|Du Bois Township|
Township 3 South, Range 1 West, Sections 1 - 36
In 1865, a coal shaft was sunk by Voss & Beard to the depth of 200 feet, and they stopped work. A year later it was sunk 50 feet
deeper by J. W. Tilley & R. S. Peyton. R. S. Peyton became the sole proprietor and continued sinking the mine to 296 feet.
In 1879, the mine was operated by the Forman & Slutterd estate.|
| || || ||Source :||1879 History|
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||Company Name||Mine Name||Years Operated|
|320||33||G. W. Brown & Company||DuBois||1865 - 1884|
|320||33||DuBois Coal Company||DuBois||1884 - 1886|
|320||33||G. W. Brown||Brown||1886 - 1888|
|320||33||DuBois Coal Company||DuBois||1888 - 1890|
|320||33||Kuhn & Schwind||Kuhn||1890 - 1891|
|320||33||J. D. Schwind||Schwind||1891 - 1892|
|320||33||Kuhn & Schwind||Kuhn||1892 - 1894|
|320||33||Adam Kuhn Coal Company||DuBois||1894 - 1834|
|320||33||DuBois Coal Company||Kuhn||1934 - 1935|
|320||33||Bois Coal Company||Kuhn||1935 - 1961|
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|Influence of Coal Mine|
|The Coal Mine
The Kuhn Coal Company mine in Du Bois was dug in 1865 to supply fuel for steam locomotives. The
300 foot deep mine proved to be the longest operating mine in the state.
Mules drug coal cars to the shaft head. An ancient steam boiler provided power to bring coal to the surface. There was no modern
machinery and no electricity.
Miners worked by the glow of carbide lights attached to their helmets. A pick and shovel were their only tools. They brought up
about 100 tons of coal per day.
The mine operated in fall and winter and closed during the spring and summer so miners could farm their ground.
Sylvester Felts, who lived next door to the mine and worked there off and on for most of his life, recalled that the whistle blew
every half hour between five and seven each morning, calling the miners to work.
Outside his window, he could see the men walking, riding horses or seated in horse-drawn wagons as they drifted to the mine
to begin the day's work.
When spring came and the mine closed, men would work on their farms or find employment elsewhere. Even the mules split the year
above ground and below ground. In the spring they were allowed to adjust to the sunlight and then were taken to farms to work. It
was said that the first thing they did was to lie down and roll in the dirt.
After the Kuhn mine closed, the mine's tipple stood as an unofficial monument to the past. It was a reminder that until the mine closed it
had the distinction of being the oldest operating mine in the state. Now the tipple and the surrounding buildings are gone. Its
longevity is attributed to the fact that the slow recovery of coal by hand gave the mine its extensive life span.
In the spring of 1961, the mine closed for the summer. That proved to be the last time that coal was hoisted from the mine.
The mine remained open until 1962. the men worked the same way then as they did when
the mine opened. Miners chopped at the coal with picks and shoveled it into the mule-drawn carts.
John Waligorski, a former general manager, bookkeeper, secretary-treasurer of the mine's cooperative company, reported that when
operations were to resume in the fall, there was trouble with the shaft. Attempts were made to repair the shaft but they failed and the
mine was never in operation again.
The narrow shaft extended about 300 feet down to the coal bed. Mining was done by the room and pillar method. Old maps indicate
the mined out area extended about a mile to the west and almost a mile to the north of the shaft. Miners said the coal seam averaged
about six feet in thickness.
At the time of the closing, the mine produced about 140 tons of coal per day. Waligorski said annual production was about 10,000 to
12,000 tons. Some was transported to industrial areas; some was sold to local truckers who loaded at the mine.
Employees usually numbered between 30 and 40. The majority of these were coal diggers. There were also mile skinners, track layers,
two hoisting engineers and tipple hands.
The coal was of high quality and production costs were low. During the final years of operation the mine was operated, in part, as a
cooperative with part of the profits going back to the men who dug the coal.
"Bud" and Charley Setzekorn no longer work at the Kuhn mine . . .
Records show some of the expenses of the Du Bois Coal Company in 1884 :
There were 53 employees at the mine in 1886;
|1 large time book
2 small time books
Nevel Qualls . . survey help
John Morgan . . survey help
Nevel Qualls . . .shift work
John Morgan . . . shift work
John Eaton, digging 19 bu. coal
98 gals Zero oil @15¢
nails and bolts for trap door
1 bu. corn
10 pounds harness leather
two teams, hauling slack
1 gallon oil
hauling powder to mine
2 blank books
41 employees in 1888.
Wages averaged from .70 to $53.58 per month. Records also show that most miners worked for $1.50 per day in 1891.
. . . but in 1957, when they did, the "lunchroom" was a quiet corner.
Article and Photographs furnished by W. J. "Bucky" McCoy|