Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

September 21, 2006

A look at the Galleyville mine

By Bill Heusinkveld - correspondent

The Rock Island Railroad went on from Centerville to Numa in 1872. At that time Highway No. 5 was still numbered No.60 and went south through Centerville along a route one fourth mile west of the present route. It turned west on a square corner at the Numa road and went about 2 miles to the Streepy corner where it turned south to go through Cincinnati, entering that town from the north instead of from the east.

The railroad went south from the Levee on the west side of the Thirty Road for about a mile. It began a big curve to the west just beyond the Center Mine. Still curving, it intersected Hwy No. 60 a tiny bit northwest of the highway intersection. In 1892 the Galleyville shaft was dug on the west side of the railroad curve just after it crossed the north-south portion of Highway No. 60. An old plat book shows the housing to be in the small corner between the track and the highway.

The mine was built on land owned by Henry Galley, an emigrant from Pennsylvania. Henry Galley, born in 1831, came to Appanoose County in 1858 and farmed a quarter section. Mr. Galley built a hedge fence entirely around his farm and kept it trimmed in beautiful shape. He built his home on the west side of Hwy. 30 about a mile north of the mining settlement.

There were to be three Anchor Co. mines built within a few miles of each other. The first was Anchor No. 1 on the west end of Garfield Street near the large Scandinavian Mine in Centerville in 1889. Anchor No. 2 was the Galleyville mine, built in 1892 and Anchor No. 3 was located at Shawville, just to the west in 1899. All were fairly large but Anchor No. 2 at Galleyville turned out to be the largest with a total of 285 acres mined.

Anchor No. 2 had a vertical shaft and was 155 feet deep. The settlement of Galleyville developed on the east side of the track, but some evidence of the town still remains.

There were several fatalities in the Galleyville mine. In 1895 Joseph Ford stepped out into a space where he thought the cage was supposed to be and fell down the shaft 150 feet. In 1913 Joe Rovy, an Italian youth 24 years old, was working as an entryman. He was driving at the entry and was killed by a fall of rock.

In 1920 Anchor Mine No. 2 was purchased by National Coal Mining Co. and became their Mine No. 2. At one time W.F. Young was the mining superintendent. The mine used the longwall system and operated with mules. There were 200 employees.

There were two more fatalities under the new ownership. In 1921 Santo Crachiolo, a 55 year-old Italian, died when the cap of the huge slack pile exploded and threw live coals and burning dust over about 15 men. Maximina Cucivas, a Mexican miner, died from burns from the same explosion.

The mine closed in 1924. After it closed, the settlement houses began to disappear, but a few buildings remain. Sidles Top Crop now occupies the small corner and the angled orientation of its propane tanks and long warehouse type buildings clearly indicates where the old railroad right-of-way passed through. The tree line on both sides of the old road is another indicator. O.R. Parks and his crew have placed a concrete memorial monument on the north side of the Numa road to proclaim the former existence of the mining camp. It is located right where the railroad came through. Gary Craver likes to reminisce that he was born in Galleyville.

The Rock Island Railroad through the area was discontinued in 1978 and the tracks removed. The paved road going to Numa had been re-located in a big curve west of the old railroad but the old road with its square corner still remains to service the remaining homes and businesses.