Photo courtesy Shirley Ryan. Thanks Shirley!
The information that follows
is directly from the pages of the reference
Find Munsell's Book in its entirety
online at the link opposite
under Books at
Schuylkill County Gen Web .
or Munsell's book can be
the Schuylkill County Historical
It is also available at
the Pottsville Public Library.
These type of writings
provide color into the
black and white world of history
and bring to life the coal region
as it was during
the mid to late 1800's.
St. Nicholas/Wiggans/Suffolk Patches
This place includes the St. Nicholas, Wiggan's and
patches, as they were formerly called. It was settled in 1861,
at which date Cake & Guise commenced mining operations here.While engaged in erecting the breaker Mr. Guise was killed by an
accident. H.L. Cake, the surviving partner, named the place and
colliery St. Nicholas, and the post-office, established in 1863,
and kept by B.F. Smith, was given the same name. In 1864, Mr.
Cake disposed of the colliery to a party of capitalists and
operators, incorporated as the St. Nicholas Coal Company. Some
of its prominent members were George Ormrod, C.F. Shoener, John
Donneston and W.F. Donneston. This company operated the colliery
until February, 1880, when the
Iron Company succeeded it.
The first store in St. Nicholas was kept by Smith & Krebs, and
opened about 1861. It is now kept by James Delong. The Union Church was built in 1874 by the united efforts of all who were interested in having
Protestant services held in the place. Among its prominent supporters were Major Phillips, James Delong, Benjamin Jones and John A. Donneston. It is a neat framed structure and meets the wants of all classes of believers. Services are held by Primitive Methodist, Evangelical, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Reformed clergymen from the adjacent boroughs.
St. Nicholas Colliery
This colliery was opened in 1861, and
it is now the property of the
Iron Company. Its breaker was built in 1861; has a capacity of
five hundred tons daily, and its average annual shipments have
been about 80,000 tons. Three hundred men and boys are employed.
The slope is sunk to a depth of 720 feet below water level and
workings opened in the
and, to some extent, in the Primrose. J.A. Donneston was superintendent under the St. Nicholas Coal Company nearly sixteen
St. Nicholas Division, No. 26, S. of T.
This division was
instituted April 8th, 1879, with Richard Koons, John DeSilva,
B.R. Jones, F.J. Smith, Thomas Metz, George Shafer, Charles Drum,
William Jones, William Trevethyn, E.C. Koons and Owen Brown as
charter members. At the first meeting Richard Koons was elected
W.P., George Shafer secretary, and John DeSilva treasurer. Since
that time the following members have passed the chair: George
Shafer, John J. Reed, F.J. Smith, Thomas Metz and John DeSilva.
The officers in position November 1st, 1880, were: W.P.,
E.C. Koons; W.A., Rachel Jones; R.S., John A. Trevethyn; F.S.,
Alexander McHale; T., Richard Koons; chaplain, W.C. Emory; cond.
W.M. Gibson; assistant cond., Alice Gibson; I.S., Emma Koon;
O.S., George Case.
There are about sixty members. Meetings are held at
school-house Tuesday evenings.
St. Nicholas Silver Cornet Bank was organized November 5th,
1878, with twenty members, and employed Jacob Brittz, of Mahanoy
City, as teacher. Within a few weeks after organization J.C.
Neuland was chosen leader, and he still holds the position. Its officers in 1880 were:John J. Reed, president; Thomas Metz, secretary; Enoch Decker,treasurer; J.C. Neuland, leader. It is well equipped and a credit to the place.
The first public school was taught in 1859. From data kindly
furnished by the superintendent of schools, M.J. Murphy,
the following summary of the condition of the schools in 1880 is gleaned.
There were at that time in the township fourteen school
buildings; one at Hill's, with one school, containing fifty-four
scholars; one at Bowman's, with two schools, containing in all
one hundred and fourteen scholars; one at
schools, and ninety-four scholars; one at Myersville, with one
school, and thirty scholars; two at Yatesville, with three
schools and one hundred and twenty-four scholars; one at Wig-
gan's, with two schools and seventy scholars; one at Grantville,
two schools and seventh scholars; one at New Boston, two schools
and fifty scholars; one at Boston Run, with two schools and
sixty-four scholars; one at St. Nicholas, with two schools and
seventy-four scholars; one at Cole's, two schools and sixty-four
scholars; one at Ellangowan, two schools and one hundred and
three scholars; in all twenty-three schools and 913 scholars.
The highest salary paid to teachers was $55 per month; the lowest
$30. Thirteen male and ten female teachers were employed, of
whom the greater number received their education in the public
schools of the county, and seven held permanent certificates.
The total monthly pay-roll for teachers' wages amounted to $985.
North Mahanoy Colliery.-The first development here was made
by Samuel and E.S. Sillyman as the firm of Samuel Sillyman & Son,
and this was the first colliery opened at
first shipment of coal was made in 1861. The colliery continued
in the hands of the Sillymans until 1869, when E.S. Sillyman sold
it to Hill, Harris & Rumble, and in 1872 it became the property
of the Philadelphia Coal and Iron Company, the present owners.
The original breaker was destroyed by fire in 1869, and the
present one built by Hill, Harrison & Rumble. It has a capacity
of four hundred and fifty tons daily, and about the same average
production. The workings consist of a slope about two hundred
and twenty-five yards deep, with gangways driven west about one
and one-half miles. Half a mile west of the foot of the slope is
another, driven one hundred yards.
Schuylkill Colliery was opened in 1863 by Abraham Focht, who
commenced shipping coal in the spring of the following year. In
1865 the works were sold to the firm of Focht, Whitaker & Co.,
who operated the colliery until 1877, when it passed into the
hands of the
are the present operators. The coal mined previous to 1870 was
taken from the Five-feet and Seven-feet veins, above water level;
but in that year a shaft fifty-seven feet deep was sunk to the
depth, with four gangways, has been driven. The vein now worked
has an average depth of about fourteen feet, with a "dip" west of
about six degrees. The capacity of the breaker is about five
hundred tons daily, and the average production is nearly up to
its capacity. Two hundred men and boys are employed. The power
is supplied by four engines, with a total of 200 horse power.
The Primrose Colliery was first opened in 1861, by Steele &
Patterson, who operated it until 1866, when Caleb Kneavles pur-
chased it, and he still operates it. The original slope was 125 yards, with a pitch of 40 degrees.The distance of the farthest heading from its foot is 900 yards. The veins worked are the Primrose, Mammoth and Skidmore. A slope was commenced in 1879, and it has been driven to the middle split
of the Mammoth vein, and a tunnel to the Skidmore. Engines with
a capacity of 310 horse power are in use. The present breaker
was built in 1871, and has a capacity of 350 tons daily. The
average daily product is fully up to its capacity. The total
number of men and boys employed is 150. James Wynn is superintendent; William Wynn, outside foreman; William B. Harris, inside
foreman; Frank Reed, shipper.
The Tunnel Ridge Colliery was opened in 1863, by George W.
Cole, who built a breaker and commenced shipping coal in December. It was operated by him until 1879, when the
and Reading Coal and Iron Company bought it. The capacity of the
breaker is nine hundred tons daily. The average production is
about seven hundred tons. Six engines, aggregating 270 horse
power, are in use, and 300 men and boys are employed. The depth
of the slope is one hundred and sixty-six yards, and gangways
have been driven fifteen hundred yards each way, east and west,
from its foot. The veins worked are the Mammoth and
Glendon Colliery was opened in 1860, by Abraham Potts, who
built a small breaker in 1862, and in 1863 sold it to Alfred
sold it to James B. Boylan, who operated it until 1876, when the
present operators, J.C. Hayden & Co., which firm is composed of
J.C. Hayden of
The capacity of the breaker is seven hundred tons daily, and the
average production five hundred tons. The power is supplied by
four engines, aggregating one hundred and eighty-five horse
power. The veins worked are the Seven-feet,
Skidmore. The slope is sunk one hundred and fifty-five yards,
and gangways are driven two thousand yards from its foot. The
total number of men and boys employed is ninety-five outside and
one hundred and fifty inside. There are nine tenement houses on the property.
The New Boston Coal Mining Company opened a drift and commenced operating in 1864. They erected the breaker, from which
the first shipments were made in 1865, and continued operations until 1871.
They were succeeded by the
who operated until 1873, when a reorganization was affected under the name of the Middle Lehigh Company, who remained the owners until 1878, when the personal property and lease was purchased by Joseph Hitch, who still controls the colliery. The breaker has a capacity of
950 tons daily, and employs 425 men and boys. The depth of the
slope sunk is 375 feet, with a pitch south of 22 degrees. The
distance from the foot of the slope to the extreme eastern
heading is one and three-fourths miles, and to the extremity of the
western headings 1,500 feet.
The vein worked is the
one pair of pump engines, of 530 horse power (capacity of pumps
1,200 gallons per minute), one pair of small pump engines of 45
horse power (capacity of pumps 300 gallons per minute), and one
breaker engine of 45 horse power. Morgan W. Price is the present
superintendent, John Goyne outside foreman, and Michael Murphy
and Henry Kanute inside foremen.
The Coply Colliery was opened by the Bowmans at an early day
and is one of the oldest workings in the town. It was purchased
in 1879 by L.F. Lentz. David Bowman became superintendent, J.L.
Bowman assistant and outside foreman, William Davidson inside
foreman. The colliery was formerly known as Lentz, Bowman &
and inside one hundred and forty. Thirty-five mules are worked.
The average production is 250 tons daily. The capacity of the
breaker is 1,000 tons. One pair of 60 horse power hoisting
engines, one 80 horse power breaker engine, one dirt and plane
engine, of 15 horse power, and two 12 horse power fan engines
supply the power. The shaft is one hundred and sixty feet in
depth. The workings extend half a mile east and the same dis-
tance west. The original workings were six drifts, now worked
out. The colliery is still working one drift on the Seven-feet
vein. The shaft is sunk on
ages ten feet in depth. The number of tenement houses is fifteen. The colliery is free from fire damp.
West Lehigh Colliery mine was opened in 1864 by a man
named Shoemaker, from
the residents of Mahanoy as the Shoemaker colliery. He built a
breaker with a capacity of 200 tons daily, and commenced shipping
coal in 1864. In 1870 he sold to Bedford & Co. The original
workings were in a drift on the "Seven-feet" vein. The new firm
sunk a slope two hundred and fifteen yards, with a pitch of 45
degrees, on the
the owner, and built a new breaker, capable of turning out six
hundred tons daily. This structure is on the main line of the
of its machinery and valuable timbers, was destroyed by fire, as
the best way of disposing of it. The average daily production is
four hundred tons. Ninety-five men and boys are employed inside
and twenty-five outside. The extreme headings are five-eighths
of a mile east and three-eighths west from the foot of the slope.
Thirty-two breasts are being worked, the average thickness of the
vein being ten feet. Four engines, with an aggregate of one
hundred and forty horse power, and two steam-pumps of one hundred
and thirty horse power are in use. Twenty-fourtenement houses
are connected with the colliery.
Bear Run Colliery was opened in 1863, by George F. Wiggan and
C.H.R. Treibles, who built a small breaker during that years, and
erected the present one in 1871. It has a capacity of four
hundred and fifty tons daily, and the average out-put is about
three hundred. The original slope was one hundred yards deep,
and from it was worked the top split of the Mammoth and the
Seven-feet veins. This slope is not worked, but is in a condi-
tion to reopen at any time when the condition of trade will
warrant. The present slope was sunk two hundred and twenty-five
yards, with a pitch of 45 degrees, and workings extend west
three-fourths of a mile, and east seven hundred yards, on the
Mammoth vein. There are in use at this colliery one pair of
hoisting engines of 120 horse power, one breaker engine of 20,
one fan of 15, and three pumps of 150 each. The total number of
men and boys employed outside is one hundred and twenty-five;
inside, one hundred. The average thickness of the vein now
worked is sixteen feet.
The Suffolk Colliery was first opened in 1863 by Pliny Fisk,
and in February, 1864 sold by him to the Suffolk Coal Company,
which built, during that year, the present breaker to take the
place of a small one built by Fisk. The capacity of this breaker
is 750 tons daily, and the average production 600 tons. One hund-
red and twenty men and boys are employed outside, and the same
number inside. The slope is driven 193 yards, at a pitch of 20
degrees, and seven gangways are being worked in the Primrose and
orchard veins. The power used is furnished by one hoisting engine
of sixty horse power, one breaker engine of fifty, one fan of
forty, one shop fan engine of eighteen, one pump-used for washing
-of forty, and one tank pump engine of eight, with one mine loco-
motive of twenty, besides a slope pump of one hundred and fifty.
the head of the slope is about eighty yards east of the breaker.
The name by which the Ellengowan colliery was
first known was Maple Dale, or more commonly Lanigan's colliery,
it having been opened by James Lanigan, the ordinal owner and
operator. Mr. Lanigan sold his interest to a Mr. Star, of Bos-
ton; he sold to John C. Scott & Sons, of
name was changed to Glenville. Subsequently it was purchased by
Ellangowen colliery. Under the control of this company, who are
the present owners and operator has become one of the best equipped
and most productive collieries in the anthracite coal region. It has one of the best con-
structed breakers, with the latest improvements in hoisting
machinery, and it is producing an average of twelve hundred tons
of coal daily ready for market, which is its full capacity. This
colliery requires the labor of two hundred and fifty men and boys
inside to keep it in successful operation. It has two hoisting
engines for the shaft, of ninety horse power each, and two en-
gines for the slope, of thirty horse power each, besides breaker
and fan engines. It has tow fans to regulate ventilation, of
twenty-two and sixteen feet diameter respectively. The veins
worked are the Primrose, about ten feet in thickness, and the
Mammoth, in three splits, each from twelve to sixteen feet in
thickness. There are about one hundred tenant houses belonging
to this colliery, and occupied by employes.
Knickerbocker Colliery was opened in 1864 by
M.P. Fowler and Henry Huhn, and they made their first shipment of
coal November 23d of the same year, having already expended
$75,000 in its opening and partial development. In March, 1865,
they sold the colliery to the Knickerbocker Coal Company, of
which Isaac I. Hayes, of Arctic expedition fame, was president.
The contract being unfulfilled the colliery was sold January 1st,
1873, to the
hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars had been spent in de-
veloping and running the colliery to the time of the last sale.
Under the management of the present owners and their able foremen
the average daily production is about 450 tons, the full capacity
being 500. The colliery gives employment to 150 men and boys
outside, and 180 inside. It has seven engines, with an average
of forty horse power each, and one six-inch double-acting Griscom
pump of six feet stroke. There are thirty-two double tenant
houses, in which the employes reside. The slope is sunk on the
south dip of the Primrose vein and the tunnel south to the north
dip. The Mammoth vein is being worked, both top and bottom
splits, which are here divided by about fifty yards of rock.
Boston Run Colliery was opened in 1862, by Focht & Althouse,
which firm was afterward changed to Althouse & Brother by the
retirement of Mr. Focht. It is owned and operated by the Phila-
delphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company. The workings consist
of a slope 235 yards deep, with a pitch of 35 degrees, and gang-
ways on the Mammoth vein. The breaker has a capacity of six
hundred and fifty tons, and about three hundred and fifty tons
are shipped daily. A saw-mill and car and blacksmith shops are
on the premises. One pair of sixty horse hoisting engines, one
fifty horse breaker, one forty horse fan, a twenty horse engine
at the sawmill, and a five horse at the blacksmith shop furnish
the power. Eighty-eight men and boys are employed inside and
ninety-five outside. Thirty-six tenement houses are on the
property. The colliery has been carefully managed and but five
lives have been lost since its opening. John Skeath is the
inside foreman and J.W. Madenforth the outside foreman.
In 1796 a log tavern was built, by an old hunter named Reisch,
on the spot where now stands the Mansion House of Mahanoy City.
August 10th, 1797, two travelers spent the night together at this
lonely hostelry; one a Jew peddler named Faulhover, the other a
ing morning preceded the peddler to a place known as West House
Run, lay in ambush for him and shot him through the heart. He
then robbed his saddlebags of the gold and silver they contained,
carried the bags, still laden with a quantity of copper coins, to
a point some distance from the scene of the murder, buried them
and disappeared. Passers by buried the unfortunate peddler. A
small mound marks the spot, which was pointed out for many years
afterwards. Bailey was afterwards traced to
ed, and captured, and was executed January 6th, 1798. August
6th, 1880, a party of five boys playing in a field near
Patch picked up a large number of old copper coins, some of them
bearing a date two hundred years ago. The report of the discov-
ery spread rapidly, hundreds repaired to the place to search for
hidden treasure, and intense excitement pretiled until the story
of Faulhover's murder was remembered, and the place where the
coin was unearthed was found to correspond with the story of the
buried saddlebags, which could never be found, although they were
searched for at the time.
Another cowardly murder was that of
farmer's boy, living in
years. On the 27th of May, 1870, he was shot and robbed at a
point near the old colliery on the Ringtown road. Several arrests were made, but no one was ever convicted of the crime.
About three o'clock in the morning of Friday, December 10th,
1875, a party of masked men visited the house of Charles McAllister at Wiggan's Patch and broke in the back door. McAllister went into the cellar, which was separated from the adjoining house by a board partition only, and, removing a board, went in to the other house and escaped by the back door. Mrs. McAllister went toward the kitchen door, and, meeting the ruffians, was shot dead, and left in the doorway where she fell. The murderers then went up stairs, and, finding Charles O'Donnell, a brother of Mrs. McAllister, took him out and shot him; following him as he attempted to escape, to a point some fifty yards from the house, where he fell, riddled with bullets. James McAllister was also
seized, and a rope put around his neck; but he managed to get
loose from it and escape. James Blair, a boarder in the house,
was seized, but on giving his name was released and warned to
leave. So rapidly had these outrages been accomplished that when
the neighbors, awakened by the firing, reached the spot, the
perpetrators were not to be found. They have never been discovered.