The Scotts Run Coalfield from the Great War to the Great Depression:
A Study in Overdevelopment
By Phil Ross
In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt, visiting the Scotts Run district northwest of Morgantown, found desperate poverty resulting from an overexpanded coal industry. The Depression had compounded the woes of miners who had not worked regularly for years,1 but conditions had not always been so bleak. From the end of World War I until the early 1920s, Scotts Run was the marvel of the industry. Few coalfields ever developed as quickly, especially in such a geographically limited area. However, the intensity of its rise was matched by its rapid and extended fall. The transition from boom to bust offers insights into West Virginia's coal industry and lessons in the pitfalls of overdevelopment and overproduction.
The narrow Scotts Run valley today bears the common scars of the coal mining industry. The creek often runs orange with acid mine drainage, surface mine highwalls loom over the valley, and the surviving houses of several coal camps perch on the hillsides, facing bottomland filled and graded with sterile slate and mine waste.2 Those familiar with eastern bituminous coal mining areas, especially in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, will find nothing particularly unique or exceptional in the landscape along Scotts Run. However, in historical perspective Scotts Run is indeed different. Following World War I and continuing until the Great Depression, the valley hosted perhaps the most intensive coal development in the industry. In the fifteen-year period from 1917, the date the field was opened, until 1932, when the industry had virtually collapsed, no less than sixty different coal companies operated along Scotts Run. At peak development in 1923, thirty-seven mines operated by thirty-three different companies produced coal along the Run.3 The density and speed of development of the Scotts Run field were quite remarkable, even for an industry noted for its boom-and-bust cycle.
The Scotts Run field continued to expand into the early 1920s, a notoriously dark period for both capital and labor in the coal industry. Basic disagreements over control of the means of production coincided with perhaps the most spectacular overdevelopment of a basic industry up to that time. Following unprecedented increases in prices, profits, and wages during and immediately following World War I, the American coal market consumed only 580 million tons of the more than one billion tons mined annually.4 The Scotts Run coalfield developed amidst this unchecked expansion.
Scotts Run lies on the eastern outcrop of the Pittsburgh coal seam, known as "the most valuable mineral deposit in the world." This seam underlies a large area of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern and central West Virginia. The Fairmont field, of which Scotts Run is a part, rose to national prominence on this valuable and versatile seam of coal.5
Pioneer geologist William Barton Rogers, in conducting the first systematic inventory of mineral resources of the state of Virginia, traveled over much of the rugged western portion of the state during the mid-1830s. In 1836, the reconnaissance team arrived at Morgantown, crossed the Monongahela River, and journeyed up Scotts Run to its headwaters.6 The Rogers survey found "several fine beds of coal."
One of these . . . is known by the name of the "Main Coal" of northern Virginia. . . . The greatest thickness of workable coal is stated to be nine and a half feet, at the mouth of Scott's Run. The second coal seam in importance, is about five feet thick. A third is from three to four feet. A fourth, geologically the highest known coal of any value in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, is five feet in thickness.7
The "main coal" to which Rogers refers is the Pittsburgh seam.8 At the mouth of the Run it crops out of the river buff 170 feet above the Monongahela, dips gently to the northwest, and goes beneath the streambed about a mile above its mouth.9 The Redstone seam lies thirty-five feet above the Pittsburgh, and another forty to fifty-five feet higher is the Sewickley seam. The Waynesburg seam caps the series approximately 250 feet above the Sewickley.10 The three higher seams are at their easternmost extent in West Virginia on Scotts Run and, owing to local geological conditions, occur in an isolated "island." The Scotts Run valley bisects this area.11
The commercial development of the Fairmont field began in 1852 following the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and continued into the twentieth century. Principle growth and development occurred in the vicinity of Fairmont and Clarksburg along the route of the railroad.12 The coal industry in Monongalia County, in contrast, developed much later. One of the earliest commercial operations, the Hutchinson Coal Company's Beechwood mine, was located at Round Bottom on the east bank of the Monongahela River, just north of the Marion County line. Operations began in 1890 shortly after the completion of the Fairmont, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh Railroad, which was subsequently acquired by the B&O.13 This railroad on the east bank of the river was the key stimulus to coal development in Monongalia County. In 1899, the county produced 56,793 long tons of coal, most of which originated at the Beechwood mine.14 Five years later, production grew to 194,450 tons and in 1909 to 235,816 tons. Completion of the Morgantown and Kingwood Railroad in that same year opened a large area of Freeport coking coal, especially valued for metallurgical purposes, in eastern Monongalia and Preston counties.15
Although the Scotts Run basin remained untapped, its coal resources had not gone unnoticed. Before the Morgantown and Kingwood Railroad was completed, Senator Stephen B. Elkins planned to extend the tracks across the river and into Pennsylvania. Though the extension was never built, the prospect prompted a number of land speculators to invest in the Scotts Run basin.16
By 1902, two large coal companies had leased or purchased in fee the mineral rights to the majority of the watershed. The Cochran Coal and Coke Company of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, filed articles of incorporation at Morgantown in May 1902, with authorized capital stock of five hundred thousand dollars. The holding company immediately began purchasing large numbers of small, individually owned tracts of coal in the middle and upper sections of Scotts Run. The Monongalia County deed books show an aggressive, sustained effort by Cochran to consolidate its Scotts Run holdings over a period of seven years, with over 150 separate purchases of coal lands.17 The coal lands on the lower end of the Run were largely controlled by the Consolidation Coal Company, under the leadership of Fairmont native Clarence W. Watson. By 1903, after merging with the Fairmont Coal Company, Baltimore-based Consolidation was by far the largest company in northern West Virginia, operating or leasing thirty-six mines in the region.18 Local Morgantown businessmen, who rose to prominence later as the Scotts Run field boomed, acquired mineral rights to smaller tracts.19
The vast potential wealth of Scotts Run remained untapped in the absence of a rail outlet. Local businessmen chartered the Morgantown and Dunkard Valley Railroad to remedy this situation in 1908, but extensive financial problems prevented its completion. Its successor, the Morgantown and Wheeling Railroad, was completed to Brave, Pennsylvania, in 1916 after several false starts.20
The rush to develop the virgin coalfield was stimulated by the unprecedented demand of World War I. Monongalia County's annual production reached four hundred thousand tons in 1914 when the Monongahela Railway, a joint venture of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads, arrived opposite Morgantown on the west bank of the river. This line also provided connections to Fairmont and Pittsburgh. The North American Coal Company opened its Maidsville mine on the Monongahela Railway in July 1914, and several smaller mines began mining the Pittburgh seam near the mouth of Scotts Run.21
The first coal shipped from Scotts Run was loaded over a temporary tipple during the first week of January 1917 by the Berry Coal Company, chartered that month with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars by local businessmen Lee M. and Frank C. Shriver, Everhart Bierer, and superintendent Joseph Bierer.22 Adjacent to this mine was the Scott [sic] Run Coal Company, with equal capital, headed by Benjamin M. Chaplin and the aforementioned Shrivers. Both companies leased the Sewickley seam from Cochran and Scott's first shipment was February 1917.23
Wartime demand for coal drove up prices, providing the impetus for the Scotts Run boom. Before the federal government instituted price controls, coal sold for as much as fourteen dollars a ton. Coal properties that had sold for six dollars an acre before the war now commanded up to two thousand dollars.24 Economic expediency required quick development and the earliest operations were marginally capitalized. The Randall Coal Company was incorporated with fifty thousand dollars in February 1917 by Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, capitalists, and superintendent H. Jarvis Eldred directed the opening of the Pittsburgh seam near the mouth of the Run.25 The Davis Fuel Company, organized with Uniontown, Pennsylvania, capital of twenty-five thousand dollars, was chartered in April with George F. Hose as superintendent. Its Davis No. 1 mine opened in the Sewickley seam. Samuel D. Brady, a prominent operator from Fairmont with ties to Cleveland capital, chartered the Osage Coal Company and opened drift operations in both the Pittsburgh and Sewickley seams.26
Larger, better-financed operations initiated in 1917 also included the Elkins-Stone Coal Company, the Cleveland and Morgantown Coal Company, and Chaplin Collieries. The Cleveland and Morgantown Company, capitalized at three hundred thousand dollars by the Pursglove family of Cleveland, represented the largest amount to that date.27 Benjamin Chaplin, a prominent Morgantown businessman, financed Chaplin Collieries at one hundred thousand dollars in June 1917 and established operations next to the Osage mines. Chaplin first shipped Sewickley coal from the Louise mine in 1918 and, after doubling the company's capitalization, opened the Virginia mine in the Pittsburgh seam in 1920.28 Several smaller, much more marginal companies filed their intentions to mine coal on Scotts Run that year. Both the Cass Coal Company, capitalized at a meager nine thousand dollars, and the Cassville Colliery, capitalized at twenty-five thousand dollars, planned operations in the Waynesburg seam. The Higgins Coal Company, organized at twenty thousand dollars capital, worked Waynesburg coal owned in fee by operator W. R. Higgins. Only the Higgins operation survived the year, with no record that the other two companies ever produced coal. The Waynesburg seam proved unprofitable to mine, and only two of the twenty-four companies that worked this high seam before World War II were in production more than three years.29
Although the Monongahela Railway was an important factor in the quick development of the field, the Morgantown area offered other amenities, and a key feature was the city of Morgantown itself. The city was the seat of county government and home of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey and state university, which included a prominent mining school. Banking facilities, diversified business development, adequate housing, and good schools made it a favorable location to headquarter companies and raise families. Compared with other coal areas in West Virginia, it offered a relatively large labor pool from which to draw miners. Paved roads and railroads linked it to both regional cities and national markets. In practical terms, it was a convenient and well-developed service center.30
Morgantown's proximity also tended to minimize the capital required to open a mine in the Scotts Run district. The West Virginia Traction and Electric Company provided the power essential to operate a mine, offsetting the cost of constructing on-site power plants in remote areas.31 Scotts Run operators were also able to economiz on housing and other community needs, since many miners and their families lived outside the camps, and miners commuted to the area via bus, trolley, or rail service. Few operators bothered to construct sturdy housing, and camp residences were noteworthy more for the speed with which they were constructed than for comfort.32
The density of mining development on Scotts Run was striking, and unusual leasing practices contributed to this phenomenon. Most landholders leased coal land to operators by the acre; on Scotts Run landowners leased both by the acre and by the seam, thus subdividing the coal. Two investors, the Cochran Coal and Coke Company and W. R. Higgins, illustrate this pattern. Cochran leased to several different operators, including Connellsville By-Product, Cleveland and Morgantown, Osage, and Pursglove, in different seams. This unusual practice occasionally caused both engineering and legal problems, as a 1924 lawsuit by Chaplin Collieries against the Pursglove Coal Mining Company attests. Chaplin charged that the Pursglove company had damaged the Sewickley seam directly above the Pittsburgh seam in which the defendant operated. The court enjoined Pursglove from mining "in such a manner and in such a way as to unnecessarily injure the plaintiff and destroy its mine and endanger the lives of its employees." This case attracted the interest of the entire industry as it was the first action involving the protection of the coal seam overlying the one being mined. The trade journal noted that "practically all of the land in Cass district in the coal belt has both Sewickley and Pittsburgh coal under it and in most instances the veins are owned by different parties."33 Higgins, a Cleveland capitalist and operator, leased Sewickley coal to the Bunker Coal Company and its successors, while two companies in which he held interest, Oakhill Colliery and the Higgins Coal Company, operated in the Waynesburg seam overhead. Higgins's success came as a landowner rather than as an operator, as both the Oakhill Colliery and the Higgins Coal Company vanished by 1925.34
At the end of World War I in 1918, Monongalia County's annual production totaled 1,687,153 long tons, more than quadruple the 1914 figure. The surge in production from the new Scotts Run mines accounted for part of this gain. By 1920, production was up 59 percent to 2,878,052 tons, and the next year, another 65 percent increase brought production to 4,398,929 long tons. This extraordinary growth occurred at the same time national coal production slowed following the war boom. Production in other West Virginia fields actually decreased during this period. Monongalia Countys gain of 1,520,877 tons from 1920 to 1921 was almost double the net gain of 765,288 long tons for the state.35
Scotts Run defied the trends of the market by continuing to thrive and expand. The Sewickley seam's suitability as a steam fuel helps to explain this paradox. Dr. Israel C. White, a Monongalia County native and West Virginia State Geologist, waxed eloquent when he described the Sewickley seam in a coal trade journal:
But what shall we say of Morgantown's future, where a fourth coal of commercial thickness is added by dame nature to the three which Fairmont possesses, and these four at the height of their development in thickness and purity! It is the presence of these four splendid coal seams . . . that has brought about the most wonderful coal development . . . that the entire Appalachian field has ever witnessed.
. . . The Sewickley coal [in this region] . . . has a peculiar physical structure which renders it even more efficient as a fuel than even the Pittsburgh coal at its best, viz., the richly bituminous layers of the coal are separated by many layers of mineral charcoal one-sixteenth to one-quarter-inch thickness, often termed "mother coal" by the miners. This composition prevents fusion of the coal on the grate bars and hence it burns up without clinker into a fine ash. . . . The Empire State Express of the New York Central Line, one of the fastest trains in the world, is reported to use this coal exclusivly when available. It attains its maximum development in both purity and thickness in the Scott's [sic] and Robinson's Run regions, near Morgantown, often having a thickness of seven feet of clean coal with a splendid roof, while the great Pittsburgh bed, only 100 feet lower, has a thickness of eight and often nine feet. . . .
What the future has in store for this remarkable coal field remains to be seen. It has made history in the coal industry since the day it was opened.36
Such enthusiastic boosterism from the respected geologist, widely known for his sober and objective assessment of particular coals, aided the marketing of Scotts Run coal, particularly the Sewickley. White was not unbiased in this matter, however, having held considerable financial interest in Sewickley coal land in the Fairmont field in adjacent Marion County.37 Railroads throughout the East and even Canada sent their fuel inspectors to Morgantown and let contracts for locomotive fuel. Throughout the early 1920s, market reports in The Black Diamond noted the arrival of these sales prospects in Morgantown. Among the railroads that used Scotts Run Sewickley coal in their locomotives were the Pennsylvania; the New York Central; the Canadian Pacific; the Grand Trunk; the Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo; the Delaware and Hudson; the Lehigh Valley; the Central of New Jersey; and the Northern Pacific.38 Scotts Run Sewickley soon established an unmatched reputation as a locomotive fuel for discerning railroads, and local producers found an enviable, self-promoting niche market. Since locomotive boilers and steam-power plants operate under the same principles, Sewickley coal was well suited as a steam-generating fuel for other industrial consumers, as well as to fire the kilns used in manufacturing Portland cement and brick.39 Although Sewickley coal comprised only 20 percent of the county's coal reserves, it accounted for half its production in the early 1920s.40
Despite the local significance of the Sewickley seam, the Pittsburgh was the regions mainstay. A versatile domestic, steam, and industrial fuel, Pittsburgh coal had a wide market in the Middle Atlantic states and the Midwest. The "lake trade" was another major market for the field during this period. Coal shipped to American ports on the Great Lakes was loaded onto freighters and bound for Canadian ports, where it entered the coal market in Canadas most populous region.41 Competition for this trade became fierce as production capacity exceeded market consumption in the early 1920s and coal prices fell. With Pittsburgh coal, the Scotts Run mines competed solely on the basis of price with others in the market, which included the entire eastern coal industry. Significantly, they also competed among themselves.42
Even as the Scotts Run coal industry expanded production, the market conditions that had encouraged its growth were changing. New boiler technologies that efficiently burned small sizes of coal following World War I stimulated demand for "run of mine" coal which was shipped without screening or sizing.43 In addition, new combustion technology also improved efficiency, netting several key industries considerable savings and reductions in fuel requirements during the 1920s. Railroads reduced fuel consumption for freight service 18 percent and for passenger service 13 percent from 1920 to 1925. Electric utilities reduced the amount of coal needed to generate a kilowatt-hour by 34 percent during the same period. While increased efficiency by itself reduced demand at least 11 percent through the 1920s, oil and natural gas consumption accelerated, making inroads into coal's traditional markets. Automobiles fueled with gasoline began to supplant rail travel, and fuel oil and natural gas furnaces reduced domestic demand for coal.44
In 1923, among the thirty-seven mines in the narrow confines of Scotts Run were several large operations. Brady-Warner Coal Corporation, Connellsville By-Product Coal Company, and Cleveland and Morgantown Coal Company hd ties to out-of-state capital with coal interests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, southern West Virginia, and elsewhere. Chaplin Collieries Company, Gilbert-Davis Coal Company, Soper-Mitchell Coal Company, and Shriver Coal Company were controlled by capitalists whose interests were largely local. There were also many marginal operators. Several companies expanded and consolidated operations to adjust to the market. Favorable conditions for the Scotts Run operators ended in 1923, however, and the following year ushered in an era of increased production with dwindling markets and restive labor, two factors that until this time had little affected the development of the field. Only the strong or the stubborn companies survived the next few years.45
In early 1924, Scotts Run maintained the most amazing concentration of coal production in the industry. The Brady-Warner Coal Corporation's Osage No. 1 and 2 mines worked both the Pittsburgh and Sewickley seams. Chaplin Collieries operated two drift mines further up the Run, the Louise in the Sewickley and Virginia in the Pittsburgh; to the northwest, the Cleveland-based Connellsville By-Product Coal Company worked a busy Pittsburgh slope mine. Across the road were the No. 1 and 2 mines, Pittsburgh and Sewickley, of the Cleveland and Morgantown Coal Company at the Pursglove mine camp. Less than one-half mile further west, the Gilbert-Davis Coal Company operated six of its own mines in the Pittsburgh, Sewickley, and Waynesburg seams where Guston Run enters Scotts Run and leased the adjacent South Penn, Anchor, Guston Run, and Greenmont mines. This represented the practical extension of mining in the Pittsburgh seam.46
Next to the Diamond Coal Company's Liberty drift mine was the "old" Berry mine, the original mine on Scotts Run, now operated by the Soper-Mitchell Coal Company. Soper-Mitchell also operated one slope mine in the nearby town of Jere. The Shriver Coal Company operated another slope mine just a few hundred yards west of Jere, with a small camp nestled in the hollow on the north side of the road. Continuing up the Run was the tipple of the Pittsburgh-based Bunker Coal Company, which mined the Sewickley seam through a slope entry. The Cassville area was the site of several operations mining the Waynesburg seam through drift mines. Among these were the twin tipples of the Oakhill Colliery and Higgins Coal Company and the Crest Coal Company on the north side of the Run opposite the Bunker mine. At Cassville the railroad continued west past the Continental Coal Company's as-yet-unopened Brock shaft mine.47 Total production from these mines was slightly less than four million tons of coal annually.48
Later in 1924, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) made Scotts Run a focal point in its struggle to maintain its tenuous hold on the Fairmont field, by then the last stand of union mining in West Virginia.49 The ensuing 1924 strike and lockout ended a relatively peaceful era in labor relations on Scotts Run and initiated a tragic series of events that resulted in privation and bitterness among the miners and bankruptcy for most of the operators.
Although the union first sent organizers to the Fairmont field in 1892, nearly a quarter of a century passed before it succeeded in negotiating a contract. Persistent attempts to install the miners' union met determined resistance from hostile operators and sympathetic judges wielding injunctions. The Consolidation Coal Company set the tone of labor relations in the field. Clarence W. Watson, who controlled Consolidation, finally acquiesced to the UMWA in 1918, and the rest of the field followed suit.50
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the wartime Fuel Administration refereed the Washington Agreement between the union and the operators, which set day wages at five dollars. This scale was to continue in effect until April 1920 or for the duration of the war. The Fuel Administration also regulated coal prices, but its determination to maximize production virtually guaranteed operators handsome returns on investments. Even marginal operators profited tremendously during the war. In West Virginia, the average price per ton in 1916 was ninety-seven cents. In 1917, the averge price had risen to $2.02 per ton and to $2.53 in 1918. On the spot market, prices reached as high as fourteen dollars a ton.51
Although armistice was declared in November 1918, a year later the Treaty of Versailles had not yet been approved by Congress. Without an official end to the war, miners earning power steadily dropped and the UMWA grew restive. The union, at its annual convention in September, demanded a new contract that would raise wages to meet war-induced inflation and the correspondingly higher cost of living. The Wilson administration, wanting particularly to control the wage/price spiral, and the operators demurred. In response, the miners struck nationwide on November 1, 1919.52
Although twenty thousand Fairmont field miners joined the strike, the thriving Scotts Run district seemed unaffected. The Black Diamond reported that a large number of Scotts Run miners were opposed to the strike, and "while virtually all the miners in Monongalia County did suspend operations Nov. 1, mines on Scotts [sic] Run continued to operate under police protection furnished by the state and the county of Monongalia, there being about twenty-two mines on Scotts Run."53 The strike ended six weeks later with an initial 14 percent increase in miners' wages and an additional award to be determined by a federal investigating commission. The non-participation of the Scotts Run district rankled the union, and an aggressive organizing campaign in March 1920 quickly brought these mines into the UMWA fold. The commission's final award, a 27 percent increase over the 1917 scale, no doubt enhanced the Scotts Run miners interest in the union.54
The nation's coal production had increased significantly during the war. The overdeveloped industry produced one billion tons annually with a market potential of slightly more than half this figure.55 Evidence of overproduction rapidly became apparent after shortages of coal caused by the winter strike and higher coal prices prompted a rush of production that glutted the national market by mid-summer 1920, despite an insufficient number of railroad cars that idled whole mining districts. A Guston Run miner, writing to the United Mine Workers Journal in June, noted that many mines on Scotts Run had shut down and warned union brothers not to seek work there. He also observed that several of the newest mines had not yet been organized.56
The postwar wage agreement continued in force from April 1920 until April 1922, during which time the most severe business depression since 1893 reduced coal prices by nearly half.57 Events in southern West Virginia, particularly the Logan-Mingo strike and the Armed March of 1921, had strengthened the resolve of many operators to resist the union, and public sentiment turned against the miners following the march. In contract negotiations in February and March 1922, the union requested that wages remain unchanged, while operators wanted to reduce the scale, citing the depressed coal market. Northern West Virginia operators, no longer willing to link their contracts to those for Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, requested a separate conference. Frank Keeney, UMWA District 17 president, met with officials of the Northern West Virginia Coal Operators Association (NWVCOA) in Baltimore on March 13 but reported that he had no authority to negotiate a separate contract.58
The 1922 strike began in the Fairmont field with eighty-four union mines still open. By the end of April, the number of mines continuing non-union operations decreased to seventy. Mines along the Morgantown and Wheeling Railroad remained closed while much of the strike's drama took place just across the state line in the coke region of Connellsville and Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in late April and May. Miners at most of the large multi-seam mines on Scotts Run -- Brady, Cleveland and Morgantown, Connellsville By-Product, and Gilbert-Davis -- joined the strike. However, the Bunker and Liberty mines, which mined only the Sewickley seam, continued operations without union contracts, and Bunker was a strictly open-shop operation.59
Most of the union mines remained idle during the strike, but in June, Brady bgan eviction proceedings against striking miners and resumed operations as an open-shop mine.60 As the strike continued into the summer, the Chaplin, Sessamine, Randall, Ethel, Shriver, Oak Hill, Higgins, Cass Hill, Bingamon Valley, and Moser mines produced non-union coal in an increasingly lucrative market. When the UMWA announced a meeting at Cleveland in August to settle the strike, Scotts Run's largest operators broke ranks and attended the conference. Connellsville By-Product, Cleveland and Morgantown, Brady, Gilbert-Davis, and Soper-Mitchell petitioned the UMWA to join the Central Competitive Field. Since these operators were the only West Virginia mines represented at the conference, this move caused consternation among the other operators in northern West Virginia, who attributed it to "influences in Cleveland and Pittsburgh which are anxious not to have West Virginia mines enter into too close competition with their extensive holdings in the present Central Field."61
The strike ended on August 15, and the largest mines resumed immediately. Within several days, Clinton, Guston Run, Hickman-Miller, Liberty, and Chaplin went back to work under the Cleveland Agreement. When the union signatories resumed operations with day wages unchanged at slightly under seven dollars, they did so at a competitive disadvantage to the non-union mines toward the head of the Run, which were no longer bound to the union wage scale and paid 25 to 35 percent less.62 The strike had driven a wedge between the mines with out-of-state interests friendly to the union and the locally controlled non-union mines, exposing a break in the operators' united front. This diversity of interests would become even more pronounced as competition for markets increased.
By 1923, the open-shop movement had taken root. I. C. White noted in August that "[the Scotts Run field] has one distinction that is unique . . . union and non-union mines have been working peaceably, almost side by side, since the settlement of the strike last summer. During the strike a number of non-union mines operated with but little trouble at a time when at least two thousand union miners were striking within a distance of less than three miles."63
Disaster came in 1923 for the coal industry, especially for mines with union contracts. Non-union coal, notably that from eastern Kentucky and the smokeless coalfields of West Virginia, invaded traditional union-mined coal markets with a lower-cost and often higher-quality product. While Scotts Run coal formerly competed with the Georges Creek (Maryland), Upper Potomac (West Virginia), and Somerset (Pennsylvania) fields, it now vied with New River and Pocahontas smokeless coals. Though prices remained between $1.15 a ton for fine coal and $2.00 for the larger prepared sizes, the smokeless coals entered northern markets at even lower prices.64 The April contract season, when railroads and other large buyers customarily contracted for fuel, passed without the usual sales activity. With falling prices, many customers preferred to buy from the spot market.65
Scotts Run mines shipping railroad fuel received more bad news in 1923 when the Interstate Commerce Commission ended the practice of "assigned cars." During times of high demand for coal and car shortages, the railroads distributed cars to mines on a prorated basis. However, mines loading railroad fuel typically received a full car supply. The Pennsylvania and New York Central often gave Scotts Run mines more cars than they could load, while neighboring mines shipping commercial coal canceled shifts for lack of cars. The ICC ordered this discriminatory practice stopped.66
As the Cleveland Agreement approached the end of its term in early 1924, the operator associations representing union mines called for a reduction in wages not only to compete with non-union producers but to remain in business. Shortly before the agreement expired, both the NWVCOA and the Monongahela Coal Association met in joint session.67 The operators could not agree on a strategy to deal with the UMWA's demand to hold the line on wages. Soper-Mitchell, Gilbert-Davis, Pursglove, and Connellsville By-Product were willing to negotiate with the union, ut Brady-Warner and Chaplin were ready to begin open-shop operations.68 The failure of this conference signaled the effective end of the Monongahela Coal Association as representing the united interests of the Scotts Run operators.
The subsequent strike or, as the union termed it, "organizing campaign," began on April 1 and proved to be the turning point for labor relations on Scotts Run. Though previous strikes had been relatively peaceful, the 1924 strike was quite different. Exactly one month into the strike, Brady-Warner posted notices at its Brady mine near Lowsville, stating the company would resume operations at the 1917 wage but not under a UMWA contract. Miners who did not wish to work under this plan were to vacate their houses.69 This action triggered a chain of violent confrontations, culminating in armed clashes at Brady between strikers and mine guards on May 22 and again on June 19. This early strife foreshadowed events on Scotts Run.70
On May 8, both the Pursglove mines and the Connellsville By-Product mine resumed operations under the New York Agreement, a modification of the Jacksonville Agreement between the UMWA and northern and midwestern operators. It extended the expiring Cleveland Agreement until April 1927, permitting the Monongahela operators to lower wage rates incrementally.71 On August 27, Brady-Warner posted notices at Osage, identical to those at its Brady mines, for work to resume September 2. When the miners did not report, Brady-Warner began evicting strikers from their homes. Chaplin Collieries followed the same course beginning September 11 and reopened with non-union labor in early October.72
Scotts Run presented the confusing spectacle of non-union mines at work under the 1917 scale, non-union mines being struck for higher wages, union mines at work under the New York scale, and union miners picketing non-union mines. Evictions, tent colonies and barracks, injunctions, shootings, dynamiting, and arrests of miners and deputies completed the sense of turmoil.73 By late 1924, continued low prices caused mild panic among the operators, whose balance sheets showed consistent losses. E. H. Gilbert, president of Gilbert-Davis, predicted a revision in the union scale at a gathering of Morgantown businessmen and coal operators.74 In November, Joseph Pursglove told UMWA president John L. Lewis that "something must be done [because] all the men who are operating union coal mines are going bankrupt. . . . All the union operators are in bad shape financially and it certainly will not be a good thing for the industry as a whole . . . for these men to go bankrupt."75
The situation worsened in 1925. The spring contract season stimulated "infinitesimal" demand, and non-union as well as union mines worked drastically reduced schedules or closed altogether.76 Van Bittner, the UMWA representative for District 17, again issued a strike call for April 1, signifying that the previous drive had failed. Union operations responded by closing down entirely, claiming that the wage scale prevented them from breaking even. Gilbert-Davis, Connellsville, Pursglove, and Soper-Mitchell laid off 2,240 miners.77
After the strike threat passed, Connellsville resumed operations on a railroad fuel contract. Pursglove also reopened with union labor by the middle of May. Soper-Mitchell, however, announced in late April that it would resume operations only under open-shop conditions and leased its Berry and Jere mines to the Monon Gas Coal Corporation to avoid abrogating its union contract. Though the names of its officers changed, control of the mines remained the same.78
Simultaneously, Gilbert-Davis announced that it was severing relations with the union and would also continue operations only under the "American Plan" or with non-union labor. Its officers were considering leasing operations to a non-union company when, on April 27, three of their tipples caught fire, starting a brush fire that threatened the Gilbert-Davis camp of seventy houses. The fires were put out at 2:30 a.m., after all three tipples and several houses were destroyed. Gilbert-Davis was only partially insured for the estimated two hundred thousand dollr loss, and investigators determined that arson was the cause of the fire. Though the union denied responsibility, it received the blame in the local press.79 Gilbert-Davis built a new steel tipple, and on July 9, Bittner announced that the company would resume operations under union contract. Work started at its No. 1 and 2 mines on July 23.80
The last signatories of the New York Agreement repudiated their contracts in 1926, as Gilbert-Davis, Connellsville, and Pursglove shut down April 1, then reopened on a non-union basis. The coal market partially revived in 1926, owing to shortages caused by anthracite and British miners' strikes, but the entire field worked under strictly open-shop conditions after 1927. Wages fell to less than the 1917 levels for miners as coal prices dropped well below break-even levels for the operators. Wage reductions achieved by the elimination of the UMWA from Scotts Run did not provide the anticipated benefits. Brady-Warner went into receivership in 1927, and the Liberty mine closed permanently that year.81 The Talbot-Chambers Coal Company succeeded the Bunker Coal Company in 1925 and operated less than one year before being sold to the Dragon Coal Company which in turn folded in 1928.82 Then, after five unrelieved years of depression in the coal industry, the Great Depression settled over the entire nation.
The coal market during the Depression should have discouraged new operations on Scotts Run, but new companies obtained leases on abandoned mines, cleaned them out, and began limited operations. Desperate, hungry miners, willing to work for any wage, returned to the mines for one or two days a week. The Jere mine resumed operations as the Scotts Run Fuel Corporation in 1929, only to close in 1930, and was reborn in 1932 as the Sunrise Coal Company, operating until 1936. The Guston Run Mining Company took over operation of the Gilbert-Davis No. 1 mine in 1931 and produced over 125,000 tons each year until it shut down in 1935. The former Gilbert-Davis No. 4 operated briefly as the Gilbert Hill Fuel Company in 1930 and the No. 6 as the Ernest Coal Company from 1925 to 1931.83
While the depressed coal industry devastated the lives of miners, it also took its toll on the operators. Samuel D. Brady died in 1931, not long after Brady-Warner went bankrupt amidst a renewed period of labor strife.84 This unrest was partially resolved as the previously most militant non-union operators, now anxious to stabilize their industry, signed a UMWA contract in 1931 with a grateful Van Bittner. One operator who had survived the bad times with the union remained the lone holdout.85 Connellsville By-Product president James Paisley, who had broken publicly with John L. Lewis in 1926, absolutely refused to sign the 1931 contract. Paisley put down focused strikes with tear gas and machine guns and forced his employees to patronize the company store.86 On December 1, 1932, he died at the age of fifty-six with an estate, it was rumored, of $2.5 million in Monongalia County property holdings alone. However, upon settlement of his affairs, the entire estate was appraised at sixty-six thousand dollars.87 Stephen Arkwright, Paisley's second-in-command, died on December 25.88 Connellsville By-Product then became Pursglove Gas Coal Corporation's No. 5 mine, with union labor. The merger, one of the first large combinations on Scotts Run, came too late to help stabilize the industry there.
Some companies, however, continued steady production during the difficult period from 1925 to 1935. Chaplin Collieries, for example, produced between 165,000 and 289,000 tons annually, with an average yearly production of 233,727 tons. Pursglove's four mines also maintained similarly steady production. The most notable production came from Continentals Brock No. 4 shaft mine. In 1926, its first full year of production, it raised 542,000 tons of Sewickley coal while still under development. In 1928, Brock hoisted 1.03 million tons and in 1930, 1.06 million tons, making it the largest mine in West Virginia.89
Smaller operations continued into the Depression seemingly unaffected by economic conditions. The Shriver mine produced 43,000 tons in 1923, its first fll year of operation. By 1926, production had climbed to 167,000 tons, then dipped below 120,000 tons for 1927 and 1928, climbed back to 162,000 in 1930, and gradually declined to 80,000 tons in 1936 as the mine worked out. Tiny Hickman-Miller Coal Company's Baby mine had its best year in 1927; between 1920 and 1936, its annual production averaged only 16,300 tons.90 Two factors might account for this phenomenon. The possibility certainly exists that these steady-output producers held secure contracts during this period, accounting for the reasonably consistent production from year to year. A more certain factor was mechanization.
The early days of the Scotts Run field were also the final days of traditional mining methods. The room and pillar method of undercutting the coal face by hand, blasting the coal down, loading it by hand into pit cars, and conveying it to the outside by mules comprised the operation of the earliest Scotts Run mines.91 As late as summer 1921, the South Penn Coal Company and almost all Waynesburg seam mines still used these methods exclusively.92
Mechanizations first wave came in the form of coal-cutting machines, which functioned like huge electric chainsaws to undercut the coal seam. These devices were first used in the Fairmont field in J. N. Camden's Monongah Coal and Coke mines as early as 1890.93 Samuel Brady's Osage mine opened in 1918 with two cutting machines, and its entire production of 19,701 tons that year was produced with machine undercutting.94 These devices quickly became ubiquitous, and no mine that survived the mid-1920s operated without them. By 1927, Chaplin used seven cutting machines in its Louise mine and Continental's Brock mine used ten.95 The coal, once undercut and blasted, was then loaded by hand and hauled to the tipple. The early Scotts Run mines used mules for this task, but replaced them with a variety of electrically powered main-haulage and gathering locomotives. The earlier locomotives received power through a trolley pole, and by the mid-1920s, some were powered by storage batteries. Again, the Osage Coal Company was the technological leader in this area, installing an electric haulage locomotive in 1918 with the mines opening.96
By the early to mid-1920s, all of the commercial mines had invested in mechanical cutting and haulage. However, loading coal for transport to the tipple, the most labor-intensive step in mining, was also the most resistant to mechanization. Coal-loading machines first appeared on Scotts Run in 1922, when both Shriver, then still under development, and Gilbert-Davis bought Joy loading machines for testing. Though the machines performed well, both companies abandoned their use within two years, as wage reductions negated their profitability.97 In 1926, Connellsville By-Product introduced mechanical loaders and conveyors, and by 1927, Shriver was again using mechanical loaders. In 1928, Continental purchased a Jones loader for the Brock mine, then designed and built its own track-mounted loader. All other companies in the field still relied on labor-intensive hand loading.98 The chronically poor market conditions continued to eliminate companies that could not afford to mechanize. By 1937, only eight mines owned by four companies remained on Scotts Run, and these companies had completely mechanized by 1935.99 The introduction of loading machines in coal mines both increased productivity and decreased the number of men on the payroll; the miners who remained were paid by the day rather than by the ton. In Monongalia County, only 2,802 miners worked in 1937, compared to 3,952 in 1923.100 Thus, mechanization added still more miners to the ranks of the unemployed.
By the early 1930s, the coal industry was no longer the object of wonder and amazement on Scotts Run. The destitute miners and their families who inhabited the ramshackle houses captured the attention of Protestant missionaries and the American Friends Service Committee in 1931 and the Roosevelt administration after 1933. Relief workers found deplorable living conditions on Scotts Run, and by the time Eleanor Roosevelt visited the stricken area in August 1933, it had become a gruesome caricature of the blight theDepression had spread over the country.101 Stripped of its industrial glory, Scotts Run became a bleak reminder to the public, the industry, and New Deal policymakers of the folly of unchecked development.
1. Thomas A. Coode and Dennis E. Fabbri, "The New Deal's Arthurdale Project in West Virginia," West Virginia History 36 (July 1975): 291-92.
2. Over time, Scotts Run came to refer not only to the stream, but also the valley, the coalfield, and the string of coal communities that extended from the mouth of the stream to Cassville.
3. West Virginia Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1923 (Charleston: Jarrett Printing, 1923), 113-15. All Department of Mines reports are hereafter cited by year.
4. Joseph E. Finley, The Corrupt Kingdom: The Rise and Fall of the United Mine Workers (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972), 59-60.
5. Howard N. Eavenson, The Pittsburgh Coal Bed -- Its Early History and Development (New York: American Institute of Mining Engineers, 1938), 1.
6. James McFarlane, Coal Regions of America: Their Topography, Geology, and Development (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1873), 267.
7. William Barton Rogers, "State Geological Report" (1840), 86-92, quoted in Richard Cowling Taylor, Statistics of Coal: The Geographical and Geological Distribution of Mineral Combustibles or Fossil Fuel (Philadelphia: J. W. Moore, 1848), 41.
8. Rogers's five-foot seam is the Sewickley seam, the "third" is the Redstone seam, and the "highest" is the Waynesburg seam. Howard N. Eavenson, The First Century and a Quarter of the American Coal Industry (Pittsburgh: privately published, 1942), 418.
9. William Barton Rogers, "Report of the Progress of the Geological Survey of the State of Virginia for the Year 1840," in A Reprint of Annual Reports and Other Papers on the Geology of the Virginias (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1884), 498.
10. C. E. Lawall, Ivan A. Given, and H. G. Kennedy, Mining Methods in West Virginia, Engineering Experiment Station Research Bulletin No. 4 (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ., 1929), 15-16.
11. West Virginia Geological Survey, Characteristics of Minable Coals of West Virginia, Vol. 8, ed. by A. J. W. Headlee and J. P. Nolting, Jr. (Morgantown: WVGS, 1940), 9-10.
12. Michael E. Workman, "The Fairmont Coal Field," in West Virginia Coal Context, Technical Report No. 10 (Morgantown: Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology, forthcoming), 18.
13. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923; Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 28.
14. A long ton is equivalent to 2,240 pounds, or 1.12 net tons, and was the coal industry's standard unit of measurement until the mid-1920s. Department of Mines Annual Reports give figures in long tons until 1925. Confusion was compounded by the fact that most companies paid their miners for long tons produced but marketed short tons.
15. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923.
16. Charles E. Lawall, "Modernization in the Scotts Run and Maidsville Districts, West Virginia," Mining Congress Journal 24(August 1938): 17-18.
17. Records of Incorporation, Book 2, 79 and Grantee Index to Deeds to Dec. 31, 1935, Book C, 173-80, both in Monongalia County Courthouse, Morgantown, all county court records cited herein are at the Monongalia County Courthouse. By 1902, the Cochran family of Dawson, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, had an illustrious history in the Connellsville coking coal district. In 1843, James and Sample Cochran produced coke in the first successful beehive ovens and sold their product in Cincinnati for seven cents a bushel. Subsequent coke markets developed much closer to the coking coal region. The Cochrans later founded the Washington Coal and Coke Company and a complex of mines, coke works, a company town at Star Junction, and a service town at Dawson. Sara Cochran, daughter-in-law of James and an officer of the Cochran Coal and Coke landholding company, built the imposing Linden Hall manor during the boom years. It serves today as the United Steel Workers of America's conference center and retreat. Sarah H.Heald, ed., Fayette County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites (Washington, DC: HABS/HAER, Americas Industrial Heritage Project, 1990), 10, 70-74.
18. Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 34.
19. Data on individual companies was compiled from a variety of sources and recorded in a Microsoft Works v.2.00 database in MacIntosh format. This data was then used to find relationships among the various companies. Sources include Monongalia County deed books, grantor and grantee indexes, and records of incorporation, Keystone Publishing Company coal catalogs, West Virginia Department of Mines Annual Reports, West Virginia Geological Survey reports (primarily Monongalia County, 1932), the issue of Black Diamond noted above, and the Central States Publishing Company's "Northern West Virginia Coal Field Map" (Columbus, OH, 1923). Hereafter referred to as Scotts Run Database.
20. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923.
22. Ibid.; Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1917, 80.
23. Records of Incorporation, Book 4, 284 (Scott Run), 413 (Berry); Lawall, "Modernization in the Scotts Run District," 17-18. Lawall notes that many of these early mines were sold for huge profits before they were fully developed. Both Chaplin and Lee Shriver sold their early ventures and went on to develop larger mines.
24. Lawall, "Modernization in the Scotts Run District," 18.
25. Records of Incorporation, Book 4, 287.
26. A drift is a horizontal mine opening which opens directly into the coal seam, usually on the side of a hill. A slope mine accesses the coal seam by an incline when the seam is lower than the access point. A shaft mine also accesses a deep seam, but by a vertical tunnel or shaft. A drift mine is the simplest and most cost-effective method of access; slope and shaft mines are more costly to develop in terms of both time and capital. Records of Incorporation, Book 4, 314; Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1918, 94; Earl H. Core, The Monongalia Story: A Bicentennial History, Vol. 4: Industrialization (Parsons: McClain Printing Co., 1976), 457.
27. Records of Incorporation, Book 4, 372 (Elkins-Stone), 345 (Cleveland and Morgantown), 329 (Chaplin). Joseph Pursglove bought extensive coal acreage and resold it to his company. He also leased land to the Elkins-Stone Coal Company. A close relationship existed between the two companies, as Stephen F. Elkins, president and superintendent of Elkins-Stone, married Anna Pursglove. The Elkins-Stone mine became Cleveland and Morgantown's No. 2 mine in 1923. Elkins also had extensive coal interests in the Freeport and Kittanning seams on the Morgantown and Kingwood Railroad. Deeds, Book 165, 89, 161 and Book 166, 148.
28. Records of Incorporation, Book 4, 329, 431 and Book 5, 70; Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1918 and 1920.
29. Scotts Run Database. This relationship becomes apparent when grouping data by seam and production.
30. Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 91.
31. Keystone Consolidated Publishing Company, "Directory of Mines," The Coal Catalog: Including Directory of Mines (Pittsburgh: Keystone Consolidated Company, 1920), 874-924, hereafter referred to as Keystone Catalog. The directory contains listings for each mine in the state and reports, among other statistics, its source of power.
32. Core, The Monongalia Story, 442, 456.
33. Black Diamond, 8 March and 24 May 1924.
34. Deeds, Book 195, 334, and plat; Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1924, 71-73 and 1925, 100-01.
35. Black Diamond, 21 January 1922. The "Mine Wars" in southern West Virginia occurred during this period and considerably suppressed production in that region.
36. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923.
37. Morgantown Post, 21 December 1921. White had no traceable direct financial interest in the Scotts Run field. However, he was socially connected with a number of the operators, as evidenced by the records of incorporation of the Morgantown Country Club, which he co-chartered with them.
38. See, for example, Black Diamond, 23 May and 13 June 1925. Gilbert-Davis, Chaplin, and Soper-Mitchell all touted the advantages of Sewickley coal as locomotive fuel.
39. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923.
40. Chester Zimolzak, "Changing Ownership Patterns in the West Virginia Coal Industry: Oligopoly and its Geographic Impact," in West Virginia and Appalachia: Selected Readings, ed. by Howard Adkins, Steve Ewing, and Chester Zimolzak (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1977), 175-76; Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1924, 138 and 1928, 114. In 1924, Monongalia County produced 3.3 million tons of Sewickley coal and 3.9 million tons of Pittsburgh coal. Forty-five percent of the countys 7.4 million tons was Sewickley production. This proportion remained relatively constant through the 1920s. By 1928, 3.7 million of the 8 million tons of Monongalia County coal mined, or 46.2 percent, was Sewickley production.
41. Keystone Catalog, 1930, 818-22. The maritime provinces received coal from New Brunswick mines and Alberta mines supplied coal for the western provinces, but consumers in the Great Lakes regions of Ontario and Quebec found it cheaper to buy American coal.
42. "Testimony of Van A. Bittner," in Hearings Pursuant to S. Res. 105, A Resolution to Investigate Conditions in the Coal Fields of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, vol. 1, Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce, 70th Congress, 1st. sess., 1928 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1928), 1069, hereafter referred to as Conditions in the Coal Fields; Edward Eyre Hunt, F. G. Tryon, and Joseph H. Willits, What the Coal Commission Found (Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Co., 1925), 275-79.
43. Keith Dix, What's a Coal Miner to Do?: The Mechanization of Coal Mining (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1988), 127. This minimized the expense of tipple equipment, an important consideration for the marginal operator.
44. Richard Mark Simon, "The Development of Underdevelopment: The Coal Industry and its Effect on the West Virginia Economy, 1880-1930" (Ph. D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1979), 41-42; "Testimony of John L. Lewis," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 1, 375.
45. Scotts Run Database.
46. Ibid.; Black Diamond, 11 August 1923, especially "Location of Mines in the Scotts Run Field."
47. Records of Incorporation, Book 5, 206. The Brock mine was begun in 1920 by former Governor and Morgantown attorney William E. Glasscock, who chartered the Glasscock Collieries with a capital stock of two hundred thousand dollars and began the lengthy process of developing the only shaft mine on Scotts Run. By late 1923, the mine was still not operational and was sold to the Continental Coal Company. See Deeds, Book 192, 213. Within a few years it became the most productive mine in West Virginia.
48. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923, especially "Location of Mines in the Scotts Run Field. "
49. By 1924, the UMWA had been extirpated from the Kanawha coalfield where the union had its only presence in southern West Virginia. See "Testimony of Van A. Bittner," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 1, 1058-72, passim.
50. Richard D. Lunt, Law and Order vs. the Miners: West Virginia, 1907-1933 (1979; reprint, Charleston: Appalachian Editions, 1992), 70.
51. Black Diamond, 5 January 1924; Lunt, Law and Order, 64-66. A spot market is a contract for immediate delivery at prevailing prices.
52. Lunt, Law and Order, 80.
53. Black Diamond, 8 November 1919.
54. Coal Age, 8 April 1920; Lunt, Law and Order, 90.
55. Finley, The Corrupt Kingdom, 59-60.
56. United Mine Workers Journal, 1 July 1920.
57. Simon, "The Development of Underdevelopment," 45; Black Diamond, 5 January 1924; Hunt et al., What the Coal Commission Found, 184-85.
58. Black Diamond, 8 April 1922. Since 1898, the Central Competitive Field (CCF) contract, comprised of the union mines in Illinois, Indiana, and portions of Pennsylvania, had been the benchmark for negotiations in other fields, which occurred only after the CCF contracthad been completed. As differences among fields became more pronounced, outlying union fields became less willing to let conditions in the CCF dictate the terms of their contracts.
59. Black Diamond, 29 April 1922; Morgantown Post, 1, 2, and 27 April 1922.
60. Morgantown Post, 9 May and 12 June 1922.
61. Ibid., 7, 8, and 16 August 1922.
62. Ibid., 13 July and 15-18 and 22 August 1922.
63. Black Diamond, 11 August 1923.
64. Ibid., 13 December 1924.
66. United States Coal Commission, Principal Findings and Recommendations, Part I (Washington, DC: GPO, 1923), 210-12, 239-42; Black Diamond, 7 July 1923.
67. Morgantown Post, 8 March 1924. The Monongahela Coal Association had been formed as an adjunct of the Northern West Virginia Coal Operators Association to represent the special interests of operators whose output was shipped by the Monongahela Railway. "Testimony of Van A. Bittner," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 1, 1072.
68. Morgantown Post, 1 April 1924; Black Diamond, 5 April 1924.
69. Morgantown Post, 1 May 1924.
70. Black Diamond, 28 June 1924. See also "Testimony of Samuel D. Brady," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 2, 2080-81 and Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 131-33 for a complete account of this first "battle" in the 1924-28 mine war.
71. Morgantown Post, 8 May 1924. This took into account the freight rate differential between West Virginia mines and those in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Northern West Virginia Coal Operators Association, whose mines were served by the B&O, negotiated an agreement in Baltimore shortly before the end of the contract. The Monongahela Coal Operators Association, whose output was shipped by the Monongahela Railway, negotiated an identical contract in New York on 3 April 1924, only after they closed their mines. "Testimony of Van A. Bittner," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 1, 1072, 1096, 1120.
72. Morgantown Post, 27 August, 2 September, and 3 October 1924.
73. Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 135. See generally "Testimony of Van A. Bittner" and "Testimony of Samuel D. Brady," Conditions in the Coal Fields, passim.
74. Morgantown Post, 21 November 1924.
75. Melvyn Dubovsky and Warren Van Tine, John L. Lewis (New York: Quadrangle, 1977), 134, quoted in Dix, What's a Coal Miner to Do?, 148.
76. Black Diamond, 28 February 1925.
77. Ibid., 9 April 1925; Fairmont West Virginian, 7 April 1925.
78. Black Diamond, 18 April and 30 May 1925; Fairmont West Virginian, 7 and 20 April 1925.
79. Fairmont West Virginian, 20 April 1925; Fairmont Times, 25 April 1925.
80. Fairmont West Virginian, 23 July 1925; "Blue Print Chart of Union and Non-Union Coal Production, 1923-1925," C. E. Smith Papers, West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University, Morgantown, quoted in Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 135. Smith tabulated forty-two dynamitings and nineteen cases of arson directed at coal properties during 1924 and 1925. Of these companies, only Gilbert-Davis signed a union contract in 1925.
81. "Testimony of Samuel D. Brady," Conditions in the Coal Fields, vol. 2, 2064.
82. Scotts Run Database, data derived primarily from Department of Mines, Annual Reports, 1925-28.
83. Ibid., data derived primarily from Department of Mines, Annual Reports, 1925-35.
84. Morgantown Dominion News, 9 May 1931.
85. Ibid., 30 May and 10 July 1931.
86. Ibid., 19, 26, and 28 August 1932.
87. Ibid., 1 and 8 December 1932.
88. Ibid., 26 December 1932.
89. Scotts Run Database, data derived primarily from Department of Mines, Annual Reports, 1923-35 and Keystone Catalog, 1930.
90. Scotts Run Database, author's calculations from Department of Mines Annual Report data.
91. Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1917, 10-31. County-by-county tabulations show that of the three mines operating on Scotts Run by 30 June 1917, none used any sort of labor-saving machinery.
92. Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1921, 182-83.
93. Workman, "Fairmont Coal Field," 53.
94. Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1918, 152. Osage was the first mine on Scotts Run to use coal-cutting machines. Also that year, the Scott Run Coal Company installed one machine.
95. Keystone Catalog, 1927, 1021, 1025.
96. Department of Mines, Annual Report, 1918, 172. The degree of mechanization at Brady's mine in 1918 reflected its relatively higher capitalization.
97. Lawall, "Modernization in the Scotts Run District," 19.
99. Ibid., 17, 19. These mines were Continental Coal Company's Brock mine, Davis-Wilson Coal Company's Bunker mine, Pursglove Coal Mining Company's No. 1 and 2 mines, Pursglove Gas Coal Company's No. 5 mine, Premier Block Coal Company's Louise mine, and Pioneer Coal Mining Company's Osage No. 1 and 2 mines.
100. Ibid.; Dix, What's a Coal Miner to Do?, 77-79, 84.
101. Coode and Fabbri, "The New Deal's Arthurdale Project," 291-92.
Phil Ross is a contract historian and has an M.A. in history from West Virginia University.
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