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Title: Moultrie County
Newspapers: 1909

"All the news that's fit to resurrect"

Decatur Daily Review, March 20, 1909


Big Vein In Lovington Mine to Be Reached by April 1.

Lovington, March 19. -- The coal shaft people expect to strike a five foot vein in a few days and then have twenty-two feet further to go to reach the eight foot vein. This should be done by April 1. A strata of slate lies between the two veins.

The necessary machinery for mining has already been purchased and will be put in place in the next few weeks. It is the intention of the company to begin sinking an air shaft as soon as the one now under way is completed.

Decatur Daily Review, March 25, 1909


Big Lot of Coal Lies at Depth of 900 Feet.

Lovington, March 25. -- A vein of coal was struck at the shaft Sunday measuring three feet and four inches. The coal is at a depth of 873 feet.

Thirty feet further down lies a vein of coal eight feet and ten inches In thickness, according to the first boring made eight years ago. Since July, 1902, attempts have been made to sink a shaft to this coal. Thousands of dollars have been expended.


Two shafts have been abandoned at a depth of about 100 feet on account of sand and water. The company expects to reach the big vein April 1 and the day will be one of rejoicing, not only for the coal mine people but the citizens as well.


The Republicans of Lovington township nominated the following ticket Saturday afternoon:

Assessor -- N. A. Redding.
Collector -- Nate Williams.
Commissioner -- John T. Bailey.
Justices of the peace -- A. A. Brown and P. B. Potts.
Constables -- John Simpson and Charles Clore.
Cemetery trustees -- W. O. Wood and B. M. Hull.

No candidate was named for town clerk as the Democratic candidate and present officer, F. M. Newlon, has held the office twenty-five years and never has any opposition.


The farmers and business men interested in the proposed Lovington Grain Co. had a meeting Saturday afternoon at the Bijou theater. The meeting was largely attended. Representative Charles Adkins of Bement addressed thd meeting, explaining in detail the plan of organization. Another meeting will be held Saturday, April 3, for completing the organization and electing a board of directors.

Decatur Daily Review, April 3, 1909


Lovington Is Happy Over Results of Mine Drilling.

Lovington, April 3. -- A meeting of the business men was held Thursday evening and arrangements were made to give a banquet to the coal company officials and employees Wednesday, April 14. The banquet will be held in the Red Men's hall at noon. The Bement band will be engaged to furnish music for the occasion.


The officers of the company are: President, W. E. Fisher, of Harmmond; vice president, John Benson of Bement; secretary and treasurer, A. E. Hanson of Lovington; superintendent; R. W. Campbell of Lovington.


The quality ot the coal taken from the eight-toot vein is of the very best, and a mine in actual operation, which has been apparently only a dream, will soon be a reality. However, it will likely be several months before hoist1ng will begin, as all the necessary machinery is yet to be put in place.


Mrs. Oscar Sutter, formerly Miss Myrtle Sullivan, died at Corth, Okla., March 29. The remains were brought to Lovington and the funeral held Saturday at 2 o'clock p. m., in the Methodist Episcopal church, of which she was a member. W. F. Stevenson of Farmer City, a former pastor, was in charge. Interment was in the Kellar cemetery.

Mrs. Sutter was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Sullivan, formerly of Lovington, but now of Oklahoma. She was born in Washington county, Ky., Jan 21, 1883, but came to Lovington township with her parents when quite young, and lived here until her removal to Oklahoma a year ago. She was a sufferer from consumption, which finally resulted in her death.


The graduating class of the township high school this year is as follows:

Vella Patteraon, Pearl Hosier, Fern Foster. Bessie Gibbon, Bottle Kingrey, Mattie White, Ethel Bailey, Minnie Jackson, Bessie Booker, Mary Bandy, Mae Lawson, Stella Aschermann, Mose Sherman, Elmer Campbell, Senn Hoover, Jesse Funston. Roy Aschermann and Clarence Wright.

The class has begun work on the class play to be given May 7.


The village has placed an order for material for street lighting and the work will be completed by May 1. There will be about forty lights, distributed in all parts of town.

Workmen are now engaged tearing out the old brick, preparing to rebuild the boiler room at the plant. A new boiler is expected in a few days.


The Domestic Science club will meet with Mrs. Behan Wednesday evening, April 17, at 7:30. At that time the work and demonstrations for both that evening and March 24 will be taken up.


A debate between the Arcola and Lovington high school will be held in Lovington April 28.


Tax Collector Ralph M. Foster has returned his books to the county treasurer. Mr. Foster collected a total of $27,872.12, out of $29,851.26. His commission is $557.44.

Decatur Daily Review, April 5, 1909

Seventeen Feet Uncovered in Last Forty Feet in the Lovington Mine.

Lovington, April 6 -- Another vein of coal was uncovered at the shaft Sunday. The vein is about five feet in thickness and lies below the eight-foot vein.


March 23 a four-foot vein was passed at a depth of 870 feet; Marsh 31 an eight-foot vein at 900 feet. While excavating the sump below the eight foot vein there were indications of another vein and Sunday the drillers went through the five-foot strata above mentioned.


This makes in all about seventeen feet in the last forty feet. Any one of the veins would be a paying proposition, as they are all of excellent quality.

There is no record in the state where so much coal haa been found of this quality.


On Wednesday. April 14, when the business men give the banquet to the company and its employees, permission will be given the certificate holders to go down into the shaft and examine the big seam of coal.

Decatur Daily Review, April 10, 1909

Lovington's Mine Story Of Decatur Man's Push

Lovington. April 10. -- Now that the faith of the promoters of the Lovington coal mine has been justified by the finding of four strata of fine coal, a total of twenty-one feet in thickness, it is interesting to recall that as far back as the oldest citizen can remember there has been a conviction in the minds of progressive men that coal could be found here in paying quantities.


In 1900 six men decided to put up the neccessary cash and sink a prospecting hole. They held coal and mineral rights under some 6,000 acres of land adjoining the town. The men were: A. R. Pifer, J. C. McKnight, Joseph Stocks, C. W. Brown, S. P. Drake and L. G. Hostetler.

The prospecting was continued to a depth Of 920 feet. The core disclosed numerous coal veins. Then the work was dropped for a time.


In September, 1901, the Moultrie County Coal company was organized with a capital stock of $150,000, with A. R. Pifer president, J C. McKnight vice president and L. G. Hostetler secretary-treasurer. But the capitalization was cut down to $80,000 when the larger sum was hard to raise.

Work on a shaft was started June 24 of that year on the Hostetler tract near the first prospect hole. The work continued until August. A strong flow of water and quicksand caused a big outlay of expense and work was stopped. Superintendent Baxter resigned, and was followed by James Paul, who in turn threw up the job.


Then J. T. Rittman of Decatur took hold. He tried various things at further outlay of money and finally resigned, unable to cope with the situation. Peter Moran employed to succeed him lasted three days.

The shaft was abandoned. The experience had cost the company about $30,000. The project languished.


Cyrus A Potts, of Taylorville, took hold of the proposition by taking an option on the project. The Lovington Coal Mining company was organized in January, 1901, wilh a capital stock of $100,000.


Robert Campbell of Decatur was employed as superintendent. The shaft on the Cheever land was commenced Thursday, Aug. 19, 1904. At the end of the first month the shaft was down 75 feet. In November the shaft was pushed through fifty feet of quicksand and a lake of water that appeared bottomless. Nearly 5,000,000 gallons of water was being pumped daily. Only a few inches were gained a day.

During December, January and February the workmen waged the stiffest fight against sand and water ever known in shaft sinking in Illinois.


In August a depth of 164 feet had heen gained. At this time it was decided to land the shoe and commence the concrete inner casing. This was done and Superintendent Campbell resigned as he felt this action was premature. Dick Clodfelter was put in charge.

Mr. Camphell's contention was proved correct. The sand and water followed down the outside of the casing and the enormous pressure forced it into the shaft. Thousands of tons of sand were removed. Finally Mr. Clodfelter resigned.


William Pate succeeded him and got four feet further in the twelve months he held the reins. Then he quit. A few hundred dollars more was gathered together by the perserving promoters and Jack Mann of Lincoln was induced to try his hand. He came and stayed three months and did not gain an inch.


Through all of 1906 work was practically at a standstill. Then about April 1, 1907, Robert Campbell was again persuaded to take charge. He advised, however, leaving the shaft and starting another. At this time President Potts of Decatur decided he had had enough and followed after the many superintendents and the two Clarks, who resigned in February, 1906.

In his report to certificate holders in Decatur May 7, 1907, Mr. Potts showed that $231,075 had been spent and that there was indebtedness due of $5,000. Mr. Potts sold his share to W. B. Hudson of Henryetta, Okla., and he and Robert Campbell each put up $1,000 to meet a past due pay roll and other urgent expenses.


The nervousness of certificate holders was quieted by the report of a committee composed of J. H Hall, Bement; J. A. Vent, Hammond and Joseph Stocks, Lovington, who examined the books and found everything straight.

At a meeting $9300 was raised on the condition that Mr Campbell remain as superlntendent. Mr. Campbell had asked for $30,000. Work of raising this amount was started.


On Mr. Campbell's advice another boring was made north of the second shaft. Conditions were found unfavorable for the sinking of a shaft. Several coal veins were found but at different depth from the other boring. The company decided to sink a shaft on the Cheever lots near the Vandalia pumping station.

Actual work on the shaft was started Oct. 15. 1907, and continued without cessation until early in 1908 when the funds were again exhausted. For sixty days Mr. Campbell and A. E. Hanson, who had succeeded C. A. Clark as manager, were out after money.


At this point President Hudson decided that he had had quite enough, and quit. He gave Hanson and Campbell an option on his interests.

Finally the two men, Campbell and Hanson, raised the necessary amount of cash and about March first active operations were resumed and have been continued to the present time.


The time actually required to sink the last shaft, which is now completed, was about fourteen and a half months and the total cost was in the neighborhood of $80,000. The amount invested in the second shaft was about $100,000. and the amount put in the first shaft was $100,000, including franchises, commissions and machinery. There arc now outstanding certificates to the amount of $300,000.

During nearly eight years of ups and downs there have been two times when there was a failure to meet payrolls, and in both cases these were paid in a few days.


There was but one fatal accident since the first shovel of dirt was thrown nearly eight years ago. While attempting to raise a smokestack July 18,1902, Thomas Edwards was crushed to death under the falling stack. The company settled with the widow. There have been other minor accidents, notably the one to Jack Turner, whose skull was fractured by a broken coupling at the present shaft. He got judgment at the March term of court for $1250.


At the depth of 902 feet the company went through a vein of the finest grade coal, eight feet in thickness. In the same shaft at a depth of 249 feet is a three-foot vein, and at a depth of 873 feet a five-foot vein. While digging the sump below the eight-foot coal vein, another strata of coal five feet in thickness was found. This was seventeen feet below the big vein. This means over twenty feel of coal within a distance of less than fifty feet.

The formation between these two veins is as follows. Two feet of clay shale, seven feet of sand shale, five feet of sandstone, two feet of black slate. The first boring stopped in the slate. This find proves that had they gone a foot further they would have struck more coal.

The Lovington coal field is unprecedented in the state.


Robert Campbell is the man who sunk the shaft of the Manufacturers and Consumers Coal company in Decatur. He has had plenty of experience and is an able superintendent. The Lovington people think the success of the mine is largely due to his perserverance and endeavor.


Bethany, April 10. -- Mrs. Lewis Booker died Thursday afternoon at the home of her parents, three miles northeast ot here, of consumption. She had been quite low for several months.

She was born near here, May 1, 1881, and was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Butts.

She was married Nov. 13, 1907 to Lewis Booker, who still survives her. She leaves no children.

The funeral was held Friday at 3 p. m. from the Oak grove church and the sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Jones, pastor of the church. She was a member of the Baptist church.

Decatur Daily Review, April 14, 1909


300 at Banquet to Mark Reaching of Twenty-one Feet of Coal Veins

Lovington, April 14. -- Three hundred sat down at the banquet given by the business men of the town, "to certificate holders, stockholders and miners" at the Lovington coal company, at 11 o'clock this morning. The tables were spread in Red Men's hall.


The citizens believe that the future success of the town is assured by the big find of coal about ten days ago. The banquet was to celebrate the conclusion of eight years work and the reaching of 21 feet of coal veins.

The dinner was served by the women of the Methodist and Christian churches at long tables.


Following the dinner there was a meeting in the Bijou theater. The principle addresses were made by Judge W. G. Cochran of Sullivan and Attorney Hugh Housum of Decatur. There were informal talks by others. There was music by the Bement band.


Certificate holders from Decatur, Bement, Monticello, Oakland, Arthur, Arcola, Sullivan and Strasburg. The largest crowds were from Decatur and Bement, fifty coming from the Macon county capital and nearly as many, headed by the Bement band, from the other town.


Actual work In the Lovington mine will start in about two months. It is possible that the first of June will see coal hoisted.

The foundations for the hoisting engine are in place. The machinery for the mine has been ordered. Mineworkers are flocking here looking for employment. They come from all parts of the country, the fame of the mine having spread.


Fifty Stockholders Have Seen Stock Change all Colors.

It was harder to find a Lovington stockholder in Decatur today than it was for Diogenes to locate an honest man in his famous daylight torchlight expedition, but not for the same reason. Plenty of holders of Lovington coal mine stock live in Decatur but they were temporarily absent. They arose betimes this morning, arrayed themselves in their most festive apparel and hied themselves Lovingtonward on the earliest train.


Things are doing in Lovington today. It is a fiesta, a gala occasion, a red letter day when the stockholders in the coal company gathered to fitting celebrate the opening of one of the finest veins of coal in Central Illinois. There was feasting and eloquence and joy unrestrained.


There have been other times when it was hard to find stockholders in the Lovington coal mine in Decatur when there was nothing doing in Lovington. That, indeed, was the reason they were hard to find. They were here all right but they didn't wear a badge. You might talk to one of them a good while without finding out that he owned any such stock unless you happened to mention that you would not mind buying a little coal mine stock. Then the coal mine stock holder would offer you something mighty alluring in the shape of stock in a hole in the ground near Lovington. It was a good thing of course but the holder needed the money and would let lose of it at -- well, something less than par.


But it is different today. There is an eight foot vein of fine coal at the lower end of that hole. And it isn't hard to recognize the owner of a block of the stock. You can tell him by the roseate atmosphere which surrounds him.

This leads one of the Decatur stock holders to the varying color scheme which has distinguished the holders oŁ Lovington coal mine stock. He says it has at different times varied from an indigo blue to a brilliant rose. There have been intermediate shades in colors, sometimes a dull gray and at others a sickly green. But now it is rose and it seems to be rose to stay.


The Lovington coal mine has gone through more kinds of tribulation than ever before befell a coal mine in this section of Illinois. The work on it has been at different times suspended and at other times apparently permanently abandoned. But by sheer persistence and pluck they have kept hammering away at it until a vein of unusual value has been uncovered. The work has been underway for eight years. It is no wonder that the men who had their money invested in it, in some cases the money which they had accumulated by years of saving, should at time have felt blue and green or any other color.


It can not be stated positively how many stockholders there are in Decatur now or how much of the stock is owned here. It is estimated that at one time more than fifty Decatur men owned stock in the concern. Some of them have sold out and some others have moved away. Others would have sold out if they could have found purchasers for their stock.

One prominent Decatur business man who owns some of the stock says that he made up his mind only last winter that he wanted to invest in the stock. He offered fifty cents on the dollar and found himself almost swamped with offers. He bought some of the stock at this price and then got cold feet. He can understand now that the circulation in his lower extremities was not as good as it should have been, and that the thing which he ought to have done was to take all the stock offered at that price.


But no stock can be bought at 50 at the present time. Nor can it be bought at 100. It is rated at 125 and, probably some of the stockholders are asking more than that. It is hard to say what the stock is really worth for the mine is not yet productive and the actual value of stock can only be measured by its earning capacity. But the shaft has been sunk and four good veins of coal have been found. The machinery has been bought and there is ample money to put the mine in operation. The holders of the stock realize that they have a good thing, a better thing than was promised them by the promoters of the enterprise and they are not anxious to sell.

HAS $3,000 IN IT.

A. B. Creech who is employed by the Curtis Jewelry company, has $3,000 invested in the company. Mr. Creech formerly lived at Lovington and was interested in the enterprise at the start. He attended the festivities in Lovington today.

William M. Chance of 147 South Main Street is also a stockholder and he also went to Lovington to attend the banquet today.

Hue Singleton is one of the magnates of the concern. He took stock to the value of $500 and last winter determined to buy more but about the same time he commenced erecting a mansion which persisted in outgrowing the estimate and he stifled his magnate ambitions.


C. M. Hurst of the Morehouse & Wells company is a stockholder but he says he is one of the most modest and inconspicuous sort.

There were and probably are yet a number of stock holders about the Union Iron works. A. R. Montgomery was one time prominently connected with the company. John Benson of this city is also a stockholder.

Some idea of the enthusiasm which the mine has aroused may be gathered from the fact that forty-six tickets to Lovington were sold for the early Vandalia train this morning. Most of them were for people going to attend the celebration.

Decatur Daily Review, April 23, 1909


Ullrich, April 23. -- Bailey Bros. & Kearney of this place received the first carload of coal shipped from the Lovington coal mine. This coal is from the deep vein, which was recently found, and is of excellent quality.


Law to Hold Headgear Down to Reasonable Size.

Springfield, April 23. -- Representative Carmack Friday introduced into the house a bill prohibiting the sale and manufacture of hats more than eighteen inches in diameter.

It also provides that nothing on a hat, such as pins or feathers, shall extend more than six inches beyond the crown of the hat, and that no stuffed birds, insects, or the like shall be worn on hats.

Decatur Daily Review, May 5, 1909

Town With Great Coal Mine Wants 10,000 People.

Sullivan, May 5. -- An automobile party consisting of some of Lovington's prominent business men came to Sullivan Tuesday. William Fischer, manager ot the Lovington Coal Mining company and 0. Atchison were in the party. The boom that is on at Lovington over the big find in coal has had its effect on the aspirations of Lovington people who are hinting at a possible population of 10,000 in ten years hence, with the capital of Moultrie located there.

It seems well for Sullivan and vicinity that the court house is built and so well built that it will last at least ten years.

Decatur Daily Review, August 4, 1909


Treasury Officials Receive Complaints on the Size of Coins.

Washington, Aug. 4. -- The Lincoln pennies are not making as great a hit as the treasury officials had hoped for. Artists have always declared that a penny superior in design to the Indian penny could not be turned out, and it is claimed that the Lincoln penny is a practical demonstration of that statement.

The new pennies are being subjected to criticism by others than artists. It was first discovered at the treasury that they did not stack up as well as the Indian coins.

The most serious objection to them, however, Is that they are thicker than the old coins. Institutions which use coin machines have already begun complaining that the new pennies do not fit the machines.

Decatur Daily Review, August 21, 1909


Moving Scenes of Grief at His Grave.


Mrs. Foster Exonerates Her Husband's Slayer.

Lovington, Aug 21 -- With the ceremonies of the Masonic order, of which Ralph Foster was a member, his body was buried this afternoon. The funeral service was at the Methodist church, Rev C. S. Lyles officiating.

The pallbearers were all intimate friends of the dead man. A. A. Brown, A. L. Wilt, R. E. Bowers, M. W. Boggs, L. L. Beall and P. W. Sutter.


The floral offerings were numerous and handsome. The attendance at the funeral was large and the remarks made by Mr Lyles were appropriate. He spoke feelingly of Ralph Foster, and told of his wide acquaintanceship. He consoled the bereaved widow and mother and said that not often is a young man so necessary a part of a family as was he.

Many grieving friends followed the casket to the grave and saw it lowered into the earth. It was a sad scene and most pathetic was the figure of the desolate wife bowed by her great sorrow.


There is still great interest in the case. It is one of the most shocking tragedies that ever occurred here. As a general thing only sympathy is expressed for Homer Shepherd, the man whose shot ended the life of his good friend and cousin by marriage.

Homer Shepherd is absolutely inconsolable. He is almost prostrated at having killed his friend and reproaches himself for his hastiness in shooting on the suspicion that he was a burglar.


Mrs. Ethel Yanders Foster, the widow, was in bed all day yesterday, but was able to be up this morning and attend to the final details for the funeral. The mother is also getting along all right and no serious effects are expected as a result of the tragedy.

There is persistent talk that there will be a prosecution against Homer Shepherd, although the majority of the citizens think there will be none. Mrs. Foster and her mother-in-law have repeatedly said that there should be no prosecution. They exonerate Homer Shepherd tor the deed.


It is said that some of Ralph Foster's relatives have strong feeling against Homer Shepherd, and it is rumored that they may bring action. It is said that Foster's uncles and cousins think there should be prosecution of his slayer.

State's Attorney J. K. Martin in Sullivan said: "Mr, Shepherd was exonerated by the coroners jury. There is nothing for me to do unless there should be developments. I have beard talk that relatives of the dead man will want his slayer prosecuted, although none of this has come to me directly. I will bring no action unless complaint is made to me, in which case I will present the case to the next grand jury. This event seems to me unlikely under the circumstances, however."


Homer Shepherd has nothing further to say. He refuses to talk for publication, saying that he told his unfortunate story to the coroners jury and there is nothing to add. He says the death of his friend will blight his own life and repeats again and again that he would not have shot had he known it was Ralph Foster.

"I would have killed my own little boy, whom I love dearer than my own life just as quickly as I would have killed Ralph Foster, my bosom friend and pal, and a brother Mason."


The most generally accepted theory of how Foster came to be in the Shepherd yard is that he cut through there to go to his own house to shut it up and see that all was well before retiring for the night. That would account for the first noise Mrs. Shepherd heard of someone going through the yard. It was when he was returning that Shepherd saw him and shot.


A number of people went over to Lovington Saturday morning to attend the funeral of Ralph Foster. Among them were Misses Leoti Swearingen and Daisy Payne. Misses Daisy Daggett and Trenna Sillier who went to Lovington with Mrs. Foster, are remaining over for the funeral.