Since 2006, concentration has been for the local
area of a small portion of south central Macoupin County, Illinois; including the following communities :
Benld, Dorchester, Eagarville, East Gillespie, Gillespie, Henderson, Hornsby, Mount Clare, Sawyerville, and Wilsonville.
During the first half of the twentieth century coal mining played a very important role is the growth and development of this area.
Many immigrants settled in this area to work in the coal mines to raise their families. People came from many countries, some of
which are Austria, Bohemia, Croatia, England, France, Galecia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Scotland,
Slovakia, and Sweden. This gives very diverse backgrounds to the current population that has grown to incorporate these differences
into thriving communities.
For more than 125 years, coal mining has held a predominance in the area within and around Gillespie, Illinois. Starting around 1880,
coal mines were sunk in this area. With the Dorsey Mine and the Gillespie Mine shafts in or adjacent to the Village of
Gillespie and the Clyde Mine near the Village of Clyde, which is now Hornsby, all being sunk in 1880 and coal production being
reported in 1881; a coal industry opened a new era
In the early 1900's the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company started mines for the fuel source
for their operations. Superior Coal Company, a subsidiary of Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company, bought 40,000
acres of coal and mineral rights in 1903 from the Dorsey family and began to sink mines to furnish coal for their locomotives.
The railroads being built through the state created a need for more coal to fuel the trains and their operations. The increase in demand
for this unique compound caused more mines to be sunk and this brought a need for miners to bring this coal to the surface. More men
along with their families arriving in this area created a need for housing. The housing necessity was the reason for villages seeing their
beginning in a cluster around Gillespie. Walking was the primary means of transportation to and from work at the mines. Many of the villages
were started close to a mine.
Coal & Coal Mining in Illinois.