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Posts Tagged ‘African-Americans’

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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Originally published in the Seattle Star, August 1, 1902

Says mining town is impregnated with vice, and that prosecuting attorney should interfere to enforce decency and order

That he has failed in his efforts to control vice and crime in his own community and that it is now up to the highest peace officers of the county to take a hand in the game is the belief of Deputy Sheriff and Constable J.P. Morris, of Franklin, the largest coal mining town in the county, 32 miles southeast of Seattle. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, May 21, 1986

By Herb Belanger

Don Mason, left, Carl Steiert, Ted Barner, and Bob Eaton stroll through what was Franklin. (Richard S. Heyza/Seattle Times.)

Don Mason, left, Carl Steiert, Ted Barner, and Bob Eaton stroll through what was Franklin. (Richard S. Heyza/Seattle Times.)

Tough old coal-mining towns like Black Diamond always have had their share of characters, but the “Flying Frog” is one of Carl Steiert’s favorites.

The “Frog” actually was a Belgian named Emile Raisin who ran a taxi service between Black Diamond, a company town with one bar, and Ravensdale, which had 10 saloons where miners quenched the thirst they developed toiling underground. (more…)

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Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 7, 1895

No trace of the dead bodies. Coal will be shipped from No. 7 this month—Railroad Avenue death-trap closed

The main slope of the Oregon Improvement Company’s mine at Franklin, which has been closed since the recent disaster, has been opened to the sixth level, and before the end of the present month will be again in condition for the taking out of coal. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS Bulletin, Winter 2016

By William Kombol

PCC228

Loaded train in Franklin, 1902

The town of Franklin was developed for coal mining and operated as a company town from around 1885 to 1922. At its peak there were approximately 1,100 people living and working in Franklin. The town’s beginning and purpose were linked to 50-million-year-old coal seams exposed along the deep gorge cut through bedrock.

Explorers discovered the coal while traveling through the Green River Gorge in the early 1880s leading to the founding of nearby Black Diamond. The Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad was extended from Renton to Franklin in 1885 allowing coal production to commence and the town to develop. The town was named for the famed American patriot, Benjamin Franklin. (more…)

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Must come to the front – The trouble is off at Black Diamond – Negroes evacuating – All quiet at Gilman

Originally published in the Tacoma News, July 6, 1891

july 1891Black Diamond, Wash., July 6 – The situation here remains unchanged. Deputy J.W. Smart arrived from Seattle last night and is quartered with C company. He will make formal demand of the home guards to surrender their arms on the return of Woolery from Franklin later. (more…)

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