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Wayne's World of History and Genealogy

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Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

To Honor and Remember
The Coal Miners
That Gave Their Life
In the Coal Mines of Illinois

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      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 car graphic       Coal & Coal Mining in Illinois.



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