein where first opened was the best point that has yet been struck. The coal ranged from four to six feet thick, with few faults. It was what is termed a blanket vein, spread out on a level floor, with good roof overhead, rendering mining a simple proposition. Farther to the east the coal is found at a greater depth and the vein is much thinner than in the original field.

It would seem that during the formative period some tremendous pressure had been placed on the eastern or northern end of the coal, which caused the then soft substance to spread. The farther to the east the vein runs the less coal to the acre is found, until it finally mingles with the slate and “jack” of western Missouri.

The company has in operation here thirteen mines, employing nearly 3,000 miners and producing an average of close to 9,000 tons of coal for each working day. The mines at Scammon and Weir City are under the management of Hugh Reid; those at Cambria and Litchfield are managed by Charles Elliott, while James Hannah exercises supervision over the two mines at Nelson.

The country in and around Weir City and Pittsburg is traversed by a network of railroads, spurs, switches and junction points for the various railroads. It bears a close resemblance to some big terminal point, except that it covers more ground than usually is given over to terminal facilities. The coal region is dotted throughout with the tipple houses of the working mines, piles of slate at abandoned shafts and long lines of loaded and empty cars. Yet despite the amount of space devoted to this industry farming is still carried on in the immediate vicinity to big advantage.

Four lines of road reach this district, from which they reap a rich freight harvest. These lines are the Missouri Pacific, the Santa Fe, the Kansas City Southern and the St. Louis & San Francisco. The last-named road has switches to all but two of the coal mines of the Central Coal & Coke Company. These roads furnish transportation facilities to all parts of the adjoining states and give this coal easy access to any market in the west.

In addition to this heavy output the Central Coal & Coke Company handles the output of a number of other mines, and the grand total of the coal tonnage shipped to various points from this district by the company is close to 10,000 tons each day.

The majority of the mines above mentioned have years of life ahead of them, though a few will doubtless be worked out during the coming year.

As previously stated, the vein dips to the north. The coal outcrops about a quarter of a mile south of mine 30, near Litchfield. The shaft at mine 30 is only 40 feet deep; at No. 9 about 80 feet deep, and at No. 17, which is about 2-1/2 miles northeast of No. 30, the vein is struck at a depth of 130 feet. Farther to the north the coal goes even deeper and at one point a shaft nearly 300 feet deep has been sunk. The dip northward is about three degrees, but the rise in the formation of the land caused the coal to go farther from the surface than the drop would carry it.


Of the mines operated in this section Nos. 15 and 18 at Weir City, No. 27 at Cambria, No. 11 at Scammon and No. 17 at Nelson are excellent types. All of these mines have a long life before them and are well equipped, well ventilated and supplied with the latest hoisting and screening machinery. The vein has been opened up at these mines so that it is possible to work a large force, enabling the company to produce a large amount of coal from one shaft and under one management. The underground trackage in the mines enumerated varies from seven to ten miles.

There are other good producing mines in this section, but these are the best with respect to duration of operation, etc. At nearly all of the mines water has to be supplied the engines during the dry season. At some of them ponds have been constructed sufficient to run the machinery during the summer months; at others water is secured from artesian wells. At mine No. 16 the company has a well 1,000 feet deep which furnishes an abundant supply of water the year round. There are four other wells of a similar nature in various parts of the field, varying in depth from 600 to 800 feet.

Not included in the list previously given is mine No. 28. This mine has not been in operation for a number of months. It is a small mine and was put down for the purpose of working out a corner of the field that could not be reached by entry from No. 27, the nearest working shaft. In driving one of the side rooms the miners worked too close to an old strip pit filled with water, with the result that the mine has been flooded with water for some time. Efforts are being made to pump the water from the mine, and as soon as this shall be done work will be resumed.

At mine No. 17, near Nelson, the company is making a double tipple house, which will enable it to load Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway and Kansas City Southern cars at the same mine. This is the only tipple house of this kind in the field.

The faults in this vein consist almost entirely of what the miners term “horsebacks.” This is a break in the vein which is filled with clay. In the field in question these vary in extent from a few feet to, in one instance, as much as 250 feet. To what cause these faults owe their existence is a matter of speculation.

It is a company loss when one of these faults is struck, as the operator must pay for the work of penetrating these horsebacks until the vein is struck again. The cost of running an entry through a horseback is increased from the fact that a break in the coal vein means a break in the stratum forming the roof, and in nearly every instance it is necessary to use a large amount of timber to support it.

In addition to these horsebacks an occasional deposit of sulphur or slate causes the quality of the coal to deteriorate. When the latter is encountered it is necessary to separate it from the coal proper. It is usually a very simple matter, as it generally runs in pockets or seams, and can be separated by a blow of the miner’s pick and tossed to one side.

While some faults are found in the coal vein at almost every mine, those discussed in the above are existent in the field more than in the mines operated by the Central Coal & Coke Company. At the southern edge of this field the vein is without a flaw of any kind, and most of the faults are found toward the northern and eastern edges.

The product of the mines operated by the Central Coal & Coke Company in the famous Cherokee coal district is marketed throughout a large portion of the central west. Oklahoma and Indian Territory are supplied mainly from this district. It is shipped west to the foot of the Rocky mountains, north to Omaha, and distributed through western Missouri and Kansas. This is one of the richest coals mined by the company, and its quality is about on a parity with the high grade of bituminous coal produced at Rock Springs, Wyo.


Arkansas Semi-Anthracite Coals.
Sebastian county, in western Arkansas, during the past twenty years has furnished the western states with a substitute for anthracite coal that has enabled those who use fuel to ignore the exorbitant prices asked for the Pennsylvania product. The greater part of this county is underlaid with a heavy vein of semi-anthracite coal. The names Bonanza, Huntington and Hartford are known as far as there is a demand for coal, for generating steam or for the various office heating and domestic uses.

The Central Coal & Coke Company is the largest producer of this grade of coal in western Arkansas. The output of its mines is nearly equal to the combined capacity of the other operators in this field. The company has in operation seven mines, one of which is located at Hartford, on the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf railroad; three at Huntington, on the Mansfield branch of the ’Frisco, and three at Bonanza, on the Missouri & Louisiana road. These mines have a combined capacity of about 2,300 tons daily.

All the mines in the semi-anthracite district are under the supervision of Bennett Brown, the southern district superintendent. At Huntington he is represented by J. U. Gridley, local superintendent. B. King is agent at Hartford and also has supervision of the mining operations at that point. C. C. Woodson has charge of the Bonanza field. P. W. Kent is agent at this point.

Hartford is located on the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf railroad, a few miles east of the territory line. The station is built in a valley surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks. The coal at this place lies under the hills, outcropping at their base. On this account the first coal mined was taken from strip pits, but the abrupt rise in the hill made it impossible to continue this mode of operation and slopes have been driven back under the foot hills and the coal mined in the usual manner.

At present the Central Coal & Coke Company has only one active mine at this point, but preparations are being made to sink a shaft a few miles west of the town site.

Near the base of the higher mountains to the west is a level plateau or plain, and it is at this point that the proposed shaft is to be erected. A test is being made with a diamond drill and the operators expect to strike the principal coal vein at a depth of 320 feet.

There is coal on all sides of Hartford which crops out at the base of the hills surrounding the town, as stated. It is not known just how much of this country is underlaid with the semi-anthracite. East of the town, as far as developments have been made, the vein is not thick enough to justify working. To the north, west and south the vein averages between four and five feet in thickness.

The main entry at mine “A” has been driven back a distance of one-half mile. This gives working room for about 175 men when in full operation and an output of between 400 and 500 tons daily. As the entry is driven under the hill the coal becomes much harder. This feature is shown by the larger percentage of lump coal mined now as compared with the amount of lump when the mine was first opened. The amount of lump at first was about 67 per cent, but lately this has increased until at the present time 71 per cent of the mine-run is lump coal.

Most of the coal produced at this mine is shipped to Texas points. The Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf railroad makes good connections with the Kansas City Southern and the Cotton Belt roads for points in Texas and, as stated, the greater portion of the coal produced by this mine moves southward, though considerable is sold in the Indian Territory.

In 1887 the Kansas & Texas Coal Company opened what was known as the Nickel Plate mine, at Huntington, Ark. This mine was finally worked, out and abandoned; and subsequently five or six other mines, the entire number covering an area of about 420 acres, shared the same fate. The vein at Huntington outcrops near the town, and the land to the immediate west shows where strip pits, from a quarter to a half mile in width, have been operated. The vein close to the town has been taken out and the nearest mine is now about a mile from the town proper.

The Central Coal & Coke Company has in operation three mines at this point which comprised part of the property taken over by it when the Kansas & Texas Coal Company was bought out. These mines are located to the west of Huntington, are about one mile distant from each other and the first mine one mile from Huntington.


The coal in this section is composed of two distinct veins, separated by a 2-1/2 inch layer of slate. The top vein averages about five feet, though at many places it is even thicker. The lower vein ranges between two and three feet. This gives an average layer of coal of approximately eight feet throughout the district. The coal is taken out separately—that is, the lower vein is removed first—and after this is out of the way the top vein is "shot" down and loaded into cars. In some places, on account of the nature of the formation underneath the lower vein, it is found advisable for mining reasons to leave it intact and remove only the upper or larger vein of coal. This, however, is done only where the stratum below the coal is poor and incapable of holding the supports to the roof. In such cases the lower vein is left in order to form a foundation. After the weak places have been passed both veins are again mined, the object being to lose the least possible amount of coal.


Nature is nothing if not eccentric. Why a coal vein should come to an abrupt stop at one side of a valley and pass under the hill on the opposite side is one of her unsolved mysteries.

Such is the formation of the vein from which is taken the famous Bonanza coal, the best grade of semi-anthracite found in the west. The coal comes to the surface at the south side of a narrow valley at an angle of nearly 45 degrees.

The coal was first mined in this field by shaft, mine No. 10 being the first to strike the vein. Later the company opened up the strip pits near mine No. 12, and this was known to the company as pit No. 13. Strip mining was continued for some time, but later the coal dipped too far below the surface to permit of its continuance and slope No. 12 was opened at the scene of the pit mining. No. 20 was the last slope started by the Central Coal & Coke Company at this point and is still being operated.

The vein is uneven. At places the pitch is at a steep angle, while at others the coal lies on the level. At the north side of the valley, instead of coming to the surface as noted in regard to the south side, the coal dips under the hill, outcropping on the other side. This gives a depth of from 350 to 500 feet below the surface except at the extreme southern edge of the field. It is claimed that this vein is a different stratum from the one in which the Huntington mines are working, and that the coal is of a much finer quality. It is undoubtedly the finest semi-anthracite mined in the west, and the entire product of the three mines at Bonanza is easily sold.

There is no machinery used in these mines. The vein will average about 5-1/2 feet thick and is practically free of faults, with a good roof, causing but little trouble in operating. The three mines at this point will produce between 1,800 and 2,000 tons of coal each day when operated at their full capacity.


There is a well equipped commissary at each of the Arkansas points named. The store at Huntington is one of the finest owned by the company. It is a large, airy building, the stock is kept bright and fresh and the store and meat market present an up-to-date appearance that would do credit to a town of three times the population of Huntington. T. R. Bennett is manager of the company’s store at Huntington. A. E. Hickerson, the agent, has an office in the store building, but the other officers of the company are located in a separate building farther up the street.

The commissary at Hartford is in charge of T. R. Stokes. Naturally, where the interests of the company are on a smaller scale, this part of its operations is necessarily of smaller extent also. This can be said without detriment to the store at the latter place, which is larger than would at first thought be supposed.

A feature of the company’s business at Bonanza has been the rapid growth of that town since the opening of the mines. In order to supply lumber for its own buildings, as well as for the demand from the surrounding territory, the Central Coal & Coke Company has in operation a well-stocked lumber yard at this place in addition to the commissary, the latter being well stocked and well kept.

Another commendable feature of the operations at this point is the long rows of neatly painted houses for the miners. These cottages are not stuck back in some out-of-the-way place, but line the main street of the little city. They are all painted white and, as will be seen from the illustrations, are inviting-looking abodes.

The semi-anthracite coal mined by the Central Coal & Coke Company in southwestern Arkansas is distributed over a large portion of the western half of the continent. Owing to its quality it is in demand in places that are the legitimate territory of other coals. It is sold as far south as the Gulf of Mexico, as far north as St. Paul, Minn., and Chicago, and west as far as the Colorado line; east to St. Louis and the Mississippi river.

This coal has been shipped into Mexico and has been used to coal some of the largest vessels that make the gulf ports. At Kansas City it is rapidly taking the place of the Pennsylvania anthracite, and is being used in furnaces in the homes of many of the most particular housekeepers of that thriving western city.


In the Indian Territory.


Something like three years ago the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company secured a permit to build a line of road from Sapulpa, I. T., through the territory to Denison, Tex. This line has been completed and in operation for about two years. At the time the road was built it passed through a wild, unsettled country, with only an occasional station or agent’s camp. Since its construction, however, rapid progress has been made in settling up one of the finest agricultural sections of the Union. There is still a great deal to be done, but a start has been made and the outlook for this part of the territory is exceptionally bright. During the last year the laws passed by the railroad commission have made it possible for those who are endeavoring to plant civilization’s standard in this district to work from a more secure foundation. Those owning property in the territory are enabled to purchase at a fair valuation the ground on which it stands, and the object of the commission is to encourage building of substantial business houses and residences. Prior to the enactment of these laws those who had secured permits to erect either a dwelling or a business house had no assurance that they would not be revoked and the owner of the building left without compensation.

Henryetta is located in about the center of the Creek Nation. A few years ago all that marked the spot where this village is now situated was an agent’s store and a few Indian tepees. Since the building of the road there has been an influx of settlers and the town now has a population of over 1,000. The town site is on rising ground overlooking the right of way of the railroad, and is near the western edge of a valley or basin about thirty miles broad.

The coal industry in this section is in keeping with other industrial developments and the black diamond is naturally not being mined on a very extensive scale. The Central Coal & Coke Company is interested here to the extent of several thousand acres of coal bearing lands, on which it has purchased all coal and mineral rights. The vein has been opened at the base of a hill about a mile and a half east of Henryetta.

This opening has so far been more in the nature of a test than for regular operation. The company is satisfied with the showing made, and preparations are now tinder way for actively pushing its interests in this section.

A spur from the main line of the ’Frisco is being laid to the mine opening; material for a modern tipple house has been placed on the ground, and the entries to the mine are being driven farther and farther back, so that by the time the new facilities shall have been placed in position a big force of men can be put to work.

The coal vein at this point covers an area of about thirty miles east and west by seventy-five miles to the north and south. The vein in which the entries are being driven at the present time averages close to five feet. The outcrop of the coal on the south is at Weleetka (the Indian appellation for Running Water). This is the only known point where the coal outcrops finally. The broken nature of the country under which the coal vein lies causes it to come to the surface at a number of points, but the same vein is to be found lower or higher, according to the nature of the country.

One peculiarity of the country under which this wealth of coal lies is found in the varying nature of the soil on low and high ground. The topography of the country is alternate valleys and high ridges, the latter covered with a heavy growth of black-jacks, post-oaks and similar woods, and the valleys are comparatively free of timbers of all kinds. The soil on the ridges is very fertile, while that in the valleys has apparently been saturated with alum or alkali, rendering it in most parts fit for grazing purposes only. The tops of the ridges, on the contrary, are extremely productive, the soil rich and mellow. This condition leads to the belief that the valleys have sunk below their former level while the hills have retained their original elevation. The position of the rocks where shown on the hillside tends to strengthen this theory.

The vein in which mine No. 1, as it is termed, has been opened near Henryetta is only one of several in that locality. An experiment with a churn drill showed that at one point below this vein is a layer of coal about eight feet in thickness. The results obtained from the test hole put down with the drill mentioned are not considered reliable, however, and it is the intention of the company to make a test drilling with a diamond drill outfit which will show the nature of the formation from the surface downward.

The tests made of the properties of this coal show that it is practically free from sulphur and other objectionable substances; that the coal is entirely consumed, leaving only a small quantity of white ash.

There is an exclusive field for the sale of this coal not only in the immediate section where it is produced but to the south and west as well. As far as known there is not another coal-producing field anywhere to the west before the coast coals are encountered. The rapidly growing central west, embracing Oklahoma, the Panhandle of west Texas and the lower portion of Colorado, will depend in a large measure upon the coal fields of the Indian Territory for fuel. They will have the advantage of several hundred miles in the matter of freights and, as stated, will have practically absolute control of the field.

The quality of the coal produced and the urgent demand for it insure a bright future for this mine. There is no section in the United States that is growing faster or in which manufacturing enterprises are increasing at a more rapid rate than in the new country that is being exploited to the west of this new field. The demand for a reliable source of fuel supply is therefore very large and is constantly increasing. Those who have in hand the development of the section under consideration are not satisfied with producing the raw material but are establishing factories where it can be made into the finished product, and developments along this line have been handicapped for lack of a cheap and steady supply of fuel.

The development of the mines at Henryetta has been placed in the hands of C. H. Kellogg, who has spent the last two years in prospecting in the vicinity of that point. The company formerly had a small mine at Dawson, I. T., but this has been abandoned and the development in that district centered at Henryetta. There will be an exclusive market to the west as well as in the immediate vicinity of the mining point for the coal produced. This coal leaves very little ash, burns steadily and will fill all requirements, whether used for steam or domestic purposes. It will be one of the finest coals produced in the southwest.


There is nothing certain about the coal vein at Carbon except its uncertainty. On that point it is absolute.

Carbon is distant five miles from South McAlester in a direct line, but much farther by wagon road.

The Central Coal & Coke Company operates three mines at this point. These mines were formerly operated by the Kansas & Texas Coal Company and were purchased by the Central Coal & Coke Company when the latter purchased the property of the former in 1902.

The vein at this point is anything but regular in formation. At some places it is practically level, while at others it is very much "on the bias." The latter is true at the point where the mines of the Central Coal & Coke Company are operating. At this place the coal comes to the surface at the foot of a hill, but instead of going under the hill, as so many veins do, persists in gliding off into the valley at an angle of about 20 degrees.

The first work on these mines was stripping. The former strip pits are yet to be seen. This work was carried on until a territory 100 yards wide by three miles long had been cleared and the coal removed, but the drop in the vein was too great to permit of this mode of operating for any great length of time. After abandoning the strip pits the company continued operations by sinking slopes, and these are still being worked.

The three mines at this place—Nos. 76, 78 and 77—are worked on the same plan. The slopes have been about equally developed and are now about 2,100 feet long, and the rooms at the lower end are about 300 feet below the surface of the valley. As far as the vein has been exploited at this particular spot the dip downward has been the same. Cable hoists are used to haul the coal from the mines, and in two of the mines a smaller engine has been installed to assist in hauling the coal from the rooms underground to the main slope.

The three mines combined have room to work about 300 men, giving a daily output of between 600 and 700 tons of coal. The coal is loaded at the mines on cars furnished by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway, which has a spur running from South McAlester to Carbon.

This is the only vein of coal that has been found in this section. It extends over the greater part of the Choctaw Nation and is being developed by a number of companies. The Central Coal & Coke Company has enough coal lands under lease at this point to operate its mines for a number of years.

The machinery at the three mines at this point is kept in excellent condition, as the life of these mines will be determined only by the ability of the company to supply the miners with plenty of air as they go farther and farther from the surface. Each plant is supplied with a compressed air plant which is used for keeping the mines free of water. Air is forced downward by heavy fans which supply the necessary amount of oxygen to each worker below.

The arrangements for caring for the miners’ comfort at this point are exceptionally good. The company owns at this point 160 houses, which are kept in an excellent state of repair. The commissary is supplemented by a first-class meat shop. Ice was supplied by the company ice plant prior to last summer, and it is expected to put the plant again in operation as soon as necessary repairs can be made.

The commissary at Carbon is in charge of N. B. Clarke. E. M. Holliday is the local agent, and the mines are under the direction of Bennett Brown, district superintendent, who is assisted by J. A. Mackie, local foreman at the mines.

The question of a source of pure water supply is one that is of first importance at every mining camp. The water at Carbon is not fit for domestic purposes, though a first-class liquid is found at a spring several miles to the south of the camp. This is furnished the families of the miners by private contractors at a stated price a barrel.

The coal produced at this point finds a market in the Territory, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. It takes 1,950 pounds of this coal to equal one cord of standard oak wood. With the exception of the Panama coal this is the heaviest in ash of any coal mined by the company, as will be seen from the analysis. It is an excellent steam coal and finds a ready market in the territory outlined.


In Conclusion.
Much more might be said of either or both of the great subdivisions of the business of the Central Coal & Coke Company. With reference to lumber production, when the new mill at Carson shall be completed it will give the company an output of between 200,000,000 and 220,000,000 feet annually and place it among the largest manufacturers and distributors of southern pine in the world. It has already been stated that the company is the largest coal mining and distributing company in the west and southwest, and during the current year it will handle between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 tons of coal. The merchandise will represent a total of about $4,000,000. The commerce of this company represents annually $21,000,000.

Columns might be written about details of the company’s mode of operation that have only been hinted at in the story of its growth and present status in previous chapters, but it has been necessary to be brief in dealing with the various features covered, in order that suitable reference might be made to each without making the whole of extraordinary size and bulk when presented to the readers.

Judging future progress by past developments, the life before the western giant is full of promise. The rapidly increasing population of the west and the consequent needs of the people as regards both fuel and building material give the Central Coal & Coke Company a field in which to operate that is equalled by few and is excelled in no other part of the globe. The company has been growing rapidly since the date of its inception, but not faster than the territory on which it depends to use the product of its mines and the lumber cut by its mills. Great as has been the growth of the company and large as it is now it must necessarily continue to grow in order to keep pace with the increase in the demand for its products due to the rapid increase in emigration toward the west and the natural multiplication of the human family and consequent needs. No other course is left open for this representative western corporation, and if the spirit of the enterprise established during its past shall be observed in the future it requires no unusual gift of prophecy to predict the part it will play during the next decade.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections and contributions of new material.