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Posts Tagged ‘mules’

Originally published in the Voice of Valley, May 16, 2006

By Barbara Nilson

In 1920 Fred Habenicht, holding a hand saw, supervised the unloading of the new hydraulic mine motor vehicle or pulling loaded mine cars from water level tunnel to the Continental Coal Co. bunker (in the background). It replaced mules in the mine. Miners are: 18-year-old Vern Habenicht; Bob Kingen Sr., Frenchy Ferdinand Maigre; Evor Morgan, holding the chain; and onlooker Bill Baldwin. (Photo—Habenicht collection from Ravensdale Reflections book)

Before the turn of the 20th century, coal seams ran from the shores of Lake Washington to the foot of the Cascade mountains leading to the establishment of towns at the mine sites, some of which are still in existence, i.e., Renton, Black Diamond, Cumberland, Issaquah, Wilkeson, and Ravensdale. Some linger in memory only, i.e., Franklin, Elk, Bayne, Durham, Danville, Eddyville, Taylor, and Landsburg.

From the year 1888 through 1967, there were an amazing 232 coal seams being tapped in King County and operated by 157 different companies. (more…)

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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 Sunday Times, June 12, 1960

Jack Hayes, 90 years old Tuesday, recalls early-day logging and mining at Renton

By Morda Slauson

John E. (Jack) Hayes, long-time resident of Renton, sat beside a view window in his present home in West Seattle as he read a book of King County history, telling of pioneer days he remembers. — Times photo by Roy Scully.

John E. (Jack) Hayes, long-time resident of Renton, sat beside a view window in his present home in West Seattle as he read a book of King County history, telling of pioneer days he remembers. — Times photo by Roy Scully.

A man who has been a Washingtonian since 1872 will celebrate his 90th birthday anniversary Tuesday.

He is John E. Hayes, 1734 Alki Av., known affectionatly as “Jack” to hundreds of South King County residents. Until recently, he resided at Renton, his home most of the years since 1880.

Hayes remembers old-time hay and potato fields where the big, new shopping center was built in the past year at the foot of Earlington Hill.

As a boy, he greased skids for the first logging at the Highlands, east of Renton. Now, modern machinery is tearing up the hillside to extend a state highway.

As a man he owned a homestead at Buffalo Station, on Rainier Avenue, which was taken by the government in the Second World War for expansion of Renton Airport.

On a recent trip around Renton, Hayes surveyed the shopping center and remembered when he went “hitching” in the hay fields, belonging to Erasmus Smithers, who with J.P. Morris and C.B. Shattuck, plotted the town of Renton in 1878. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Daily Intelligencer, May 18, 1880

One of the most convincing proofs of the steady growth and prosperity of our territory is to be found in the development and increased capacity of our coal mines. And, for an example we will take one, near at hand—the Newcastle mine—situated near Lake Washington, in the central portion of our county to demonstrate this proposition. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, February 24, 1914

Miner rescued after 7 days underground

By Roy A. M’Millan

Mike Bobcanik, rescued miner, and his family. They are, back row, left to right—Mike junior and Pauline; front row, left to right—Joe, Mike Bobcanik, the father holding little Tom; Mrs. Bobcanik and Annie. John is on his mother’s left.

Mike Bobcanik, rescued miner, and his family. They are, back row, left to right—Mike junior and Pauline; front row, left to right—Joe, Mike Bobcanik, the father holding little Tom; Mrs. Bobcanik and Annie. John is on his mother’s left.

FRANKLIN, Tuesday Feb. 24.—Seven nights and six hours were spent in a living tomb by Mike Bobcanik, a Franklin coal miner, who was rescued alive from the Cannon Mine at Franklin at 1:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

In a space ten feet long, four feet wide, and a foot and a half high, the prisoner stoically awaited his fate. He was without food during the time of his imprisonment but managed to obtain water. Today, this 137-pound bundle of nerves lies on a bed in his home at Franklin, under orders of a physician, and chafes at his continued enforced idleness. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 18, 1895

The slope is stopped up

Franklin mines continue to be the scene of excitement—every effort was made to rescue the four unfortunate men without avail

The bodies of the four men known to have perished in the slope fire yesterday at the Franklin coal mines have not been recovered and the fire has not yet been extinguished, although the flames have been got under control and the slope closed up with timbers, sand, and dirt.

Of the men dead, full mention of whom was made in the 5 o’clock edition of last evening’s Times, John Glover was a white man and George W. Smalley, John Adams, and James Stafford were colored men, Smalley leaving a wife and child and Adams and Stafford being single men. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, August 9, 1923

If hard work and persistent effort is worth anything at all, the Black Diamond Mine Rescue and First Aid Team, under the leadership of Capt. B.F. Snook, is going to be a real contender for honors at the big inter-camp meet in Newcastle on August 18. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 20, 1904

Pacific Coast Co. to put in third rail electric system soon

Change planned for Black Diamond, Gem, and Coal Creek properties

‘Bess’ the mule was employed at the Pacific Coast Co.'s Cannon mine in Franklin. In 1914 the Seattle Star exposed how mules at the mine were required to work 24 hours a day and never allowed outside. The Humane Society eventually ‘arrested’ Bess, releasing her for needed rest and forage outside the mine.

‘Bess’ the mule was employed at the Pacific Coast Co.’s Cannon mine in Franklin. In 1914 the Seattle Star exposed how mules at the mine were required to work 24 hours a day and never allowed outside. The Humane Society eventually ‘arrested’ Bess, releasing her for needed rest and forage.

The Pacific Coast Company will probably substitute a third rail electric system for mule trains in Black Diamond and Gem mines. The third rail system will also supplant the overhead trolley in the Coal Creek mines of the company.

The first change will be made at the Coal Creek mines, where a piece of road will be built by the company to demonstrate the value of the third rail system. It has been tried successfully in other mines and proved entirely satisfactory, but before the company takes up the plan as a substitute for other systems a thorough test will be made. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, October 17, 2006

By Barbara Nilson

Durham coal mine, August 1919 (Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries). This photo depicts the mine tipple and coal bunkers at the town of Durham in 1919, shortly before its acquisition by Morris Brother Coal Mining Company Inc. The Durham Colliery Company sold the entire town to Morris Brothers in 1922. This photo was shot from a perch on a coal slag pile that still exists to this day, looking across the Kanaskat-Kangley Road and the railroad tracks visible in the lower foreground. (Photo from Bill Kombol’s collection, Palmer Coking Coal Company.)

Durham coal mine, August 1919 (Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries). This photo depicts the mine tipple and coal bunkers at the town of Durham in 1919, shortly before its acquisition by Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company Inc. The Durham Colliery Company sold the entire town to Morris Brothers in 1922. This photo was shot from a perch on a coal slag pile that still exists to this day, looking across the Kanaskat-Kangley Road and the railroad tracks visible in the lower foreground. (Photo from Bill Kombol’s collection, Palmer Coking Coal Company.)

There is nothing left of the mining town of Durham, once located in southeast King County near the town of Selleck, but it still exists in the minds of Valleyites who grew up there.

The Durham Colliery (English for coal mines and its buildings) was originally organized by Peter Kirk in 1886 to supply coal for the projected Kirkland steel mill. Durham was named for a town in Kirk’s native north England. Production was started in 1888 but coal was only mined until 1889. In 1910, the mines were started again and coal was produced throughout WWI. The mines and associated mining facilities, i.e. hotel, bunkers and company houses, were sold as one unit to the Morris brothers. (more…)

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By JoAnne Matsumura

Ernest Moore was born in the coal-mining town of Franklin, Wash. "If there's any other job, you'd be better off taking that other job." (Greg Gilbert / Seattle Times)

Ernest Moore was born in the coal-mining town of Franklin, Wash. “If there’s any other job, you’d be better off taking that other job.” (Greg Gilbert / Seattle Times)

He was an owner of a coal mine, a pump man, and a mule skinner; he was a proficient shoeshine boy and a gracious porter; he picked moss and ferns and cut logs in the woods; and he served on a rescue team at the Gorge and as an Army quartermaster during World War II.

He once took a job in a foundry and another paving asphalt roads; he had two children and was a father figure to 30 more; he was an interesting storyteller—and he even wrote a book about it all.

He was Ernest “Ernie” Roy Moore, Sr., an African-American, third generation coal miner who was born in Franklin, Washington, on May 5, 1912. (more…)

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