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Manuscript Group 522
(19 cubic feet)

The Morris Run Coal Mining Company was one of the major coal producers in the semi-bituminous coal fields of Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Coal was first discovered in the Tioga region near present-day Blossburg around 1792, with David Clemons opening the area's first mine around 1815. By the middle of the nineteenth century, railroads had been constructed to move the coal to from the region's various collieries to markets primarily located in the southern tier of New York state.

The history of the Morris Run Coal Mining Company begins with the incorporation of the Morris Run Coal Company on October 3, 1864. By the late 1870s, the firm was known as the Morris Run Coal Mining Company, controlling 7,000 acres of land. In 1894, the firm employed 709 men, 522 of which were miners. Throughout this time, the coal lands were actually owned by the Tioga Improvement Company, with companies such as Morris Run serving as operating units, working the mines under a lease from Tioga. In June 1909, T.S. Barber and Associates took over complete control of the Morris Run Coal Mining Company, as well as the Tioga Improvement Company. From 1909 through 1913, extensive improvements, such as new colliery buildings constructed of brick and concrete, and electric motors replacing mules for hauling, were introduced.

The materials in this collection were donated by Rodney Robertson, Jr. and Tamzon Robertson Green of Maine. According to Mr. Robertson his grandfather, John Courtney Gilpin "Jack" Haddock, Jr., settled a large debt for an acquaintance in the 1930s, and in return received the mineral rights for the lands controlled by the Morris Run Coal Mining Company. Mr. Haddock passed away in 1959, with these mineral rights passing to his daughter, Clare Matlack Haddock. She leased the rights to Jones and Bragg, a firm which used the lease to conduct predominately strip mining on the Morris Run properties, with New York Power and Light Company the main consumer of the coal produced. Jones and Bragg were an environmentally-conscious company, planting trees, resodding, and recontouring the lands which they had previously strip-mined.

By the 1960s, the debt assumed by Jack Haddock had been paid off. The family that originally owned the mineral rights at this time approached Ms. Clare Haddock Robertson and her husband, Rodney Robertson, Sr., asking to reassert their control of the mineral rights. Their inquiry was declined, and the Morris Run properties now started to make money for the stockholders. Ms. Clare Haddock Robertson was the major stockholder, with the company being governed by a board of directors. Strip minig of the coal lands continued through the 1970s, and as the coal seams became depleted by the mid-1980s, oil and gas companies were approaching Morris Run to conduct exploratory work on their lands. A few five-year leases were issued, but no major oil or gas deposits were discovered. Eventually Jones and Bragg acquired the mineral rights to the company's properties, and by the mid-1980s, the Robertson family had removed themselves from actual coal mining operations. Morris Run Coal Company continued on as a holding company due to state and federal regulations concerning the payment of pensions to miner's widows. By the mid-1990s these obligations had been met and under the leadership of its final president, Ellen Crispell, the company officially dissolved around 1998.

The collection consists of financial materials, company minutes, general correspondence, and employee records of the Tioga Coal Company, the Tioga Improvement Company, and the Morris Run Coal Mining Company. Also included are seventy-four maps, the majority of which deal with either the lands or coal deposits present in southeastern Tioga County, specifically the townships of Covington, Hamilton, Liberty, Union, and Ward. For related records concerning other mining concerns in the Tioga County coal fields, see Manuscript Group 48, Fall Brook Railroad and Coal Company Records and Manuscript Group 282, series {#282m.20 - #282m.26}, records of the Blossburg Coal Company.

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records