Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Correspondents

October 5, 2006

Prairie Block Coal Co. Mine

After turning west, the Rock Island Railroad continued toward Numa in 1871. It crossed old Highway No. 60 in the middle of Section 15 of Bellair Twp, the west half of which was owned by Isaac F. Streepy. It was here that the old Highway 60 turned south toward Cincinnati in those days.

This land was deemed good for coal production. Isaac Streepy leased 500 acres of coal land to a mining company in 1903. Two prospect holes were to be drilled on the Streepy farm at once. By the terms of the lease, Mr. Streepy was to receive a royalty of 5 cents per ton of coal mined, the total per year to be not less than $800.

The Prairie Block Mine went into operation along the railroad in 1905. It was mined by the longwall method and had a 160-foot shaft. The mine caused the development of the settlement of Streepyville along the Numa road on the west side of Hwy. 60. It was platted in 1913. At one time there was a store, school, pool hall & tavern, blacksmith shop, filling station, four boarding houses, miners‚ hall and 30 to 40 homes for the miners.

There was a fatality in the mine in 1910 when Clarence Campbell died pushing an empty dirt cart into an open shaft with a drop of 160 feet. Also in 1915 William Sanders, the top boss fell down the shaft. Then in 1918 John Furlin, an Italian of age 36, was killed by a fall of rock.

In 1927.Ed Johnson, foreman under Harry Stamos, was loading shale for the Rock Island Railroad at the Streepyville mine dump when he received fatal injuries. Workmen were busy loading shale into railroad cars on the siding near by. It was necessary to set off a stick of dynamite to blow more shale to the foot of the dump where workmen could get at it with wheelbarrows. Johnson had climbed up the side of the shale pile to a small hole made ready for the blast, carrying a stick of dynamite in his hand. He had reached a spot near the hole when loosened black dirt above him began to fall. The fall of dirt and shale carried Johnson to the foot of the dump.

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