Coal for charcoal, page 10
The Consolidation Coal Company was granted its charter in 1860. Its organization was delayed by reason of the Civil War. It was not until April 19, 1864, that subscription books were opened at the office of Thomas Devecmon in the City of Cumberland. Among the first stockholders and directors was James Roosevelt, the father of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Its General Offices were located at Number 71 Broadway, New York City, New York. Today the headquarters are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with George Love as President.
In the twenty-eighth report of the "Society for the History of the Germans in Maryland," there is an article by Olive Patton, edited by Richard Lowitt entitled 'Frostburg 1882: German Strikers versus German Strikebreakers." This is one of the many stories of the human-side of coal, and deals with a long strike. Along with the increased production of coal was also the deterioration and disenfranchisement of the people in the mining communities. Some of them thrived but most of them became victims of occupational disease, shelved as useless at what should have been their best production years, and slaves of the Company Store where in order to keep their jobs they must buy their food at super-normal prices. Not only Olive Patton has given an historic account of this unfortunate feuding between the coal operator and the miner but also recently a student at the University of Maryland obtained his doctor's degree by writing about the Feudalism practiced at Lonaconing and in the Georges Creek Region at an early date.
The most distinguishing features of Allegany County, Maryland history, are: (1) the Washington-Braddocks-Forbes Expeditions of the French and Indian War, originating at what is now Cumberland; (2) the evolving of an Indian Path into a military road, and into a national road; the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and other railroads, such as the Western Maryland, all funneling through the Narrows, forming a corridor through which flowed the American people to create our western civilization; (3) the first large-scale commercial production of bituminous coal.
Thus in one single county of the United States originated the first military conquest of the United States, the first improved land and rail routes over the Allegheny Mountains, and the providing of a mineral that ushered in the iron and steel age. From wood-charcoal to coal-coke we have moved to oil, gas, electricity and atomic energy. Once there was but one form of applied heat, the burning of wood. Now, mostly because of the developments centered in coal, there is not only every kind of applied heat, but a tremendous increase in the intensities of temperature, their control, and use.
How was sunlight infused into living plants which in turn were transformed into coal? What were these convulsions of the earth that heaved up our mountains and made troughs for our seas? And what of the inex-
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms