Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


May 18, 2006

Truck mines north of Rathbun

There were several coal mines drilled in low spots in the Chariton River Valley to the north of Rathbun, some in Chariton Twp. Some of these are now covered by the Rathbun Lake. These mines were primarily truck mines, built after the turn of the century when trucks became available to haul the coal from the mine to a railroad terminal or to the ultimate market.

One of these mines was the Harbour Mine (Rathbun Coal Co.), about a mile north of Rathbun from about 1926 to 1942. At first it was a slope mine very near the Chariton River. Water problems were pretty bad so they drilled a 75-foot shaft further upstream, just west of the present highway J-29 and a little south of the Chariton Valley Rural Water plant, to intersect the underground diggings. This undermined 95 acres. Later the river broke through and flooded the mine. This mine had more than its share of fatalities.

In 1926, Sam Pozavich, age 51, was killed in the Harbour Mine when struck in the back by a pulley that came loose when a rope broke. It happened on the first day the mine was opened up again.

Then in 1942, 27 year-old Robert Harbour, the son of L.V. Harbour, the mine owner, was electrocuted after something went wrong with the fan, and he came in contact with electrical wires. Also George Van de Van was killed that same year by a fall of black bat.

Going on north, there were several mines clustered within a short distance of each other on the west side of the old Chariton River bottom, a Riverside Mine little north of where the dedication center is now. Kaster Coal Co. (Section 27) and Duff Coal Co. (Section 26) were slope mines, both located just north of Island View Place, one on either side of the west side of Islet Loop.

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