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Coal Mines of Allegheny Co., PA MAIN INDEX

Risher Mine,
Dravosburg,
Mifflin Twp.,
Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Risher Mine, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated Sept. 12, 2010

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Risher Mine (ca.1884- ? ),
Located on the Monongahela Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Hays, Dravosburg, Allegheny Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1884-  ?  ),   ?
              (ca.1904-  ?  ),  ?
              (ca.1905-  ?  ), Monongahela River Consolidated Coal & Coke Company, Pittsburgh, PA
              (ca.1909-  ?  ), Monongahela River Consolidated Coal & Coke Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Picture taken facing up what is now McClure Street in Dravosburg, from the Monongahela River bank.  In the background you can faintly see the mine entrance on the hill, the Linn Hotel right center, and what is believed to be the home of J.M. Risher on the hill to the left.  Captions were unclear as to who was who, but some names are John Lammell, Johnathan Dunlap, Nod McClure and Gilbert Krail.
(Photo courtesy of  Dravosburg History Web Site.)

HISTORY:
Mr. Risher had previously opened a mine known as the Amity in 1851. He leased the Amity to Daniel Bushmiller who operate it until 1859, then took it back. Mr. Risher operated both mines until his death in 1889. Upon Mr. Risher’s death his son-in-law Stephen S. Crump took over operation of the mine and was quite successful, shipping as much as 2.5 million bushels of coal a year from the Amity and Risher mines, in addition to shipping for other mines.

Mr. Crump also owned and operated a general store in Dravosburg, and when the State Bank of Dravosburg was organized in ca.1903, he was elected its first president. He operated the mine until 1900 when it was sold to the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Company.

In 1835 William Whigham, son of Thomas Whigham an early pioneer of Mifflin Township, opened a coal mine at the north end of town and operated it until 1856. It is said that on March 22, 1856, Mr. Whigham hauled some of his coal across the river to McKeesport on ice that was four feet thick. William Whigham was also the president of the First National Bank of McKeesport for several years.

The Whighams sold the mine to William Stone, who operated it until his death, when it was taken over by his heirs. During his tenure Mr. Stone named the area Stonesburg. This was on the hillside below what is now called North Hill.

A second mine was opened in 1840 by James O’Neil who operated it until 1851 when he sold it to Michael Dravo & Sons. The Dravos built six beehive coke ovens and used the slack from the mine to manufacture coke to be shipped by river to southern markets. In 1869 the mine and coke ovens were sold to J.C.Risher.

John Fleming Dravo, pictured at right, for whom Dravosburg is named, was one of the most prominent businessmen in the Pittsburgh area in the mid nineteenth century.

His grandfather, Anthony Dreveau, came to this country in 1794 as a follower of the Marquis De Lussiere. Dreveau was a premier horticulturist in the area.

Anthony’s son, Michael Dravo, came to McKeesport in 1840 and began mining coal. He is credited with being among the first to use horses to haul coal from the mines. Previous to that manpower and dogs were used. Michael was also active in establishing the Methodist Church in the area.

John was born in West Newton on October 29, 1819, and came to McKeesport with his father in 1840. He engaged the coal mining business until 1868, when he sold off his holdings, and established the Pittsburgh Coke, Coal, and Gas Co. in Connellsville. He was President of the Coal Exchange from 1860 - 1870, and later was named to the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. He worked to improve the rivers, was an early abolitionist, and leader of the Republican Party. He was named Collector of the Port in 1881 by President Cleveland, and continued that post by acclamation under President Harrison. In 1886 he was induced to go to the Legislature from Beaver County. There, he introduced a prohibition bill, and nominated M.S. Quay for the Senate. Mr. Dravo was a stockholder, director and trustee of many successful companies in the area.

In 1842, he married Eliza Jane Clark, and they had ten children.

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