Pittsburg in Crawford County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Wilkinson Coal Company
Weir City, Kansas 1917-1979
Miners Memorial at Immigrant Park
William Wilkinson was born in Pelton Fell, England in 1862. He worked in the mines from the age of 10 and came to Weir City, Kansas, in 1883 at the age of 20 to continue mining.
In 1917, he started his own deep mine a mile south of Fleming, Kansas. He and his wife, Mary, reared seven children: Raymond, Clifford, Morris, Cecil, Bernice, Bill, and Jack. The siblings and their spouses were active in the mining business during their lifetimes.
In 1923, The Wilkinson Coal Company started another mine one mile north of Weir City.
William Wilkinson died in 1932 and his sons continued the mining operation.
Due to economic conditions and the advent of strip mining, the deep mine was closed. Cecil left the family mining operation and started working for the Kelce Brothers at the Peabody Coal Company, formerly known as the Sinclair Mining Company at Hume, Missouri.
In 1935, it became evident strip mining was more profitable and the company purchased a Marion Model #37 Steam Shovel from the Joe Klaner Coal Company in Detroit and moved it to southeast Kansas. The Steam Shovel was in operation
In 1938, a 222 Page Dragline was purchased and moved from Louisiana to Weir City, Kansas where it was re-assembled and put into operation.
A Walking 618 Page Dragline was purchased in 1953 from Alexandria, Louisiana and shipped by rail to Weir City from the strip mining operation. The dragline was later used for clay mining by the Mission Clay Company.
In 1963, a grass fire touched off an explosion in a powder magazine at the mine. Four people were injured including Mr. and Mrs. Morris Wilkinson, and their son Bill. The fire department[s] from the communities of Pittsburg, Galena, Baxter Springs, Columbus, and Asbury came to the rescue. The explosion destroyed the tipple, machine shop, the scale house, two storage buildings and nine company trucks.
The Wilkinson Coal Company continued to mine coal in Cherokee County until 1979 when EPA regulations required blending Southeast Kansas coal with Wyoming coal for a cleaner blend. It was no longer profitable to continue operation.
The McNally Company and the Wilkinson Coal Company restored and preserved the Marion Model #37 Steam Shovel which rests at the Crawford County Museum. The 222 Page Dragline has been restored and preserved and can be seen at Big Brutus.
The Dragline Bucket that is displayed here has been donated by the Wilkinson family.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1862.
Location. 37° 24.555′ N, 94° 42.411′ W. Marker is in Pittsburg, Kansas, in Crawford County. Marker is on 2nd Street near Pine Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is at the Miners' Memorial. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsburg KS 66762, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Weir-Pittsburg Coal Field in Cherokee County (a few steps from this marker); Alexander Howat (a few steps from this marker); Frontenac, Kansas (within shouting distance of this marker); The Amazon Army (within shouting distance of this marker); Southeast Kansas Coal Mining (within shouting distance of this marker); The Weir - Pittsburg Coalfield (within shouting distance of this marker); Immigrant Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Tree (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 11, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,072 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on September 12, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.