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Allegany County
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Coal for charcoal, page 6

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Thistle mine, at time of Brown's writing, was owned and operated by Aaron Beachy.

Before there was a Frostburg, coal was discovered at what is now Eckhart. If Brown is correct this would be the second oldest mine, and the first in what is now Allegany County. The date of the Eckhart mine is 1797. In the same vicinity, in 1799, the Neff mine was opened, and still later, by several years, the Sci Porter mine.

The various authorities do not agree as to place and date of the first coal mines. However, all agree that the first bituminous coal was discovered and used in Allegany County, first in that section now known as Garrett County, Maryland. The United States Geological Survey states that coal was first discovered near Frostburg in 1804. This is seven years later than the Brown date. Scharf in his "History of Western Maryland" speaks of the Sheetz farm one and a half miles east of Frostburg as the first opening. This farm was owned by John Hoye who with Roger Perry had it mined and wagoned to Cumberland for use in the glass works.

"It is recorded that in 1814, during the construction of the turnpike from Cumberland to Wheeling, coal was found at Eckhart, which was in the general vicinity of the Sheetz mine, and hauled by wagon to Cumberland and other points as far east as Baltimore."

(From "History of the Consolidation Coal Company, 1864-1934" by Charles E. Beachley).

Brown also reports that coal from the mine on William Frost's farm (near Frostburg) was in 1810 being sent to Eastern markets by keel-boat down the Potomac River. Beachley also reports that in the same year there was a freshet in the Georges Creek Region that accidentally exposed this thick vein of coal, and was the beginning of coal-shipments by water transportation.

According to Thomas-Williams "History of Allegany County" page 20 5, Christian Albright was the first person who dug coal in Allegany County. He opened a three-foot vein where Barrelville now stands. He crawled in, mined, and hauled it out in a small hand wagon. He soon began to supply the blacksmiths of Cumberland and its vicinity who before used charcoal. These historians do not state the year the Albright mine was opened.

The discovery and use of bituminous coal was brought about by the necessities involved in over-land transportation. Horses and vehicles required iron. Coal mines were opened along the Braddock Road, as stated above, as early as 1792. From Frostburg to Wheeling, and conveniently near the Road, which later became the National Pike, coal mines were reported to have been opened during a span of twenty years, commencing with 1792. In other words before coal was transported by water, wagon


Felix G. Robinson


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History


Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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