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Coal Branch, Illinois, Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

EARLY HISTORY OF COAL BRANCH - GODFREY TOWNSHIP

 

RESUME DIGGING AT COAL BRANCH
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 6, 1854
The coal diggers on Coal Branch will resume labor today at 5 cents per bushel, with the understanding that this rate shall be permanent. Our informant (one of the diggers) says there will be a supply of coal in town this afternoon.

 

STRIKE AT THE COAL BRANCH MINES
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 29, 1858
It is with pleasure we announce that operations in the Coal Branch Mines were resumed yesterday, the difficulty upon which the "strike" of last winter occurred having been satisfactorily adjusted. At the time the "strike" first occurred, we expressed the opinion that the miners were acting indiscreetly, and that they would regret their action. The result has proved that we were correct, for the miners have resumed labor at precisely the wages that were offered to them, and from which they struck. We were yesterday informed by two gentlemen connected with the mines, that during the time they have been idle, the strikers could have taken out coal to the value of about twenty thousand dollars! This coal is there yet, and can yet be taken out and sold, so that the owners of the mines have suffered but a trifling loss; but the money which the strikers could have earned during the time they have been out of employment is forever lost to them. "Strikes" never injure the employer as much as the employee, and should never be resorted to by the latter, unless in peculiarly aggravated cases.

 

WICKEDNESS AT THE COAL BRANCH
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 3, 1859
Those who have mourned, in times past, over the wickedness of that section of the County known as the Coal Branch neighborhood, will be heartily rejoiced to learn that a good work has been going on there for some time. It commenced with an effort at temperance reform. Meetings were held, speeches made, personal effort given, and in a word, nothing spared to bring about a change in the habits of the miners. After much labor, those who labored beheld their toil crowned with success of the most gratifying character. He who cares for the Sons of Men was with those who sought to do good there, and blessed them abundantly. Finally, when the temperance movement had accomplished a great deal, religious meetings were opened, and all invited to come in and hear of the things pertaining to the higher life. The call was accepted, and a Revival commenced which has known no languishing for more than four weeks. "Now" has proved itself to be the accepted time; and the walls of many houses in that neighborhood have lately echoed to the songs of rejoicing which no man sings more than once in a lifetime - even those new songs that he sings when he first realizes what life is, and what relation this world bears to the one of which death is the gateway. The meetings have been held by day and night, have been attended to overflowing, and have resulted in the hopeful conversion of a large number and the outward reformation of many more. Through all the bad weather of the last month, they have been thronged by earnest inquirers, and the final result is that now an effort is being made to establish a Church there. It is proposed, we believe, to erect a building of two stories height, the lower room of which shall be used for religious services, and the upper for Temperance services. We know not, but presume that a call will be made upon the people of the surrounding country, and of this city, to assist by contributions, in erecting the building. If such a call should be made, let it be favorably met by our citizens - not coldly and grudgingly, but heartily and cheerfully; nay, gladly and welcomingly.

 

COAL BRANCH CHURCH
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 21, 1859
In this paper was noticed a short time ago that the original plan of one Church at the Coal Branch was likely to be supplanted by a plan for two. This consummation has been effected. The Baptists have already commenced the erection of one edifice, and the Methodist Society have taken the initiatory steps for putting up another. By all means, let them be encouraged to go on and carry out their plans.

 

FIRE AT COAL BRANCH
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1861
We learn that this morning at about two o’clock, the residence of Mrs. Jane Bryant, situated on the Coal Branch Road just out of the city limits, with all the furniture, was consumed. The family were only awakened from sleep just in time to escape with their lives, losing nearly all their wearing apparel. The house was a two-story brick, and was valued at about $1,200. There was an insurance on the property of $800.

 

COAL BRANCH BOYS ENLIST IN 1ST REGIMENT OF COL. PHILLIPS
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 3, 1864
The Illinois Journal of Saturday last says, that it learns "that the first regiment of one hundred days' men, Col. Phillips, are to be mustered into the service today at Camp Butler." This is the regiment to which the Upper town [Upper Alton] and Coal Branch boys are attached, and we know they will be rejoiced to get into active service, for they had become very tired lying idle at Camp Butler.

 

COAL BRANCH ROAD
Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 30, 1875
A number of the prominent citizens of Coal Branch, among them Messrs. David R. and William R. Jones, Mitchell, Robinson, Rutledge, Malloy, White and others, were in town Friday and had a conference with the County Commissioners, Messrs. Kinder, Bardill and Crawford, who are also in town, in regard to the condition of the Coal Branch road. This important thoroughfare was never built in a substantial manner, and is now utterly impassible. The prosperity of the Coal Branch is greatly dependent upon this road being kept in good repair. The county authorities owe it to the taxpayers of that section to give prompt attention to the condition of this thoroughfare. They have already examined it and acknowledge that the representations of the citizens in regard to it are correct. We hope they will act promptly and thoroughly in the matter.

 

COAL BRANCH OLD LANDMARK TO BE MODERNIZED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 12, 1904
Rees D. Jones of Chicago has made arrangements for the complete remodeling, practically the rebuilding, of the historic old Jones building on the Coal Branch, at the corner of Alby and Elm streets in North Alton, and it will be converted into three modern flats. Two of the flats will be on the ground floor and one of the second floor. If walls had a tongue as well as ears and could talk, many an interesting story could be told of happenings in that building which is one of the oldest of the coal branch edifices erected at the time that section was one of the most populous and prosperous coal mining sections in southern Illinois. The head of the Jones family conducted a saloon and boarding house there for years, and many politicians of state and national reputation partook of its hospitality on every recurring campaign. Fred Hoffmeister, the real estate agent, is looking after the remodeling business for Mr. Jones.

 

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