F. W. (Frederick William) Robinson.

Memoirs of Jane Cameron, female convict (Volume 2) online

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which were opened some years ago did not prove the veins
in good condition. There are no collieries at all in this
vicinity now, and there is no likelihood that any will be
opened for some years to come.

The tract was originally well timbered, but most of it has
been cut off since the Company held the land, and what re-
mains is of little value.

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On account of the doubtful character of the coal, and the
deky in realizing revenue from- the property, the computed
valuation is but little more than half the debt; and, as it Js
entirely isolated from any other portion of the Company's
property, and of so little intrinsic value, and as so little of the
purchase money was paid, I advise Receivers to let the bond-
holders take possession of it.

63. The Swatara lands.

Contain no collieries in working order but Lower Rausch
Cree^ and Lincoln. These are both in the hands of lessees,
the leases expiring in January, 1884 ; they are both pro-
ducing largely, and Lincoln Colliery is likely to continue to
do so for some years. Lower Rausch Creek Colliery has
reached a considerable depth, and it may prove difficult to
continue the slope much further. This colliery works the
Mammoth Vein, and Lincoln Colliery mines from the Lykens
Valley Veins, which are here increased in number to four,
with an aggregate thickness of thirty feet of workable coal;
this being the greatest thickness that these veins are any-
where known to contain.

The west gangways of Middle Creek Shaft Colliery will,
in time, penetrate this territory and increase its revenue.

Eckert Colliery is worked out at the present levels, the
improvements have been removed and the mine flooded. It
will not be opened again, but its coal will be taken to some
other colliery. The future development of the property will
be expensive, as the veins on much of the property lie deep.

64. Frauds Spaetzer tract

The western gangways of Lower Rausch Creek Colliery
pass through this tract, but the Mammoth Vein is about
exhausted, and the tract will be without revenue till the
underlying veins are opened.

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66. John Myer tracts and

66. Henry Houtz tract.

On this body of lands the East Franklin is the only work-
ing colliery. It works the Mammoth Vein, which is here
much disturbed by faults. The colliery is in fair working
order, but as it has never been able to make a large yield it
has always been rather expensive. Another colliery will
probably be needed on the underlying veins, the opening of
which will require a shaft about 400 feet deep.

67. Alexander Klinger tract.

No collieries now take, or will take in the near future coal
from this tract. When the workings of Colket Colliery shall
reach the bottom of the basin, or when a tunnel shall be driven
from the south dip across to the north dip, this tract will
commence to have a revenue.

68. Philip Kuntzleman tract.

The remarks just made about the Alexander Klinger
tract apply to this one. The late development brings down
the valuation in both cases.

69. JEckert, Forbes, and Delano lands.

These lands have never yielded any coal except a little
taken by the westward extension of the Eckert Colliery gang-
ways. There is reason to believe that they contain good
coal, but it cannot be largely worked for some years.

70. Leonard Illig tract, and

71. Peter Levengood tract.

These tracts lie within the limits of the Eckert, Forbes,
and Delano lands, are in the same range as the Alexander
Klinger and Philip Kuntzleman tracts, Nos. 67 and 68, and
to them apply the same general remarks as were made con-
cerning the two last named.

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These properties, Nos. 64 to 71, were to a considerable
extent bought from the same owners, and are covered by the
same mortgage. They are valued at about five per cent, less
than their cost, but about tjiat much higher than the re-
maining encumbrances.

72. Munson and Williams lands.

The JEast and West Brookside Collieries are on this prop-
erty. The former is abandoned for the present on account
of some difficulties in mining the coal, the bottom slate heav-
ing and making it very difficult to keep gangways and air-
ways in repair, and very hard also to prepare the coal
properly. The machinery has been removed, but the slope
is in good condition, and the colliery will probably be re-

SchTYioele's Broad Mountain Colliery was opened on the
eastern end of the property on the Mammoth Vein, but the
vein was in fault, and the place has been abandoned, and
nothing remains but the slope.

West Brookside Colliery is the most valuable one owned by .
the Company. It shipped over four hundred thousand tons
last year. Its product cost less per ton, and sold for much
more than that of any other of the Company's collieries.

The property is very incompletely opened, and it is not
likely to be developed fast enough to increase the revenue
rapidly. The estate has been valued on the same basis of
profit per ton as all the other property of the Company.
While this rate of thirty cents per ton is high enough in the
average, the Munson and Williams lands might fairly be
credited with more. This would bring the valuation nearer
the price paid, but it is already high enough to more than
cover the remaining encumbrance.

73. Joseph Keffer tract.

This tract contains only the lower veins. They will be

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worked through the eastern gangways of Lincoln Colliery,
and will require no new openings within the limits of the

74. Fuhing Creek lands.

The Kalmia Colliery \% the only one situated on this estate*
It works the Lykens Valley Vein near its northern outcrop.
The colliery is a profitable one to the lessees, though there
is a good deal of irregularity and fault in the vein. The
estate probably contains a basin of the Mammoth Vein, but
it will be many years before it is opened so as to produce
much coal. The computed value of the property is just
equal to the encumbrance, which should, if possible, be re-

75. Schuylkill and Susquehanna lands.

This large property has only about one-quarter of its area
within the coal measures. The developments which have
been made are not such as to lead to an early opening of
mines within its limits ; the experiments of working collieries
having resulted thus far in failure.

It has a large quantity of valuable timber, from which the
estate derives most of its vaiue. The property is without

II. Tracts which the Company controls through ownership of

the stock.

76. Fulton lands.

The Excelsior and Enterprise Collieries^ both of which are
in the hands of lessees, are" the only working collieries on this
property. They are both on the Mammoth Vein, which is
in good condition, and the collieries will for some years to
come ship on a large scale.

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Margie Franklin and Emory Collieries have been aban-
doned for several years, the veins on which they were opened
being faulty.

The eastern gangways of the Greenback Colliery will prob-
ably soon enter these lands on the westward.

77. Locust Gap Improvement Company's lands.

The Monitor Colliery , which is in the hands of lessees, is the
only one on these lands ; but the Locust Gap and Locust
Spring Collieries, on the westward, and Merriam Colliery, on
the eastward, will get a large part of their tonnage from them.
There is a large amount of coal untouched on the southern
part of the property, which will be opened from a slope on
the next tract to the westward, so that no more openings will
be required on this estate.

78. Preston Coal and Improvement Company's lands.
These lands contain Preston Collieries Nos. 1, 2, and 3.

Preston Colliery ^ No, i, is a red ash colliery. The slope was
temporarily abandoned in 1877, the vein being in fault; but
there is no reason to doubt that when this class of coal shall
be required, the fault can be easily penetrated. The build-
ings and machinery are in fair order, but are not likely to be
used soon again.

Preston No, 2 Colliery works the Holmes, Mammoth, and
Buck Mountain Veins, all in good condition, though the
Holmes Vein has a bad slate top, which falls among the coal,
and makes it difficult to clean. The buildings and machinery
are good, and the colliery is a moderately cheap one.

Preston No, 3 Colliery works only the Mammoth Vein,
which is in fine condition. The colliery is in good order, and
should work cheaply.

More than one-third of the area of this tract is outside
the coal measures. This helps to lower the valuation, which

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is only about two-thirds of the encumbrances ; but as the out-
standing bonds are held by the Philadelphia and Reading
Eailroad Company, there can be no question of the propriety
of retaining the lands,

79. Mammoth Vein Coal and Iron Company's lands.
This property contains the east shaft of Pottsville Shafts

Colliery, which is sunk to the Primrose Vein. The geologi-
cal structure here is extraordinarily disturbed, and much
time and money have been expended in endeavoring to reach
a locality where the veins are in their normal condition. It
is hoped that this end is about being attained ; and if so, the
colliery will be able to ship largely for many years. There
will, however, be a new breaker needed, and additional
machinery at the west shaft, before a large product can be
reached. The low valuation is caused by the fact that the
product of the Pottsville Shafts Colliery for the next twenty
years will not come from this tract, but from the next prop-
erty on the north.

The encumbrances on these lands are beyond the estimated
value of the property, but as the debt is held by the Phila-
delphia and Reading Railroad Company, and as so much
money has been expended in improvements, the lands should
be retained.

80. Delaware Coal Company's Lands,

These lands contain the west shaft of the Pottsville Shafts
Colliery. The remarks as to development and cost made
about the Mammoth Vein Coal and Iron Company's lands,
are applicable here.

81. Tremont Coal Company's Estate.

This estate contains the Middle Creek Shaft Colliery and
the Colket Colliery.

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The former colliery has thus far had an unsuccessful his-
tory, the veins being faulty. It is now standing full of water.
Colket Colliery is working the Mammoth, Holmes, and Prim-
rose Veins, all of which are in good coal. The buildings and
machinery are good, and when the yield shall reach the
full capacity of the colliery, it should be cheaply worked.
There is a fire on the east side of the Mammoth Vein which
has interfered with its production, but it is now probably
under control.

West End CoUiery is standing full of water. It will
not again be opened until the time shall come to tunnel to
the Lykens Valley Veins, which are in good condition. The
buildings and machinery are in fair order, but the pumps
have been removed.

Collieries on alien lands.

These collieries are Conner, Hammond, Girard, Nortli
Ashland, Gilberton, Furnace, Turkey Run, West Shenan-
doah, and Girard Mammoth, the first four being on lands
belonging to the City of Philadelphia, the next four on the
Gilbert lands, and the last on lands belonging to the Girard
heirs. They all lie near the centre of the Mahanoy district.

Conner Colliery works the Buck Mountain Vein, which is
here in fine condition. It is still working above water level,
and will continue to do so for several years. It is therefore
a cheap colliery, and the machinery and buildings, though
old, do their work well.

Hammond Colliery works the Mammoth Vein at its first
lift below water level, and the Holmes Vein, which are both
good, though there is a good deal of refuse in the latter vein.
The colliery is in good condition, and works cheaply.

Girard Colliery works the southern basin of the Mammoth
Vein. This will continue to produce for three or four years,

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but the principal supply for the future must come from the
underlying veins.

There is a great deal of water to pump, but the colliery
nevertheless works cheaply. The coal is fine, and the col-
liery generally is in good order.

North Ashland Colliery works the Mammoth Vein. It
ships largely and works cheaply. The breaker is rather too
small to handle the coal that the colliery can produce, so that
the production is somewhat limited, except when the largest
sizes of coal are in good demand. The Buck Mountain Vein
is in unusually fine condition, and will when tunnelled to at
the present level yield largely. - The machinery and build-
ings are good.

All of these collieries are valuable property. The coal is
choice and cheaply mined, and the royalty is moderate. The
leases can no doubt be renewed on favorable terms, as the
policy of the City of Philadelphia is to lease all the collieries
on its lands to strong tenants.

Gilherton Colliery is not at present in producing condition.
The Mammoth Vein at the present lift, which is the second
below water level, has been entirely exhausted. A tunnel
was driven to the first overlying vein — the Holmes — but it
was found in bad condition, and it is doubtful whether any
of the overlying veins at this level can be worked, because
the mining on the Mammoth Vein has cracked the rocks
above it. As the outcrops of the overlying veins are in the
swamp bordering an Mahanoy Creek, any attempt to work
them will greatly increase the quantity of water to be
pumped, which is now very large. A tunnel to the Buck
Mountain Vein has cut it where it is in fault, but this may
be merely a local disturbance.

From present appearances this colliery will not again be
profitable till a new lift is sunk on the Mammoth Vein,

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which would take a year, and would require heavier hoisting
and pumping machinery. The breaker is good. There is
a yearly royalty charge of $18,000 on this property, whether
any coal is shipped or not, which, in its present unproductive
condition, is an added weight to be carried. On the whole,
the colliery is likely to be unprofitable, and the lease should
be surrendered if it can be given up without parting with
the other collieries on these lands.

Furnace Colliery works the Buck Mountain Vein, which
yields here a rough coal that does not sell freely. It will
last but two or three years longer, as the Gilberton Colliery
will take the coal from the lower levels of this vein. The
breaker is a poor one, but will work out the tributary coal.
The colliery runs cheaply, but the coal is not a choice one.
Its shipments are small, and will so continue.

Turkey Run Colliery is a good colliery, working the Mam-
moth Vein. The coal is good, and the colliery is a cheap
one with a large production, and will need no further ex-
penditure for sinking for some years. The buildings and
machinery are good.

West Shenandoah Colliery works the Buck Mountain,
Seven Feet, and Mammoth Veins. It produces cheaply,
the buildings and machinery are good, and there will be no
further cost for improvements, except for pumping machinery,
in the near future. The coal is good, and the production is

Taken all together these leases on the Gilbert lands are
valuable to the Company, the royalties are moderate, and
the coals good and cheaply mined, except at Gilberton. If
the leases must all be held, or all given up, they should be
held, but Gilberton by itself is an undesirable possession.

Girard Mammoth Colliery works the Buck Mountain
Vein, which is in good condition. At the present level

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there is but a small daily product possible, and the level
will not last more than a year or two without sinking.
There is, however, on the western end of the tract, a good
deal of Buck Mountain Vein and Mammoth Vein coal re-
maining. It will require considerable time and money to
develop these veins and to repair the breaker, but when this
is done, the colliery should work cheaply for several years.
It is doubtful, however, whether the coal remaining will
justify the cost of the improvements, unless the Cuyler Col-
liery, adjoining, should be worked with it, in which case the
lease should be valuable. An agreement has been made
with the landowners by which, at the expiration of the pres-
ent lease, about four years hence, the Cuyler Colliery will
come into the Company*s possession.

On the whole, taking into consideration the royalties paid,
the coUeries on the city lands produced coal in the year 1879
at a cost slightly in excess of the average cost of all the Com-
pany's coal, and the coal from those on the Gilbert lands cost
about five cents above the average, so that the gain to the
Company from these leased collieries, was that their own coal
was, to the extent of the production of these coUeries, 767,305
tons, -left in the ground, and that this tonnage was kept out
of the hands of rival mining and transporting companies.
However, as the Lehigh Valley Railroad interest, which is
the only one likely to compete for the possession of these
collieries, had all the coal that it could sell, it is doubtful
whether this policy worked to the injury of that interest
last year.

The Girard Mammoth Colliery came into the Company's
possession this year, so that its production and cost of coal
are not included in last year's statements.

Locust Run Colliery was one of the Company's collieries
on alien lands, and the cost of the improvements appears
with those of the other collieries ; but the lease has expired,

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and the improvements have been exchanged with the land-
holders for a corresponding value of colliery equipments.
These equipments "will appear in the appraisers' estimate of
personal property, and therefore I have placed no value on
the improvements at Locust Run Colliery.

To sum up the recommendations of this part of my report,
I advise Receivers to make the following changes in the
Company's estate. In doing this I shall of course make no
suggestions as to the exact course to be followed to secure
these modifications. I consider them very desirable, but the
steps to be taken do not fall within the province of this re-
port :

I. Surrender to the bondholders the tract named in State-
ment I, unless the modifications proposed in the detailed re-
ports shall be accepted by them.

Statement I. — Tracts which shovldbe surrendered, unless the
bondholders will consent to better terms.


Tract Name.



Cash paid.


Coal product












9654,000 00

2,234,042 31

69,158 75

1,298,085 99

26,870 04

134,629 72

150,000 00

476,000 00

165,479 37

931,000 00

138,042 31

158 76

3,085 99

870 94

1,470 28

20,000 00
479 37

















Coal Hill

Valley Famace..







Salem Coal Company...



Gunkel & Branbam


95,207,167 08

9192,167 08



11. Make special efforts to obtain better terms in the cases
mentioned below, being cases where the encumbrances nearly

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or quite equal the valuation, but where it is not desirable to
part with the property :

No. 12. Mount Carmel Locust Mountain Tract.

No. 42. St. Clair Tract.

Nos. 64 to 71. Eckert, Forbes, and Delano lands, and the
lands connected therewith.

No. 74. Fishing Creek lands.

III. Insist on a reduction of the interest on the purchase
money mortgages in all cases to as low a rate as six per cent.
If this can be done in no other way, the present bonds may be
paid oflF, and other bonds bearing six per cent, interest substi-
tuted as fast as the Company's improved financial condition
shall make such a change possible.

If all the property named in Statement I, — the incumbrances
on which amount to $5,015,000, — should be surrendered to
the bondholders, the Company would lose only the small
amount paid on account of the purchase money, amounting to
$192,167.08, which is about as much as seven months interest,
and the annual saving of interest would amount to over
$350,000. The money already paid for interest and taxes is
gone, whether the property be retained or surrendered.

As these lands are, except the Catharine Groh tract, en-
tirely undeveloped, they cannot, if they should at once fall
into the hands of rival companies, produce much coal for
several years. Meanwhile the Company could be developing
other parts of the estate, and could increase the product from
the lands that would remain, as rapidly as it can be increased
from the whole estate, the limit being in the demand, and not
in the possibility of production. It will be many years before
the estate, as diminished, can be brought up to its full pro-
ductive capacity, and in those years there will, no doubt, be

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other opportunities of buying coal lands. The proposed sur-
render of property would diminish the Company's interest in
the estate nineteen per cent., and its indebtedness to parties
other than the Railroad Company, thirty-eight per cent. It
is not, however, likelv that the whole of either of these reduc-
tions will be made, as some of the owners will doubtless prefer
to make better terms for the Company, rather than take back
their lands. Should, however, the whole or any part of the
tracts named in Statement I be surrendered, a recomputation
would show that the increased production of the remainder
of the estate would so increase the revenue, that what would
remain would be nearly as valuable as the whole now is.

But little weight should be given to the fear that rivals
will possess the surrendered property. Most of it is not a
tempting investment. If individuals develop it, the Phila-
delphia and Eeading Eailroad has a better chance than any-
other road to take the tonnage. But I will go further, and
say that I think the policy of attempting to monopolize
anthracite is a mistaken one. It was a necessary and, there-
fore, a wise step, that was taken by the Company when it
bought coal lands to secure tonnage for the railroad, but when
this policy is pushed much further, and the attempt is made
to buy up all lands that might serve a rival interest, it does
not prevent that interest from mining and selling coal, but
simply drives it away from the Schuylkill Region, in whose
general prosperity the Company is interested, and so aids in
the development of some other region which is in no way-
tributary to the Company's interest. Twenty or thirty years
hence there may be some opportunity to monopolize anthra-
cite lands, but the present policy should be to surrender the
lands in question, and having retained coal enough to last
for one hundred years, trust to future opportunities to acquire
what may hereafter be needed.

As to the question of the best manner of working the

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property in the future, I advise that the Company continue
to mine its own coal. It might succeed in leasing a number
of the best and cheapest collieries ; but there are many for
which no responsible tenant can be found, and these the
Company would have to work at a loss. None of the collieries,
exoept a few of the best, would prove steadily remunerative
to the lessees, and they would mostly be thrown, one by one,
on the Company's hands, in the same wretched condition as
they were when the Company first acquired them. Mining
in the Schuylkill region, in most cases, has become too ex-
pensive for individual operators, and ten years of a policy of
leasing would again find Schuylkill coal discredited by its
bad preparation, collieries ruined, the labor question again a
threatening one (for the same causes would bring the same
results), the market passed into the hands of rivals, and gen-
erally the work that has cost so much time, money, and
some valuable lives to accomplish, all to be begun again.

The Company's mines are now, and have been for five
years, worked more intelligently and more economically
than they could be under a system of leases ; and I think
that a resumption of that system would be a long step back-
ward, and no wiser than it would have been, two years ago,

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Online LibraryF. W. (Frederick William) RobinsonMemoirs of Jane Cameron, female convict (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 12)