Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canoe Run and Cameron Mining-Frances Elizabeth Schwab Murray

My role as Frances Elizabeth Schwab's amanuensis is coming to a close.  
This is the penultimate post of her 


1874-start of mines and coke ovens
1905-end of when mines had good coal
1906-1908-opened other mines, but coal proved no good for coke
1911-1912-end of mines & ovens and Canoe Run

Canoe Run was known as Coal Shutes (ed note: a reference to the coal chutes) until 1903 or 1904 and about that same time Bradytown got its name also.  Up until then Bradytown was always known as The Mines or Mt. Hope. My mother was born in Coal Shutes in 1876.  The mines were operating then.  The Averell Harriman family built the coal chutes and ovens.  Andrew Brady was Superintendent of Emporium Iron Co. which took over Harriman works, named the mines after himself, built new homes on the hill for the miners’ families, about 20 in all. The houses were torn down sometime after World War I.  Also a school was built there and Carolyn Leckner was the first school teacher in Bradytown.  Mr. and Mrs. William Greenalch ran the boarding house up there.  The houses were about one mile from the tipple where the coal was run down into the crusher by the ovens in buckets on wire strung from tipple to crusher tower. A railroad ran from in front of the mine tunnels out tot the switch back beyond the tipple.  They had several high buildings for compressors and pump houses—and barns where they kept the mine mules.  Mules that was used at the mines couldn’t be used at the coke ovens; the mine mules were all smaller for they went way back into the tunnels to haul out coal in small, low cars holding about one ton of coal. 

I’ve gone into the mines with my dad.  At first the tunnel would be about seven feet high, but as you went further, it got lower and lower and, in one, the miners had to lie on their side to get at the coal 18 inches high.  That was called the Brady Drift.  Another was known as the Stewart Drift because it was put in on what was once known as the Stewart farm.  It was built in 1899 or 1900 by a firm from Ridgway, Elk Company I think they were.  The Stewart farm was owned by my great grandfather, Charles Stewart, Sr.

Before the June flood of 1889, there was houses built all along the level ground in Canoe Run, but the flood swept them away.  Later homes were built only on the higher ground. Closer to the ovens.  

There was about 100 veins, 50 on each side, a wide driveway on the top where the mules used to pull carts of coal.  The ovens had huge covers on the top, very much like sewer covers used in our streets.  The ovens were coaled from the top.  My grandparents ran the boarding house about 20 or 30 feet away from the cleated ramp that the mules went up and down.  In 1904 a company store was built , and awhile before, along bridge across the river.  Watching the men work was a big event to us kids.  The new crusher tower was built about 1900 by Hall, Kaul & Hyde of Ridgway.

Canoe Run Coal Buckets

I’ve been asked to tell a little about the coal buckets that used to bring the coal from the tipple at the top of the hill using wire rope strung from the tipple to the 3-1/2 story crusher built at the end of the coke ovens in Cameron.  That crusher was built by the Hall, Kaul & Hyde firm of Ridgway.  I remember the day after one bucket fell, loaded with coal, into the river.  It made a big impression on us kids, as we had planned to steal rides on the full bucket the day before the bucket fell.  [ed, note: The bucket was been retrieved and restored for the local museum in 1976.]

Ned Bray, son of Andrew Bray, who was Superintendent of Emporium Coal & Iron Co. and whom Bradytown was named for, rode the bucket down.  It was a dangerous thing to do, as the bucket tipped and emptied themselves and the full one started down before the empty one began to go back.  They worked just like the ski lifts do now.  It’s a wonder some of us kids weren’t killed, as we roamed over the coke oven top, up the steps to the top of the high crusher and sneaked into the tipple at the top of the mountain to try to sneak a ride down on the coal-filled buckets.

The New York corporation was supposedly composed of Averril Harriman, Delano (FDR’s maternal grandfather) and the president of the corporation, Quintard, who else was in it I could never find out.  Quintard built the first store in Cameron and in the store he also had the corporation’s office.  The corporation was called the Mount Hope Coal & Coke Company.

No comments:

Post a Comment