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Manuscript Group 463
SUSQUEHANNA COAL COMPANY RECORDS
1878-1916
20 cubic feet


The Susquehanna Coal Company was incorporated in April 1867, as the Pittston Railroad and Coal Company. Its name was changed to the Susquehanna Coal Company in February, 1869. The company controlled 5,823 acres of coal lands on both sides of the Susquehanna River at Nanticoke Dam. Much of its stock was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Pennsylvania Canal Company.

In 1913, the Pennsylvania Railroad disposed of its holdings in anthracite coal companies, including the Susquehanna Coal Company. In 1917, the Susquehanna Coal Company, whose capital stock was still owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, disposed of its mining properties to the Susquehanna Collieries Company, and discontinued mining and selling coal.

Seven mines of the Susquehanna Coal Company were located in Northumberland County, in the Shamokin area. They were the Cameron, Luke Fidler, Hickory Ridge, Hickory Swamp, Pennsylvania, Richards, and Scott Collieries. The Cameron Colliery in Shamokin was one of the most famous mines in the Western Middle Coal Field. The Scott Colliery was located in nearby Kulpmont, after Isaac Tomlinson discovered coal in the area.

A few tragedies occurred in some of the mines. At the Cameron Colliery, in February 1890, a massive fire broke out, supposedly ignited by a miner's lamp. Over twenty mules were lost. At the Luke Fidler Colliery, two different tragedies occurred. In October 1894, a carpenter carried a lamp into the mine and set off an explosion, resulting in the death of five people. Approximately eight years later, in November 1902, a gas explosion killed four more workers at the colliery, which employed about 1,000 men at the time. At the time of the 1894 tragedy, the Hickory Ridge Colliery, which was connected to Luke Fidler, employed approximately 1,000 men. Both Hickory Ridge and Luke Fidler had to close operations for many months as a result of the explosion.

Labor unrest affected the Richards and Pennsylvania Collieries. In September 1902, striking workers attacked a train carrying non-unionists who were headed to the two collieries. The sheriff of Northumberland County asked Pennsylvania Governor William A. Stone for assistance. The governor ordered troops of the Fourth Regiment to be sent to the region. But it was at the Hickory Swamp Colliery where turmoil was truly made manifest. On December 18, 1874, Frederick Hesser, the night watchman at Hickory Swamp, left his home in Coal Township, never to return. He was found the following morning bludgeonded to death. The supposed perpetrators of the murder were two Molly Maguires, Peter McManus and John O'Neill. McManus was ultimately hanged for the crime.



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