By Marilyn D. Rhinehart
The coal mine represented even more than a manner of constructing a dwelling to the miners of Thurber, Texas, within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries-it represented a life-style. Coal mining ruled Thurber's paintings lifestyles, and miners ruled its social lifestyles. the massive immigrant inhabitants that stuffed the mines in Thurber represented greater than a dozen international locations, which lent a forte to this Texas city. In 1888 Robert D. Hunter and the Texas & Pacific Coal corporation based Thurber at the web site of Johnson Mines, a small coal-mining village at the western fringe of North crucial Texas the place Palo Pinto, Erath, and Eastland counties converged. for nearly 40 years the corporate mined coal and owned and operated a city that via 1910 served as domestic to greater than 3 thousand citizens. Marilyn Rhinehart examines the tradition of the miners' paintings, the demographics and social lifetime of the group, and the advantages and constraints of lifestyles in a firm city.
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Additional info for A Way of Work and a Way of Life: Coal Mining in Thurber, Texas, 1888-1926 (Texas A&M Southwestern Studies)
The company, lacking capital, could not introduce improvements to deliver a higher-quality coal and reduce the costs of operation. The diversion of profits to the sinking and equipping of a second shaft and the untimely death of the more employee-oriented Harvey Johnson compounded problems already starting to overwhelm the enterprise by 1888. A twenty-five-thousand-dollar loan from a local bank in the spring of that year apparently did little to ease the financial crunch. 10 One of Texas' early captains of industry, Robert Hunter quickly earned a reputation as an opportunistic entrepreneur, fierce competitor, and Page 7 autocratic employer.
Future prospects, the survey concluded, were good, however, because "the railroads are now penetrating the [known] coal formations . . " Considering that the closest commercial coal resources were 625 miles away in Indian Territory, the existence of those reserves assumed an even greater significance. 2 The railroads, so anxious to see the development of the state's coal reserves, apparently even offered rewards for the discovery of coal along their lines. Jay Gould's Texas and Pacific Railroad demonstrated a particular interest in coal resources in Erath, Palo Pinto, and surrounding counties by 1880, when management extended the line west of Fort Worth into the sparsely populated Texas frontier.
Texas' total coal production in 1889 amounted to 128,216 tons. 6 The Texas & Pacific Coal Company had its beginnings at the village of Johnson Mines in Erath County, a small company town that William Whipple and Harvey E. Johnson founded in 1886. Hoping to avoid unpaid business debts and to recoup financial losses suffered in their native Michigan, the brothers, who had settled in nearby Palo Pinto County in 1880, sought their fortune in the coal-mining business. Encouraged by geological and engineering reports, the Johnsons purchased the Pedro Herrera survey tract in far northwest Erath County for twenty- Page 6 five hundred dollars in October, 1886, and incorporated themselves as the Johnson Coal Mining Company in 1887.
A Way of Work and a Way of Life: Coal Mining in Thurber, Texas, 1888-1926 (Texas A&M Southwestern Studies) by Marilyn D. Rhinehart