Consists primarily of business records of the iron furnaces and ore hills operated by the members of the Coleman family of Lebanon and Lancaster Counties, which figured prominently in the iron industry during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first Coleman to become involved in the iron industry was Robert Coleman, 1748-1825, who came to Pennsylvania from Ireland around 1764. He was employed by Peter Grubb at Hopewell Forge and James Old at Speedwell Forge and Reading Furnace. In 1773 he married James Old’s daughter, Anne, and for the next three years they rented Salford Forge near Norristown. In 1776 he rented Elizabeth Furnace, where he lived until his retirement in 1809, after which he moved to Lancaster. In his will Robert Coleman left considerable property holdings to his four sons William, Edward, Thomas Burd, and James, including his dominant interests in the Cornwall Ore Hills, Colebrook Furnace, Cornwall Furnace, Elizabeth Furnace, and Hopewell, Martick, and Speedwell Forges.

ROBERT H. COLEMAN, 1850-1900

Reports, 1889-1890.

Jackson, Tampa, and Key West Railroad Reports, 1889-1890. Includes a letter dated January 9, 1890 from Robert H. Coleman to C. O. Parker, assistant manager of the Jackson, Tampa, and Key West Railroad. Enclosed is an application for a fireman position in which Coleman refers to the applicant as "one of our old negro firemen, . . . 'Black Diamond.’" He further writes that "unless our engines improve in appearance within a very short time, I will advocate the discharge of all the white firemen on our road who will attend to their business, and substitute in their place the negro firemen whom we have heretofore had, and who have always kept their engines up well. If it should be necessary to make this change, you must not forget Black Diamond, otherwise known as Mr. Key."

Return to Index | PHMC Home | State Archives |