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Michigan Coal Mining and the Saginaw Valley.
Michigan's heaviest deposit of coal was situated in the counties of Bay and Saginaw.

Michigan coal mining history. (Added Oct., 2010)

Michigan as a Province, Territory and State.


The operation of coal mining in Michigan began in 1835 in Jackson. At that point the coal crops out at the surface on the margin of the river and so was readily discovered. Substantially the same state of things at Grand Ledge in Ingham and Clinton counties developed three years later. Nothing in the way of active working was done until some time about 1860, when the mines at Jackson were opened to a considerable extent, which work has been carried on continuously ever since. The Grand Ledge field has not been developed, probably for the reason that it would not be found profitable. In 1878 coal was mined in the Owosso district in Shiawassee county and this field has since been continuously worked with considerable vigor. At about the same time operations were carried on in a small way at Williamston. The coal found here is of a superior quality but the deposit is want in roof and the seam is thin. Successful operations first began in the Saginaw district and in Bay county in 1895, and these districts have since been the chief source of supply of Michigan coal.

The commissioner of minerals statistics reports that the coal measures of the state are supposed to occupy; an area comprising about one-fifth of the central portion of the lower peninsula. This embraces the whole or considerable portions of the counties of Bay, Saginaw, Huron, Shiawassee, Clinton, Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Van Buren, Cass, etc. The coal is bituminous and easily broken, possesses excellent heat producing qualities and burns with a bright flame, leaving but a small residuum of ashes. It is not adapted to gas manufacture or cooking, but is used almost wholly for steam making. It has not been found in great quantities at any point, the vein not being more than three or four feet in thickness. It is too deep down to pay to strip it, and there is no overlying rock of sufficient strength to serve as roof. Consequently the mining conditions are not of the best. It must be said, however, that the explorations hitherto have not been very thorough. Tests have been made in various parts of the state in a desultory way, but the only thorough investigation has been the producing districts now mainly confined to the Saginaw valley and Owosso. From the most recent data en versed in coal production are of the opinion that Michigan is destined to become and remain an important producer of bituminous coal. A large portion of the product of the smaller mines finds a ready local market, while much of the output of the larger ones goes to Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In Southern Michigan and particularly in the large manufacturing center of Detroit, Michigan coal has not been able to compete in price with the coal from Ohio and West Virginia. The cost of mining and transportation are the deciding factors. In the Michigan mines the cost of coal is increased by the so-called dead work – cleaning and other charges not incident to, or not so expensive in, coal mining in Ohio. Michigan coal for furnace and domestic purposes compares favorably in quality with that brought from Ohio, but the latter is favored undoubtedly by the railroads direct from Detroit into the coal fields. These matters are not controlled by sentimental considerations. And while the consumers would atleast use Saginaw and Ohio coal at the same price, the Saginaw operators can do better with their product in the western markets than at home. As indicating the growth of coal mining and especially in the more recent years the statistics are informing.

The number of tons produced in 1870 was thirty-one thousand five hundred and twenty-eight; in 1880, one hundred thousand and eight hundred;
in 1890, seventy-four thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven;
in 1900, one million two hundred and forty-one thousand two hundred and forty-one.
At the latter date the average prices at the mines was one dollar and seventy cents per ton.

Bay County mines. - Added Oct., 2010.

Annual Report – Michigan of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, 1904


CENTRAL MINE NO. 1. -- Is owned and operated by the Central Coal Company; was abandoned in the month of May on account of the vein of coal being so thin and of inferior quality. Tested railroad scales and found them weighting accurately.

CENTRAL MINE NO. 1. -- Is owned by the same company as No. 1; is a shaft opening 126 feet in depth; dimension in the clear is 14 feet by 7 ½ feet. The mine is situated at Salzburg, in the suburbs of Bay City. The company has put in new fan for ventilating purposes, diameter 12 feet; they have also erected a good wash house 50 by 25 feet, heated with steam and furnished with hot and cold water. The average thickness of the vein of coal in the mine is 60 inches, free of sulphur and is a good quality. The shaft was sunk the past season and they intend putting in a switch into the mine in the spring. It is managed by G. Waller, of Saginaw; Superintendent, Thomas Edwards.

MICHIGAN-MINE. -- Is situated two miles south of Salzburg on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad. It is owned and operated by the Young Brothers, of Bay City; Samuel Wonderdof, Superintendent; Pit Boss, John Moss. The ventilation of the mine all over the working places, with few exceptions, is fair. The coat is cut with Harrison punching machines, they uses one Jeffrie change machine. The mine is working in what is known as the upper vein and employs 103 men. I tested railroad scales and found them weighting correct.

SALSBURG MINE. -- Is situated in Salzburg; is owned by the Salzburg Coal Company. This shaft was sunk in 1902 and has been hoisting coat steadily since October of that year. The quality of coal taken from the mine is excellent for domestic use, being free from sulphur. It is managed by Alex Zagelmeyer, of Bay City; Superintendent, John Callahan. Has an escape shaft in connection with the main shaft which has a good stairway in it; also two good wash houses heated by steam and furnished with hot and coal water to wash with. Is ventilated by means of a fan twelve feet in diameter. The ventilation of the mine is good and the only reason that there may be some places that are cloudy is on account of the miners not cutting break-throughs opposite each other and not making them of sufficient width and height. Found several break-throughs with so much slate piled up in front of them that it was nearly impossible to squeeze through. This is not the only mine in Bay county where it is a common practice to make a break-through and before another one is made to have it filled up with slate.

VALLEY MINE. -- Is owned by the Dutch Creek Coal Company and is located on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, three miles from Salzburg; it is a well equipped plant and with careful manage could be made to pay. Was last managed by T. Weitzel, of Bay City. This mine was shut down indefinitely in the month of March and is still idle. I tested railroad scales twice and found them to be weighing incorrect. The company had to overhaul them and put in new foundation.

PITTSBURG MINE. -- Is owned by the Pittsburg Coal Company and is located on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, eight miles south of Bay City. Is managed by E. L. Matthews, of Bay City; Superintendent, J. Warner. The mine has a natural ventilation, assisted a little with the exhaust steam from the pump, and the result was that the air was very sluggish. The company made an attempt tp put up an incline or drive an incline from the lower to the upper vein of coal, but failed through some cause after having driven it over two-thirds of the distances. If they had succeeded with their incline they intended to erect a fan which has been on the premises for nearly a year in readiness to put in as soon as incline was completed. I tested hopper scales twice and found them to be weight correct.

BAY MINE NO. 2. -- Is situated 7 miles southwest of Salzburg on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad; is owned by the Bay Coal Company; Manager, L. M. Davis; Superintendent, Jos. Brown; Pit Boos, Robert Dick. This mine is fairly looked after, with one exception – the trap doors in the mine are left standing open too much, with the result that not sufficient air goes to the head of the workings. In order to have a good current of air traveling in a mine, when there is a sufficient amount going in at the inlet, all main doors should either be automatic doors or have an attendant to open and shut them. I have notified manager of the same on two different occasions. The company has put in a head and tail rope haulage plant which is working successfully. I tested hopper scales and found them weight correct.

WOLVERNINE MINE NO. 2. -- Formerly known as the Handy Bros.' Mine, but now owned and operated by the Pere Marquette Coal Company, of Saginaw; is located on a branch of the Michigan Central Railroad and Huron & Western Railroad. It is now manage by R. M. Randall, of Saginaw; Superintendent, Alex. Machelwain; Pit Boss, John Latheway; number men employed, 150; ventilation of mine is good and sufficient air is in circulation in every entry in the mine. The west side of the mine is all cut with the Harrison punching machine; the average thickness of coal on this side of shaft is 48 inches, which makes it very nice work.

WOLVERINE MINE NO. 3. -- Was sunk and owned by the Handy Brothers, of Bay City. Last August it came under the control of the Pere Marquette Coal Company, of Saginaw, who now own and operate it. It is situate at the terminal of the Huron & Western Railroad, 12 miles northwest of Bay City. The vein of coal averages between six and seven feet in thickness; has also escape shaft in connection with main shaft. The are putting in a new pair of hoisting engines of 600 horse power. On my last visit I found the ventilation on the south side of the shaft poor, but as soon as cut-off is driven from escape shaft to first west off main south entry, there will be no cause for bad air. I tested the hopper scales at this mine twice and found the weighing incorrect once. It is manage by R. M. Randall, of Saginaw; Superintendent, Dave Jones; Pit Boss, John Parker.

HECLA MINE. -- Is located 5 miles southwest of Salzburg; was owned and operated by the Hecla Portland Cement and Coal Company; Manager, L. Button; Superintendent, Alfred Watkins. There were two veins of coal operated on in this shaft. When the mine was first started the coal was cut with the Jeffrie chain machines, but after giving them a fair test the company decided to take them out. They also took out the electric plant and in an air compressor, cutting the coal with the Harrison punching machines, which they were doing fairly well when the mine shut down on October 10th. The company had also put down an escape shaft in connection with the main shaft and a very good stairway in escape shaft. They had a foundation for a fan engine built and in a few weeks more would have had the fan running, providing sufficient air for all the men at work. I test the Hopper scales and found them weighing incorrect.

WENONA BEACH MINE. -- Is operated by E. A. Foss, of Bay City; Manager, F. Ruttel; Superintendent, James Gallager, Pit Boss, John Morris. They employ 280 men. The mine is fairly ventilated and has 20 Harrison punching machines cutting coal, run by two large compressors. In the past year the company has put in a new pair of hoisting engines of 700 horse power. The wash house at the mine was burned last summer, the miners losing all of their clothes. The company has erected a new and better one in its place, dimensions 150 feet by 25 feet. With cement floor and brick walls. It is heated by steam and supplied with hot and coal water and cost $2,640. They also have improved the escape shaft by putting in a partition between the stairway and the inlet for air, supplying good tight doors at both inlet and outlet to stairway, thereby keeping the temperature in stairway above freezing. This mine has also two sets of hopper scales; have tested them twice in the past year; first time one was found to be weighing correct and the other set incorrect. The second time they were both weighing accurate.


PERE MARQUETTE NO. 2 – Is situated in the city limits of Saginaw, West Side, and owned by the Pere Marquette Coal Company; General Manager, R. M. Randall; Superintendent, Mr. Charles McKinley; Pit boss, John Machelwain. This is a mine there has been a good many complaints about for some time back, especially the ventilation. In my annual report for 1902 I stated why there was not sufficient air in circulation in this mine. Since that time the company has gone to the expense of erecting a new fan 12 feet in diameter by 5 feet in width, which I found on testing May 29th was forcing into the mine 48,000 cubic feet of air per minute, but still, in the face of that amount of air going in at the inlet, there were several entries where there was not sufficient air circulation to register on the air meter. The company has been going steadily along since that time making improvements, putting up good tight doors where brattice cloth formerly hung, tearing down old brattices and putting up new ones in their places, and where there was no brattice shoveling out the slate and putting up tight brattices. Also they have put in an overcast on main north entry where there was a door the motor had go through, this door being close to the pit bottom every time it was opened for the motor or persons to pass through all the air the fan was pushing into the mine at inlet passed through the outlet. The improvements have been so many in this mine of late that there is very little cause for complaints and none whatever in regard to not being sufficient air.

CHAPPELL AND FORDNEY MINE. - Is situated in the city of Saginaw, West Side. It is operated by the Pere Marquette Coal Company; General Manager, R. M. Randall; Superintendent, Richard Stanton; Pit boss, Chris. Frelik. The ventilation of this mine some time ago was not up to standard. I informed Mr. Stanton of it August 7th, and it gives me much pleasure to inform you that on my next visit I found a fair circulation of air all over the mine, and miners well satisfied with its conditions. This mine employs 98 men and is considered to be a good mine to work in. The roof in some places is a little tender, but having something over the average thickness of coal, the miners here do fairly well.

RIVERSIDE MINE. - Is situated one-quarter of a mile west of Tittabawassee River and is operated by the Saginaw Ice and Coal Company. This company was unfortunate in have the waters of the Tittabawassee River break into the mine on the 11th of March, filling the working places, thereby stopping its operation till the water was pumped out. The general condition of the mine was poor previous to the time it was flooded. Since then it has been under the management of Mr. Malcomb, of Saginaw; John Phillips, Superintendent; Pit Boss, Thomas Jenkins; and the condition of it is greatly improved, especially the ventilation.

There are now employed at this mine 140 men. August 12th I tested the hopper scales and found them to be weighing incorrectly. The company had them adjusted the same day.

STANDARD MINE NO. 2 – Is a new opening made by the Standard Coal Company, this summer. It is a shaft opening 120 feet in depth. The average thickness of vein is 36 inches. The company also sunk an escape shaft in connection with the main shaft to within 30 feet of the coal, when they struck so much quicksand that they found it was impossible to go through it and it had to be abandoned. The company will break ground for another shaft as soon as the weather permits. They have a new wash house erected for the use of miners. Coal will be shipped over the Pere Marquette Railroad, of which there is a switch to the mine. Manger of Mine, Mr. F. Hurch; Superintendent, William Jones.

STANDARD MINE NO. 1. - Is situated in Bridgeport township, two miles out of city limits of Saginaw, East Side; is owned by the Standard Coal Company and managed by Mr. T. Hurch, of Saginaw; William Carmichael, Superintendent; Robert Johnson, Pit Boss. Some time ago the ventilation of this mine was poor, but under the present management the improvements in the way of ventilation have been so great that in my last inspection of it I was agreeably surprised to find a good circulation of air all over the mine, and the miners perfectly satisfied with conditions. I tested the railroad scales at this mine July 8th and found they were weighing correct.

SAGINAW OLD MINE. - Is located in the suburbs of the city, East Side; is operated by the Pere Marquette Coal Company; Manager, R. M. Randall; Superintendent, John Snowball; Pit Boss, James Smith. This mine has been troubled somewhat with black damp, but the company has erected a new fan at the escape shaft which will put in circulation sufficient air to keep it in a healthy condition hereafter. They have also opened up a new territory or coal field, which has an average thickness of 46 inches and a fine quality; is equipped well in every respect with the exception of the escape shaft, which when sunk, instead of putting in a ladder, I believe would have been a great deal better had they put in a stairway.

UNCLE HENRY MINE. - Is located one-quarter of a mile off the Bad Axe Railroad and about 7 miles from Saginaw. This mine is operated by Mr. Barnard, of Saginaw; Superintendent, Harry Ferguson. It is equipped with two sets of railroad scales, which I have tested three times in the past year and found them to be weighing correct. On inspecting mine May 26th, I found the air was traveling in some entries rather sluggish, and notified the superintendent what was necessary for him to do in order to remedy the condition. On my next visit found they had complied with my request, and the ventilation of the mine was fair. There were a few places where the air was a little foul, but on investigation found the cause was on account of a good many men burning car oil and coal oil mixed in their lamps, which were throwing off so much smoke and soot that it was polluting the air, making it injurious to any one who inhaled it. I called the mine committee's attention to it and they promised to bring the question up at next regular meeting. I also notified superintendent of mines to stop drivers and draymen from burning any more such oil. The grade of oil that is sold is not the best, and when it is mixed with car oil it makes the sanitary conditions of the mine unhealthy.

BARNARD MINE NO. 3. - Is also in the limites of the city of Saginaw, West Side, one block east of Jackson's Mills, on Michigan Avenue. Tested the hopper scales at this time November 21st and found them to be weighing accurately. I have never yet visited this mine, but that I have found sufficient air in circulation all over the mine, and kept well up to the face of the working, no better proof required than to know that the miners fir or blast twice each day, firing the extra blast at noon or the dinner hour. Three-quarters of an hour after having exploded the blast of 12 or 15 kegs of powder, each containing 25 pounds, and probably 200 feet of fuse, they go right back and go to work. This is the only large mine in Saginaw county that “fires” twice each day. It is operated by the Pere Marquette Company; R. M. Randall, Manager; Superintendent, John Weaver; Pit Boss, E. Holliday. There are good doors on all main entries; break-through between entries properly “bratticed,” and all entries are timbered where necessary. It has an excellent quality of coal of several grades.

SHIAWASSEE MINE. - Is located near the Shiawassee River and is operated by the Pere Marquette Coal Company; Mr. Robert M. Randall, General Manager; Superintendent, Alfred Westwood. The depth of this shaft is 186 feet; dimensions of shaft is 16 feet 4 inches by 7 feet in the clear. The river here has been known to overflow its banks and rise to a depth of 10 feet all over the bottom; therefore, to protect the mine and the miners at work, it was necessary for the company to build a crib out of timber 10 inches square, sinking it to a depth of 25 feet, leaving 13 feet projection out of the ground, then putting the timber of main shaft inside of the crib, leaving space of 12 inches between the crib and the timber of the shaft, filling in this space with Portland cement, thereby excluding all water from entering the shaft from the surface. This is undoubtedly the best laid out shaft in the State and is being equipped with all the latest modern improved machinery, having a large average of coal lands makes the prospects look brighter for the future. There are now 75 men employed, which will be steadily increased until there will be at least 300 miners employed. In connection with this plant the company has gone to great expense in erecting a wash house for the comfort of their miners. Dimensions of wash house are 80 feet by 32 in the clear; it is a fireproof building, having cement floor, sides and roof. The mine is also provided with an escape shaft and stairway and was sunk on the same principle as the main shaft. Dimensions of escape shaft are 12 feet 4 inches by 5 feet 4 inches in the clear.

JAMESTOWN MINE. - Is situated on a branch of the Pere Marquette Railroad, 5 miles south of Saginaw; is operated by the Pere Marquette Coal Company; R. M. Randall, Manager; Thomas Westwood, Superintendent; William Beal, Pit Boss. The ventilation of this mine is good and if there is any miner suffering for the want of sufficient air it is on account of not having trappers to open and shut main doors as mules, coal cars and persons pass through. There has been some cause for complaint on a few occasions about doors not being kept shut. This is practically a machine mine and is well cared for. I would say in all of my visits to this mine, if I have found anything wrong and informed the mine superintendent it was remedied as soon as possible, which makes it very pleasant to inspect such mines.

CARBON MINE. - Is located about 12 miles east of St. Charles; is operated by the Carbon Coal Company; Manager, J. Malone, of Saginaw; Pit Boss, James Nicholson. This mine employs 28 men, but if the company has not been unfortunate in some matters there would have been 40 or 50 men at work by this time. It has a natural ventilation, being assisted with the exhaust steam of the pump. I have always found in my visits to the mine in the past year sufficient air in circulation. On the 21st of November, 1903, at 2:30 p. m., there was a very disastrous occurrence happened at this mine by the explosion of the steam boiler, killing two men instantly and seriously injuring five others. Cause of the explosion unknown.

THE ST. CHARLES FUEL COMPANY MINE. - Is located one-half mile south of the village of St. Charles; was operated by the Browning Brothers. This mine was working in what is known as the upper vein, but the coal being of so poor quality and the volume of water so heavy, that it was abandoned on the 25th day of March, 1903, and now both upper and lower veins are full of water. There is some danger to Somer Mine No. 2 that in the near future the water from the abandoned mne may break through the abandoned works.

MUSQUITO MINE. - Is situated 3 ½ miles south east of St. Charles and is operated by the Robt. Gage Coal Company. This mine is well manged, the ventilation being good. There are 250 men employed in and around the mine. Have inspected and visited the mine seven times in the past year and always found it in a safe and healthy condition. The only complaint I have hear is of the oil that the miners have to burn, it is claimed to be a poor grade. Have tested the scales at this mine three times in the past year and twice found to be weighing correct, and incorrect once. I notified the company and they had a new foundation built under the scales, which adjusted the grievance in that respect. The company has also put in a new pair of hoisting engines of 600 horse power and expect to increase the output of the mine. They have likewise built a new wash house for the comfort of their miners.

SOMERS NO. 1. - Is situated at St. Chalres and is operated by the Somers Brothers, Frank Beham being General Manager; John Evans, Superintendent, and George Reed, Pit Boss. Have inspect this mine in the last year six times and found on nearly every occasion sufficient air in circulation all over the mine with the exception of the west entries off main north entry, where the air as a general thing is poor, but the present management has promised to make a proper renewal of all the brattice in break-throughs from the pit bottom to the face of workings. When completed it will put sufficient air in circulation in all of the above named entries. This mine is the only one in the State where there is a vein of cannel coal lying over the regular vein of coal. It is a good thing for the miners, likewise the public, for the demand for this grade of coal is so great it cannot be supplied. The thickness of this cannel vein varies from 4 inches to 22 inches. I have also tested the railroad scales at this mine twice and found them to be weighing accurate.

SOMERS NO. 2. - Is situated 1 ½ miles south of St. Charles; is operated by the same management as Somers No. 1. John Evans, Superintendent, and James McNickels, Pit Boss. The ventilation of this mine in some parts is very poor, but in the near future, with the improvements that are being made in air courses and with the cutt-off entries that are now being driven, will so improve the sanitary conditions of the mine that I think there will be no complaint in regard to air. I would also state that in connection with this mine there is a salt block and a newly established bromine plant. This new industry was started last spring and has gone beyond the experimental stage, and is proving a success. In this locality the brine is found at a depth of 800 feet and after considerable chemical investigation is found to be very rich in chemicals, especially bromine. I also understand that the company intends to establish a chemical laboratory for testing their own products at their mines in St. Charles.

SOMERS NO. 3. - Is situated three miles south of St. Charles and was formerly known as the St. Charles Coal Company Mine. This mine was not in operation from 1901 until a few months ago. It is now owned and operated by the Somers Brothers, same management as the other Somers mines. The ventilation of the mine is good and the company has spent considerable money in driving the entries through the faulty coal, which caused its abandonment. They have now got beyond the faults. The coal shows up good, of a fair quality, and in the near future will rank as one of the best mines. The company has sunk an escape shaft 8 feet by 10 feet in the clear, and have also erected a new wash house for the use the miners.

Coal production figures. - Added Oct., 2010.

The Mineral Industry, Vol. XVI, 1907

Michigan (By A. C. Lane). -- The coal production in 1907 was about 2,000,000 tons. The purchase of the Bay county properties by the Consolidated Company, the largest producer, released capital, which is now being used in opening a mine in Tuscola county. About the only independent operator left in Saginaw and Bay counties is the Consumers Coal Company, a relatively small concern. Drills have been actively at work in Bay county, and in Midland and Gladwin counties, finding some coal. The explorations farther west, near the highest part of the lower peninsula, southeast of Cadillac, have failed. Bed rock was never reached, and the indications are that several hundred feet of glacial deposits cover that part of the coal basin and make development impracticable. There is a little hand-to-mouth mining still continued around Grand Ledge and Jackson, where small areas of coal are opened from time to time. Some Difficulties and injunctions have been encountered in mining under the city of Saginaw, and some of the mines there are not far from exhaustion.

The Geological Survey of Michigan has issued an elaborate report on peal resources of the State, by C. A. Davis. So far, however, the value of the peat as a fuel seems less demonstrated than its value in paper manufacture, and as an absorbent. The Pilgrim Paper Company at Capac, Mich., seems to be a throughly successful plant; peat is also used in Chicago in the preparation of fertilizer from slaughterhouse tankage.

(By Lee Fraser.) The coal production in Michigan for the 12 months ending Nov. 30, 1906, amounted to 1,372,854 short tons, at an average cost per ton for mining of $1.50. An average of 2119 persons were employed daily in this mining lying idle for several months. In the 12 months ending Nov. 30, 1907, the greatest tonnage yet produced in this State was recorded; the total output was 1,898,446 short tons, at an average cost of $1.63 per ton. An average of 2812 persons were employed at an average daily wage of $3.24.

Two new shafts were sunk in Saginaw county, one by the Bliss Coal Company and one by the Consumers Coal Company. The total capacity of both mines is between 1200 and 1500 tons per day. Both these shafts were sunk on pockets of coal lying along the same general northeast line as that established by the Pokagon, Riverside, Barnard, and other fields. There was considerable activity to the east of Saginaw county, in the Thumb, in prospecting for new coal lands. Coal has been mine for some time from a 5-ft. Seam in the vicinity of Akron. It was long known to exist in this district, but such of it as was mined could find no market, due to an excess of sulphur which caused the coal to cake in a solid mass upon the grate, form which it could be removed only by a hammer and chisel. Extensive development work was carried on in Bay and Midland counties, and a new shaft is now being sunk upon a reported thick seam in Bay county. New coal beds were discovered in Midland and adjacent counties, and it is safe to assume that there is now located and ready for development in the Michigan field fully 40,000,000 tons of coal.

The standard No. 2, Pere Marquette No. 2, Chappell and Forduly mines of the Consolidated Coal Company, were abandoned Apr. 1, all the workable coal having been removed. The Standard mine was a comparatively new operation with a life of only four years. It was abandoned on account of the numerous difficulties encountered in mining. The Pere Marquette, Chappell and Forduly mines were pioneers in the coal development of the district. The Link Belt Company, of Chicago, under contract to the Consolidated Coal Company, erected a 100-ton-per-hour washery at Saginaw. The ash and refuse contained in the slack and nut coal in this district averages at least 15 per cent. This is the first washery erected in the State.

Appraisal of Mining Properties of Michigan by State Board, 1911


by H. M. Chance, Bay City, Mich., August 1, 1911.

Page 69.

What is known as the Michigan coalfield has been shown by the maps and report of the Geological Survey to include an area of 15,000 square miles include all of 13 counties and portions of 14 counties. That is, the formations which contain coal underlie in whole or in part, the surface of these 27 counties. The presence of coal has been demonstrated in these formations at hundreds (or thousands) of places by bore holes drilled for water or for salt and by wells dug for water, and in some localities by many holes drilled for the purpose of learning the thickness and quality of the coal. The information obtained in this way at many localities appeared to justify the sinking of shafts and the mining of coal and mines have thus been opened and worked in nine counties. Some of these enterprises were unsuccessful from the outset and many others were abandoned either because the coal was too thin, the mining conditions unfavorable or because the workable coal was exhausted.


At present mining is being conducted in seven (7) counties, as follows:

Bay county – 10 mines
Saginaw county, (including shafts completed) – 17 mines
Tuscola county – 1 mine
Genesee county – 1 mine
Shiawassee county – 2 mines
Ingham county – 1 mine
Eaton county – 2 mines
Total – 34 mines

Coal mines in 1919 - Added Oct., 2010.

Report by Michigan Department of Labor.


There were three mines abandoned during the year 1919. The Robert Gage No. 6 and the Wolverine Mine - No. 3 located in Bay County and the American Sewer Pipe mine located at Grand Ledge, Eaton County. Two mines suspended operations during the year. The What Cheer No. 2, located in the city of Flint and the Liberty Coal Company Mine, located three miles east of the village of Henderson. I have been informed this mine will resume operations in 1920.


The general conditions of the mines remain much the same in 1919 as they were in 1918. All the mines of Michigan are provided with escape shafts with travelling ways thereto from the main or hoisting shafts as provided for by the law with the exception of the Community Mine, located five miles west of the village of Chesaning and I have been informed by the management of this mine that arrangements have been made to put down an escape shaft in the near future.

I find the mining laws being complied with fairly well at all of the mines and all precautions are being taken to prevent accidents to men employed.


Total number tons of picked coal mined during the year 65,290. Total number tons of machined coal mined during the year 906,313. Total number tons of coal mined during the year 971,603 at the aggregate cost of $3,323,046.73.


In the year 1919 a total of 252 accidents were reported to this department. Three of which proved fatal. One occurred in December 1918, one in January 1919 and one in March 1919. Serious 16, Severe 103, and Slight 130.

This is notable decrease in the number of fatal accidents over the year 1918 and it is to be hoped that the coming year will set a greater decrease in the number of fatal accidents in the coal mines.


Counties where located, names of managers and postoffice addresses.

1. Robert Gage Coal Co., No. 6. - Chas. Coryell, Bay City.
2. Robert Gagle Coal Co., No. 7. - Chas. Coryell, Bay City.
3. Beaver Coal Co. - Chas. Coryell, Bay City.
4, Wolverine Mine, No. 2 - R.M. Randall, Saginaw.
5, Wolverine Mine, No. 3 - R.M. Randall, Saginaw.
6. What Cheer Mine, No. 1 - W.I. Foss, Bay City.
7. Sun Coal Mining Co. - O.S. Callahan, Bay City.

8. B.S.K. Coal Mining Co. - Wm. A. Knapp, Bay City.

9. American Sewer Pipe Co. - Clyde S. Earl, Grand Ledge.

10. What Cheer Mine, No. 2 - W.I. Foss, Bay City.

11. Robert Gage Coal Co., No. 3 - Chas. Coryell, Bay City.
12. Robert Gage Coal Co., No. 8 - Chas. Coryell, Bay City.
13. Banner Coal Co. - Wm. B. Carmichael, Saginaw.
14. Bliss Coal Mining Co. - C.E. Linton, Saginaw.
15. Community Coal Co. - Alex Jeffery, Bay City.
16. Riverside Coal Co., No. 2 - R.M. Randall, Saginaw.
17. Shiawassee Coal Co. - R.M. Randall, Saginaw.
18. Uncle Henry Coal Co., No. 2 - R.M. Randall, Saginaw.

19. Corunna Coal Mining Co. - Herbert Shokels, Bay City.
20. Middleton Mining Co. - Isaac Middleton, Corunna.
21. Liberty Coal Corp. - Wm. A. Knapp, Bay City.

22. Akron Mine, No. 2 - Chas. W. Handy, Bay City

Related Pages/Notes

Salzburg Coal Mine

Auburn Coal Mine

Related Pages:
{Map 1899, Coal Mines}
Hecla Cement & Coal Co.
Coryell, Charles
Zagelmeyer, Alex
People Referenced
Barnard, Mr.
Beal, William
Beham, Frank
Brown, Joseph
Button, L.
Callahan, John
Callahan, O.S.
Carmichael, Wm. B.
Chance, H.M.
Coryell, Charles
Davis, C.A.
Davis, L.M.
Dick, Robert
Earl, Clyde S.
Edwards, Thomas
Evans, John
Ferguson, Harry
Foss, E. A.
Foss, W.L.
Fraser, Lee
Frelik, Chris.
Gallager, James
Handy, Charles
Holliday, E.
Hurch, F.
Hurch, T.
Jeffery, Alex
Jenkins, Thomas
Johnson, Robert
Jones, Dave
Jones, William
Knapp, Wm. A.
Lane, A.C.
Latheway, John
Linton, C.E.
Machelwain, Alex
Machelwain, John
Malcomb, Mr.
Malone, J.
Matthews, E.L.
McKinney, Charles
Middleton, Isaac
Morris, John
Moss, John
Nicholson, James
Parker, John
Phillips, John
Randall, Robert M.
Reed, George
Ruttlel, F.
Shokels, Herbert
Smith, James
Snowball, John
Stanton, Richard
Waller, G.
Warner, J.
Watkins, Alfred
Weaver, John
Weitzel, T.
Westwood, Alfred
Wonderdof, Samuel
Zagelmeyer, Alex
Subjects Referenced
Akron, MI
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Cadilac, MI
Capac, MI
Cass Co., MI
Chesaning, MI
Chicago, IL
Clinton Co., MI
Detroit, MI
Eaton Co, MI
Gladwin Co., MI
Grand Ledge, MI
Huron Co., MI
Huron & Western RR
Ingham Co., MI
Jackson, MI
Jackson Co., MI
Michigan Central RR
Midland, MI
Midland Co., MI
Owosso, MI
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Co., MI
Saginaw Valley, MI
Salzburg, MI
Shiawassee Co., MI
Tuscola Co., MI
Van Buren Co., MI
West Virginia
Williamston, MI

American Sewer & Pipe
Banner Coal Co.
Bay Coal Co.
Beaver Coal Co.
Bliss Coal Co.
B.S.K. Coal Mining Co.
Central Coal Co.
Consumers Coal Co.
Corunna Coal Mining Co.
Dutch Creek Coal Co.
E.A. Foss Co.
Handy Bros. Co.
Hecla Portland Co.
Liberty Coal Co.
Link Belt Co.
Middleton Mining Co.
Pere Marquette Coal Co.
Pilgrim Paper Co.
Pittsburg Coal Co.
Riverside Coal Co.
Robert Gage Co.
Salzburg Coal Co.
Shiawassee Coal Co.
Sun Coal Mining Co.
Uncle Henry Coal Co.
What Cheer Co.
Young Bros Co.
Internet Resources
[The Michigan Miner]
Vols. 1 & 2. Printed in Saginaw, MI, in 1899. Details the coal industry in the state and Saginaw Valley. Includes details on many coal companies. -- Source: Google Books.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.