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Manuscript Group 48
FALL BROOK COAL AND RAILWAY COMPANY RECORDS
1768-1938 (bulk 1819-1938)
345 cubic feet


The Fall Brook Coal Company and the Fall Brook Railway Company were important players in the development of the semi-bituminous coal fields of Tioga County, Pennsylvania. The Fall Brook interests were primarily owned and operated by the Magee family of New York state. John Magee, who was born near Easton, Pennsylvania in 1794, was the man who founded the companies and brought them to prominence. Magee took up residence in Bath, Steuben County, New York, in 1816. Between 1818 and 1826, he served as constable and collector of Bath, deputy sheriff, high sheriff, and census marshall for Steuben County. Active in Democratic politics, he served two terms in congress between 1827 and 1831. While he and his family focused mainly on the railroad and mining industries in Tioga County and south central New York, Magee was also involved in land speculation, lumbering, milling, banking, and related activities. Additionally, he directed the affairs of the newly organized Steuben County Bank from 1831 until his death, owned large tracts of timber land in Michigan and Wisconsin, and established and managed mail coach lines.

Coal was first discovered in the Tioga region near present-day Blossburg around 1792. David Clemons opened the area's first mine in 1815 and less than twenty years later, two transportation companies had been formed to ship the district's coal to markets in New York state. The first was the Tioga Navigation Company, which was chartered in Pennsylvania in 1826. The second was the Tioga Coal, Iron, Mining, and Manufacturing Company, incorporated under the laws of New York in 1828 with the power to construct slack-water navigation from the Pennsylvania line to the junction of the Tioga and Chemung rivers near Corning, New York. The company was authorized in 1833 to build a railroad from the termination of the Chemung canal feeder to the Pennsylvania line, and was later renamed the Corning and Blossburg Railroad.

In 1851, Magee obtained the lease for the coal mines at Blossburg, Pennsylvania. It was also during this year that he began maneuvering to obtain an owner's share of the aforementioned Corning and Blossburg Railroad. By April 1854, Magee had gained control of the road, which he incorporated as the Blossburg and Corning Railroad. Tiring of working under a lease, his son, Duncan S. Magee, began searching for new coal lands in 1856, which resulted in the discovery of coal near Fall Brook, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, and the organization of the Fall Brook Coal Company in 1859. By 1860, the Magees had opened facilities for shipping coal on Seneca Lake in Watkins, New York, establishing themselves and their company as a major coal mining and transportation operation in north-central Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York.

The discovery of coal near Wilson's Creek, Tioga County in 1866 led to the construction of the Wellsboro and Lawrenceville Railroad, which was eventually extended to the Fall Brook Company's mines at Antrim. John Magee had lived to see his various coal enterprises prosper, creating an impressive network of mines and rail lines. When he died in 1868, his son, Duncan S. Magee, directed the family enterprises until his death one year later, whereupon he was succeeded by his brother, George J. Magee. In the ensuing years, the Magees and their associates moved the Fall Brook Coal Company's base of operations from Watkins to Corning, New York, and organized or acquired other mining enterprises, such as the Buffalo Coal Company and the Clearfield Bituminous Company.

A number of different railroad companies and lines were associated with the Tioga coal region and the Magee family in particular. These various interests underwent a variety of consolidations and name changes over time. In 1873, the Blossburg and Corning and the Wellsboro and Lawrenceville were consolidated to form the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railway Company, which was incorporated under the laws of both New York and Pennsylvania. The Cowanesque Valley Railroad was purchased by the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim in 1874. In order to provide a cheaper outlet for the coal mined at Fall Brook, Antrim, and Morris Run, George J. Magee undertook the construction of the Syracuse, Geneva and Corning Railroad, which was completed from Geneva to the Fall Brook Company's headquarters at Corning in 1877. The Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railway, later renamed the Pine Creek Railway, joined the Fall Brook system upon its completion in 1883. Records pertinent to all these companies are present in the collection.

In July 1892, Fall Brook's coal mining and railroad operations were split into two separate companies: the Fall Brook Coal Company and the Fall Brook Railway Company (formerly known as the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railway Company). George J. Magee died in 1897 and was succeeded as president of the coal and railway companies by his son, John Magee. In 1899 the Fall Brook Railway Company, the Syracuse, Geneva and Corning Railway Company, and the Pine Creek Railway Company were leased to the New York Central Railroad and Hudson River Railroad for 999 years. In 1907, these three roads were consolidated to form the Geneva, Corning and Southern Railroad Company which was immediately leased to the New York Central. By 1914, the Geneva, Corning and Southern was officially absorbed into the New York Central's system, operating as the "Pennsylvania Division."

The bulk of the collection covers the operations of the various railroad companies, and is comprised mainly of financial materials, such as balances, bills, budgets, distributions, expenses, inventories, journals, ledgers, reports, statements, vouchers, etc. Files relative to Magee family members such as Duncan S. Magee, General George J. Magee, John Magee, and John Magee, Jr., are also present. Examples of other types of records include: accident reports and releases; files relating specifically to the Antrim operations; coal and transportation companies associated with Fall Brook or the Magee family; Fall Brook agents, business, and general correspondence; land records and legal papers; and mining and engineering files.

The preceding subgroups hold a large volume of correspondence which highlight the operations of many of the banking houses, coal and railroad companies, industrial suppliers, etc., based in New York and Pennsylvania. A number of the letters relate to local and national politics, as well as strikes and industrial strife. Among the many notable correspondents are George F. Baer, Simon Cameron, Austin Corbin, Chauncey M. Depew, Melvil Dewey, Roswell P. Flower, Franklin B. Gowen, M. A. Hanna, Anton Hardt, Daniel H. Hastings, David B. Hill, William J. Howell, Stephen W. Kearney, John Lang, John H. Lang, Levi P. Morton, Marlin E. Olmsted, M. S. Quay, Winfield Scott, Cyrus D. Sill, C. Vanderbilt, W. H. Vanderbilt, W.K. Vanderbilt, and George Westinghouse, Jr.

**PLEASE NOTE**: The collection is still being organized, it is estimated that only 20% of the materials have been either examined or processed. Listed below is the current organization of subgroups and series, which inculdes series descriptions and container lists for those series which have been at least partially processed. The series titles which do not include a date range or contents note are proposed series, which may be deleted or modified after processing. Also included is the following link to a database which contains a very basic container-level inventory of the collection.


Accident Releases and Reports

Antrim Materials

Associated Coal and Railroad Company Records

Business Correspondence

Financial Records

Land Records

Legal Papers

Mining and Engineering Files

Magee Family Papers


PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records