Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


November 9, 2006

Coal mining in the Hilltown area


To get into the mine, one used a tunnel that went into the side of the hill. There was a hole partway back, drilled from the top, that acted as a chimney to remove the dangerous funes that accumulated in the mine. Even so, the fumes would sometimes make the miners sick. Water would also accumulated in the mine and tranches were dug around the outside to form a gutter to drain the water back down the entrance tunnel.

Apparently Ira and Haradin Guinn were brothers as Ira was born in 1870 and Hardin in 1879. Hardin was the superintendent of the mine in later years. Both were listed as farmers in the census books so it may have been a dual occupation. They farmed their land for coal.

In the summer of 1936, the Guinn Mine was closed temporarily because of high water. It took some time to pump the water out. There was a general store near the mine, operated by Irene Ferguson in the early 1940’s. She then started a gas station and restaurant with Lyle Marshall acating as station attendant.

The mine was closed in July 1947 after 120 acres were mined out. Much of the machinery was removed. It was re-opened for a short time after pumping out the water, but the mine was soon closed permanently. Hardin Guinn died in 1946 at age 67. Ira died in 1949 at age 80. They are buried in the Hilltown Cemetery.

Another significant mine was the Dan Bradshaw Mine. It was located in Section 16, just across the Hilltown road dto the south from the Ira Guinn Minne. Daniel Bradshaw was born in 1878.

In 1941, at age 62, Bradshaw died from injuries from falling down the shaft. Bradshaw and George Hendon had been working alone in the mine where they were blasting. A car had been loaded and shoved innto the cage. Since they were short of hlep, Bradshaw had started to climb to the ground level to raise the cage. He had made but 40 feet of the trip when he lost his ffooting and fell. Hendon was injured when he was struck by Bradshaw’s falling body. Although badly injured, Hendon managed to crawl up the shaft and go for help. Bradshaw’s battered body was rushed to Centerville hospital where he died. Hendon was badly bruised but was not in ncritical condition.

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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?"

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