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Archive for October 16th, 2019

Originally published in the North Kittitas County Tribune, September 26, 2019

By Sue Litchfield

General Mine Manager John Kangley was a self-made man, an Irish orphan who made his way to the United States In the mid-1800s. At 45 years old, he was appointed general mine manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company in Roslyn and served from 1888 to 1896. During that same time he also managed the Star Coal Company in Streator, Illinois, and owned the Kangley Mine near Ravensdale, Washington. Photo courtesy of Streator Times Press.

ROSLYN—This marks the fourth in the series of articles about early Roslyn history based on research at Northern Pacific archives in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, Roslyn’s coal mining company was the Northern Pacific Coal Company (NPCC), owned and operated by the railroad. Following a major restructuring of the company in 1896, NPCC became the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI), a subsidiary of the railroad.

John Kangley, who simultaneously served as general manager of two different coal companies, had two company towns named for him, owned coal mines in Western Washington, and invented one of the first ever coal mining machines.

Mob rule in Roslyn

The Dec. 30, 1888, telegram sent from Tacoma had a note of urgency to it.

“In taking the new drivers to Roslyn this afternoon [No. 3 Mine Superintendent] Ronald and Williamson were surrounded and knocked senseless by strikers…”

Roslyn had been a hotbed of contention since the Knights of Labor had gone on strike August 11, 1888. Ten days later, the Northern Pacific Railroad had brought in African American coal miners to finish development of their No. 3 Mine in Ronald.

Then on Christmas Day, 100 mule drivers went on strike, which effectively shut down their Roslyn operations, In response, Superintendent Ronald brought 10 African American mule drivers from Ronald to Roslyn, and all hell broke loose.

“…several new men badly used up,” continued the telegram addressed to Kangley, “and mob rule reigns in Roslyn tonight.” (more…)

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