and Mining in Greene County....
information in this article was gleaned from material in the Greene
County Archives and Records Center. The author is Robert Neumann,
Director of the Archives.
R. I. Holcombe, in his
History of Greene County, Missouri , mentions French
voyageurs coming here from Ste. Genevieve in 1785. He speculates
that they came west as far as current Barry or McDonald Counties.
By the early 1800s lead
deposits were known to be in southwest Missouri. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
wrote of a place in 1819, later known as the Phelps Mines in Greene
County, where Indians have been...procuring lead for bullets...by
smelting the ore in a kind of [pit] furnace. Moses Austin, an early
lead miner near Potosi, Missouri, was said to have encouraged and/or
financed Schoolcraft's journey to scope out potential lead-mining
areas during his trek.
By the 1840s and 50s
lead mining, on a small scale, took place in southwest Missouri.
At Hazelwood in Webster County, Charles McClurg smelted ore selling
it in St. Louis. Shipping costs made the operation unprofitable.
In Newton County at Granby, in the 1850s, thousands of pounds of
lead were shipped out by wagon and mule up to the Civil War. Lead
was discovered in the Joplin area in 1849 and at Oronogo in 1851.
Concerning the Granby
Mines there are some interesting deed book references from Greene
County. Emile Berle conveyed mining property to John D. Noble for
$1. [Book K, page 472] This July 16, 1860, agreement listed both
men as residents of Granby Mines, Newton County, Missouri. They
appeared to have been partners as there is a mention to Noble, Berle,
and Company. On October 5, 1860, John D. Noble conveyed his property
to William Gihou and Samuel R. Brown known as the firm of Gihou
& Company. [Book K, page 475] This presumably included what
he had gotten from Berle. The consideration price was $25,000.
In addition to land in
Newton County, Gihou & Company got furnaces, shops, houses,
sheds, buildings & improvements . Also included were all the
machinery, tools, rolling stock, goods and Described to wit, Steam
Engine, & boilers crushing machinery air cylinder & Condenser
pipes, Shafts, bitting picks, spades, Shovels & all other iron
& steel tools...& all carpenters & Blacksmith tools...also
all smelted lead & lead ore Sluggs carbonate of lead, lime,
charcoal, Split wood & cord wood...household furniture &
Although this description
of property at Granby is extensive, until the coming of cheap transportation,
lead and other mineral mining, was not profitable in southwest Missouri.
Since there were no major rivers for hauling it was only with the
coming of the railroad that mining began on a large scale.
Mining effectively began
in Greene County after 1875. In Past and Present of Greene County,
Missouri, published in 1915 by Fairbanks & Tuck, mention
is made of the Phelps Mines being leased out to Charles and Henry
Sheppard, Springfield, and Judge Picher of Joplin. [This is the
area where Schoolcraft spotted primitive smelting pits.] In the
middle 1880s Joseph O'Donnel leased the same property from Col.
John E. Phelps.
Fairbanks & Tuck
mention other Greene County mines. There were the Pierson Creek
Mines. They were on ground first leased to a Mr. Ball and Mr. Thomas
of Springfield, then Nathalie Mining Company, then R. P. Bowyer.
The Nathalie mine was also called the Gumbo mine.
The Bowyer & Company
Mine, also involving R. P. Bowyer, was near the Pierson Creek Mines.
A steam engine ran hoisting apparatus and also a drilling device.
The Lewis Mine was on
property owned by T. J. Kershner leased to J. T. Lewis. In 1896
a shaft was begun ultimately here reaching a depth of 84 feet.
The Suffolk Shafts were
run by the Suffolk Lead and Zinc Mining Company. They were also
called the Mumford or Kershner mines. A handbill in a probate file,
#6347, mentions the Kershner Mines as 2 miles West of Turner Station.
The auction mentioned on the handbill was for November 1, 1904.
The Daisy Mines, along
with all the previously mentioned mining operations, were in southeast
Greene County. All were also close to rail lines. Run by the Daisy
Mining and Milling Company, the Daisy Mine produced an output valued
at twenty-five thousand dollars in 1905-06. It was leased to Rathbun
Mining Company the following year [August, 1906 to August, 1907]
producing an output of zinc and lead valued at fifty-nine thousand
six hundred and eighty-seven dollars. After a fire and flooding
the mine was later leased to Bray Mining Company. It was still producing
when Past and Present of Greene County Missouri went to press
Other mines mentioned
by Fairbanks and Tuck are the Badger Mine, the Charles Meyer and
Company Mines, and the Cook Mine. More will follow on the Badger
Other lead and zinc areas
were discovered and worked in Greene County. Around Ash Grove mineral
deposits were discovered in 1859. Mining was done at the Corum Diggings
[mines] but only small amounts of ore were obtained. More mining
operations took place on the Hutchins/Murray tract. Golden Eagle
mining company extracted about four hundred thousand pounds of lead.
At this site also were diggings of the Gulf Company and the Clinton
Company. Fairbanks and Tuck also mention the Taylor Shaft, the Dunlop
shaft, the Getty Diggings, and the Pennsylvania Company Land shaft
in the Ash Grove area.
Two other mining areas
in Greene County were around Pickerel Creek and Brookline. The Pickerel
Mines were in township 29, range 24; western Greene County. A mine
near Pickerel Creek was opened in 1887 by John McDaniel. Work at
Brookline began about 1873. This was around the Potter Shaft. The
Citizens shaft was sunk in 1887. Also nearby was the Line shaft.
The Stogsdale Company also operated in this area. Near the Potter
mine were of the Armstrong and the Old Silicate Diggings.
It should be stated that
without the work of Fairbanks and Tuck these descriptions of early
Greene County mines would have been lost.
This has been a brief
introduction to mining in Greene County. The following describes
an incident at one of these mines.
The Badger Mine was leased
to a Mr. Daniel of Michigan. He might have been the same McDaniel
who worked the Pickerel Creek mine in 1887. Fairbanks and Tuck said
that the Badger Mine was leased in about 1907 to George Mutscheler
and later to a Mr. Daniel of Michigan. They may be mistaken about
the dates. A coroner's witness was working for this Daniel at the
Badger Mine in 1907.
On September 2, 1907,
an coroner's inquest was held into a double fatality accident at
the Daniel Mining Company's Mines. John Warren and Elmer Dickensheet
were dead. This coroner's inquest has a good deal of mining information.
The following condensed testimony, relative to mining, follows.
Either the coroner or members of the jury asked the questions.
James Brand was sworn
in. He testified that he lived on this property, meaning the mine
and was Foreman on top of the ground. He had been at this position
one year and 8 months. He was in the boiler room when the accident
happened. A question was asked about the condition of the cable
[for lowering men into the mine.] He considered it safe. When asked
if he had anything to do with the hoisting part of this business,
Brand said the Hoister [man in control of machinery for raising
and lowering items into the mine] keeps everything in good working
order. A witness later attaches some blame to Brand presumably since
he was a foreman.
Brand was asked, "Did
you inspect it [the cable] this morning?" He replied no. He
later admitted that the cable had been repaired several times. When
asked when it last broke he replied, "One day last week."
"How many times
has this cable been repaired?"
"What is the depth of that shaft?"
Edwin Harry, who lived
on the Rock Bridge Road, was sworn in. He was asked where he was
employed and what his job was. He worked for Daniel Mining Company
as a Hoisterman, apparently the man responsible for the apparatus
which lowered and raised men in the mine.
"State what you
know about the accident."
"When I went to work this morning I let the can down about
30 ft. and pulled it up again. Then the men got on the can, and
I let them down. When they had gotten down, I guess about half way,
I noticed the cable was gone [broken], and then I heard the can
or tub hit the bottom."
"In what way, or
by what do you control this cable?"
"By Friction lever, and if necessary there is a foot brake."
Max Webber, employed
by Daniel Mining Company, was sworn in.
"I work under the ground."
"Well what you see of the cable, did it look good or bad?"
"Well, it looked bad...It looked rusty."
Jess Alexandra was sworn
"I have been working for this company, The Badger Lead &
"...what do you know about it?" [the accident]
"I was ready to go down...I turned to go back in the boiler
house, when I heard some one say the cable was off of the sheave
wheel, then I heard the tub strike the bottom."
"That is the pully."
"...the condition of this cable?"
"It looked rusty, and there were some strands broken about
Alexandra went on to
say he had worked as a hoisterman but had quit because of trouble.
" What caused you to quit?"
"It was an accident...the trouble was with the lubricator,
the oil blew in the face of the wheel, when the men started in the
ground, and caused the tub to drop about 30 ft."
"Do you consider that accident serious?"
William Becker was the
"All I know about
it was when I heard the tub strike the bottom, I asked who was on
the tub, and someone said Elmer and Jack."
"Was it a new cable?"
"I understood it was second hand."
L. Hanson was sworn.
He said the cable had been cut off once.
"Who did you hear
say that the cable was unsafe?"
"Billy Roberts and Harry Langston."
"How long have you worked in the mining business?"
"Eight or nine years."
D. Brown also reported
on the safety of the cable. He said one of the hoistermen said he
did not like the way the cable was breaking.
"Who was that?"
P. Emmerich was sworn.
He lived Five miles this side of Ingrams Mills. He worked for the
company under the ground.
"Did you work in
the ground at this time?"
"I worked the crusher for them at the start." [A crusher
was used to crush ore before smelting.]
P. J. Reitz was asked
about the Hoister machinery.
"Don't know much
about it... but two men quit because they said it was not safe."
"Who were the men...?"
"Albert Lee and Al. Hanson."
Harry Langston was sworn.
"What are you doing
"Running the Jig."
"...should this cable have been repaired? Or replaced?"
"It should have been replaced."
"Did you tell the foreman that the cable was unsafe?"
"Yes, sir. I told both Mr. Brand and Mr. Langsford."
John Langsford was produced
and sworn. He lived at 567 E. Elm in Springfield. His position was
superintendent at the mining company.
"When did you put
on this cable?"
"...was it new or second hand?"
"It was second hand."
"What had it been used for prior to the time you got it?"
"For pulling stumps."
This paper coroner's
file does not include all the information about the accident.
From the Coroner's book
are more facts.
For John Warren is written:
Right arm broken at elbow third finger on right hand broken. Middle
third of upper left arm broken. Pelvic bone broken. Vicinity of
rectum badly torn ribs on right side broken. Scalp wound at base
of hair one wound on forehead about half way between eye and hair
one wound on eyebrow of left eye.
For Elmer Dickensheet
is the following:
Left arm broken below elbow both legs broken both above and below
the Knees. Right hip broken. Contusion about 2 inches above left
eye. Also one in brow of right eye.
The case was referred
to criminal court. Charges were filed on September 16, 1907. The
grand jurors upon their oath present...that John W. Langsford...on
the 2nd day of September, A.D. 1907...then and there manager, superintendent...control
of a certain mine...towit, ...the Badger Mine, located about five
miles southeast in the City of Springfield...having a main shaft
extending...two hundred feet...said mine being then and there equipped
with a hoisting apparatus, consisting, in part, of a tub or can
attached to a wire cable, by which said hoisting apparatus, towit,
the tub or can and wire cable aforesaid, workman were lowered into
and hoisted out of said mine, and that...John W. Langsford did then
and there unlawfully, feloniously and with culpable negligence...permit
the said hoisting apparatus to be equipped with a wire cable...old,
weak, worn and rusted, rotten and broken [to be used on] September
, A.D. 1907 [to] allow one Elmer Dickensheets, a workman...to
be lowered into said mine [where] the [cable] parted and broke...thereby
precipitating...Dickensheets to the bottom of the said mine, with
great force and violence...mortally wounding, bruising, contusing
and crushing the body of him..he the said Elmer Dickensheets then
and there did instantly die.
In spite of what would
today seem like negligence, Langsford was acquitted. But he was
back in court in 1908 in another mining-related case. Theodicia
Rowden gave testimony in this civil case. She said that Langsford
was the superintendent of the Badger Company. She said the mine
was located near Mumford, Missouri, near Pierson Creek about six
miles south east of town. She ran a boarding house about 300 yards
from the mine, and had for the last six months. When asked if she
had an arrangement with Mr. Langsford to board miners she said "Yes
sir I met Mr. Langsford on one occasion and he asked me if I would
keep some boarders."
if any was made for their board?"
"[He said] he would see that I got my money."
The dispute arose over
a miner, John McGeary, who went away leaving his board bill unpaid.
When presented with the bill Langsford refused to pay without a
written order from the miner. In the past he had paid without such
an order. Rowden also stated that Mr. Langsford took his dinners
at her place and would ask on pay day how much the boarders owed
her. In spite of her testimony, on November 9, 1908, the case went
for Langsford. From an Ozarks Genealogical Society (OGS) newspaper
index comes the following information. Elmer Dickensheets was 30
years old when killed on September 2, 1907. He had a wife and two
children.. There is a probate file, #2544, at the Archives. Carl
and Hazel were his two children. Lulu was his wife.
Lula Becker and Elmer
E. Dickensheet had been married on September 22, 1895. She sued
John Daniel and others after her husband's death over an issue involving
mining property. It probably had some connection with Dickensheet's
death. Daniel had delivered a deed to Elmer Dickensheet which contained
an error in the legal description. After her husband's death Lula
requested a correction of the deed but the defendant refused. Daniel
Saved and reserved and excepted unto himself all ores, metals or
mineral substances, particularly lead and zinc ore from land she
claimed as rightfully hers. She claimed that Daniel had also promised
2% of the gross value of the ore to Dickensheet and to reimburse
him for all damages to the farm crop.
Circuit Court book 94,
page 567, records the outcome of the case. It directed that the
real intention of the parties in the execution of said deed be binding.
It ordered the correction of the deed to read as intended. This
order was issued September 30, 1907. From the court record there
was no amount of damages stated, or if Lula Dickensheet was ever
paid anything by John Daniel.
John Warren was the other
man killed on September 2, 1907. The OGS newspaper index stated
he had come from Michigan and left a family. An Alphonsine Warren
was in court against the Badger Lead and Zinc company in early 1909.
She may have been Warren's wife. She was not successful in her suit.
The paper file of this case, which would contain why she brought
the suit, has been destroyed. Therefore it is possible this case
had no connection with Warren's death. Still, it seems likely that
A great amount of information
about mining remains to be compiled from Greene County records.
More mining accidents happened in Greene County and are recorded
in coroner's files. Incorporation papers still exist from early
mining companies. There are also numerous court cases involving
litigation concerning the mines. Further inquiry, from both public
and private records, will be needed to provide a better history
on Greene County mining.