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Coal Miners Memorial Morewood Mines & Coke Works (Southwest Nos. 1 "A", 1 "B" Mines & Coke Works), Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Miners Memorial Southwest Nos. 2, 3 & 4 Mines & Coke Works, Tarrs, East Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Morewood, A Coal Company Patch Town, Morewood Mine & Coke Works, Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp.,Westmoreland Co., PA, USA


Massacre at Morewood Mine & Coke Works, Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp.,Westmoreland Co., PA, USA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA Main INDEX
Township Map of Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania
Map of H.C.Frick Coke Co. Mines
Map of R.R. Transportation System Westmoreland Co.
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Morewood "A" Mine & Coke Works, Morewood "B" Mine & Coke Works,
(Southwest No. 1 "A" Mine & Coke Works),
(Southwest No. 1 "B" Mine & Coke Works)

Village of Morewood,
on the southwest side of Mt. Pleasant,
East Huntingdon Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Morewood Mines, Village of Morewood, East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated Oct. 17, 2009

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Morewood "A" Mine & Coke Works,
Morewood "B" Mine & Coke Works,
(Southwest No. 1 "A" Mine & Coke Works)
(Southwest No. 1 "B" Mine & Coke Works)

(ca.1879-1923 ?),
Located on the "June Bug Branch" Morewood Branch, of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, off of PA Rt. 981, along New PA Rt. 119, just southwest of Mt. Pleasant, Morewood Road, Village of Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1870's-  ?  ), Morewood Coke Company, Limited
              (ca.1882-    ?  ), Schoonmaker & H. Clay Frick Company
              (ca.1885-   ?   ), Southwest Coal & Coke Company,
              (ca.1901-   ?   ), Southwest Connellsville Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
              (ca.1903-1923 ?), H.C. Frick Coke Company, Scottdale, PA

A section of the U.S.G.S. ca.1902 15 min. Connellsville, PA Quad map showing the location of the Morewood Mine & Coke Works, and the coal patch town of Morewood.  The town of Morewood does not exist today,  stripmining and the new U.S. Rt.119 has destroyed all but a few houses.  The Morewood Mine site and coke works site has been reclaimed and very few remains can be seen.
(Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)

Morewood Mine & Coke Works
The Morewood No. 1 Mine & Coke Works, located at Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp. a short distance west of Mt. Pleasant, PA.   Several of the mine buildings, power house, tipple, coke yard and the Mt. Pleasant Supply Company store are shown in this early post card of Morewood.
(Photo courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Society archives, Mt. Pleasant, PA)

HISTORY:

Morewood Mines were built and first operated by the Morewood Coke Company, Ltd., owned by H. C. Frick & J. M. Schoonmaker.  Operation begun in October of 1879, with 470 bee-hive coke ovens, a fairly large operation at the time.  In ca.1882, Morewood Mine was included in a history of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, which describes the mine as an underground room "Where scores of little lamps twinkling on the foreheads of the swarthy miners look like an undersized torchlight procession."

The Morewood Coke Company store at this time provided for over 1,000  people, the miners and their families, many of whom were not citizens of the United States.  According to the history, the ethnic composition of Morewood was "a condensation of Europe, with a strong extract from Asia and a faint flavor of Africa," due to the large number of immigrants especially from Eastern Europe, who had settled there.

The "Connellsville Courier," claims that "Slavs" were first brought to the region in ca.1879, to the Morewood Works.

In 1882, the Morewood Works ceased to operate under the Morewood Coke Company name, and began to operate under the name of Schoonmaker & H. Clay Frick Company, in 1885 the operation was under the name of the Southwest Coal & Coke Company, which was known formerly as the Eureka Fuel Company, and Southwest Coal Company, Ltd.

In return for the sale of the coal company, H. C. Frick and his wife Adelaide, E. M.Ferguson and his wife Josephine, and Walter Ferguson and his wife Julia (the Ferguson brothers had replaced J. M. Schoonmaker as partners in the company,) received "In equal proportions" six thousnad shares of stock in the new company "at par, or one hundred dollars per share,"  and also three hundred bonds at one thousand dollars each.  Though this sale H. C. Frick maintained an interest in the company and the Morewood Works, and the H. C. Frick Coke Company acquired the Southwest Coal & Coke Company outright in ca.1903.

In ca.1891, The Morewood Coke Works had 620 bee-hive coke ovens which, for the most part, would not all be fired at one time.  The company store had carried on a lively trade with Samuel M. Warden Company in ca.1888 and 1889, buying fruits and vegetables, such as rhubarb, apples (at 25 cents a bushel), potatoes, and cabbage, and also pit posts, and selling sugar, soap, shovels, and just about all other necessities.  Morewood Mines, became known after there acquisition by the Southwest Coal & Coke Company as Southwest No. 1 "A" & "B" Mine.  

The Morewood Mines boasted in ca.1892: 2 mine boses, 311 miners, 5 miner's boys, 51 All Company men, 30 drivers and runners, 12 door boys, 2 outside foreman, 11 blacksmiths and carpenters, 15 engineers and fireman, 283 cokers and yardmen, 6 superintendents, book-keepers, and clerks, and 50 horses and mules, for a total of 724 employees.

(The following article on the Morewood Mine is reprinted from "History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania,"  ca.1882, by George Dallas Albert.)

MOUNT PLEASANT REGION
MOREWOOD MINES, ca.1882

One can well spend a day in a tour of the Morewood Coke-Works alone, from the farthest underground room, where scores of little lamps rwinkling on the foreheads of the swarthy miners lok like an undersized torchlight procession that has been buried to await the resurrecting trumpet of the next campaign, from the dark passages where the smothered clink of the picks tells how the little atoms of humanity are scratching under the skin of the big round earth, up the shaft to where the fresh-dug coal is dumped into the "larry," the one-hundred-bushel car that a little locomotive hauls back and forth along the railroad upon the row of ovens, from which the coal is dumped directly into the ovens, one hundred bushels to each oven, to be raked out silvery gray glistening coke twenty-four hours later and packed, still steaming, into the cars for shipment.

Or a part of the time may be employed in a visit to the great company's store that supplies food, clothing, and furniture for one thousand people, the inhabitants of a town that has five hundred full-grown men, of whom scarely half are American citizens, a condensation of Europe, with a strong extract from Asia and a faint flavor of Africa.

These works make and ship daily about one thousand tons of coke, averaging about sixty cars of about sixteen and a quarter tons each. Turning over less than half a dozen pages of their shipping book shows the initials of forty-seven different railroads, giving an index to the scope of their trade.  The bare statement that one thousand tons of coke are manufactured at one place daily gives but an unsatisfactory notion of the output, but when that amount of inanimate energy is ciphered into human muscle the look of it is different and better understood.  To make one ton of coke requires one and six-tents tons of coal.  The one thousand tons manufactured here daily mean, therefore, sixteen hundred tons of coal mined in the same time.  Rogers estimates that one pound of coal applied to the production of mechanical power through the agency of steam will exert a power equal to that obtained from ten hours' continuous labor of a strong man on a tread-mill.

A later writer, and one who has evidently given the subject much thought, holds that a ton and a half of coal, uded to make steam, will produce a power equal to one man's work for a whole year.  Taking this, the smaller estimate, then the sixteen hundred tons of coal dug daily at Morewood are equal to a year's labor of almost eleven hundred men.

On the Hungarian peasant's mental map of America "Morewood" is doubtless larger than all the Southern States together, better known than Pennsylvania. Here the first large colony of them was brought a couple of years ago, and hither hundreds have drifted since.  Many of the early colonists have gone back to the old country, following the fashion of the Chinese, whose cousins they are.  Others have floated out upon the prairies of the West, for they have a keen eye to their profit, and if they see a chance of making money are quick to go after it.

Among the miners underground Hungarian men are plenty enough.  Above surface their wives and daughters share their labor with the men.  Broadbacked and brawny, the women handle the long heavy iron scraper at the hot mouth of the oven, and their burly, dumpy figures are seen between the handles of the big wheelbarrows as they trot from the oven to the car with five or six bushels of coke, weighing from two hundred to two hundred and forty pounds.

Their principal employment, however, is forking coke in the cars.  They all wear boots;  that is, for a few months in the winter.  In the summer they go barefoot, and even thus early are found the strong imprint of plenty of pink toes in the yellow mud.  Their skirts are scant, and leave room for about two feet of sunburn below.  A distinctive feature of their costume is thei head-dress, which usually consists of a shawl, not wrapped turban fashion, but pinned under the chin.  Men and women are alike short, almost squat in stature, but broad and strongly built.  The thick-set, grimy coke-drawers do not remind one forcibly of the famous Magyar cavalrymen, but the grandfather of some of these laborers charged with Kosciusko at Raclawicek, and heard with his own ears the alleged shriek of Freedom when he fell.  If he did, however, it is long odds that his grandmother attended to the stabling of his steed.

The women are accustomed to hard work in their own country, and the men seem to be willing to let them do it.

Col. Schoonmaker, the manager at Morewood, does all in his power to keep them out of the coke-yard, but nothing but a cordon of police could do it.  Driven out of the yard repeatedly, they return whenever the yard-boss turns his back towards them.

The company keeps no account with them, and their time is computed with that of their husbands, fathers, or bothers. Constant labor has developed their musles, and a sculptor might find some of the finest model arms among the coke-forkers.

(This account of Morewood Mine in 1882 is from "History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania," ca.1882, by George Dallas Albert (Albert,1882:407-408))

Morewood Coke Works
The Morewood Coke Works, located at Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp. a short distance west of Mt. Pleasant, PA.  The long lines of Bee-hive coke ovens located in the valley at Morewood, with the wooden railroad coke cars being loaded with coke.  
(Photo courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Society archives, Mt. Pleasant, PA)

Morewood Coke Works
The coke workers at Morewood Coke Works pulled the finished coke from the Bee-hive coke ovens by hand and loaded it in railroad coke cars the using wheelbarrows.
(Photo courtesy of the West Overton Museum archives, West Overton, PA)

From the "Mt. Pleasant Journal," date unknown, ca.1884.
Immigrant Workers Scapegoats
The eager new immigrate workers, fresh off the boat, were  brought to the area by the coal and coke companies.  These new workers became the scapegoats for all the problems of the industry, the poor wages, poor working conditions and the ensuing price wars. Newspapers here attacked them in the most offensive language, often clouding the real issues. A placard echoing this resentment for the non English speaking laborers was found tacked up outside the Morewood Mine about 1884. Called "An Appeal to the Christian Public," it insulted every facet of the immigrants' lives, in this case the first arrivals here, the Hungarians, before making its points:

An Appeal to the Christian Public
One of the most degrading influences brought to bear upon our community is the indiscriminate portion of Hungarian serfs and their employment in public works in preference to good local citizens who are willing and can perform more and better labor for the same pay. Little do they care for our working men or our business men. They are ruining both and well they know it. Go to any of these coke works where these serfs are employed and you will find women and children at work fit only for the stoutest of men. Girls of ten years of age working and drawing coke; Extreme promiscuity in their marital relations, carrying on an illicit whiskey traffic. If it really takes men women and children at hard labor to keep a family which lives on the cheapest and filthiest of wares, what will other American citizens do for a living?

Isolated by language and the feudal-like company "Patch" the mines and coke workers labored hard to please their new 'lord' the company. Asked who was the president of the United States, a Hungarian reportedly replied "King Frick;" the company had surplanted the old system of the Empire. The Polish and Slavs and later the Italians arrived a bit later at Morewood.
(Courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Society)

A review of
The Coal King:
Not surprisingly, the coal strike, which lasted from February to May, 1891, started over wages. Carnegie, as at Homestead, urged a wait-and-see approach that he believed would find the men willing to go back to work as their savings dried up. He believed such an approach resulted in fewer hard feelings when the workers returned to the mines. Frick, though, as at Homestead, was only interested in restarting operations.

On the night of April 2, 1891, about 450 miners marched on the Morewood Mine near Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, and were met by armed deputies who fired on the crowd, killing seven strikers and wounding several others. When Frick learned of the events, he passed on the telegram to another mine owner with a note that reveals in powerful fashion the ruthless, icy businessman he was: "I have no further particulars. This will likely have a good effect on the riotous element up there." Readers also should find interesting Warren's assessment of Frick's life and accomplishments. The author finds it particularly troubling that most of the physical entities associated with Frick, such as beehive coke ovens and the Homestead works, are gone. He feels western Pennsylvanians are making a mistake in not preserving a sampling of the sites and that they are allowing their heritage to slip away.

So widely hated was Frick during his own lifetime that when he died in 1919, he was buried behind a fence in Homewood Cemetery near Clayton and his grave sealed in stone and concrete to guard against desecration. In the years since his death, even biographers have found it difficult to show Frick much sympathy. Samuel A. Schreiner titled his recent biography of the coal and coke king, "Henry Clay Frick: The Gospel of Greed." But Kenneth Warren says he had no such feelings toward Frick when he was writing "Triumphant Capitalism: Henry Clay Frick and the Industrial Transformation of America," a new business biography of Frick published by the University Press ($35 hardcover).
(from University Times.

VOLUME 29 NUMBER 6 NOVEMBER 7, 1996
Copyright (c) 1996, University of Pittsburgh)

In 1891, The Morewood Coke Works had 620 bee-hive coke ovens.  The company store had carried on a lively trade with a local merchant, Samuel M. Warden in 1888 and 1889, buying fruits and vegetables, such as rhubarb, apples [at 25 cents a bushel], potatoes, and cabbage, and also pit posts, and selling sugar, soap, shovels, and othe necessities.

During the bitter coal miners strike of 1894, four would-be dynamiters were arrested by the county sheriff and deputies, caught in the act of preparing a bomb to blow up the shaft of the Morewood Mine of Southwest Connellsville Coke Company. A tip led the lawmen to the woods near the shaft.  Among those arrested was a brother of a top UMW official.

Morewood Mine, also known after its acquisition by the Southwest Coal & Coke Company as "Southwest No. 1 Mine," boasted in 1892:  2 mine bosses, 311 miners, 5 miner's boys, 51 all company men, 30 mules drivers and runners, 12 door boys, 2 outside foreman, 11 blacksmiths and carpenters, 15 engineers and fireman, 283 cokers and yardmen, 6 superintendents, book-keepers, and clerks, and 50 horeses and mules, for a total of 724 employees.

The Morewood Mine and Works had two shafts, "A Shaft" and "B Shaft," and was surrounded by coal company houses.  The property also contained and a company store, as well as a house for the superintendent, overlooking the mine operations.

In ca.1902 the Morewood Mine complex contained at least 60 double-family miners houses and other associeted buildings.

In ca.1904 the Morewood Mine had 581 employees, 66 horses and mules and produced 499,974 tons of coal and 315,000 tons of coke.  The Morewood Coke Works contained 625 bee-hive coke ovens.

PHMC to Dedicate Historical Markers in Westmoreland County
Issued: Sept 28, 2000
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will dedicate historical markers for two labor-related events, the Morewood Massacre and the Mammoth Mine Explosion, at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at the West Overton Museums, West Overton Village, Route 819, two miles north of Scottdale, Westmoreland County.
An explosion in the Mammoth Mine of the H.C. Frick Coke Company on Jan. 27, 1891, killed 109 coal miners, the worst explosion in a bituminous coal mine in Pennsylvania. It led to state legislation strengthening mine-safety inspections.
Later that same year, on April 2, at Frick's Morewood Mines, sheriff's deputies killed seven striking workers, and two died later. Thousands of mourners attended the funeral when victims were buried in a mass grave. By late May, the strike had collapsed, and the organizing of coke workers suffered a severe blow.
More than 1,800 historical markers throughout Pennsylvania commemorate the people, places and events that have become part of Pennsylvania's heritage.

(The following article reprinted from the "Tribune-Review," Westmoreland News - Thursday, September 28, 2000)
IN MEMORY of MINERS
Article by Marsha Forys, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Their graves are distinguishable, not because of elaborate headstones marking their final resting places, but because there are no headstones at all. In fact, a visitor to the "old" St. John the Baptist Cemetery in East Huntingdon Township would have no idea that beneath the neatly mown patch of grass, measuring about 30 by 70 feet, lie the victims of two of the region's most infamous mining tragedies - the Mammoth Mine Explosion and the Morewood Massacre. While the area is bordered by weathered headstones dating from the late 1800s, not even a wreath or bouquet of flowers indicate this quiet country cemetery, located off Route 819 just south of Scottdale, is the site of the mass graves of 86 men killed just two months apart more than a century ago. But that oversight is due to be rectified on Friday when Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission markers will be placed at the site of the Morewood Massacre and at the mass graves in St. John the Baptist Cemetery.

"This action gives us an appreciation of our history, our past, our tradition. Unfortunately, we don't always value those things, but it's good that we're doing this now. A valuable lesson can be learned from their sacrifice," said Joe Dreliszak, principal of St. John the Baptist School in Scottdale. The first tragedy took place Jan. 27, 1891, when an explosion ripped through the H.C. Frick Coke Co.'s Mammoth No. 1 Mine, Mammoth, PA, whose portal can still be found just a few hundred yards from the Mt. Pleasant Township Municipal Building, off Poker Road, in Mammoth, PA, while accounts vary, it is believed 109 coal miners - mostly Polish, Hungarian and Italian immigrants working to build a new life in the United States - died that day. Seventy-nine of the victims are buried in the mass grave at St. John the Baptist Cemetery. It was the worst mining disaster of that time in southwestern Pennsylvania's bituminous coal region, and it led to state legislation that would strengthen mine safety inspections.

Just a few feet away from the unmarked grave of the Mammoth Mine victims is another mass grave, one that holds the bodies of seven of the nine miners shot and killed April 2, 1891, during a strike at H.C. Frick Coke Co.'s Morewood Mines, Morewood, PA, located off what is now Route 981 just south of Mt. Pleasant. The nine miners killed were among 16,000 miners striking for higher wages in what was then known as the Connellsville Coke Region. Two months after the shooting, the strike collapsed and attempts to organize the region's coal miners and coke workers suffered a severe blow. According to an account by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the miners were fired upon by Westmoreland County sheriff's deputies. Other accounts blame the Pinkerton guards hired by the company during the strike for the shooting.

The markers will be dedicated in conjunction with a two-day conference being held by the Pennsylvania Labor History Society at West Overton Museums, north of Scottdale.
(Published in the "Tribune-Review," Greensburg, PA, Thursday, September 28, 2000)

Morewood Mine area reclaimed
Pennsylvana DEP Bulletin:  OSM65(1224)102.1.1 - Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation, Morewood, involves approximately grading 29,700 c.y. and seeding 4.75 acres. 100% of this project is financed by the 1999 PA AML Grant, federal funding total for this program is $21.6 million. This project will issue January 21, 2000; bid documents will not be sent until payment in the amount of $10 is received.
Department: Environmental Protection
Location: East Huntingdon Township
Duration: 130 calendar days
Change of color expected at Morewood site
HARRISBURG, May 11, 2000 --
A mine reclamation project at the Morewood site in East Huntingdon Township is slated to begin Friday, according to state Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Westmoreland.
"Abandoned mines continue to dot the landscape. These eyesores aren't easily reclaimed, but by following the proper procedures, hillsides of black can be returned to beautiful green habitats," Harhai said. "All it takes is effort and time."
In this instance, the effort will be provided by T.P. Sanitation of Loretto. The company was awarded a $35,959 contract by the state Department of Environmental Protection to grade the abandoned mine site and then seed the 4.75 acres.
The project is expected to be completed by Sept. 9.

"Coal Miners Memorial, Morewood Mine & Coke Works,
Village of Morewood, East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
"Morewood, A Coal Company Patch Town
Village of Morewood, East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
Massacre at Morewood Mine, (Coal Miners Strike of 1891),
Morewood Mine & Coke Works,
Morewood, East Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
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