Women’s Travel Club learns about coal mining in Cannelton

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CANNELTON – Five members of the Woman’s Travel Club gathered April 4 for a meeting at the Cannelton Public Library with President Opal McCarthy presiding. Margaret Schank presented a history of coal mining in the Cannelton area.
In 1835, General Seth Hunt, traveling up the Ohio River, was attracted by the high-grade semi-cannel coal deposits. He and other New England businessmen raised money to begin mining operations and to build a sawmill and homes at Coal Haven. In 1839, fire destroyed virtually all the town. In 1840, mining was resumed and the town was renamed Cannelsburg.
Generally the town was called Cannelton, which became its official name in 1844. Large deposits of soft coal provided cheap fuel to steamboats. One of the first mines opened by the American Cannel Coal Co. was at Rock Island and employed Schank’s great-grandfather, Michael Dunlevy, an immigrant from Londonderry, Ireland.
The coal industry was prominent before the Civil War. Now there is only an abandoned mine northeast of the city.
The next meeting of the Woman’s Travel Club will be a dinner meeting Wednesday at the Patio.