Coal for charcoal, page 11
plicable questions concerning the vast, unknown, pre-historic past voided of mankind or the history of mankind? Turning to the history found in rocks and coal, our groping minds procure a pattern of creation, the tortoise-like trek of the Creator back and forth across the Universe through forgotten eternities in the weaving, spinning, and building thereof.
It has taken but one hundred and fifty of the last years of this incalculable past to extract those minerals, transform them into machines and create an industrialized civilization throughout the earth, making for unprecedented problems of the survival of the earth and its human inhabitants; also making for potentials of progress undreamed of by the Utopian sages. God's history of coal is one of the mysteries of its formation, its infinite uses, its tremendous powers. Man's history of coal is one of looting and wasting the land, polluting the streams, and sometimes the deterioration of himself. The men are being supplanted by machines, daily improved by the brains of man and new use of old things of the earth. To evaluate in terms of human progress what has happened to man by reason of this brief era of applied science one must see a great deal more than prejudice will allow. It would seem that in the process the spiritual and cultural elements, together with normal, altruistic human relations, there has been a retrogression wherein man has depreciated and the machine has improved.
Allegany County has contributed a large commercial quotient to American civilization. What returns for these goods await her now that she is confronted with a possible economic starvation? Let us not conclude with a foreboding. But rather let us reflect that by reason of coal, and its myriads of uses, man has found a means to a new freedom; freedom from enslaving work, freedom for leisure, and more freedom to express the best he has to offer through the mechanics derived from coal. Will he use them for that purpose? Along with our economic transition we are challenged also to use our magnificent means for significant and endurable ends. Only in this way will a true culture be restored to our mountains.
The following are the names of the original coal companies in Allegany County, Maryland, as listed in Scharf's History of Western Maryland, Volume II: (1) Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company 1835. (2) Barrelville Coal Mines 1843 (named for the promoter Samuel B. Barrelville, hence the name of the community). (3) Maryland Coal Company 1845. (4) Borden Mining Company 1846. (5) American Coal Company 1852. (6) Hampshires and Baltimore Company 1856. (7) Consolidation Coal Company 1860. (8) Blaen-Avon Coal Company 1881. The remainder of the companies listed are without date of origin in Scharf's History: (9) Potomac Coal Company. (10) Swanton Coal Company. (11) New Central Coal Company. (12) Piedmont Coal and Iron Company. (13) Atlantic and Georges Creek Consolidated Coal Company. (14) Georges Creek Valley Coal Company. (15) Grant Coal and Iron Company. (16) New Creek Coal Company. (17) New York Mining Company. (18) Franklin Coal Company. (19) Union Mining Company.
There were many more coal companies that came into being after Scharf's History was published in 1882.
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms