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Thurber, Texas

Thurber, Texas

Posted: 5 Feb 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Jul 2001 1:03PM GMT
Surnames: Blackwell, Blackstock
My grandparents, James Richard Blackwell and Iowa Eva Blackstock) lived in Thurber cir. 1895-1905?. My father, Garnett Albert Blackwell was born there 1//28/1897. Would like to find out more about the town, map of city streets, was there a hospital, etc.

Thurber (Mining town)

Audra (View posts)
Posted: 19 Apr 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: VANEK
My great-grandfather worked in the coal mines in Thurber,TX (Erath Co.) When the company shut down the mining town Martin and his wife Agnes (Czech nat.)and 2 sons left on a train headed for a small town southwest of Houston. I would like to know more about this mining town and the company that owned it.

Thurber, (Erath Co.), Texas

Tricia Hopkins (View posts)
Posted: 21 Apr 1999 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Forgay, Blackwell
I too, am interested in knowing about Thurber, and the mines, and companies. My gggrandfather, Joseph Forgay, was killed in one of the mines, and my ggggrandfather Blackwell was killed in the coal mines. Does anyone have any maps, company names, List of names of employees, or list of everyone that died in the mines, etc. etc.
Thankyou

Thurber/Coal mining and brick making

Janean (View posts)
Posted: 13 Apr 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: HUNTER, MAUSTON, THURBER
I have a video of the history of Thurber, TX.in Erath County. In 1886 two brothers William and Harvey Johnson got wind of the Texas and Pacific Railroad coming through the area. They bought 3600 acres which contained the best coal vein in Texas. At that time the RR's used coal to power them. The venture was undercapitalized and they had labor problems because the Knights of Labor were trying to unionize the miners. By 1888 there ws a strike. The mine was closed. Harvey Johnson died and his brother William sold out to investors they were Col. Robert Dickey Hunter, his son in law Mauston and an investor by the name of Thurber. Jay Gould the wealthy owner of the Texas Pacific Railroad had told Col Hunter about the coal mine. Hunter constructed a town and named it Thurber. It was a a company town owned by the Texas & Pacific Coal Co. A fence was put around the entire town. The Johnson's had paid $1.90 a ton for coal and Col Hunter only wanted to pay $1.45. Hunter wanted to break the back of the union . Miners threatened the life of Col. Hunter. He had to get the Texas Rangers in to maintain order because the local law officials were related to the miners. The Rangers settled the strike and the mine remained an open shop . In June of 1889 Hunter found and hired a ciivl engineer a William Knox Gordon from VA.He ws also an geologist. He increased the output of the mines from 3 tons to 3,000 tons per yr. Increase in production required increase in workers so they tried to get immigrants. They came from 20 countries, but the largest number of people came from Italy. The immigrants would work for less money than the locals. Local workers angry. The labors were paid in company script. This meant they could only buy at the company store. Their houses were rented from the Company, the pay checks had rent, water, electric, gas and fare for their train rides to and from the mines taken out of their pay. My mother-in-law's father was the manager of the General store that was both general store, grocery store and funeral parlor. Thurber was very advanced for the time period. Not many towns had running water, and gas and electric in their homes, but Thurber did. The waste or less valuable coal was used to fire the brick ovens. Superintendent Gordon had noticed the type of clay in the area and suggested its use for bricks. So the Company also made brick pavers for streets, churches etc. Thurber brick built the Galveston seawall and paved the streets of Ft. Worth. In Sept 1903 there was another strike unions received a 35% increase in pay and an 8 hour day. The whole town and area was unionized. They put the union symbol on every brick. If you have a Thurber brick without a union symbol it was made before 1903. 1915 was the peak year for coal mining. During prohibition they made liquor out of raisins. There ws a town outside of Company land for people who wanted to own their own home-it was called Thurber Junction now it is called Mingus. Thurber had an Opera House becasue there were so many Italians . There was a Thurber Baseball team that played other towns.
About 1915 W. K. Gordon started prospecting for oil. He had leased 300,000 acres. He drilled a well at the Ranger field. On Oct 17, 1917 the McCloskey gusher came in for the Texas & Pacific Coal Co. This gusher was the death knell for Thurber as the Railroads had already started using oil for fuel. The Thurber coal mining boom crashed. By 1921 the Thurber miners were out of work and soon locked out of their company houses. The unions provided tents for the miners and they lived off of Co. land.Many started bootlegging for a living. The company sold off many of the houses and they were moved away. In 1930 a fire destroyed much of what was left and then the company leveled the rest of the town, I've been told that there is a Reunion every year at Thurber by the old people who use to live there. I don't know if it still goes on.

Blackwell Family

Janice Blackwell Terlet (View posts)
Posted: 3 Jun 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Blackwell, Blackstock
Hope my email got to you. If not, contact me at the above address.

Janice B. Terlet

Re: Thurber/Coal mining and brick making

Posted: 16 Oct 2002 2:29AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you for the Thurber information. I would like to get a copy of the Thurber video. Do you know where I can purchase it?

Re: Thurber/Coal mining and brick making

Janean (View posts)
Posted: 17 Oct 2002 2:14AM GMT
Classification: Query
My sister in law gave it to me, but I think she said she bought it in Thurber or Strawn at the Mining Museum. I'll see if I can locate an address for you.

Re: Thurber/Coal mining and brick making

Posted: 8 Sep 2004 11:14PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have not been able to find a copy of the Thurber video. If you would trust me, could you send it to me so that I could see it? I certainly would appreciate it very much and would return it to you very quickly.

Thanks

Re: Thurber, (Erath Co.), Texas

Posted: 8 Sep 2004 11:24PM GMT
Classification: Query
My Blackwell family lived in Thurber, Texas, abt. 1894-1905. My grandfather was James Richard Blackwell, m. Iowa Eva Blackstock 1894 in Stephenville, Erath Co., Texas. If our families connect, would like to correspond.

Re: Thurber/Coal mining and brick making

Margaret McCleskey (View posts)
Posted: 9 Sep 2004 12:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: McCleskey
That's the McCleskey gusher.
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