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WILLIAMSTOWN, PITT GAS, AND CLYDE MINES

Clyde Mines No. 1, 2, and 3 were all started by different coal companies, and by the late 1920's they had all been incorporated into the W.J. Rainey Coal Company's portfolio of mines. However, the Clyde Mines are best remembered as being owned by Republic Steel Co. Clyde No. 1 was on the edge of Fredericktown, Clyde No. 2 was nearby in Pitt Gas, and Clyde No. 3 was not far away in Williamstown.


These company-built houses south of Fredericktown were for the employees of the Clyde No. 1 Mine, and are typical of Pennsylvania coal company housing. Clyde No. 1 was opened in 1900 by the Clyde Coal Company. (Dec. 2003 image by author)


Red block houses at the coal mining patch of Pitt Gas housed the workers of Clyde No. 2 Mine. These company homes were constructed in 1929, and I've never seen patch houses quite like this anywhere else. Pitt Gas was actually in Greene County, and the coal came across a conveyor over Ten Mile Creek to a tipple on the Washington County side. (Mar. 2003 image by author)


Red block coal patch housing at Williamstown built by Republic Steel Company for miners of their Clyde No. 3 mine. This was probably one of the last patch towns built by a coal company in Western Pennsylvania, and the reforms in workers housing are evident in this photograph. (Mar. 2003 image by author)


Another section of unusual red brick patch housing at Williamstown. Pat writes, "My grandfather was a 'boss' at the Clyde #3 Mine (Williams[town]) in Washington Co, but just across the creek from Clarksville in Greene Co. The whole area went under the name of Clarksville to the locals. Being a 'boss', my grandfather and his family lived in one of the red cinderblock houses on the front row. There were shotgun houses on some of the other streets, plus bachelor houses across from the mine itself. Some of the wooden houses were four rooms all on one floor. The red cinderblock houses were two stories and I think had basements. Up on the hill overlooking the mine there were other houses and there was, I am told, even a special section for Negroes." (Mar. 2003 image by author)


Another view of Williamstown coal company houses. (Image by others)


Evidently these ruins remain from the Clyde No. 1 Mine. (Image by others)


This preparation plant along the Monongahela River was operated by Republic Steel as well. It was next to the Clyde No. 1 patch homes pictured above, and is now demolished. Note the large gob pile behind the plant. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


Part of the barge loadout from the Clyde Mines on the Monongahela River. The coal would have been loaded into coal barges for shipment to Republic Steel's operations in Ohio. I would guess that at some point the coal would have to be loaded into a train from the barge, because there was no continuous navigable waterway between Fredericktown and Canton, Youngstown, and Cleveland, Ohio. (Dec. 2003 image by author)


This acid mine drainage pond along Ten Mile Creek is the final chapter in the Clyde Mines saga. (June 2004 image by author)


Don sent in this picture and wrote, " I grew up in Pit Gas and worked at Clyde Mine until it closed. The duplex houses in Pit Gas had a basement. My dad had a huge Lionel Train set up in ours. I wanted to thank you for posting the pictures of our old bath house more than any other place. I didn't think I would ever see it again. I had a ball showing my wife where and how we use to change from our work clothes to street clothes and then run the basket back up to the ceiling for the next day." (Image by Don Stickel)


A great and rare photo sent in by Don "that was passed on to me after my Grandfather was killed at Clyde mine. It's of a horse pulling a wagon out of the pit mouth. I doubt there are many pictures of Clyde from that long ago. I'm pretty sure the horse is in Clyde 1. Clyde 3 is out in the country and is just an elevator shaft and a bath house - no gradual slope like the entrance to Clyde 1." (Image courtesy of Don Stickel)


The following pictures were taken by Tom Strong:


Mine offices or shops


Clyde bath house


Bath house detail


Inside bath house


Supply room in ruins


Equipment remaining in the prep plant


Vibrating screens in the plant


Disc filters in the plant


Outside the preparation plant


We are fortuante enough that Larry Durdines shared his memories of growing up at Williamstown with us: "I grew up in Williamstown, born in the house that my grandfather built in the 1920's. Williamstown was a great place to grow up. I can remember 5 or 6 boxy little Baldwin S2's hooked together pulling trains through Williamstown as we played baseball on the field behind the company store. The Sharks were my favorite, very shiny black and the toothy MRy grin under the nose. I wasn't very good at baseball even though my father was the coach, but I remember the trains. We called the area across from the mine Upcreek and next to the swinging bridge Shantytown . In the late 50's early 60's no one lived there anymore and the last to live there were mostly Black people. There were a few foundations showing, some sidewalks and a broken lumber laying around that we kids used to fuel fires for all night fishing parties. In the summer this overgrown area would produce rose bushes that would burst with huge flowers. Even as a kid I thought it was kind of sad - all the bright red roses returning and the people so long gone now. It's a sewage plant now. There were plans at one time to build the railroad to Marianna by way of along the north bank of the north branch of Ten Mile Creek. That would have brought it right along the edge of my yard. Our company store was large and modern. Everything could be bought there - clothes, food, hardware, gasoline ( Gulf ). I once even saw Aunt Jemima making pancakes there on a PR tour. You could only get 2 cartons of cigarettes at a time on credit because miners would trade them for drinks at the bars in town. There was a branch of the Fredericktown bank there beside it. Our home was built by my grandfather and was between the patch and the north fork of the creek. When asked how it was we came to have a fine big frame house, large porch and outbuildings, even a small barn, my Aunt said her father always saved his money, never drank and was then able to afford to build. They kept chickens and a cow which would have been hard to do in a patch house. The Black miners, and a few whites, lived on the hill above town. Some of the streets and most of the alleys were unpaved up there as opposed to the patch down below. I'm going to guess there were 30 some Black families living in more or less identical brick patch homes. It strikes me now that must have been the company's plan when they built those houses on the hill, away from the "white" patch . Between the patch and the hill there was a Black church (Church Of The Living God) and the singing was wonderful . It was like most of America at the time, "separate but equal". One black man lived in a house across the road from us and his wife was a white lady and though it seemed to be frowned on, it was never discussed or criticized. He had a rambling building of corrugated steel where he worked on cars and machinery. He was known as Blacksmith because thats what he did. Black and white were all taught respect each for other and there was never any trouble over race . Men working side by side in the mine was somewhat of an equalizing influence. Many were fast friends. When a miner died at work, whether by accident or natural causes, a good friend of that man would bring his hat, bucket and other personal effects to the deceased's family. When my father died of a heart attack in Clyde, it was a black man who brought my Dad's gear to our house after work that day. The school, attended by all, was there also, a huge two story frame building. Mr. Blackburn was the principal. He was tall and gaunt, wore rusty black suits and was very stern. On the playground he would blow his nose between thumb and finger, and we kids were amazed by that . He walked the tracks from Fredericktown every day and only rode the school bus in the most severe weather. Big events were Mitchell day - a miner's holiday with speeches, patriotic and Union readings and talent shows. Very popular were church picnics. St Thomas's had gambling and beer and whiskey and all the young and old miners would be out in white shirts, standing under the trees at makeshift counters and drinking. The priest used to go to the bars and have a few beers with the other men occasionally. That was much admired by them. There were 5 very busy bars and a couple speakeasies in Williamstown and Clarksville alone. Since the patch was built there was always baseball behind the company store in the shadow of the slate dumps. I never heard the words 'gob pile' used by miners. In 1960 we had four teams of Little League players just from Clarksville, Williamstown, Besco and Pitt Gas. The older guys had a Pony League team. Besco had old coke ovens and I remember several being lived in by retired miners. We laughed about that as kids. The slate dumps smoldered and we never walked on them. Indeed some had spots that smoked and glowed a dull red year round."


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