American Coal Company of Allegany County 1869

American Coal Company of Allegany County 1869

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American Coal Company of Allegany County 1869
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Beautifully engraved certificate from the American Coal Company issued in 1869. The company was incorporated under the General Mining Law of the State of Maryland. This historic document has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an early steam train with an old ship on a waterway in the background. The certificate has a revenue tax stamp with a picture of George Washington on it. These stamps was used during the Civil War and reconstruction period. This item is hand signed by the company’s president, Gordon Lloyd and secretary and is over 131 years old. The certificate was made out to Ludlow Patton Co. and signed on the back by such. Ludlow Patton made a large fortune during the Civil War years. Ludlow Patton served as Treasurer of the American Equal Rights Association, from its creation in 1866 evidently until 1869. Abby served on the Association's Executive Committee. Allegany County was formed in 1789 from Washington County (Chapter 29, Acts of 1789). Allegany comes from the Indian word, oolikhanna, meaning "beautiful stream." Population (1990 Census): 74,946 Form of Government: Code Home Rule since 1974 County Seat: Cumberland, MD 21502 THE MINE WORKER'S LIFE AND AIMS. BY JOHN MITCHELL, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS of AMERICA. LITTLE is thought and less is known by the average magazine or newspaper reader concerning the lives, surroundings and environment of those who produce the originating motor power, the power which moves the wheels of commerce and industry and contributes so much to the civilization of the present day. I refer to the four hundred thousand men and boys who delve in the bowels of the earth; removed from the sight of their fellow-beings; obscured from the rays of the sun; with hundreds, oftentimes thousands, of feet of rock between them and all that is clear to them; in a place which teems with dampness and danger; where not a day goes by without recording the death, by falls of rock, coal or slate, of more than one unfortunate miner; and where, at frequent intervals, by the explosion of gases which are permitted to accumulate in the mines, there are accidents by which the nation is appalled, humble homes are made desolate, wives made widows and children orphaned. These are the men that dig the dusky diamonds whose reddening glow cheers the hearthstone of the poor and rich alike, the product of whose labor is so essential to the welfare and happiness of society and to the progress of the world. If all the conditions surrounding the lives of this heroic class of sturdy workmen were understood by the justice-loving American people, they would not be surprised at the numerous strikes and suspensions which have from time to time interfered with commerce and industry, and on more than one occasion have threatened a complete paralyzation of the nation's activities. It is impossible to portray in intelligible terms the exact conditions under which coal-miners work and live, because none but those who work in the mines can fully comprehend or realize the physical conditions prevailing there, as only those who work in them ever have opportunity for observation; and only those whose interests bring them into daily contact with mine workers or who are close students of statistical reports on coal-production are familiar with the startling truth that for every two hundred and seventy thousand tons of coal brought to the surface of the mine one employee's life is sacrificed, and five times that number are maimed and injured; in other words, of every four hundred and fifty men employed in the mines, one is killed and five are injured each year. This makes a total of nine hundred persons who yield up their lives each year, and of forty-five hundred who suffer serious injury. In no other industry in the United States are there so many fatalities in proportion to the total number of employees. But, sad and distressing as these facts may be, they are not the greatest source of discontent or complaint of this army of workers, for whom life holds few charms and offers few opportunities. A peculiar feature of the mining industry, and one which more than all others affects the interests of those employed in the production of coal, is the fact that nearly one hundred and fifty thousand more men are employed in the mines than are required to produce all the coal which it is possible for our nation to consume; that is to say that, while the consumption of coal at home and the export trade abroad amount, in the most prosperous year, to two hundred and fifty million tons, this enormous production gave only two hundred days' employment to the men and boys at work in the mines. If the mines were worked three hundred days per year, they would produce at least one hundred and twenty-five million tons of coal more than is consumed at home or sold abroad. As a consequence of this abnormal condition, a miner is enabled to earn only about two-thirds as much wages as he would were he steadily employed; and as mining communities are, with few exceptions, isolated from the centers of industry in other lines, opportunity is not afforded the mine worker to employ profitably the one hundred days of enforced idleness due to the non-operation of the mine. Nor can any practical plan be adopted which would fully relieve the mining industry of this apparent surplus of labor, for the reason that a vastly greater amount of coal is consumed in the winter months than at other periods of the year, and as bituminous coal cannot be kept in stock without deteriorating in value and quality, it follows that more coal must be produced in the winter season than in the summer; and consequently during these months all the workers are steadily employed. That this overplus of labor has disastrously affected the earnings of mine workers goes without saying; in fact, for many years prior to 1897 the tendency of wages was downward. The almost entire absence of combination or organization among the workers made it possible for employers to depress the earnings of their employees almost uninterruptedly each


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