The mine was insured and the coal company officials began to rebuild it at once, adding some new and late equipment to facilitate the operations. It. took two months to rebuild the mine to re-open it. 250 acres were mined before it was finally shut down in 1945. The remains of the slag pile are now a large grassy knoll.
For the McConvilles, coal mining was a family business dating all the way back to Ireland. The McConvilles were originally ironstone miners in the mountains of Mourne in County Down and County Armagh in Northern Ireland. The great potato famine in the 1840’s destroyed the main Irish crop, and millions were starving or emigrating. Edward McConville and his wife Isabelle faced starvation. It was at this time that their son John left Ireland to find work in Scotland.
John McConville (1835-1900) found work mining coal near Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1859 he married Ann Hynd and they had two sons and six daughters, one of which was Edward McConville.
Edward was born in Braidwood, Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1860. In 1879 Edward married an Irish lass named Nancy Ann McCormack in Portobello, Scotland and they were to have seven sons and one daughter born between 1882 and 1891. The children were, in order of birth date, John, Edward, Owen, Nora, James, Hugh (died in childhood), Benedict and Joseph.
In 1887, the four older children (all under the age of six) traveled with their parents, Edward and Nancy McConville) to America. Others in the family followed. They all lived in Alton, Pennsylvania and then in Youngstown, Ohio and finally arrived in Iowa. They all lived Keb Coal Camp near Ottumwa, Iowa followed by Cleveland Camp near Lucas before they finally arrived at Mystic, Iowa in 1888.
I will continue the McConville story and their further contribution to coal mining in Appanoose County when I write the article about the McConville Midway Mine located on the Interurban line to Mystic.