Utah Coal Men, Biographical Information
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on January 29, 2019.
The growth of Utah's coal mining industry would have never taken place without the personalities of the men who built the companies. Below are just some of the names, with what little information that has come to light.
E. L. (Leon) Carpenter
From 1884 to 1902, E. L. Carpenter was with the Pleasant Valley Coal and Utah Fuel companies. During the 1890s, his name is shown as secretary or treasurer of at least two mining ventures that included as their officers, other officers of Rio Grande Western interests. The largest of these mines was the Sunbeam Consolidated, and the Tintic Mining & Milling Co., both in the Tintic district. But his formal title was shown regularly as general sales agent for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 1891)
Carpenter was cashier and paymaster of Castle Gate Mining Company when the safe was robbed by Butch Cassidy on April 21, 1897. In an account of the robbery, given in the Anaconda Standard newspaper on September 17, 1897, Carpenter was shown as general sales agent for Pleasant Valley Coal Company.
August 29, 1903
E. L. Carpenter resigned his position as general sales agent with Utah Fuel Company, to go to New York and take a position with William G. Sharp and the Fairmont Coal Company, one of the largest of the eastern coal corporations with huge interests in West Virginia. Carpenter had held his position in Salt Lake City for 21 years, since 1882, when he became auditor and cashier for Denver and Rio Grande Western under Captain Colton. In October 1882, he became paymaster and general sales agent for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. (Deseret Evening News, August 29, 1903)
William G. Sharp was general manager of Fairmont and other coal companies in New York. At that time, E. L. Carpenter was "placed in charge of the New York offices of the Consolidation, Fairmont and Somerset companies. Prior to his advancement, Carpenter had been general sales manager of Utah Fuel company, and had been sent for by Sharp. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 1904)
In 1903, E. L. Carpenter went east to manage the New York office of Consolidated Coal company, a West Virginia corporation. He resigned in 1906 to become general manager of Phelps-Dodge in Dawson, New Mexico, and in 1909 he resigned Phelps-Dodge to return east and became assistant to W. G. Sharp, president of United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company. He returned to Utah in 1912 to become the general manager of the newly purchased coal interests of USSR&M which in 1915 became United States Fuel Company. He oversaw the construction of Utah Railway.
In July 1914, in the annual meeting of the company shareholders, he was shown as president of Castle Valley Coal Company. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, page 32)
He resigned U. S. Fuel and Utah Railway as of February 1, 1916. Public statements were that he was to take his wife "on a long trip in an effort to restore her health, which had been poor for the past two years." Speculation was that he would soon replace W. G. Sharp (see below) as the head of United States Smelting Refining & Mining. (Eastern Utah Advocate, January 7, 1916)
(Carpenter was replaced by A. B. Apperson, recently resigned from D&RG.)
Frank N. Cameron
Frank Cameron was born December 29, 1870 in Arnot, Pennsylvania. While still an infant, he traveled with his parents to Walsenberg, Colorado. The family later moved to Scofield, Utah, where Frank got his first job as a water boy for Utah Fuel company. He eventually became Vice-President and General Manager of Utah Fuel, and accepted a position as general manager of Austen Coal and Coke in West virginia, and of Stagg Canyon Fuel company in New Mexico.
Frank N. Cameron came to Utah in 1902, at age 31. At the time he and others purchased the Panther coal mine in 1909, Cameron was formerly with the Utah Fuel company as general superintendent. He later purchased the mine at the mouth of Bear canyon near the Castle Gate and incorporated his Cameron Coal Company on September 26, 1913. He sold the Panther canyon mine to the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company in 1912, and sold the Bear canyon mine to Henry Rolapp in 1919.
Frank N. Cameron "began his career as a water boy for the Utah Fuel Company and rose rapidly to the position of Vice-President and General Manager of the Company. Mr. Cameron opened the Panther Mine as an independent operator and later sold this property to the United States Fuel Company, of which company he was later General Manager. At the time of his death he operated the Liberty Mine in Spring Canyon, Utah." (Ax-I-Dent-Ax, May 1929, page 23)
Frank N. Cameron died on Monday May 13, 1929, from complications of influenza originally contracted in January. His funeral was held in the Masonic temple in Salt Lake City on Thursday May 16th, and he was buried in Mount Olivet cemetery in Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 14, 1929; May 16, 1929)
July 14, 1932
The following comes from the August 1932 issue of Ax-I-Dent-Ax, the employee magazine of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company, citing the July 15, 1932 issue of The Salt Lake Tribune:
"Moroni Heiner, associated with the development of Utah's coal industry for 30 years, was elected president and general manager of the Utah Fuel Company at a meeting of directors Thursday (July 14, 1932). Mr. Heiner, in announcing acceptance of the position, declared he would resign as vice president of the United States Fuel Company and subsidiary companies.
"The presidency of the Utah Fuel Company was vacated by the death of W. D. Brennen, November 1, 1931.
"The Utah Fuel Company was organized in 1900 and at present operates the Castlegate, Clear Creek and Sunnyside coal mines in Utah and the Somerset coal mine in Colorado. It also owns 800 coke ovens at Sunnyside. The Calumet Coal company, a subsidiary, operates the Del Carbon mine at Walsenberg, Colo. The Utah Fuel Company is owned jointly by the Missouri Pacific Railroad and the Western Pacific Corporation.
"Mr. Heiner, who was born at Morgan, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Heiner, was educated in Utah and taught school for four years after graduation from Brigham Young College. He served two terms of two years each as state dairy and food commissioner on appointment by Governor Heber M. Wells and then entered the coal business. He was one of the organizers of the Castle Valley Coal Company in July, 1909, and served as vice president of this company and the Castle Valley Railway Company.
"Mr. Heiner also was an organizer of the United States Fuel Company, which took over the Castle Valley company in 1915, and he has served as vice president since that time of the United States Fuel Company, in addition to being vice president of the Southern Utah Railway Company.
"In addition Mr. Heiner is a director of the Utah State National Bank, a director of the Granite Furniture Company, president of the Radio Sales and Engineering Corporation, and president of the Morgan Canning Company. He also is a member of the city board of adjustment and member of the Alta and Country clubs.
"Mr. Heiner will take over his active duties Wednesday as president of the Utah Fuel Company."
From Utah's Distinguished Personalities, Volume 1, 1932-1933:
Born Morgan, Utah, February 18, 1877; son of Daniel and Martha (Stevens) Heiner; educated in public schools; Morgaon Stake Academy graduated Brigham Young College, 1898; married Eva L. Purnell, of Cache Valley, December 14, 1898; children: Glen P., Ione P. (Mrs. Franklin R. Smith), Claude P., Verna P. (Mrs. Elmer S. Romney), Mrs. Florance P. Wells deceased), Keith P., Frank P., Louise P., Daniel P., Albert P. (deceased).
Teacher public schools, 1898-1902; State of Utah dairy and food commssioner, 1902-1910; engaged in coal mining and associated businesses since 1906.
Vice president and director, Western Fuel Co., King Coal Co., Sanpete Coal Co., Price Reservoir and Irrigation Co., Carbon Emery Stores Co., Mohrland Mercantile Co., Consolidated Coal Co., Southern Utah Railroad Co., Granite Furniture Co.; president and director, Morgan Canning Co., president Radio Sales and Engineering Co., Heiner Poultry Products Co.; director Utah State National Bank. Latter-day Saint. Republican.
From The Utah magazine, Volume 2, Number 26, December 1938:
Mr. Moroni Heiner, President and General Manager of the Utah Fuel Company, has been greatly instrumental in the development of Utah's great coal industry. In 1907 he went to Washington and interviewed President Theodore Roosevelt and presented a plan for the opening of the great coal beds in Carbon and Emery Counties. Mr. Heiner's plan was approved and a railroad was built from Price to Mohrland and coal production begun. He was successively Vice-President and General Manager of the Castle Valley Coal Company and the Castle Valley Railroad; Vice-President and General Manager of the Southern Utah Railroad Company; and for many years was Vice-President and General Manager of the United States Fuel Company. He was President of the Morgan Canning Company, and served as Manager of the Union Portland Cement Company. In addition, he serves as director on the boards of the Utah State National Bank and many other companies.
The history of the coal mining industry in Utah is ably shown by the growth and development of the Utah Fuel Company and its predecessor, the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. The total production of coal in Utah to and including 1937 was 132 million tons, of which Utah Fuel Company and its predecessors contributed nearly 39 per cent, or more than 51 million tons, representing more than 65 million dollars in direct payroll to employees in mines and offices of the company. In addition, their Colorado mines — Somerset and Calumet — produced an additional 11-1/2 million tons to 1937, making the grand total production more than 62 percent million tons.
James H. Mays
James Henry Mays was born on June 29, 1868 in Hamblin County, Tennessee, the son of John and Harriett Mays. He attended public schools in Emporia, Kansas, and attended University of Michigan in 1893-1896. In 1895 he received a "Doctor of Laws" degree, and in 1896 he received a "Master of Laws" degree. He worked his way through his schooling by working in the lead and zinc mines, and by teaching school.
Mays came to Utah in April 1903 and soon became associated with others in the organization of the Castle Valley Coal company. In 1914, he was president and director of the Castle Valley Coal company.
James H. Mays "died at his Idaho ranch last week." (Coal Age magazine, May 13, 1926)
Terry McGowan was born on November 20, 1883 in Kinlough, County Leitrim, Ireland. At age 17 he started in the coal mines in Scotland. He came to America in 1906, at age age 23, working in coal mines in Illinois. He moved around, working in coal mines in Indiana, Missouri, and in 1910 moved to Canada, continuing to work in coal mines. In 1914 he moved to Butte, Montana, for work in the copper mines, after which he took a job engineering the construction of the Alaska Railroad. After Alaska, he became chief engineer for Northern Pacific Railroad in Seattle. He returned to Alaska managing the supply of coal to the dredges in Anchorage harbor. From Anchorage he went to Dutch Harbor to manage the coal mines on the island that furnished coal to the ships of the U. S. Navy. That position lasted three years, until 1922, and McGowan returned to the Seattle area to manage a coal mine in Durham. He came to Salt Lake City in 1925 and worked eight years as superintendent of U. S. Fuel's Mohrland coal mine. In 1935 he became manager and superintendent of the Blue Blaze mine at Consumers.
At the time McGowan was appointed in January 1936, as superintendent of the Blue Blaze Coal company (formerly Consumers Mutual Coal company), he had most recently been mine foreman of U. S. Fuel's King No. 2 mine at Mohrland. (Coal Age magazine, January 1936, page 29)
According to his naturalization petition, he arrived in the U. S. in New York City on December 16, 1908, and became a naturalized U. S. citizen on August 9, 1916. His wife Elva Marie Forrester McGowan, daughter of William Forrester, superintendent of the Rolapp mine, was born on January 31, 1907, in Price, Utah. Terry and Elva were married in August 1939; he was 58 and she was 32. Elva passed away on March 7, 1997, in Price, Utah, at the age of 90. Their only child, a daughter, Barbara "Bobbie" Rae McGowan was born on November 16, 1930, in Hiawatha, Utah.
McGown sold his coal mine in January 1949 and retired as a coal operator. On August 19, 1950, Terry McGowan was named chairman of the Utah liquor commission, by Utah governor J. Bracken Lee, former mayor of Price, Utah.
Terry McGowan died on October 18, 1953, and is buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City.
E. S. O'Connor
Edward S. "Red" O'Connor. (1883-1960)
(Apparently no relation to W. J. O-Connor, president and general manager of Independent Coal and Coke when that company bought Utah Fuel from Kaiser Steel.)
April 21, 1935
"E. S. O'Connor, formerly superintendent of operations at Desert Mound, has been named general superintendent for the Columbia Mining company. He took over his new duties during the week." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 21, 1935)
December 25, 1947
"The retirement of E. S. O'Connor, superintendent of Geneva Steel Company's Columbia Mine, Columbia, Utah, on December 31, has been announced by R. G. Class, vice president and manager of operations. Mr. O'Connor came to Cedar City in 1928 as mine engineer for the Utah Iron Ore Corporation, which at that time mined ore for Columbia Steel Corporation. In 1935 he was appointed superintendent of U. S. Steel's Columbia Iron Mining Company at Cedar City, and in 1936 was made superintendent of mines for Columbia Steel Company with headquarters at Columnia, Utah. Since Geneva Steel company assumed management of Columbia Steel Company's operations in Utah, October 1, 1946, Mr. O'Connor has been superintendent of the Columbia Coal mine. Mr. O'Connor was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he attended public schools. After graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Mines in 1900, he was employed by U. S. Steel's Oliver Iron Mining Company, Duluth, Minnesota. He later worked as superintendent of mines for Mayville Iron Company, Mayville, Wisconsin, and for Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company." (Iron County Record, December 25, 1947)
October 16, 1948
"E. S. O'Connor, former superintendent of Geneva Steel Co. mines, has been elected vice president of the Hi-Heat Coal Co., L. F. Rains, president, announced Friday. He will have full charge of the business with offices at 911 Continental Bank bldg. He succeeds R. H. Harmer, resigned." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 16, 1948)
March 9, 1950
"The Book Cliff mine south of Horse canyon in eastern Emery county has signed with the United Mine Workers union." E. S. O'Connor was mine company president. "The mine sells to trucks and employs 14 to 18 men." "The mine was called the Black Diamond mine until taken over by the O'Connor Co." (Helper Journal, March 9, 1950)
The first mining on the west side Dugout Canyon, the site of the current mine operated by Canyon Fuel, had occurred in March 1952 when the E.S.O. (E. S. O'Connor) Coal Company initiated development of the Rock Canyon seam mine. Maps of the old works show that very little work was completed in the Rock Canyon seam on the west side prior to Canyon Fuel started development in 1996.
May 24, 1960
"Mine Owner Dies at 77 In Montana -- Edward S. O'Connor, 77, 1894 E. 39th South, president-manager of Book Cliff Coal Co., died Wednesday in a Billings, Mont., hospital. Mr. O'Connor became ill Tuesday before boarding a plane to return to Salt Lake City after a trip. He had owned and managed the coal company since 1949." "Coming to Utah in 1928, he worked at iron mines near Cedar City for Columbia Steel Co. In 1938, after the company had become Columbia-Geneva Division of United States Steel Corp., Mr. O'Connor took over as superintendent of mines in Carbon County. After retiring in 1949, he purchased Book Cliff Coal." "He was born Jan. 1, 1883, in St. Paul, Minn., and married the former Gretchen Ziegler. A member of the Catholic Church." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 26, 1960) ("Tuesday" was May 24th)
"Edward S. O'Connor, 77, president of Book Cliffs Coal Co., Carbon County, Utah, passed away recently. Mr. O'Connor, born at St. Paul, Minn., came to Utah in 1928 to work in the Cedar City iron mines of Columbia Steel Co., now U. S. Steel Corp.'s Columbia-Geneva Div. Mr. O'Connor was named superintendent of Carbon County coal mines, of U. S. Steel, and retired in 1949. Since that date, he had served as president of Book Cliffs Coal." (Coal Age magazine, July 1960, page 68)
Walter C. Orem
Walter Claude Orem was born on May 23, 1875 in Lay County, Missouri, the son of Alfred J. Orem and Martha A. Leabo. His school days were spent in Kansas City and he came to Utah in 1890. He was active in the Immanuel Baptist church, and was a director of Westminister College in Salt Lake City, as well as being a director of the local Young Men's Christian Association.
Walter C. Orem was the 'O' in the name of Mohrland, where the Castle Valley Coal company had its coal mine.
During 1908 Orem became financially interested in the Castle Valley coal mine at Cedar Creek canyon. He and others organized the Castle Valley Coal company in 1909, and after developing the mine to bring it into production, sold the mine to United States Smelting Refining and Mining in 1912.
Henry H. Rolapp
Henry Hermann Rolapp was born in Fleusburg, Germany on March 22, 1860, the son of Fritz Rolapp and Anna Thiesen. His early education was german grammar schools before he left Germany in 1877 and lived in Liverpool, England until 1880. He came to the United States in June 1880, settling in Salt Lake City. Hw was admitted to the Utah bar in 1881 and in 1884 obtained a "LL.B." degree from the University of Michigan. Upon his return to Utah he took up the practice of law in Ogden. he married Martha Horrocks of Ogden on December 9, 1995. From 1885 to 1887 he was Weber county assessor, and from 1887 to 1891 he was assistant Weber county attorney. From 1892 to 1895 he was a cashier at Utah Loan and Trust in Ogden. Judge Rolapp was appointed justice of the Supreme Court of Utah Territory in November 1895, and when Utah became a state in 1896, he was elected judge of the Second Judicial district, serving until January 1905. By 1914 he was a director of Cameron Coal company and a regent of University of Utah, dividing his time between Denver and Salt Lake City.
William G. Sharp
William G. Sharp was the major moving force behind the development of coal mining in Carbon County, including United States Fuel Co., and Utah Railway. By age 28, in 1885, he was superintendent of the coal mine in Pleasant Valley, gradually working his way to the top by 1900 as the general manager of Rio Grande Western's subsidiary Utah Fuel Co. Sharp moved east in 1902 to manage the largest coal mining company in Pennsylvania, and in 1906 when United States Smelting Refining and Mining Co. was formed to consolidate several metal mining and coal mining companies, along with several smelting companies, Sharp was appointed as the new company's president, with offices in New York, and later in Boston.
George Alfred Storrs
April 12, 1907
"American Fork, April 11 -- Former Sheriff George A. Storrs arrived here yesterday from Beckwith Pass, California, where he has had charge of the Straw, Storrs and Baxter Railway Construction company, who have a million dollar construction contract with Western Pacific Railway company. Mr Storrs, after attending to some business matters and a few days visiting friends in this county, will return to the Pass." (Inter-Mountain Republican, April 12, 1907)
May 30, 1912
Five or six miners are at work developing a six foot vein owned by Jesse Knight. Work is in charge of ex-sheriff Storrs. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, May 30, 1912, p.5)
George Storrs wrote in his autobiography that Jesse Knight loaned him the $675,000 needed to build the railroad branch to the Storrs coal mine (later the Spring Canyon Coal Co.), along with the mine, the houses and the hotel. (Steve Horsfield, email dated January 16, 2014)
September 26, 1912
George Storrs general manager of the Knight interests at Spring Canyon was advised tb through the clerk that the county is to expend five hundred dollars on the wagon road to that coal camp upon receipt of details of the work to be done. (Eastern Utah Advocate, September 26, 1912)
January 2, 1913
There were four new mines in 1912. Neslen, Willow Creek, Panther Canyon, and Storrs, where a new method of conveying is being tried. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, January 2, 1913, p.2)
January 23, 1913
The locomotive for the six-mile, privately owned railroad of Jesse Knight's Spring Canyon Coal Company arrived "last week". George A. Storrs, former Utah County sheriff, was superintendent of both the railroad and the coal company's mine. (Eastern Utah Advocate, January 23, 1913, p.6, "Still Another Big Coal Camp Property To Ship Soon")
June 12, 1913
"Word comes from Salt Lake that George Storrs of Utah County is liable to be the next U. S. Marshal for Utah." (Carbon County News, June 12, 1913)
July 8, 1913
F. A. Sweet, president of Standard Coal Company, announced a new railroad to be built from the Standard coal mine to Storrs. (Coal Index: Carbon County News, July 8, 1913, p.6)
February 12, 1915
George A. Storrs mentioned as manager of Spring canyon Coal Company. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 12, 1915)
July 15, 1915
News item about Standard Coal Company letting a contract to build a three and a half mile railroad from Storrs to its mine. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 15, number 7, July 15, 1913, p.30, "Around the State")
May 27, 1921
George A. Storrs organized the Gordon Creek Coal Company in May 1921. The mine was to be located about eight miles up Gordon Creek Canyon. (Coal Index: The Sun, May 27, 1921, p.5)
October 14, 1921
Great Western Coal Company organized by George A. Storrs. Plans included a railroad up Gordon Creek Canyon. (Coal Index: The Sun, October 14, 1921, p.6)
November 7, 1924
George A. Storrs indicted for mail fraud in soliciting investment in bonds for townsite on Gordon Creek. Storrs was president of Great Western Coal Mines. (Coal Index: The Sun, November 7, 1924, p.6)
June 19, 1925
Storrs, the townsite for the Spring Canyon Coal Company, was changed to Spring Canyon after permission was received from Washington. Population was 1,100 people. Spring Canyon Coal Company shipped 166,000 tons in 1924, an average of 1,860 tons per day. (Coal Index: The Sun, June 19, 1925, p.4)
June 30, 1925
News item about the town of Storrs changing its name to Spring Canyon. Also that the Spring Canyon Coal Company had completed a new tipple. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 27, number 6, June 30, 1925, p.18)
December 17, 1926
George Storrs cleared of mail fraud charges. (Coal Index: The Sun, December 17, 1926, p.4)
From the Pleasant Grove Review, May 7, 1937:
George Alfred Storrs was born in Springville, July 5, 1863, a son of George and Lydia M. Kindred Storrs. When only 15 years of age he entered the contracting field, and later became a partner in the firm of Baxter, Strong and Storrs. He was construction manager when the Western Pacific ran its route through Feather River canyon in California.
Becoming interested in mining he formed an association with the Jesse Knight interests in Spring Canyon and Carbon Canyon. He directed the building of the town of Storrs which was named in his honor.
From 1916 to 1920 he was warden of the Utah state prison. He is credited with introducing the "honor system" at that institution. He placed implicit trust in the prisoners and was able to send them to the open road camps, losing but one prisoner during their four years of freedom.
At the time of his death he was affiliated with the Utah State prison in the capacity of finding employment for idle parolees, under Acting Warden Owen Nebeker. Mr. Storrs was a former sheriff of Utah county, and a former marshal of Springville.
He suffered a stroke Friday while on duty in the east part of Salt Lake City which culminated in his death early Monday.
His wife, Cecilia Oakley, whom he married November 12, 1883, died eight years ago in Glendale, California, where Mr. Storrs had resided in recent years. He returned here about a year ago.
Surviving are the following sons and daughters: Mrs. Beulah Lewis, Mrs. Vera Shankling, Vere Storrs and Kindred Lane Storrs, all of Los Angeles; Fred O. Storrs, Price; J. Lewis Storrs, Garden Creek and Russell Storrs, Provo.
Also surviving are two brothers, Joseph H. Storrs and William S. Storrs, a sister, Mrs. Ella Olsen, all of American Fork; 26 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The body was sent to Los Angeles where interment will be made in the Forest Lawn cemetery.
Four Sweet Brothers
William Henry Sweet (1871-1960)
Frederick Arthur Sweet (1873 to 1936)
Charles Nelson Sweet (1876 to 1947)
Arthur Alonzo Sweet (1878 to 1910)
The 1885 Kansas census for Center Township, Russell County, Kansas, shows the Sweet family: father A. E. Sweet, age 43; mother Marye Sweet, age 41; Minnie C. Sweet, age 16; William H. Sweet, age 14; Alfred Sweet, age 12; Chas. H Sweet, age 10; Arthur Sweet, age 6; Montero Sweet, age 1. By the time of the 1895 Kansas census, only Arthur, age 14, was still living with their parents.
William Henry Sweet
(1871 to 1960)
May 17, 1895
William H. Sweet was named as postmaster of Colton, Utah. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1895)
On November 30, 1909 the Southern Utah Railroad purchased the entire flow of Miller Creek from William H. Sweet, secretary of the company. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 3-B, p. 59)
The coal lands of the Peerless Coal Company were first owned by the Crystal Coal Company in 1916. The land was sold to William H. Sweet and Charles N. Sweet. The Sweets developed the Peerless property, including the construction a gravity tramway and a tipple on the canyon floor at the railroad spur. In 1917 the property was sold to the Peerless Coal Company, organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson, both of Salt Lake City. Thompson was a former mayor of Salt Lake City. The first superintendent was Robert Howard, a former state coal mine inspector. As development proceeded, burned coal was encountered and the estimates of mineable coal in the already thin seams was reduced sharply from the original 310 acres. By the end of operations in 1930, just 97 acres had been mined. The mines owners feared that the returns would not cover their initial $300,000.00 investment. The boom that stemmed from World War One allowed the debt to be paid and a small profit was recovered. This profit was used to develop the New Peerless property near Castle Gate, beginning in the mid 1920s. (Philip Cederlof, The Peerless Coal Mines, 1916-1953, unpublished manuscript, Utah State Historical Society, MSS A 2202, 1975, pp. 1,2)
Prior to the passage of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, Will Sweet secured a lease on coal land that was the location of the Sweet mine. (Gibson: Gordon Creek, p. 241)
February 1, 1960
William H. Sweet passed away at age 89 in Salt Lake City. (Ogden Standard Examiner, February 1, 1960, "Utah Deaths")
William Henry Sweet; born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on January 17, 1871; died in Salt Lake City on January 30, 1960. At the time of his death, he was secretary-treasurer of Hudson Coal company. (Familysearch.org; online death certificate for William Henry Sweet)
Frederick Arthur Sweet
(1873 to 1936)
During early spring 1904, Heber J. Stowell, a resident of Spring Glen discovered veins of coal showing on the surface while exploring the region. He took a sample into Price and showed it to William H. Lawley. The next year, Lawley and Stowell began prospecting as time and money allowed. James Wade of Price and Fred Sweet of Salt Lake City became interested and financed increased development of the potential mine [Independent Coal & Coke at Kenilworth]. (Madsen, p. 43)
In October 1905, the local newspaper ran an item saying that the property first owned by Wade, Sweet and Lawley was "likely to open soon." (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 12, 1905, p. 5, "Opening Of Coal Mines Above Price")
In late 1906 a group of independent businessmen began to develop the coal reserves in the region east of Helper near what is now Kenilworth. A coal company, appropriately called Independent Coal & Coke Company, was organized by L. H. Curtis, F. A. Sweet, W. C. Orem, C. N. Strevell, and James H. Patterson, all of Salt Lake City, and A. J. Orem of Boston. The organizers chose the Independent name because of the new company's independence from any large corporate or railroad interests. The new coal company was incorporated on October 13, 1906 in Wyoming to develop coal property north of Price. (Utah corporation, index number 6054; Wyoming 429)
"Coal mining first began in this area in 1908 when F. A. Sweet opened a mine on the middle fork of the Miller Creek. He named the mine Hiawatha. Its namesake was a famous coal mine in Pennsylvania that had been named after Hiawatha, chief of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Indians." (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, Statehood Day Special Edition, January 2, 1975)
In mid February 1909, general manager Sweet purchased twenty-one miles of 56-pound rail in Chicago for use in the construction of the Southern Utah Railroad. He also made arrangements for the purchase of the road's Shay and one other locomotive. Construction work was at a complete standstill because of the bad weather. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 18, 1909)
In April 1909 the railroad's general manager, F. A. Sweet, announced on the 26th that the company had purchased an eighty-ton, consolidated, direct connected locomotive and that it would be delivered in about seventy-five days. The company had also purchased a six-passenger gasoline passenger car to run between Price and the mines for the convenience of the officers and to carry the mail and express. Construction work on bridges was to begin the next week, using a home-made pile driver. Switch stands, frogs, and turnouts, along with other needed construction tools and equipment were ordered and were to be delivered within a week. Ties for the connection with D&RG were being laid. (Eastern Utah Advocate, April 29, 1909, "Engine And Materials For Southern Coming")
In July 1909 Southern Utah leased D&RG 4-6-0 number 503 for use in the construction of its line. The delivery of their own locomotive had been delayed due to the builder having a large backlog of orders. F. A. Sweet, general manager, just returned from the East where he had purchased all the machinery and equipment for the Miller Creek mine, stating that everything would be electrical and would be the best coal mining machinery ever brought into the state. The Price River bridge was being strengthened after being weakened by a recent flood. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 29, 1909, "Southern Utah Pushing Along")
In an inspection trip in October 1909 with some of his Salt Lake City friends, general manager Fred Sweet rode out to the end of track in mid October, using the gasoline motor car. He was "well satisfied" with the road's progress. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 15, 1909, p. 23, from the Advocate, Price, Utah)
"Among those connected with the company [Consolidated Fuel] are F. A. Sweet, B. F. Bauer, A. A. Sweet, L. H. Curtis, F. W. Francis, W. H. Sweet, C. T. Lemley, E. D. Miller, C. M. Sweet, W. J. Burton, C. W. Reece, and J. H. R. Franklin." (Eastern Utah Advocate, March 24, 1910)
Business was good for the two coal companies. To show off the success, on Sunday August 7, 1910, Fred Sweet accompanied noted Salt Lake photographer Harry Shipler out on the railroad line and at the Miller Creek mine, where Shipler took twenty-five views that would be used in the promotion of the coal companies' products. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 11, 1910)
On March 25, 1912 the Helper Western filed an amendment to its corporation papers that allowed it to have a joint agreement with the National Fuel Company. The name of the Helper Western was changed to the National Coal Railway on July 16, 1920 and amended its intended route to include a three-mile branch along the south fork of Gordon Creek and a one-mile branch along Coal Creek, from where Coal Creek joined with Gordon Creek. F. A. Sweet was shown as the president. (Utah corporation, index number 7779)
Helper Western Railway was organized in 1909, but no action was taken. In July 1920 it was renamed National Coal Railway, with F. A. Sweet shown as its president.
The Standardville mine was opened by the Standard Coal Company in 1913. The company was organized in 1913 by F. A. Sweet, who had previously organized and developed the Independent Coal & Coke Company at Kenilworth in 1907, and the Consolidated Fuel Company at Hiawatha in 1908. (Centennial Echos from Carbon County, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers of Carbon County, 1948, p. 226)
Standard Coal Company was incorporated on June 3, 1913. The contract for the grading of the new 3-1/2 mile railroad had been let to the Wattis Construction Company. The railroad was to connect with the railroad of the Spring Canyon Coal Company at Storrs. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 3, 1913, "Sweets Back In Coal Game")
F. A. Sweet, president of Standard Coal Company, announced a new railroad to be built from the Standard coal mine to the Spring Canyon coal mine at Storrs. (Coal Index: Carbon County News, July 8, 1913, p. 6)
In a July 1925 amendment to allow an increase of its stock shares, the shareholders of the railroad company were shown as Great Western Coal Mines Company (4,960 shares), Frank F. Lahut (Latuda?) (4,900 shares), National Coal Company (3,550 shares), Sweet Coal Company (3,100 shares), Union Coal Company (2,910 shares), and F. A. Sweet (2,410 shares). Another 350 shares were owned by C. N. Sweet, T. Sato, Consumers Mutual Coal Company, George A. Storrs, D. E. Jenkins, C. N. Strevell, George S. Payne, and C. T. Worley. (Utah corporation, index number 7779)
The coal companies interested in the construction of the National Coal Railway included: Great Western Coal Company (Heber C. Jex), National Coal Company (F. A. Sweet), Consumers Mutual Coal Company (Donald E. Jenkins), Sweet Coal Company (C. N. Sweet), and Union Coal Company (C. N. Strevell). All but the Gordon Creek company were involved in the construction, management, and later sale of the line to Utah Railway. The railroad company in its application for the construction of its line stated that it could not finance its construction into Helper as originally considered, but would be able to finance its construction to a connection with the Utah Railway. The application was approved on August 14, 1925, knowing that the new railroad would most likely not be profitable, but at least self supporting, and that the Utah Railway intended to purchase the line from the coal companies for the cost of its construction. (99 ICC 570)
An early prospector in the National area was a man by the name of Williamson in 1908. The property was developed by Fred Sweet. (Carbon County: A History, Price, Utah, April 12, 1947, p. 46)
Prior to the passage of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, F. A. Sweet secured a block of coal lands in Gordon Creek canyon. (Gibson: Gordon Creek, p. 241)
The Utah Terminal Railway was incorporated on May 12, 1920 to construct a railroad line from a connection with Utah Railway at or near the mouth of Spring Canyon, up said canyon to Standardville, a distance of about four miles. The company's incorporators included F. A. Sweet of Salt Lake City, with 2,500 shares, L. H. Curtis of Salt Lake City, president, with 2,500 shares, Lynn H. Thompson of Salt Lake City, vice president, with 2,000 shares, R. E. Allen of Provo, secretary-treasurer, with 1,500 shares, and J. Will Knight of Provo, with 1,500 shares. The corporation was involuntarily dissolved on November 9, 1974, along with hundreds of other inactive Utah corporations on the same day. (Utah corporation, index number 14450)
(F. A. Sweet was president of Standard Coal Company, L. H. Curtis was president of Utah Railway, Lynn H. Thompson was president of Peerless Coal Company, and J. Will Knight was president of Spring Canyon Coal Company.)
During late 1922, the MacLean mine near Rains was leased to the Sweets, who controlled the Standard mine. (Coal Index: The Sun, December 29, 1922, p. 6)
F. A. Sweet resigned as president of National Coal Company in early 1935 due to ill health. Replaced by C. D. Craddock. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, January 17, 1935, p. 10)
F. A. Sweet retired from active management of the Standard Coal company in April 1935. At the same time he resigned his positions of president and general manager of Standard Fuel company (Standard Coal's retail outlet in Salt Lake City). (Salt Lake Telegram, April 10, 1935)
Frederick Arthur Sweet died of a heart attack at age 63 on Sunday March 15, 1936. He had been in ill health for the past two years, and had traveled to Long Beach, California, on March 13th. He died while in Long Beach, and his body was returned to Salt Lake City for burial. F. A. Sweet had organized Consolidated Fuel company in 1910, and Standard Coal company in 1912 after selling the Consolidated company to USSR&M. He was born on February 2, 1873 in Hinkley, Illinois, and had moved to Kansas along with his parents and siblings in 1878. In about 1888 he became a railroad telegraph operator, then a railroad station agent. He began studying law at University of Michigan in 1895, where he received a law degree in 1900. In 1900 he moved to Utah and became a law partner with O. P. Soule. (Deseret News, March 16, 1936)
The company [Standard Coal Co.] was unable to meet its payroll on January 25, 1939. The 265 miners voted unanimously to work only for food to save the mine from closing. Fred Sweet, Jr. was company president and general manager. (Ogden Standard Examiner, February 1, 1939)
Charles Nelson Sweet
(1876 to 1947)
November 14, 1907
"C. N. Sweet, who has a lease on the Aberdeen mine of the Independent Coal and Coke company, is making his headquarters at Price..." "Sweet's lease on the Aberdeen, known as the Whitmore & Ballinger mine, runs for a year. The vein is a thirty-foot one and the property is almost exhaustless for many years to come." (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 14, 1907)
January 9, 1910
C. N. Sweet was one of the incorporators and one of the largest stockholders of the Consolidated Fuel company at Hiawatha in 1910. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, January 9, 1910)
September 30, 1914
C. N. Sweet was shown as Secretary-Treasurer of Standard Coal Company. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 30, 1914)
August 10, 1917
The 440 acres that composed the land of the Peerless mine were sold on August 8, 1917 by the Ogden owners to a group of capitalists headed by C. N. Sweet in Salt Lake City. The group organized the Peerless Coal Company, with C. N. Sweet as president, James C. Murdoch, as vice president, W. H. Sweet, as secretary-treasurer. Other officers include Ezra Thompson, L. H. Thompson, both of Salt Lake, C. M. Croft and W. I. Norton, both of Ogden. The Peerless company was to be filed as a corporation "probably today". (News-Advocate, August 10, 1917)
The Peerless property was located by William H. Sweet and Charles N. Sweet in 1916. The Sweets sold the property to the Peerless Coal Company in 1917. The Peerless company had been organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson, a former Salt Lake City mayor. The coal mined by the Peerless company was hard to wrest from the ground because of the split seams and burned portions of the coal seam. Peerless' fortunes varied, with a coal boom coming because of World War One. The mine closed at least once in the 1930s, and was only opened again after new mining technology came along which reduced the cost of mining. (John Senulus; an unpublished manuscript completed in support of the mine reclamation and clean up program.)
The coal lands of the Peerless Coal Company were first owned by the Crystal Coal Company in 1916. The land was sold to William H. Sweet and Charles N. Sweet. The Sweets developed the Peerless property, including the construction a gravity tramway and a tipple on the canyon floor at the railroad spur. In 1917 the property was sold to the Peerless Coal Company, organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson, both of Salt Lake City. Thompson was a former mayor of Salt Lake City. The first superintendent was Robert Howard, a former state coal mine inspector. As development proceeded, burned coal was encountered and the estimates of mineable coal in the already thin seams was reduced sharply from the original 310 acres. By the end of operations in 1930, just 97 acres had been mined. The mines owners feared that the returns would not cover their initial $300,000.00 investment. The boom that stemmed from World War One allowed the debt to be paid and a small profit was recovered. This profit was used to develop the New Peerless property near Castle Gate, beginning in the mid 1920s. (Cederlof, pp. 1,2)
March 11, 1925
C. N. Sweet was president of the Sweet Coal company when it bought the Gordon Creek Coal Company on March 11, 1925. C. N. Sweet was still president in 1931. (Utah #14529)
March 15, 1918
Peerless Coal Company was to go into production about April 15, 1918. The company president was C. N. Sweet. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1918, p. 36)
March 15, 1925
At the time that they took control of Gordon Creek Coal company and renamed it as Sweet Coal company: "C. N. Sweet and W. J. Sweet, coal operators and organizers..." "The Sweets have opened up a number of coal mines in the state, having been connected with Independent Coal Company, Consolidated Coal company, Standard Coal company, Peerless Coal company." (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1925)
In April 1935, C. N. Sweet became vice president and general manager of Standard Coal company. His brother, F. A. Sweet was president. (Salt Lake Telegram, April 10, 1935)
In April 1936 C. N. Sweet was voted as president and general manager of Standard Coal company, replacing his brother F. A. Sweet who had recently passed away. F. A. Sweet Jr., and Mrs. F. A. Sweet were also voted as new ditectors of the company. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 9, 1936)
By April 1937, C. N. Sweet was president of Standard Fuel company, with no other involvement in other coal companies. Standard Fuel company had been the retail outlet in Salt Lake City for Standard Coal company since about 1915. The ties between the two companies were broken in 1935 when Standard Coal company went into bankruptcy and was sold at auction. Standard Fuel's coal yard was in Salt Lake City at 451 West Fourth South, which was closed and sold in 1938. Another coal yard was in Sugar House, at 2219 Highland Drive, and received its coal by way of D&RGW's Park City (later Sugar House) Branch. The coal yard in Sugar House, the company's last location, was sold in about 1942.
May 14, 1947
Charles Nelson Sweet died at age 71 on Wednesday May 14, 1947. He was born in Hinkley, Illinois, on April 11, 1876, son of Alfred E. Sweet and Mary Gaylord Sweet. Moving to Kansas, he was a telegraph operator and agent for various railroads prior to coming west. In 1900 in Montpelier, Idaho, he married Ethel Mae Hutchens and she died in 1919. He remarried in 1935. He was survived by his brother William H. Sweet, a daughter and two grandsons, and his widow. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 15, 1947)
Arthur Alonzo Sweet
(1878 to 1910)
A. A. Sweet was shown as the president of Southern Utah Railroad when it was organized in 1907, with W. H. Sweet shown as one of the directors.
Arthur A. Sweet was the general manager of the Southern Utah Railroad. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 10, 1908)
July 20, 1910
"Arthur A. Sweet Dead -- Well Known Mining and Irrigation Man Dies at Long beach -- Arthur A. Sweet aged 32 years, a well-known mining man of Salt Lake, died at Long Beach, Cal., Wednesday (July 20, 1910) from chronic nephritis. The body will he sent to Salt Lake for interment. Funeral arrangements will be announced later." "The deceased was born near Chicago, Jan. 10, 1878. He came to Salt Lake in 1896, where he was employed by the Rio Grande as a telegraph operator. He afterwards became interested in Idaho irrigation enterprises, mines and coal companies in Utah, and accumulated quite a fortune. He married Miss Francis Wade of Price, Utah, who with two little children, survive him. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred E. Sweet of 132 south Tenth East street, have lived in Salt Lake for years. He is also survived by three brothers and a sister, William H. Sweet, Frederick A. Sweet, C. N. Sweet and Mrs. G. S. Payne, all of Salt Lake." (Deseret Evening News, July 21, 1910)
(By June 1916, Sweet's brother-in-law, George S. Payne, was Secretary-Treasurer of Standard Coal company.)
The following comes from the July 21, 1910 issue of the Salt Lake Herald Republican newspaper:
Arthur A. Sweet, a well-known mining man, railway promoter and business man of this city, died in Long Beach. Cal., yesterday afternoon of chronic Bright's disease. The death of Mr. Sweet, although the end had been looked for for some time, comes as a great shock to his many friends and business acquaintances in Salt Lake, all of whom had a great deal of admiration for his sterling qualities.
The first attack of illness was on Dec. 5, 1909. From that time until June 15, when he was taken to Long Beach, he grew steadily worse. After going to California, where he got away from his business worries, he improved slightly and it was thought that his life might be prolonged. About two weeks ago, however, he began to fall rapidly.
Mr. Sweet was born in Chicago, Ill., Jan. 10, 1878. At the age of five years he traveled with his family to Kansas, where his father served five consecutive terms as county judge. It was here that young Sweet received his early education. At the age of sixteen he started out in life as a telegraph operator and here, as in his later life, his integrity, sound judgment and push brought him rapid advancement and won for him a place in the hearts of all who knew him.
In 1896 Mr. Sweet came west and was employed as a telegraph operator on the Rio Grande railroad in Salt Lake. In 1897 he again returned to his home in Russell, Kas., where for three years he acted as assistant postmaster. In 1900 he again returned to Salt Lake, where he engaged in active business work, and has lived here ever since.
In the business world of this state and Idaho he has had an active career. His first business adventure was the organizing of the American Falls Canal company in Idaho. In 1906 he was one of the organizers of the Independent Coal & Coke company. Later he was one of the organizers and first president of the Consolidated Fuel company, and at the time of his death he was one of the largest stockholders and also a director. He was also vice president and general manager of the Southern Utah railroad and president of the American Steel & Fuel company.
He also played a prominent part in politics. In 1906 he was nominated for the state legislature on the American party ticket and since that time, although he has held no political office, he has been an enthusiastic civic worker.
At the age of 22 Mr. Sweet married Miss Francis Wade of Price, Utah. Their two children are Marcella, aged 8, and Harold, aged 6 years. Mr. Sweet leaves a mother and father, Judge and Mrs. A. E. Sweet of 1324 South Tenth East street; three brothers, W. H. Sweet, F. A. Sweet, C. N. Sweet. and one sister, Mrs. G. S. Payne, and a large circle of friends.
Although a comparatively young man, he has through his ceaseless work gathered a fortune of over $200,000, most of which consists of mining claims and business enterprises in this state and Idaho. He was a member of the Commercial club and also a Knight of Pythias.
The remains will be brought to Salt Lake Friday and the funeral will probably be held Sunday afternoon.
His father was a civil war veteran and a well to do farmer. The family moved to Kansas in 1883 and the elder Mr. Sweet became county judge. (Salt Lake Telegram, July 21, 1910)
"More than one month ago Mr. Sweet had Dr. Clifford Mitchell, the well-known Chicago specialist, come here and treat his case. Dr. Mitchell, after the examination, told Mr. Sweet that the best thing he could do was to go to a lower altitude. Mr. Sweet, accompanied by his wife and two children, left immediately for California, where, for a time, he showed marked improvement. The collapse came unexpectedly." "Mr. Sweet married Miss Frances Wade of Price, Utah, at Castle Gate nine years ago. While at Castle Gate Mr. Sweet was in the employ of the Utah Fuel company. After his marriage he came to Salt Lake." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 21, 1910)
(The elder Mr. Sweet, Albert E. Sweet, died at age 74 in Los Angeles on July 13, 1916, after living in Los Angeles for a year. He and his wife had moved for his health, and was likely living with his son William Sweet, who was shown as a resident of Hollywood, California, at the time of his father's death.)
Leland R. Wattis
Leland Ray Wattis was one of the most successful railroad contractors in Salt Lake City. Leland Ray Wattis was born in Ogden in 1879, son of E. O. and Martha Wattis. Wattis moved to Salt Lake City in December 1912, and by 1914 was president of L. R. Wattis Company.
Willaim H. Wattis
William Henry Wattis was born in Uintah, Utah, on August 15, 1859, son of Edmund Wattis and Mary Jane Corey. By 1914 Wattis was president and general manager of Utah Construction Company, as well as a director of the Ogden, Logan & Idaho Railroad, and a visce president and director of Lion Coal Company.
Utah Rail Men -- Information about the men who helped develop Utah's railroad industry.