NO. 2 MINE OF MT OLIVE TO CLOSE - 1957 - Staunton Macoupin County IL
contributed by Joan Miley 2003

STAUNTON STAR-TIMES, Staunton, Macoupin Co, IL, Thurs 27 June 1957 page 1

Mine No. 2 to Close After 53 Years of Steady Operation

Men Given Notice to Remove Belongings by This (Thursday) Eve.

Notice to All Employees:

No.2 Mine of the Mt. Olive & Staunton Coal Company will suspend operations Thursday, June 27. All employees are hereby requested to remove all personal effects from the mine property. George Timmerman, Superintendent.

With the posting of this peremptory notice, the above-named coal mine, located at Williamson, about 2 miles southeast of Staunton's city limits, will cease operation, after a period of continuous operation for 53 years. The notice also means that after today about 280 men will be without their usual jobs. The suspension, of course, is a matter of concern to everyone in this community, although such action on the part of the company has been expected for a year or more. High cost of operation, and a declining market for coal, is given as the reason for the suspension.

No. 2 mine of the Mt. Olive & Staunton Coal Company was sunk in 1903, when the digging of the shaft was started. The coal vein was struck in March of 1904, when actual production started. In those days mining methods were quite different from the present time--as practically all of the coal was dug by the pick and shovel method. As the years went on, undercutting machines were put to work, although all of the coal was still loaded by hand via the shovel method. At the peak of the mine's productiveness, about 750 men were employed, and the tonnage averaged from 4500 to 5000 tons per eight-hour day. In more recent years, the "hogs" or loading machines were installed in the various working entries, and the machine method took over, with employment figures dropping steadily until the payroll averaged about 280 men as of this week. The suspension notice, of course, wipes off practically all of these men, most of whom have been with the company for a long period of time. The lax market for coal caused the daily production to fall off considerably, the average in recent months being from 2500 to 2700 tons per working day. Mining costs, of course, have risen greatly at the No. 2 shaft, as all of the entries have been worked a great distance during the years of operation, in many instances the underground hauling of the mined coal being over five miles from the hoisting shaft.

We have been informed that all of the machinery in the mine will be prepared against excessive damage by corrosion from dampness. At the present time there is no indication that the mine may reopen, unless there should be an enormous upsurge in demand. George Timmerman, the superintendent at the mine, has been associated with the company almost from the time the shaft was sunk. He started as a top laborer in 1905, 52 years ago, and through sheer determination familiarized himself with the methods of operation. Step by step he won advancement, until his appointment as superintendent in 1942, fifteen years ago. "Timmie", as he is familiarly known, informs us that Mine No. 2 holds a fine record for safety, considering the dangerous nature of such work, as then has never been a major accident at the mine, in which more than one person lost his life.

Just what effect this suspension will have on the economic welfare of this community cannot he accurately gauged. There cannot be any doubt that the loss of income represented by 280 jobs will be severely felt. Many of the men employed are in the upper-age bracket, and quite a few will he able to qualify for their social security payments. On the other hand, there are many who are perhaps too old to qualify for positions in other industry, and not old enough for retirement. We sincerely hope that all those who need jobs will soon be able to make satisfactory connections.

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