During the years when Evanston was developing from a railroad grading camp into one of the permanent towns of the new Territory of Wyoming, there was springing up at her very gates a busy mining town the influence of which was destined to endure long after its decline. It was the coal camp called Almy.
There are in the west few prettier sites than this once thriving camp on Bear River, and few that present such easy access to the hidden wealth. The engineer pierced the hillside with gently sloping tracks that led to veins averaging twenty feet in width. But let it not be understood that this school of mines furnished an easy course of instruction. On the other hand, fire, water, explosive dust, firedamp-in short, all of the enemies that make mining dangerous and hard-were found here as in no other camp in the Rockies, and the man who successfully passed his schooling at Almy was fitted to cope with almost any conditions that might arise in the bituminous fields.
It would be interesting from an industrial standpoint to be able to give the amount of coal that has been taken out of Almy’s mines, but statistics for the period of their existence, covering more than fifty-five years, are not available. Some idea may be gained from such reports as that contained in the first collection of the Historical Society of the Territory of Wyoming, that states that in December, 1881, the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company shipped sixteen thousand six hundred ninety-four tons, and the Union Pacific Company seven thousand seven hundred thirty-four.1 There were nearly six hundred men working in the mines at that time. While there was a slight variation between summer and winter output, yet the greatest demands, those of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific roads, were constant.
The presence of coal in the Interior Basin was known to the early trappers. In a map published by Stansbury following his explorations of 1852 the term “Great Coal Basin” designates the region between :Bear River, near the present site of Evanston and Point of Rocks in Sweetwater County. This embraces the coal lands of southern Uinta County.2 During the following twenty-five years the government sent out several surveying expeditions, of which the King party was the most comprehensive though not the most accurate. From 1869 to 1872 they surveyed a tract one hundred miles in width along the line of the Union Pacific, but, according to Veatch, their maps added but little to what was already known.
In 1870 the Hayden Expedition began its extensive survey. Dr. `’ . F. Hayden, the painstaking and scholarly leader, had its headquarters for several months at Fort Bridger, and from there sent out his specialists. One of these named James T. Hodge, with his party spent several weeks in and about Evanston studying the coal fields. His reports roused much interest.
In the summer of 1868 two men named Mears and Shaffer were sent by Major Laurence, a member of the Union Pacific Engineering Corps, to prospect for coal in western Wyoming. They located adjoining claims about three miles north of Evanston. Mears’ claim ran north to the face of the hill and that of Shaffer south. In August Shaffer sold his interest to Laurence, who formed a partnership with Mears and three others, Milton Orr and John and Joseph Noonan, under the name of the Bear River Coal Company. The first coal was taken out in September, 1868, from what was known as No. 2 mine. Early in 1869 the Bear River Coal Company consolidated with the Rocky Mountain Coal Company, which was already operating a mine at Separation, Carbon County. A man named Henry Simmons was made president and had his headquarters at Almy. James T. Almy, from whom the camp was named, was his clerk. In January, 1870, the company was reincorporated under the name of the Rocky Mountain Coal & Iron Company. The first directors were the capitalists C. A. Henry, Fox Diefendorf and Jonathan A. Wilde. Charles T. Duell, a young man from the state of New York, was made superintendent. The debts of the old company, amounting to $70,000, were paid off, and a wye was built from the main road, about a mile west of Evanston, to the mine. The company secured a small contract to furnish coal for the Union Pacific, but this did not last long. In June of the same year Mr. Diefendorf went to San Francisco and sold the controlling interest of the company to Clark Crocker and David C. Colton, both heavy stockholders in the Central Pacific. Through their influence a contract was made to furnish coal for that road, and this held good until 1900, when a new management came in that gave the contract to the Pleasant Valley Coal Company of Utah. David E. Colton was president of the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company until his death in 1878, when Clark Crocker succeeded him. Later, his brother, George Crocker, became president.3
In February, 1871, Newell Beeman, a boyhood friend of Charles Duell, came out to Almy as bookkeeper for the company. Mr. Beeman, fresh from New York City and wearing the conventional silk hat, has most humorously described his coming to the rough tent town of Evanston, the ride across the frozen fields with Sam Blackham, the arrival at the mine and his reception by his old comrade, whose first act of friendliness was to seize the “stovepipe hat”, place it on the gatepost and shoot it full of holes with the explanation that that was the only use they had for such articles in Wyoming. Mr. Beeman found the prospects anything but alluring, but determined to give it a trial of six months. At the end of that time he went south and was about to open a store in Wichita, Kansas, when a telegram from David E. Colton offered him the superintendency of the mines at Almy. Charles Duell had died of cholera on a trip East, and although his life in Wyoming covered a period of a little less than two years, his fame still lives because of his power of making friends and his originality. Mr. Beeman was superintendent from the time of his return in 1873 until 188o, when A. E. Bradbury succeeded him and was made manager. Mr. Beeman now lives in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Bradbury was a native of Vermont State, who, at the age of seventeen, went to the Pacific Coast, via Cape Horn, and arrived in San Francisco in 1859. After spending some time in that vicinity he went to Portland, and there made the acquaintance of the Huntley brothers, who were proprietors of one of the big stage lines. Mr. Bradbury entered their employ as stage driver, and after some time spent in Montana he was made superintendent of the line running from Bryan, on the Union Pacific road, north to South Pass, Atlantic City and Camp Stambaugh. It was at South Pass that he met Miss Roella Kidder, who became his wife. In 186 they moved to Evanston, and from that year the family has been identified with the interests of Uinta County. After the dosing of the Rocky Mountain mines at Almy they moved to Evanston, where they erected the home on Summit Street now occupied by the son, 0. E. Bradbury. Two older sons are living, Silas H. of Long Beach, California, and Valo, who lives in New York.
In 1868 a mining man by the name of Thomas Wardell opened a mine about a mile east of the Bear River mine on ground purchased from Shaffer. Laurence claimed this land, trouble arose that resulted in the use of firearms, but there were no fatalities. Wardell was dispossessed of the property, but in the early spring of 1869 he began work on a new mine a short distance to the south for the Wyoming Coal and Mining Company, that had just been organized. This mine was known as N o. 1.4 With Wardell was associated a young man called Patrick T. Quealy, whose life story belongs to the history of the Kemmerer mines.
The first superintendent of the Bear River Coal Company was William Hinton. He had been connected with the Carbon County mines from the date of their opening, which was about the same time as that of the Almy mines. Mr. Hinton was a native of Kentucky, who had gone to California with the gold rush and drifted back as far as Wyoming. He remained in Almy until 187 when he was elected sheriff of Uinta County and moved to Evanston. In 1876 he was territorial delegate to the Republican National Convention. For thirty years he practiced law in Evanston, and held the offices of county attorney and assessor. His last years were spent in Hanibal, Missouri, where his only son, Tames Hinton, lived. A grandson, William Hinton, makes his home in Douglas, Wyoming.
In 1875 the Union Pacific Railroad Company came into possession of the property of the Wyoming Coal and Mining Company, and a man known as N. W. Surat was made superintendent at Almy. He remained only one year, a year full of such problems as were common in the mining world. Fire broke out in No. i, and contrary to the advice of his foreman, water was turned in, resulting in the dosing of the mine soon after. Labor troubles confronted him, too, as can be seen from the penciled note preserved by his foreman, which reads as follows
Almy Jan’y 25
All of the men are out without previous notice to me. I protest against this as a great wrong to me and a direct violation of your committee’s agreement not to stop work without first stating their grievance. You have no moral right to damage me thus seriously for something hundreds of miles away which I have nothing to do with, and I ask you to order the immediate resumption of work.
Answer. M. W. Surat.
No. 4 was opened by the Union Pacific Company in 1875, and the next spring Adolphus Eurgens, who had been train dispatcher at Laramie, was given the superintendency of the mines at Almy. Mr. Eurgens, in 1875, married Minnie Arnold. daughter of Rev. F. L. Arnold of Evanston. Their first home was the upper story of the store built near the old Wyoming mine. They moved later to a house put up for the superintendent on the hillside near the entrance of No. 4, which they occupied until 1880, when Mr. Eurgens was made superintendent of the mines at Louisville, Colorado. It was in the new home that Mrs. Eurgens died in 1882, and the passage of forty years has not dimmed the strength of her character in the minds of all who knew her, especially of the children whom she impressed with her love of the beautiful in the inner as well as the outward life. Mr. Eurgens served the road in various capacities in Wyoming and Utah, and died in Salt Lake in 1908. Their only child. Elizabeth, wife of H. N. Tolles, lives in Chicago, and is the mother of two sons.
Reuben Fowkes was made foreman under Surat. He was a native of England and came to this country with his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Bacon, in 1870. After two years spent in Coalville, Utah, they moved to Almy. During the superintendency of Mr. Eurgens, Mr. Fowkes was in charge of the underground work, and held the position for many years. It is interesting to note that the Fowkes name, aside from being perpetuated among us in the line of their descendants, who are among our foremost citizens, has been given a lasting place in the geological history of the country in the “Fowkes formation” that comes to the surface on the ranch about six miles below Almy, taken up by Reuben Fowkes in 1874.. This ranch is now owned by the son, Charles R. W. Fowkes, who is clerk of the present Bear River Coal Company. He makes his home in Evanston, as do three of the daughters. Mrs. Seth Thomas, Mrs. W. J. Starkey and Mrs. Harry Harris. Seven other children still live in the mountain states.
John Graff, an employe of the Union Pacific at Evanston, was made superintendent after Mr. Eurgens. He was succeeded by a man named E. P. Epperson. In 1886 W. T. Ramsay, an eastern n man, was made superintendent, and he remained until 1892, when James Bowns came into the management of the Union Pacific mines. Mr. Bowns came from England in 1871, had worked for a time as a miner, and in 1885 was made foreman at No. 3. In 188 he was transferred to the same position at No. 4, and in 1889 was made superintendent at No. 7, the last mine to be opened in Almy by this company. He held this position until the closing of the mines in 1900. He still lives in Almy, where he has a fine ranch. He is known throughout the country as Bishop Bowns, from the position held in the Mormon Church, in which he -is a leading worker. He has served twice as justice of the peace of his precinct. One of his sons, W. H. Bowns, is fire boss at the Bear River mine, and another is chief electrician at Castle Gate, Utah.
Among the first miners at Almy were the three Johnson brothers and Joseph Fife. Accompanied by their wives they sailed from Scotland, their native land, in early manhood, and settled for a time in Pennsylvania. In 1862 they traveled together across the plains to Utah, and on the opening of the mines at Almy, moved there. David Johnson was the first foreman at the Old Wyoming. Thomas Johnson was one of the most prominent men in the settlement, and the home, under the motherly care of his wife, was a favorite gathering place, especially for those of their own nationality. Mrs. Johnson makes her home in Evanston with her daughter Elizabeth, Mrs. L. E. Smith. There are eight children in all, who are well known in the state. In 1872 Joseph Fife opened a mine that was known by his name, and he was later employed by the Union Pacific. Houses were scarce in the early ’70s, and they had to take temporary shelter in rooms excavated in the sides of the hill, known as “dugouts”. After a short time the company put up frame dwellings. From a distance they looked as much alike as a flock of sheep, but the interiors revealed the character of the owners, and there were many pleasant homes.
The Rocky Mountain Company was the first to employ Chinamen, and brought in about seven hundred. After a strike of white miners in 1874 the Union Pacific depended largely upon their labor, and at one time there were as many as twelve hundred employed by the two companies.5 After the massacre at Rock Springs in 1885 white men only were employed at Almy.
Each of the two big mining companies had its store. That of the Union Pacific mines was situated near the Old Wyoming. It was made of brick and stood there for many years after the abandonment of the adjoining mines, and when torn down in 1898 the bricks, which were of excellent quality, were used in the construction of the Golden Rule Store at Evanston.
A man named Slater was in charge of the Union Pacific store that was put up near No. 2, and afterward moved to a large building between No. 4 and No. 5. James Eakin, who was for many years manager, moved, at the closing of the mines, to Salt Lake City, where his sons were in business, and he died there in 1909. Oscar Ludwig was bookkeeper for the store and mine from 1876 to 1887. The family lived in a large frame dwelling a short distance below the first store, and their home was a favorite gathering place for the young of both Almy and Evanston. There were three daughters and one son. Mr. Ludwig died in 1923 at the home of his daughter May, in Kansas City, Kansas.
Many were the tragedies of the Almy mines. In March, 1881, twenty-nine lives were lost in an explosion at No. 2. Twenty of them were Chinamen, whose names have not been preserved. The white men were John Barton, William Glaspy and Silas Crosby, father of Thomas Crosby, who, through many hardships, has made for himself a place among our substantial men, and is foreman of the railroad shops at Evanston. A miner named Charles Beveridge had a miraculous escape. Seeing the flames coming through the trapdoor of his slope he threw himself into a depression between the tracks. His hands and feet were terribly burned, but in spite of being crippled he lived a long and useful life, and was postmaster in a little store he set up in Almy until 1904, when he was claimed by death. There were seven children in the Beveridge family, four of whom are living. William Beveridge taught in Almy for some years and now makes his home in Ogden, as do two of the daughters, and another lives in Salt Lake City. One of the daughters became the wife of R. W. Fowkes and was well known in Evanston. She died in November, 1920, and is survived by her husband, three sons and a daughter.
Shortly before midnight of January 12, i886, there was an explosion that shook the earth for miles around and resulted in the death of eleven men. They were John Cummock, William Horsley, Frank Mason, Enoch Thomas, Robert Murdock, John H. Hood, Joseph Evans, John Peat, Ellis Gradman, John Hunter and two boys named Horn and Peterson. Work was resumed at the mine, but two years later it was closed on account of fire.6
Most disastrous of all Almy explosions was that of March 10th, 1895, when, at No. 5, sixty men who were just about to come to the surface for the evening meal were suddenly ushered into eternity. The victims were James B. Bruce, O. Maltby, W. E. Cox, James W. Clark, William Sellers, Jr., Jerry Crawford, James Limb, Fred Morgan. Samuel Clay, W. H. Grieves, Willard Brown, John G. Lock, George Hydes, David W. Laurie, Jr., Wm. Morris, John Clark, James T. Clark, Wm. Longdon, Marshall Longdon, John Morris, David Lloyd, John G. Martin, George Crichley, George Hard y, Matthew Johnson, H. A. Hyborn, Wm. Pope, John Wilkes, Charles Casola, Gus Casola, Wm. Weedup, James Hutchenson, Samuel Hutchenson. Thomas Hutchenson, Wm. Sellers, Hugh Sloan, Wm. Graham. Jr., Henry Scotthern. Albert Clark, John Phebes, Wm. Mason, Andrew Mason, John Lester, Wm. Wagstaff, Chas. Clark, Joseph Hyden, John Lethu, Matt Silta, Walter Miller, Thomas Booth. Benjamin Coles, Samuel Bates, John Dexter, Henry Burton. Samuel Holston, John Iapar, Angel Dermodi, John Fern. Baptiste Julian, Aaron Butte, Isaac Johnson.7
Seven on the outside were killed by flying timber. Death came instantaneously to James Bruce, the mine foreman, and O. Maltby, superintendent of motive power, died about two hours after being found. Those within the mine were killed instantly. The bodies were all rescued through the heroic efforts of rescue parties. The disaster occurred on Wednesday, and on the following Sunday interment services were held by ministers of the various denominations. Thirty-two were buried from the Mormon Church, and the others from the chapels to which they belonged.
Many lives were lost in accidents. Henry Cummock died from a broken back caused by a slide of rock. His widow became the wife of Martin Christenson of Evanston. Harry Cummock, her son, is instructor in mechanics in a Los Angeles school, where he is eminently successful. The daughter Anna married Charles Stanley, a successful sheep man of Evanston.
In 1873 the Mormon Church at Almy was organized under the Bear Lake Stake, with James Bowns as bishop. In 1878 it was transferred to the Summit Stake, and later to the Woodruff. Meetings were held in various halls until the erection of the meeting house in 1873. It is a well-built edifice and stands near Number Four mine. Among the prominent workers of the early day were James Hood, who was an accomplished musician, and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dean, whose children received the best education available and have won for themselves places of honor in professional circles in Utah and Idaho.
Three miners, George Griffin, Laben Heward and Samuel Young, were instrumental in organizing the Methodist Church, and in 1887 a building was put up and dedicated, in which Mr. Heward preached the first sermon. Here he, with the help of other laymen and of a local preacher named John Reonalds, held services for several years. The first regular minister was Rev. O. L. Ramsay, and he was followed by a man named Long. Dr. C. F. Gamble, the mine physician, and his wife were active workers in the church, where she was for many years the organist.
Mine Superintendent Ramsay started an Episcopal Sunday School in 1888 that met first in a dwelling house near their home and later in the -schoolhouse at Number Four.
From the very early days Almy had its dramatic dub that rendered the popular plays of the day, such as “East Lynn” and “The Hidden Hand”. Among the stars were Jemima and Thomas Russell, Thomas Cutler and Richard Daniels, father of a son by the same name, who has been nicknamed “Pinkie Daniels” and is said to be the “freckledest kid in the movies”. The plays were at first given in the schoolhouse and later in the Temple of Honor Hall. From the time of its erection, in 1888, this building, located west of Number Four on the county road, was the center of much social life of the camp, taking the place, to a large extent, of the saloon which it was combatting. The lodge was an offshoot of the Evanston organization, and was started by Dr. Hocker of Evanston and other workers. David Miller, William Anderson, Edward Blacker, John Salmon and the Faddis brothers were among the leaders of the Almy lodge, in which there were forty or more members. Most of these moved to the Lincoln County mines at a later date.
The first public school was held in a frame building near the Rocky Mountain store, and A. H. Parsons was the teacher. The grave of his wife, who was greatly loved, may be seen in the Evanston cemetery. Soon after her death, in 188o, Mr. Parsons left for the Fast. Among the early teachers was Miss Lizzie Ball, who, with her brothers, came from Coalville. The men took up land near Castle Rock, Utah, and their descendants hold extensive interests there and down the river. The son, Thomas Ball, married Amy Turner, a member of another old Almy family, and makes his home in Evanston for the sake of the educational advantages for their five children. Other teachers of the early days were Hugh Morgan, William Peterson, W. C. Moss and R L. Fishbum. In 1888 Mr. Fishburn moved to Brigham City, Utah, where he now is a leader in the business and political life.
The years of activity in the Almy mines were a period of great labor agitation throughout our land. It was the time of the beginning of the mighty influx of foreign labor, and conditions in the industrial world were in a state of chaos. Thanks to the leaders in Almy, these mines escaped the horrors that occurred in other mining camps. Strikes, to be sure, were common, some of them serious in their effects, but riots were effectually suppressed.
Industrially the mines have meant much to Uinta County, but their richest legacy is the men and women they have given us. Explain it as you will, the miner is a thinker. In the darkness and solitude of the mines thoughts come to him, big thoughts dealing with his daily life and eternity. When he gathers with his comrades at the noon hour for the lunch that has been prepared f or him at his home or at his boarding house in the morning, these thoughts find words, and new angles of vision are given by his companions to be taken back and turned over in his mind undisturbed by the petty sights and sounds of the outside world. They lend their own color to the rays of the setting sun when he emerges from his weary toil, and the evening song of the meadow lark and the laughter of his children have a meaning in his soul all its own. If he is a Slovak or an Austrian, accustomed to taking his problems to a higher authority, it is probable that the priest or the labor leader will influence his actions, but not so with the Englishman, the Scotchman and the Welshman, who, under normal conditions, thinks out his own line of conduct. He may become an agitator, but he is apt to be a leader in some line. The magazines read and discussed by the Knights of Labor in the first reading room opened in Almy were the North American Review, the Forum and the Arena. It can scarcely be a matter of surprise to find men who devote their hours of recreation to such literature leaving a lasting impress on the world. Among those who remain among us are Laban Heward, eloquent in the pulpit and a worthy representative of his district in the state legislature; President Brown of the Mormon Church, who started life in his adopted land as a blacksmith at Number Three, and whose story is part of the history of Evanston; Abraham Crawford, who served Uinta County for two years as prosecuting attorney and now practices law in Evanston. Mr. Crawford has two sons living in Evanston, William and Abraham, and a daughter, Mrs. Ralph Giles. Another daughter, Mrs. A. J. Piers, lives in Elko, Nevada.
To the mining world this camp gave, besides those already mentioned, Thomas Sneddon, for twenty years superintendent of the mines at Diamondville, John M. Faddis, superintendent of the Cumberland mines, and many others.
Other prominent residents of Almy were George M. Griffin, who represented his district in the first legislature of the state, and Almy Peterson, J. L. Russell, and Jonathon Jones, who were instrumental in securing the passage of the eight-hour labor law in Wyoming, of which Russell was the father.
Another who did much for the cause of labor in the state is Matthew Morrow, a Scotchman, who came to Almy in 1885 and who is spending his declining years in Evanston. One of the sons, William, served in the Spanish-American War and contracted fever, resulting in his death soon after his return. Two daughters married into the Coles family and are living on ranches, as does also the son Alex. Other sons are prominent in the communities in which they live. John has for many years been band leader in Evanston.
Joseph Bird came to Almy in the early eighties. He is a leading business man of Evanston, and has been interested for many years in the hotels. There are nine children in the family. The son Joseph is conducting the Evanston Hotel, and Thomas the Marx Hotel. A daughter named Bretna married John Morrow, Jr., grandson of Matthew Morrow.
Another native of Scotland was David Miller, who brought his wife and five sons to America in 188o, and after a short time spent at Grass Creek, Utah, moved to Almy. Daniel, the eldest son, had three girls and three boys, who have been residents of Evanston for many years. Tom Miller is bookkeeper in the Blyth and Fargo store, and Daniel is now in Seattle. Of the daughters, Agnes and Elizabeth, the latter is best known because of her long service as clerk in the postoffice, which dates from the year 1909. Robert Miller, son of David Miller, Sr., moved to Kemmerer and twice represented his district in the state senate. In 1900 he was elected clerk of the court f or Uinta County and served two terms. His brother was also a leading citizen of Kemmerer after some years spent in Almy.
One of the early settlers in Almy was William Crompton, who came from Lancastershire, England, in 1868, and crossed the mountains with an ox team. He assisted in the construction of the railroad, and in 1870 moved to Almy, where he and his sons took up land bordering the river. They developed a fine ranch that was devoted chiefly to dairy products, and is known as Crompton’s View. Roy and Lester Crompton, sons of Squire Crompton, who died in 1904, make their home here. William Crompton passed away in Ogden in 1904. His son Walter lives in Evanston and is actively associated with the Stockgrowers Bank. He married Elizabeth, daughter of David Miller, and to this union three children have been born, Laura, who became the wife of Everett Knight of Laramie, and Helen and Walter.
There lives in Evanston John Stacey and wife, whose life story is another link to that of Almy, where Mr. Stacey served as postmaster for eight years and was also justice of the peace and director on the school board. Of the thirteen children born to them, eight are living. James Stacey is employed in the Palace Meat Market in Evanston. Two sons enlisted in the World War, Fred, who went to France and returned in safety, and Albert, who died of influenza at Camp Lewis. Joseph and Charles are employed by the Bear River Coal Company at Almy, and Fred lives in Woodruff.
The Heward family is well known. Mary, the eldest daughter, married John Scott, son of an Almy miner. After some years spent in Kemmerer in the meat business, he moved his family to Salt Lake. The three daughters have been fitted for life with the best educational advantages. Arthur Heward married Susan, daughter of Samuel Thomas, and they are the parents of six children. They make their home at the Crompton View Ranch. Harold Heward is also engaged in ranching on Bear River, and they live in Evanston the greater part of the year because of educational advantages for their six children. His wife is a member of the Sims family. Ernest Heward is proprietor of the Heward Meat Market. He married Sarah J. Williams and they have an infant son.
Some of the foremost of the Almy settlers came from Wales. John Sims and his wife, Mary Phillips Sims, crossed the plains with a party of emigrants to Utah in 1865 and located at American Fork. In the early ’70s he came to Almy as a miner. Mr. Sims was one of the first to, take up land and soon had a good herd of cattle on the ranch now occupied by the only surviving son, John Sims. Mr. Sims was three times elected county commissioner, and served for many years on the school board.
Seth Thomas, who came to Almy in 1882, was for some time foreman at No. 4. The family resides in Evanston and are among our valued citizens.
Of another Welsh family of the same name though not related were the brothers Windon and Samuel Thomas. The former lost his life in an accident at Schofield, Utah. Samuel Thomas took up a ranch south of Bear River bridge at Almy and later moved to Evanston. Henry married Amy Turner of a neighboring family, and they lived on the Almy road. A daughter, Mrs. M. L. Laslie, lives in Denver; Elizabeth, Mrs. Clarence Swart, with her husband and five children, lives in Sparks, Nevada.
Wales also sent to this camp a miner named Gomer Thomas, who has been eminently successful, and now holds the position of state coal mine inspector of Utah. This position had been held also by another Almy miner, John Crawford, brother to Abraham Crawford.
Enoch Danks, another native of Wales, left a son named David, who married a daughter of Enoch Turner and lives in Evanston. Tom Danks married Lena Evans. Her father was for many years stage driver between Woodruff and Evanston.
From the year 1873 to the time of his death in 1898, Benjamin Johnson was employed by the Union Pacific, first on the Rocky Mountain Division and later as section foreman at Almy. The family moved to Evanston, where still live the son Newell and two daughters, Mrs. Carrie Dye and Mrs. Gertrude Moffit. Another son, Edward, is station agent at the Aspen tunnel and Charles lives in Los Angeles.
After the explosion of 1884 there were significant changes at Almy. Many of the old families, the Harris, Barkers, Phippes, Bates, Titmus, Bells, Banks, Jonathon Jones and others took up land on ,upper Bear River, and in their places came laborers from Finland. They were less easily assimilated into the life of the nation, but were, as a whole, a good class of people, neat in their homes and devoted to their children. A Lutheran Church was built near No. 7, and they had their own temperance society. Some Italians and Austrians came also, but soon drifted to other camps. The Methodist Church was taken over by the Roman Catholics.
Unlike the usual deserted mining camp, Almy is not an unsightly scar on the landscape, for beginning with the beautiful ranch of Crompton’s View, pleasant homes and waving fields of grain succeed one another the length of the valley. After crossing the tracks we come to the ranch of the Sims brothers, and then to the extensive fields of Jack Mills. The old Heward and Thomas ranches, west of the river, are now part of the Chesney property. Alvin Thompson owns the old Saxon place. Enoch Turner still holds the place taken up by his father across the bridge. Farther down is the well-kept property of Harold Heward, formerly owned by John Sims. Joe Brown, Robert Faddis and George Sessons, all former miners, have excellent ranches bordering on the river. Almost opposite the Mormon Church lives Bishop Baxter on a place formerly owned by a man named Neville. John Stacey and Lyman Brown have fine ranches farther down. Opposite No. 7, on another good ranch, lives John Salamela, a native of Finland, who remained in the valley when most of his countrymen sought other fields. Marshall Bruce, son of James Bruce, cultivates a good ranch below the bridge.
It is with a feeling of pride that we think of these and other survivals of the settlement at Almy. While history necessarily deals with the names of men, too much cannot be said f or the women who bore a part no less important in the development of the west. An example comes to mind of a mother who, with her six little ones, followed her husband from a suburb of the city of Glasgow across the sea and plains to the crude mining camp on Bear River, and endured with fortitude and Christian courage the privations of the new land that their children might enter upon the true heritage of American citizens. If we ask the question, Was it worth while? we have only to look at the communities in which their sons and daughters are leaders, and where others less fortunate who received of the motherly care in the little home in Almy, all rise to call her blessed.
A company known as the Bear River Coal Company is now working a mine on land leased from the Union Pacific, a short distance east of the Old Wyoming. The officers are J. H. Martin, superintendent ; George E. Pexton, president : O. E. Bradbury, treasurer ; D. W. Warren, secretary ; R W. Fowkes, clerk. From sixty to a hundred men are employed, and the output goes far toward supplying the local demand.
Thomas Martin brought his family from Scotland to Almy in the year 1881. His last years were spent in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Dan Coughlin of Evanston, where he died in 1924- Another daughter, Mrs. James O’Keefe, lives in Ogden. John H. Martin, the only surviving son, married the daughter of William Fearn. Their home is the residence put up by George Goodman on Summit Street. The eldest daughter, Ethel, was married to Glen Eastman, a member of another Almy family, and he holds a responsible position with the Bear River Coal Company. There are two younger children in the family, Earl and Isabel, who are attending the University of Utah.
There are among mining men some experts who believe that there will be a revival of the mining industry at Almy. They affirm that the best coal, lying below the veins that have been worked, remains untouched and that with modern methods it can be mined in almost inexhaustible quantities. This is to be devoutly hoped, but whatever the future of Almy, we have reason for gratitude for its useful and honorable past.
- F. L. Arnold. “Uinta County.” Wyoming Historical Collection, Vol. 1.
- Veatche’s Government Report.
- The author is indebted for many of the facts concerning the early history of Almy to a paper written by d. H. Martin for the Historical Department of the University of Wyoming. It is entitled, “A Short History of the Almy, Wyoming Coal Mines.”
- J. H. Martin.
- Wyoming Historical Collection, Vol. 1.
- Bishop Brown’s Diary
- News-Register, March 23, 1895.