Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


June 8, 2006

Mining in Mystic by Eva Quist

Eva Quist wrote a very descriptive story about mining in Mystic and a little about the town of Mystic. Eva was the daughter of a coal miner, John Quist, in Mystic who was killed by a fall of coal in a mine in 1927. Eva was a long time school teacher for the fifth grade in Mystic. Her sister Marie was a seamstress and her sister Louise was a watchmaker. The three lived together in their later years. Most of this article is a reproduction of the tribute to the miners written by Eva Quist. This is how it goes:

Accounts of old timers differ but the city of Mystic had a past of adventure and industry. It would have been remembered as a sleepy little village, but located under these scenic foothills was a rich coal vein that would make Mystic a boom mining town.

The first large mine was opened in 1858, and the first railroad mine operated in 1887. The coal miner’s pay was small, but the cost of living was low. The miner cashed his paycheck and paid the store bill. Some miners drew advance money at the coal office.

A miner’s day began before daylight. He ate a hearty breakfast by lamp light. His house was heated with a coal burning stove which was red hot while the windows were cold with frost. He filled his carbide pit lamp while his wife filled his lunch bucket. The steaming coffee in the container was cold by noon.

He took his bucket and mining pick and was on his way. It was a long walk to the coal mine entry. The miners went down into the shaft in a rocking cage to the mine roads. The mined coal was loaded into pit cars pulled by little ponies and mules, which were kept underground during the mining season and brought up to pasture in the summer. The coal carts were raised to ground level and loaded on cars on the railroad tracks.

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