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Mohrland Coal Mines

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Castle Valley Coal Company
Castle Valley Railroad

This page was last updated on July 1, 2013.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

The coal mine in Cedar Creek Canyon.

Overview

The name Mohrland was selected for the townsite at the Cedar Creek mine of the Castle Valley Coal Company, assembled from the last names of the coal company's organizers: M-O-H-R-land; James H. Mays, Walter C. Orem, Moroni Heiner, and Winsor V. Rice. (Thompson, page 101)

The first coal mine in Cedar Creek canyon was opened in 1906 by the Howard brothers, William and Erin. The Howard brothers lost their original mine to a faulty filing of their claim. The same mine was filed on by Samuel, Ulysses and Ernest Grange, and their friend, Albert Gardner. William Howard and his son, Ernest, filed on a nearby forty acre claim and opened a second mine. The coal was hauled by wagon out of the seventeen-foot high coal seam. Two years after the filing, both mines were purchased by James H. Mays, Moroni Heiner, Walter C. Orem, and Windsor C. Rice. (Zehnder, page 36)

The "Old Marshall Mine" was purchased by James H. Mays and Moroni Heiner, and the Castle Valley Coal Company was organized to develop the mine as a commercial venture. The mine was located in Cedar Creek Canyon and was originally a wagon mine operated by William Marshall and Erin Howard, of Huntington. The mine had been the source of coal for the local market for about fifteen to twenty years. (Higgins: Castle Valley, page 15)

The mine was purchased from its owner-operator, Erin Howard. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, page 2)

(RESEARCH: Find out exactly who filed the first coal claim in Cedar Creek Canyon, William Marshall, the Howard brothers, or the Grange brothers, and who sold the claim to Mays and Heiner. Look at contemporary newspaper accounts, and look at tax and land ownership records for Emery County, in beautiful, downtown Castle Dale, Utah.)

During 1908 coal was first developed in Cedar Creek Canyon, just south of Miller Creek Canyon and just over the county line into Emery County. During late 1908, Mays, Orem & Company had been shipping coal from their Cedar Creek Mine by wagon to Price, and announced that they may build a railroad during 1909 to connect with the then under-construction Southern Utah line. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 17, 1908, page 8)

Castle Valley Coal Company

On July 12, 1909 the Castle Valley Coal Company organized and incorporated in Wyoming on July 19, 1909 to develop the new coal lands in Cedar Creek canyon. The corporation filed in Utah on August 9, 1909. (Utah corporation, index number 7854)

On July 20, 1909 James H. Mays, of Castle Valley Coal, for the amount of $125,000.00, purchased a half interest in Southern Utah railroad line and telephone line between Price and a junction to be built near Miller Creek Canyon, to be called Castle Junction. The Castle Valley Railroad was not in existence but was contemplated upon the agreement and would be incorporated as soon as convenient. The Southern Utah line was only graded at the time. The $125,000 purchase price was to be paid in five installments, with the last installment of $25,000.00, scheduled to be due on upon actual completion of the new joint line, projected to be on October 1, 1910. The joint track was to be built to include two side tracks with the capacity of at least twenty cars each. Each railroad was to operate its own trains over the joint track at its own expense. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 3-B, p. 33-37)

(click here for more information about the Castle Valley Railroad, and the Southern Utah Railroad which was operated jointly to Price.)

The holdings of the new corporation consisted of 4,000 acres of coal lands located in Emery County, about two miles south of the line with Carbon County, along with 1,200 acres of ranch land and future town site, and the entire flow of Cedar Creek. The company was organized by James H. Mays, Moroni Heiner, A. J. Orem, Walter C. Orem, and Windsor V. Rice, James G, Berryhill, and W. W. Armstrong. (Higgins: Castle Valley, page 15)

James G. Berryhill was apparently the major financial force behind the organization of the Castle Valley Coal Company, and was a millionaire many times over. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 22, 1909)

The Castle Valley Coal Company began development of its Cedar Creek Canyon mine during October 1909. (Higgins: Castle Valley, page 15)

The Castle Valley Coal Company acquired the Monson Ranch for the location of its townsite that was to be adjacent to its new mine in Cedar Creek Canyon. The ranch property was needed for its valuable water rights. Surveying for the new town site and mine began during the last week of July 1909. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 29, 1909)

On February 27, 1910 the Castle Valley Railroad operated its first train from Mohrland. (Eastern Utah Advocate, March 17, 1910)

The production of the Castle Valley Coal Company during mid 1911 was about 500 tons daily, increasing to about 1,000 tons per day by September 1, 1911. The coal was mined with machine undercutters and hauled from the mine in four-ton wooden and steel mine cars, using three Goodman 12-ton and one Goodman 6-ton electric locomotives in the mine haulage. After leaving the mine, the loaded mine cars were lowered to the tipple at Mohrland through the use of a 7,000 foot, four-foot gauge, double-track gravity tramway, which had a maximum downward grade of nine percent. The Castle Valley mine was noted for not needing timbering within the mine, as was the Hiawatha mine, an advantage of the particular hardness of the coal produced by the two mines. The coal at the Castle Valley mine came from three different veins, located one above the other, with all three veins totaling sixty-three feet thick in veins of from seven to twenty-three feet thick. (Higgins: Castle Valley, pages 15-18)

In December 1910, Castle Valley Coal was producing about 600 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, December 1, 1910, page 1)

By October 1911, Castle Valley Coal was shipping 800 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 12, 1911, page 3)

In January 1912, James H. Mays purchased the Orem interests in the Castle Valley Coal Company and the Castle Valley Railroad. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1912, page 23)

April 1912
Castle Valley Coal Company increased its capital stock from $5 million to $7.5 million, in part to provide funding for a new coal loading facility at its Mohrland mine. (Coal Age, April 11, 1912, page 1026)

July 1912
Castle Valley Coal Company installed a new Jeffery tipple and three boxcar loaders at Mohrland. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 18, 1912, page 5)

July 1914
As early as July 1914, the coal from the Mohrland mine was referred to as "King" coal, when the coal from the Castle Valley, Consolidated, and Black Hawk mines were called out as King, Hiawatha, and Black Hawk coal. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, page 32)

In August 1914, the annual meeting of the Castle Valley Coal Company was held in Evanston, Wyoming. Officers present at the meeting were: J. H. Mays, president; E. L. Carpenter, first vice president; Moroni Heiner, second vice president; J. E. Forrester, secretary-treasurer. D. H. Livingston, W. S. McCornick, H. R. MacMillian were directors. The old board of directors was re-elected. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 6, 1914)

(Apparently, by August 1914, United States Smelting did not yet own all of Castle Valley stock, a fact that would come up later with the organization of United States Fuel.)

March 19, 1915
"Mammoth Coal Merger -- Four Big Utah Mines to be Consolidated -- Salt Lake City -- It is reported here that four large Utah coal companies will be merged on April 1 into one company, to be known as the United States Fuel Company, with a total capitalization of $10,000,000. The companies whose holdings are to be taken over by the big new company are the Castle Valley Coal company, the Consolidated Fuel company, the Black Hawk Coal company and the Panther Coal company. These four companies are the owners of extensive tracts of coal lands and producing coal mines in Carbon and Emery counties." (Carbon County News, March 19, 1915)

March 30, 1915
United States Fuel Company was incorporated in Nevada on March 30, 1915. (Nevada Secretary of State, entity C208-1915; revoked in December 1991, reinstated in February 1992, still active as of July 2013, offices in Memphis, Tennessee)

January 3, 1916
The property of Castle Valley Coal Company was conveyed to United States Fuel Company on January 3, 1916. (Emery County Book A-5, pages 315-318; Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 3-D, pages 254,256)

The Utah Company was incorporated in Maine on March 26, 1912, as a holding company subsidiary of USSR&M. The Utah Company was shown in 1916 as holding 100 percent of the following companies, except as noted.

January 3, 1916
United States Fuel Company filed articles of incorporation with Utah secretary of state. Capitalized for $10 million, with incorporators being E. L. Carpenter, Moroni Heiner, E. R. Gibson, G. E. Forrester and H. R. Mcmillan. the company was to take over the interests of Consolidated Fuel Company, Castle Valley Coal Company, Black Hawk Coal Company, Utah Coal Sales Company, and a number of smaller coal mines in Emery and Carbon counties. United States Fuel Company was organized in Nevada. (News Advocate, January 7, 1916, page 1, "Monday")

(research continues, to fill in the time between 1916 and 1991)

1991
U. S. Fuel continued to load coal at Mohrland as late as April 1991, with Utah Railway operating trains over its Mohrland Branch to be loaded at the mine.

1996
In Don Marson's article "The Utah Railway" in the December 1996 issue of Pacific RailNews, he mentions that the Mohrland loadout was still active, loading 200,000 tons per year, destined for the Southwest Portland Cement plant at Victorville, California.

Castle Valley Railroad

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