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To mine this coal requires the services of over 50,000 men and boys, and this number is steadily increasing rather than diminishing.
Mr. Culp curtly disposes also of the story of Philip Ginter being the discoverer of coal in the anthracite regions. In the legislature in 1891 a bill was introduced to appropriate $2,000 for a monument to Ginter as the discoverer of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania. The fact simply was Ginter discovered coal in Carbon county, but himself stated that he had "heard of it over in Wyoming" before finding it. In a foot note Mr. Culp gives the following:
"The Lehigh region is great in making claims. For instance, on April 23. 1891, in the senate of the State of Pennsylvania, Senator Rapsher, of Carbon, called up the following bill on third reading:
"an Act appropriating the sum of $2,000 for the erection of a monument to the memory of Philip Ginter, the discoverer of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania.
"Section 1, Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in general assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that the sum of $2,000 be' appropriated toward the erection of a suitable monument to commemorate the memory of Philip Ginter, the first discoverer of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania, to be paid to the committee in charge upon the warrant of the auditor-general.
"Senator Hines, from our own county, asked leave to strike out the words 'the first,' because Philip Ginter was not the first discoverer of coal.
"Senator Rapsher, in reply, said: 'Mr. President, the historians, like men, sometimes differ on that particular point, as to whether Philip Ginter was the first discoverer or not, but I think all the historians agree that Philip Ginter was the first authentic discoverer of anthracite coal in what was then Northampton county, a hundred years ago the first of next September, and it was the inception of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation company, and was the beginning of the anthracite coal traffic in Pennsylvania, and because the anthracite coal interest was of so much importance to the State credit in our section, this could be granted without any great strain on our consciences.'
"Senator Green, of Berks, where they have no coal, said: 'Mr. President, I think we ought to have a discoverer of coal, and we might as well have him now as at any other time, so whether it is Mr. Ginter or somebody else, makes very little difference to me. I am willing to concede to that gentleman that claim. I am willing to go further: I am willing to take the word of the senator from Carbon for it. If he thinks he is the discoverer of coal, I think so.'
'' Fortunately the bill was defeated in the house of representatives. Now, what was in this bill? First, to get $2,000 out of the State treasury to perpetuate a falsehood. This under false pretences.
"Second, To place on record the further falsehood that Philip Ginter was the (first) discoverer of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania. Mr. Ginter, himself, did not claim that he was the discoverer, because 'he had heard of stone coal over in Wyom
"Mr. Rapsher is certainly mistaken when he says that historians differ as to whether Philip Ginter was the first discoverer or not. No, they do not differ. All historians agree that Mr. Ginter discovered coal in what is now Carbon county, in 1791, and that he was not the first discoverer of anthracite coal in Pennsylvania. Ill-informed people may think he was, but intelligent people know better. Mr. Rapsher states that the discovery of coal a hundred years ago the first of next September (1891), was the inception of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation company, and was the beginning of the anthracite coal traffic in Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Coal & Navigation company was incorporated February 13, 1822, and if its inception was in 1791, it took it a long time to be born—even thirty-one years. The beginning of the coal trade was not on the Lehigh, but was on the Susquehanna, and commenced in 1807. Do not let this be forgotten. Senator Green thinks ' we ought to have a discoverer of coal.' 'Whether it is Mr. Ginter or somebody else makes very little difference to (him) me.' Most noble senator, you certainly do not speak the words^of truth and soberness. In a work gotten up by the Central railroad of New Jersey, in 1891, I read the following: 'Mauch Chunk is in the very heart of the anthracite coal regions, and is also the birthplace in America of the black diamonds.' Considering that coal was discovered on the Susquehanna in 1762, and on Bear mountain, nine miles west of Mauch Chunk, in 1791, Mauch Chunk is a queer kind of a birthplace. It goes on the principle, claim everything for Lehigh.
"What surprises me, is that nothing in particular is claimed for the Schuylkill region. About all the worthies who make up tables and pyramids are Pottsville gentlemen, like Bannan, Daddow, Sheafer, et al. They are probably not familiar with the history of the State, and least of all, with the coal trade and its beginning in the Wyoming region. With a new generation of better informed gentlemen Wyoming will probably have justice done her in the future.''
Mr. Stewart Pearce says that Col. George M. Hollenback sent two four-horse loads of coal to Philadelphia in 1813, and that James Lee, during the same year, sent a four-horse load from Hanover to a blacksmith at Germantown.
The blacksmiths of this region early learned the use of anthracite coal. Obadiah and Daniel Gore were smiths, who came from Connecticut as early as 1768 and became owners of coal lands near Wilkes-Barre.
As a local fact it may here be parenthetically stated that Jesse Fell was the first to burn coal in the county in a grate as common house fuel, and the pioneers who came here and found the coal knew nothing of its history in other places and that so far as using it for domestic purposes or in grates, they made their own experiments, and in this line Mr. Fell was the successful leader. Mr. Culp, however, gives many reasons for his belief that it was first burned in grates in Wilkes-Barre by Jacob Cist. There are authentic letters showing that anthracite coal was successfully burned in grates in Philadelphia in 1802 and in 1803. He further says that it was burned in grates in Wilkes-Barre from 1803 by Mr. Cist, and continuously since.
The prolonged and very uncertain controversy on the first discovery of coal in this section seems a matter of difficult settlement. In regard to the finds of Ginter and others, there are of course fictions always creeping in, and what is true and what is not is now difficult of ascertainment. The claim made for Philip Ginter is, that being a poor pioneer hunter, by accident he discovered coal where a tree had been torn up by the roots in a storm, in the year 1791. It is said this was the first of its known existence in that locality near Mauch Chunk. This may all be true, but it is strange, to say the least. •
Obadiah and Daniel Gore had used coal in their smithy in Wilkes-Barre as early certainly as 1770, twenty years before Ginter's find. They found this coal a frequent outcrop about the foot of the hills around Wilkes-Barre. It was well known there was plenty of coal herein the Wyoming valley as early as 1766, and it was known in Bucks county as early as 1760—thirty-one years before Ginter's discovery.
The record evidence of its existence in Wyoming is in an official letter to the proprietaries, Thomas and Richard Penn, Spring Gorden. London, by James Tilghman, their agent at Philadelphia. In his letter to the Penus, after much other business he says: "He went up the northeast branch as far as Wyoming, where he says there is a considerable body of good lands and a very great fund of coal in the hills which surround a very fine and extensive bottom there. This coal is thought to be very fine. With his compliments he sends you a piece of the coal."
"The bed of coal, situated as it is on the side of the river, may some time or other be a thing of great value."
This letter is still extant and in excellent preservation. To this Thomas Penn
replies, dated London, the following November 7, and says: "I desire you will return my thanks to Col. Francis for his good services, etc., and for the piece of coal which we shall have examined by some persons skilled in that article."
The correspondence on the subject seems to have terminated just here, no doubt owing to the overthrow of the rigid denomination of the Penns about that time.
Charles Stewart made a careful survey of this section in 1768, and on his survey he marks a large tract of land on the west side of the river opposite Wilkes-Barre, "stonecoal."
Bituminous coal in Pennsylvania was discovered in quantity on the Conemaugh river below Saltzburg as early as 1750.
John David Schoepf, in his Travels, mentions a visit in 1783 to a bed of brilliant black coal one mile above Wyoming, which on handling leaves no taint and burns without emitting an offensive odor. It is found here on both sides of the river and in various parts of the valley. He mentions in Jacob's plains, a spring on the surface of which floats a tenacious fatty matter, depositing a yellow sediment. He conjectured it came from the neighboring coal beds. Then William Sculls' map of the country where is now Pottsville, made in 1770, marks coal lands at this point.
W. Penn Miner states it as a curious historical fact that one of the strong inducements to the early use of coal in the house was that the crude grates, often the open wood fireplace where coal was mixed and burned with wood, allowed much of the sulphur fumes to escape in the room, and this.proved a remedy to the seven-year itch that prevailed quite common at that time. Soon after its first use it was observed that the luxury of scratching gave way to the coal burning, and sufferers were soon well, and to this day have remained so.
Crandall Wilcox, as early as 1814, sold coal from his mine on Mill creek, Plains township, at $8.50 per ton in Marietta, Pa. His sons at a much later date sent coal in arks to market by the river, even after the canal was completed to Nanticoke, in 1830. Col. Lord Butler owned that wonderful development of anthracite on Coal brook, a mile east of the borough, afterward known as the Baltimore mine, which supplied Wilkes-Barre in early times. The coal was quarried and delivered at $3 per ton. Col. Washington Lee sent several hundred tons from his mines in Hanover in 1820, which sold in Baltimore at $8 per ton.
In 1823 Col. Lee and George Chahoon leased a mine in Newport, and contracted for the mining and delivery of 1,000 tons of coal in arks at Lee's ferry, at $1.10 per ton. the coal selling at Columbia at a loss of $1,500.
In 1829 the Butler mine on Coal brook, near Wilkes-Barre, was purchased for Baltimore capitalists, being originally incorporated as the "Baltimore & Pittsburg Coal company." From this company the coal takes its name, which has given a wide reputation as one of the finest veins of anthracite in the region. It first shipped coal in arks.
The Stockbridge mine in Pittston sent coal down the river in arks in 1828, furnishing about 2,000 tons in three years. Joseph Wright had shipped coal from Pittston in 1813. This was probably the son of Thomas Wright, who had a forge on the Lackawanna near the crossing of the main road to Providence, and well understood the value of coal and coal lands. The place is still known as "Old Forge." It was among the earliest tracts to change hands from original owners, having been sold by the heirs of Thomas Wright to a Mr. Armstrong, of Newburg, and Hon. Charles Augustus Murray, a gentleman from England. It was said that the location of Scranton hung in the balance at one time between "Old Forge" and "Slocum Hollow," the latter with its blast furnace and iron ore beds securing the prize.
In its issue of April 26, 1837, the Kingston paper says of the trade: "Up to April 17 fifty arks had been despatched from Plymouth, averaging sixty tons each. In 1824 the State provided for the survey of a canal route, or the exploring by