I'm not sure if you're still around after all this time and apologize for not receiving any of your emails way back when. I moved and my email address changed. It's firstname.lastname@example.org
In any case, I found some info that anyone researching the Estelle Mines may find interesting. I located this on an old mailing list tonight. It is the exact excerpts from the article I mentioned in an earlier post. It also has some additional information. I apologize if the formatting is messed up. It's a copy & paste job...
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I found a (copy) of a little book, I had forgotten I had. The book is
titled "The Cupola". Originally dated October 1920, I got it from the
Walker County Historical Society. It is totally about the mines around
Chattanooga. But has a large article on the Estelle mine. I will send some
of the interesting parts of it, below. It sounds like it was little booming
town. To see it today, you would never think that.
Close to the Estelle Station is the commissary, directed by, A.W. Thaxton.
The commissary is located at the railroad side of a large level space that
extends from the railroad on the east to the base of the mountain on the
west side of the level spot. This mountain is of the Cumberland Range & in
the vicinity of Estelle is known as Pigeon Mountain. Grouped on this
ideal spot are the greater part of Estelles buildings, which include 175
houses for the personnel of 230 men & their families. Also 2 schools giving
a complete course of study to 150 white children in one & 40 colored
children in the other. The article mentions the physician J. P. Woods.
Next are the industrial buildings , first from the commissary is the mule
stable, in charge are A. Wallin & Mr. John Hoffman, who is also the deputy
sheriff. All the hay for the 30 mules is grown on the property. Then it
mentions the Blacksmith & machine shop run by the Master Mechanic Frank
Sullivan, who supervises the maintenance of all equipment except the cars.
Which are built & repaired in the Carpenter shop , E.H. Smith (in charge).
W.A. Ross does the house repairing.
In this same group of buildings are 2 wash & locker houses, a galvanized
iron building housing the steam plant, a saw mill, which cuts timber taken
from the property, for use in building cars & shoring the mines and a supply
house. All supplies received from the well stocked supply house are
covered by requisitions which are checked against a perpetual inventory &
permits the issuing of a daily cost sheet.
Miss Nellie Wallin, manipulates the scales weighing the ore cars, when
received at the crusher, which is run by H. R. Hise.
The story tells of the ore going thru the crusher then to a chute that
passes the ore into rail cars. There are 11 mines being operated at the
time the story was written. The story is several pages, telling how the
mine operated. I will list the names of people in the story.
Personnel headed up by C.O. Dietz, Superintendent, Geo. Shaw, Estelle
Postmaster & trustee for Estelle District. M.J.M. Lowe, assistant, Lee
Frye, Foreman of hard ore mining, Charles Steel, Foreman soft ore mining.
Mr. C.O. Dietz, G.W. Shaw & F.W. Shaw are also trustees for Estelle
District. General Track Foreman is W.L McCullough.
That is all the names mentioned except in a couple of pictures I hate to
even mention cause they are copies & really too dark to tell anything about
them. The names under the copies of photos are Car & monitor repair dept.
E.H. Smith Foreman, John Hunter, Lee Hunter, C.S. Ledford. General repair
dept. W.A Ross Foreman, A.R. Monds, Chas. Barton, W.B. Barfield, S.J.
Jeffery, & M. H. Smith.
Office personnel: C.O. Dietz, J.J. Rhyne, Grace Styles, L.B. McWilliams,
Commissary dept: G.W. Shaw, F.C. Shaw, Duel Watts, A.W. Thaxton.
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I just thought I would post a little information about the Estelle
Mine in LaFayette, in case some of your ancestors worked at the mine.
The following was taken from the Walker County Heritage 1833-1983:
ESTELLE IRON ORE MINES
During the early part of this century the iron ore mines at Estelle
were yielding vast quantities of high grade ore. These mines were dug into
the same foothills of Pigeon Mountain where just a few years earlier Gen.
Braxton Bragg stood waiting for an unsuspecting union army to walk into
The iron ore mines in Estelle were operated for many years by a number
of hard working employees who lived in this mining town. One of the men who
worked in these mines was Raymond Watts. He along with my grandmother,
Daisy Kellogg, were able to recall the following history of the
Chattanooga Iron and Coal Corporation at Estelle.
Boys as young as seven would help load ore. Ten year old boys worked
at the crusher, and at the age of twelve could become what was known as
"mule boys". The mule boys would leave home around six-o'-clock in order to
get the mules prepared for entry into the mines at six-thirty. The mule boys
worked ten hours a day for twenty cents per hour. Push boys, crushers,
fireman, engineers, and breakies were some of the other jobs available
for the men and boys who lived in the area.
Sally and Doc Brannon operated a boarding house for several years. It
offered the miners, who didn't live in one of the many houses, a place
to stay. Paul Shaw, clerk, and Barker Hall, butcher, were employed at the
huge commissary where food and supplies could be obtained.
S.F. Evans, Otto Deits, and Mike Lowe are three men who served as
superintendent of the mining company. Mr. Evans was the first man to own
an automobile in Estelle, a Ford Model-T. There were two schools in
Estelle. One was a little red schoolhouse located in Depot Hollow. The other was
a three room school, the Estelle School, which stood on the hill where
Estelle Cemetery is now found. Lily Morgan Ransom, Professor Sartain, and a Mrs.
Tanner were some of the teachers who taught the three R's to the
Rev. John Bill Devlin, pastor of the Church of God, was the minister
of the only church in Estelle. Rev. Devlin was well liked and respected by
his neighbors who listened to his Sunday morning sermons.
When the people of Estelle needed the services of a doctor, they would
call on either Doc Gates or Doc Jim Wood. These two gentlemen were very
capable physicians, who tended to the sick, cared for the injured, and
Mining ore was not only an exhausting occupation but also a dangerous
one. Accidents can occur in any mine and Estelle was no exception. Gilbert
Watts, son of Columbus Watts, was killed while working in one of the mines. He
was accidentally run over by a dinky car and died the following day.
The town barber, Balcom Barfield, cut hair for a very reasonable
price. Brothers Pearl and Luke Steele handled any jobs concerning a blacksmith.
William Watts owned a gristmill and ran a general store in part of his
house. He was also a carpenter for the mining company. He built
trestles, bridges, and the forms for the concrete tip still in existence in
Sunday, the day off, was the time for recreation. If the miners
weren't fishing, hunting, or playing horseshoes they could be found at the
baseball field. The Estelle crew played teams from Durham, LaFayette, and
Here is a list of a few of the many men who worked in the Estelle
Frank Atchley, Clarence Ballinger, Quillian Ballinger, Edmund Beard,
Ellison Beard, Sam Bradley, Tom Brannon, Walter Brannon, Garland Castleberry,
Webb Castleberry, Joe Cole, Jess Cornish, Will Cornish, Ed Devlin, John Bill
Devlin, Baxter Elders, Earl Franklin, Alec George, Jip George, Marion
Gibson, Hugh Hise, Albert Hopkins, Charley Hopkins, Dick Houfman, John
Houfman, Jack Huffstetler, Luke Jefferies, Paul Kellogg, Bill Kilgore,
Gord Kilgore, Willie Kilgore, Herman Lee, Ison Lee, Jess Lee, Walt
McCullough, Charley Martin, Chester Martin, Homer Martin, Grady Mathis, Richard
Monds, Jim Nalley, Mack Nelson, Shane Nelson, Duff Odum, Jess Pettijohn, Jim
Powell, Ad Ray, Joe Ray, Huss Ridley, Jack Ridley, Jim Ridley, Bob Sims,
Charley Slayton, Gene Slayton, Pearl Steele, Luke Steele, Earl Styles,
Grady Sweet, Bunk Voiles, Bud Watts, Clifford Watts, Charley Watts, Duel
Watts, Gilbert Watts, Henry Watts, John Watts, Lum Watts, Jim Watts,
Raymond Watts, and William Watts.
By: Dan Stoker, Jr.
Another article about ESTELLE MINES:
The ore mines at Shaw, Georgia, were incorporated on June 24, 1897.
Partners in the venture were John V. Costello, W.D. Hix, and James
The operation was known as the Estelle Mining Company, named for Estelle
P. Shaw (1864-1882), daughter of Jesse Mercer Shaw and Mary Camp Shaw.
At the height of this operation the company employed two hundred and
thirty five men. This community comprised one hundred and seventy-five
houses for the workers. A commissary provided for all the needs of the
employees and their families from furniture to clothing, groceries and
There were two schools with an enrollment of one hundred ninety
children. Both of the schools were maintained by the county and the men at Estelle
who subscribed seventy percent of the cost and who also retained a physician
for medical attention.
The Estelle property consisted of four thousand six hundred acres and
had a blacksmith shop, machine shop, carpenter shop, steam plant, sawmill
and a supply house. There was a six mile narrow gauge railroad called the
"Dinky" which began at the crusher and ran through seven tunnels to the mines.
Ore was hauled from the mines to the crusher on this railroad. As the demand
for ore started to wane, operations at the mines began to slacken and
finally ceased in 1924. By: Frank Shaw, Jr.
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