Arthur M. Hull.

Coal men of America, a biographical and historical review of the world's greatest industry online

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A Biographical and Historical
Review of the World's Great-
est Industry.

Arthur M. Hull,


Sydney A. Hale.

Associate Editor



Copyright, 1918, by

The Retail Coalman, Inc.,

Chicago, 111.
All rights reserved.

« « ••«


HE HISTORY of a country is the history of its people, of the individuals who
constitute its citizenship. In like manner, the history of any movement, of any
institution, of any great industry, is the history comprising- the biography of
the men w^hose lives are intimately identified therewith.

The history of the coal trade, which is the history of a most wonderful industrial de-
velopment, is distinctively the history of the men upon whose shoulders have been borne
the burdens and upon whose brows have rested the victories and the successes incident to
that wonderful commercial expansion.

It is fitting that conspicuous pages from the unknown history of the coal trade
should be garnered and collected in permanent form as a memorial to that trade, as a record
of the achievements of its master minds, and of the worthy service which has been con-
tributed to the industry by the business men who have developed the various mining
fields, and those who have devised and conducted the splendid methods of distribution
that are in operation.

Within the memory of men who are now engaged in the coal trade, this industry
has grown from small volume, by leaps and bounds, to a magnitude that arrests the atten-
tion and commands the respect of the entire world. Modern civilization would strive in
vain to produce another era of human activity so stupendous or one more essential to human
existence than that of the coal trade. We, the coal men of today, are in such close con-
tact with this wondrous development that its marvelous growth is inadequately realized
by us.

Before the present generation of coal men retire from the stage of himian activity,
a record of what they have accomplished should be inscribed on the pages of history.

The present undertaking is of this nature. It is proposed to show by the lives of
men how one great coal field after another was discovered, how the mighty streams of com-
merce expanded incessantly beyond all bounds and expectations, and how the splendid fab-
ric of transportation and distribution took shape and grew.

It is a wonderful piece of mosaic work of which the lives of coal men form its units,
constituting in its composite whole a vision that should be imperishable and which must of
necessity be mellowed with added charm as the years lengthen into the cycles of time.



\HE layman little realizes the amount of work and tedious detail con-
I nected with the compilation of a book of the size and scope of "Coal

Men of America." The editor and his associates have devoted the
*' major portion of their time for nearly three years in gathering and
preparing the necessary information. It has been their sole aim to
make it as complete and accurate as possible, but their efforts have been seri-
ously handicapped by the rapidly changing conditions and troublous times of
the past two years which have brought so many abnormal demands upon the
time and attention of everyone engaged in the coal industry.

It would be impossible to compile a book of the character of "Coal Men
of America" without the active, hearty and cordial support and co-operation
of many. The editor realizes, far better than anyone else, the debt of grati-
tude he owes to all of those who have assisted him in the enterprise and
helped to make the biographical data of the thousands of coal men represented
accurate and authentic.

The historical part and the introductory matter pertaining to the coal
industry in the various states has been written by Sydney A. Hale, editor of
the New York Coal Trade Journal, who has given much thought and study to
verifying the facts stated, and this part of the work will be especially valuable
for reference for many years to come.

For the illustrations we are indebted to many photographers in all sec-
tions of the country, and a complete list of those who made the reproductions
of so many likenesses possible will be found on another page.


X presenting "Coal Men of America" to the public the publishers have attempted
to make a contribution of more than passing- value to the history of the coal
industry. Statistics, official or otherwise, even the bare records of business
transactions, exist in sufficient detail to constitute a complete chronicle of the
industry itself, but little or nothing- has been placed in permanent form regard-
ing the men who have done the work, the human element which actually has been the
greatest factor in its accomplishment. They are indeed the spirit which has animated it
throughout, and their names should be perpetuated in connection with its story.

As an accurate and reliable record of the part which these men have played in the
coal business, registering their personal relations with it, we believe this volume to be
imique in purpose, and to possess an historical value and importance which will increase
with the passing of time, an enduring link between the present and future. The account
of the services which they have rendered in what has come to be recognized as the world's
greatest industry, if not adequately noted while authentic information is easily available,
may readily slip into the mass of impersonal achievements bulked under statistics, and
lose forever the vitalizing interest which always attaches to biographical history. Too
often we find nothing more reliable than tradition when we are searching for this class of
information, and this work was therefore designed to meet a demand now considered prac-
tically a necessity in every field, presenting verified data whose immediate worth is-appar-
ent, but far surpassed by its future value.

Several thousand coal men are represented in these pages, together with statistics
of importance and interest to every reader. The portraits constitute another desirable
feature. The editor has made a conscientious effort to insure correctness in both historical
and biographical matter, the latter embodying considerable information which would have
been preserved in no other way. The thoroughness with which this work has been done
should commend it to all as a valuable work of reference, a real addition to the bibliog-
raphy of the coal industry.

Much care has been taken in the compilation of the work and every opportunity
possible given to those represented to insure correctness in what has been written.

The faces of some, and biographical sketches of many will be missed in this volume.
For this the publishers are not to blame. Not having a proper conception of the work,
some refused to give the information necessary to compile a sketch, while others were in-
different, and neglected to send in the data asked for.

However, we appreciate the cordial co-operation given to us by so many leaders in
the trade and are confident that "Coal Men of America" will prove a highly interesting and
valuable reference work to evervone who is connected with the coal industry.

Business possesses an
added pleasure when
it forms lasting friend-
ships that are built on
mutual confidence."

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THE United States is the richest country in the
world. It is also the greatest producer of coal.
The two facts are not accidental. The prosperit\-
of the United States in a very large measure is due to
the extent of its coal deposits and their development by
the pioneers who invested their money and their time
in mining black diamonds for the benefit of this great
union. Coal is not only one of the most important raw
elements on which our national welfare is based, but
it is the basic commodity, and, although it took a world
war to drive this fact home, today the layman, as well
as the coal man, recognizes that without our extensive
«oal deposits as a military force the United States
would be almost, if not entirely, helpless. Coal has
made possible the construction of the gi-eatest railroad
mileage of the world. It has permitted the develop-
ment of the vast metalliferous resources. It has added
to the comfort of practically every citizen. From the
time coal deposits were first noted by the early ex-
plorers of Illinois in 1668 to the present day, when the
annual production is close to 700,000,000 tons, the
industrial development of the country can be measured
by the increase of the coal tonnage. How far we have
advanced can be perhaps glimpsed when it is remem-
bered that in 1821, the first year for which we have
fairly authentic statistics, the total output of the coun-
try was only 1,322 tons.

The detailed development of the coal industry is
told in the succeeding pages under appropriate state
headings. These give a general picture of the condi-
tions that have existed up until the time of the World
War. The situation that brought about that war, and
particularly by the entrance of the United States as
one of the champions for universal democracy, deserves
a .separate treatment.

Before this condition can be properly understood,
however, consideration must be given to the general
background of the coal industry. In the first place,
while coal is vital to the success of every other major
industrial enterprise, it is i)eculiar in the fact that it
can not create a demand for itself. The consumption
of the domestic sizes and grades of coal is controlled
wholly by climatic conditions, fluctuating with varia-
tions in weather severity. On the industrial side coal
is the first to feel the relaxation in the industrial
growth and the last to participate in the benefits of
expansion. As had been said by tlie author in another
treatment of this topic, "the competition of coal is
with coal." It has been able to make but little headway
against other forms of fuel. This fact is strikingly
illustrated in the history of the coal trade of those
states that have come to the front as reservoirs for fuel
oil, such as California and Texas. Because of this
l)eculiarity, as well as the fact already mentioned, that
the demand for coal is wholly dependent upon causes
ijeyond the control of the coal operator, the struggle for
markets as between different grades of coal was, up
to the time of our own entrance into the war, as
keen, if not keener, than that ever experienced by any
other form of commercial enterprise of magnitude.

With export trade very slightly developed (in fact,
from the tonnage point of view of such volume as to be
inconsequential in the general trend of the trade), with
the producing fields in the eastern ])art of the country,
tor the most part older in ])oint of exploration, and con-
taining the better grades of coal, together with the fact
tliat the geiu'ral trend of tratlic movement from the
east to the west has been one of manufactured products,
while the easthound movement has been more largely
one of raw materials, the pressure of eastern coals seek-

c r I € c t

C C ( C t ( f


ing an outlet for their surplus tonnage was most marked
in the territory west of the Indiana-Ohio state line.
Thus, until the war, Chicago, which with Pittsburgh
shares the honor of being the greatest coal consuming
district in the United States, drew its supplies from
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Ken-
tucky and West Virginia, with occasional shipments
from Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas.

This pressure acting upon the states of Indiana and
Illinois, themselves large producers of coal, served to set
up a further westbound pressure, which sent the coals
of Illinois into the Missouri river territory and into the
Xorthwest and southern Mississippi states. Certain
coals because of their special qualities, such as the
smithing grade of West Virginia and Maryland, en-
jo3'ed a trade extending from the Atlantic to the Pa-
cific, while the semi-bituminous or smokeless coals for
general domestic purposes reached as far west as the
Missouri river. Although many of the western coals
are well known for their quality, this pressure of the
heavier producing eastern states and of the coals in the
Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky basin prevented
any substantial eastern movements of coals beyond the
Missouri river.

While, in certain foreign countries, water borne has
been a feature, with the exception of the coastwise trans-
portation of coals from the Virginia piers to New Eng-
land and the movement from the lower Lake Erie ports
to the Head of the Lakes (and to a lesser degree along
the western shore of Lake Michigan) the coal movement
has been distinctly a railroad movement. Indeed, in
1915 for example, out of a total bituminous production
of 442,624,436 'tons only 21,506,488 tons, or approx-
imately five per cent., moved via the inland waterways
of the Great Lakes, and even this tonnage, originating
in the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and
Kentucky, had to move from the mines to the loading
ports on Lake Erie all rail, and the bulk of it was
distributed from the docks at the Head of the Lakes and
along Lake Michigan in the sam.e manner.

First Effects of the War.

The effects of the war upon coal were first felt in the
East, particularly in the New England and Middle At-
lantic States, which have been and still are the scene of
the greatest war industrial activity in the United States.
The abnormal rates paid for ocean carriage from August,
1914, naturally drew a number of the bottoms that had
been engaged in coastwise transportation into the for-
eign service. At the same time the movements of war
munitions of one kind or another through the North
Atlantic seaboard ports, and especially New York, threw
a volume of traffic upon the railroads in that part of the
country that they were not able to handle with the
usual expedition. As a result, to use a railroad phrase,
loads backed up as far as Buffalo, then Pittsburgh, and

finally as far west as the Missouri river. With the rail-
road congestion making it difficult for New England to
receive supplies by rail and the withdrawal of part of
the bottoms cutting down her opportunities to receive
a nonnal supply of coal by vessel. New England began
to reach out to new fields and endeavored to make up
the deficit in her supply created by these conditions.

This section was faced not only with the necessity of
maintaining a normal flow of coal, but the business de-
veloped almost over night in war manufactories and the
demand of the Allies for speed in the production of
mimitions to stop the Huns made it necessary that her
usual supply of fuel be abnormally increased. The re-
sult of this situation was a bid of New England against
other markets of the country for the portion of the
supply of coal that had hitherto gone to those markets.
Prices, of course, reacted upward. The shortage was-
at that time not a shortage in actual coal production,
but a deficiency in the means of transporting the coal
from the mines to the New England market; in other
words,, as one editor has phrased it, it was a "borrowed
shortage." It reacted upon the Middle Atlantic states-
and slowly but steadily pushed its way westward. Con-
ditions in the Central West, however, showed no great
variation iintil the late summer of 1916, when the
threatened strike of the railroad brotherhoods awoke the
country with a start and threw coal consumers who had
not provided for their winter's supplies into a panic.
From that time the call for coal steadily increased.
While, of course, there were fluctuations in price in
different localities, as local demand and transportation
conditions varied, the general trend was upward.

The Committee on Coal Production.

AVhen, in 1917, the United States declared that a
state of war existed between this country and Germany,
the need for some control of this runaway market, a
need that had been confessed by many leaders of the
trade then and prior to that time, was so evident that
positive steps were taken to cause a readjustment of
conditions. The first step was the creation of the Com-
mittee on Coal Production of the Council of National
Defen-se. This committee was headed by F. S. Peabody,
Chairman of Board, Peabody Coal Co., Chicago, 111.,
as Chairman and he selected the following as his asso-
ciates in the work:

William Green, Secretary, Secretary United Mine
Workers of America, Indianapolis, Ind.

George W. Eeed, Assistant Secretary, Peabody Coal
Co., Chicago, 111.

Herbert Addison, Vice President Big Horn Collieries
Co., Denver, Colo.

P. C. Baird, Secretary Lake Erie Bituminous Coal
Exchange, Cleveland, Ohio.



E. J. Benvind, Presjident Borwiiid-White Coal Min-
ing Co., New York City.

E. B. Chase, Berwind-Wliite Coal Mining Co., Thila-
delphia. Pa.

William Diamond, United Mine Workers of America,
Washington, D. C.

George Elliott, Secretary National Committee on Gas
and Electric Service, Washington, D. C.

Kobert H. Harlin, International Executive Board,
United Mine AVorkers of America.

Frank Hayes, Vice President United Mine Workers
of America, Indianapolis, Ind.

W. W. Keefer, President Pittsburgh Terminal Kail-
road & Coal Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.

H. L. Kerwin, Secretary to the Secretary of Labor,
Washington, D. C.

John L. Lewis, Statistician United Mine Workers of
America, Indianapolis, Ind.

James Lord, President Mining Department of Ameri-
can Federation of Labor, Washington, D. C.

Van H. Manning, Director Bureau of Mines, Wash-
ington, D. C.

John Mitchell, Chairman Industrial Commission of
State of Xew York, Xew York City.

C. ^r. iloderwell. President United Coal & Mining
Co.. Chicago, 111.

Rembrandt Peale, Chairman Tidewater Coal Ex-
change, Xew York City.

Erskine Ramsey, Vice President Pratt Consolidated
Coal Co., Birmingham, Ala.

Roy A. Rainey, W. J. Rainey Estate, New York City.

George Otis Smith, Director Geological Survey, Wash-
ington, D. C.

James J. Storrow, Cliairman Massachusetts Com-
mittee on Public Safety, Boston, Mass.

Lucius S. Storrs, President The Connecticut Co., New
Haven, Conn.

H. N. Taylor, Vice President Central Coal & Coke
Co., Kansas City, Mo.

S. T). Warrinor, President Lehigh Coal & Navigation
Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

J. F. Welborn, President Colorado Fuel & Iron Co.,
Denver, Colo.

Daniel B. Wentz, President Stonega Coal & Coke Co.,
Philadelphia, Pa.

John P. White, President United Mine Workers of
.\nierica, Indianapolis. Ind.

Tlie committee started out with the idea to apply
natural economic regulations to prices. It was appar-
ently their plan "to devote their efforts to overcoming
the shortage and restraining the bidding of buyer
against buyer for coal by increasing the production to a
point where it would l)e ample to meet all demands.
Before this campaign could be made effective, however,
the public political clamor Iia<l become so great that the
coal men decided that thev must institute artificial reg-

ulation. Accordingly, in June, 1917, Mr. Peabody called
a general conference of operators at Washington. These
operators met with Mr. Peabody and his committee,
Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane, and John
F. Fort, member of the Federal Trade Commission,
which had been conducting an investigation into the
existing coal situation. The coal operators of the coun-
try, in a most enthusiastic and pati'iotic meeting, vol-
untarily agreed to surrender what for many of them
had been the first good market in years, and pledged
themselves to observe the following scale of tentative
maximum prices, until such time as an investigation of
costs could be made by the government agencies with a
view of fixing permanent prices within a month or two :

Mine Run Prepared Sizes

Pennsylvania $3.00 ?3.50

West Virginia 3.00 3.50

Ohio (Thick Vein) 3.00 3.50

Ohio (Massilon and Palmyra Dis-
tricts) 3.50 3.50

Alabama —

Cahaba and Black Creek 4.00 4.00

Pratt, Jaeger and Corona 3.50 3.50

Big Seam 3.00 3.00

Maryland 3.00 3.50

Virginia 3.00 3.50

Kentucky 3.00 3.50

Illinois 2.75 3.50

Long Wall Fields 3.25 4.00

Indiana 2.75 3.50

Tennessee 3.50 3.50

These prices represented reductions of from 40 to GO
per cent. The action of the coal men so pleased Secre-
tary Lane that he said to the coal operators thus assem-
bled in special session in Washington :

"Gentlemen: This is a very novel proceeding. I think
I am within the fact when I say that no such hearing or
gathering as this has ever been held in the United States
before, or perhaps in the world. You are, I hope, pio-
neers in a good movement. I come from the land of pio-
neers, the far western country, where we look back with
respect and admiration and some reverence upon those
who crossed the hard and stony and waterless places to
the richer spots beyond. And I hope that you will be
looked back upon not only by those who succeed you in
the coal business, but by the industries of the United
States, with respect and admiration for the manner in
which you have acted at this conference. You have re-
sponded as men should, to a call made upon you in the
name of the people of the United States. You are not a
removed class. You are of us. You belong to the people.
Most of you are men who were not born to wealth. You
came up out ot the soil like the rest of us and you have
shown a sympathy and an understanding of your relations
with the people from which you spring. That is the
essential quality in democracy. Unless we can maintain
in our minds always a consciousness of the source of
power in this country, democracy is a failure. There is
a strong contention made that this Government cannot
so organize itself as to meet to the full the demands that
arc to be made upon it, that other forms of government


In times of stress, or in fact any times, are more compe-
tent ?ind more efiicient, because there is t}ie strong hand
of the Government above, threatening, menacing, com-
pelling. If we in the United States are to work out our
problem economic, social, as we have worked out our
problem political, we must work it out in my judgment in
the spirit in which you have worked — with sympathy, with
recognition of those whom you serve. There is a kind
of corporation in this country that we know as a public
utility. A public utility is one that is at the service of
any one and must render him the kind of service that it
holds out to give. In the biggest and broadest sense, each
one of you in running a coal mine is managing a public
utility, because the public is dependent upon you. And
this world is going forward and not backward, it is going
to keep its confidence in democracy, if the men who have
the management of industry and the men who give direc-
tion to the thought of the country have in their hearts
always the welfare of the people. The one thing that will
turn us back is the exercise of arbitrary power by those
who have power and who exercise it ruthlessly. You
have been up against an extremely odd situation. And
now you have gathered here and met that situation in
man fashion. I think you have reason to be proud of what
you have done. Speaking for Governor Fort and for Mr.
Peabody and his committee and for myself, we are proud
of what you have done."

The Baker Letter of Repudiation.

Two da_ys after this agreement, hailed by Secretary
Tjaue, had been heralded broadcast, the program was
abruptly upset by a letter from Newton D. Baker, Sec-
retary of War, to W. S. GifEord of the Advisory Board
to the Council of National Defense, repudiating the
entire agreement. Secretary Baker's position, as ex-
pressed in his letter of July 1, 1!)17, was as follows:

"My attention has been called through the newspapers
to the action reported to have been taken at Washington
during the last week by the so-called committee on coal
production of the Council of National Defense, in co-
operation with certain coal producers and representatives
of coal mining enterprises with regard to the price of
bituminous and anthracite coal. The facts seem to be that
the coal production committee invited to Washington
various coal operators and arranged conferences between
them, members of the Coal Production Committee and

Online LibraryArthur M. HullCoal men of America, a biographical and historical review of the world's greatest industry → online text (page 1 of 81)