Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


October 19, 2006

The Numa Coal Co. in Martinstown


I enlisted the help of Neil Doggett of Numa to show me the various mines in the Numa area. His father, Raymond Doggett was a coal miner in the New Block mine for 37 years and ran an electric mining machine. Later he ran the Doggett gas station on the south end of Numa for 12 years. It has since been converted to a tavern and meeting room.

Neal took me down a lane to see the remains of the Numa Coal Co. mine in Martinstown. The railroad right of way, angling through the abandoned town, was still very evident from the line of trees. There was still a blackened area on the ground that used to be the slag pile. There was also a large pond for making steam.

Neal also took me to the location of the Grundy Block mine on 160th Ave. about one-half mile south of Numa., on the north bank of Shoal Creek. This mine is believed to have been the same as the Fred Kauzlarich mine. It was also known as the “Blind Pig” mine because a pig fell down the shaft 140 feet to his death. The Grundy Mine had a short life of only four years because it had been dug too close to Shoal Creek, and so much water got into the mine that it had to close.

There was a very large mine on the east side of Numa called the Numa Block Coal Co., Numa mine. It was about a quarter mile south of the Numa road but was completely inaccessible to us as the whole area was planted in corn. It had a 150 foot shaft.

The Numa Block mine operated from 1908 to 1915, undermining 240 acres during that period. In 1915 Harry Combs was killed as he fell into the air shaft fan while oiling it. He was whirled about by the fan until his feet were worn away clear up to his knees. That sounds like a gruesome accident.

Several other mines in the Numa rural area were the Coal Valley mine of 5 acres with a 132 foot shaft, the Walnut Grove Coal Co. with a 64 foot shaft and the New Deal Co. of 10 acres. These mines were in the early 1900‚s but did not have railroad access.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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