Illinois Genealogy Trails

West Mine #21
Denning Twp, West Frankfort
Franklin County , Illinois


     The picture above was taken about 1 year after the mine 

     closed down, in 1936.

     Many of the miners displaced by machinery in the larger 

     mines are left stranded after mines are abandoned; have 

     opened shallow primitive workings on the coal seam where 

     it occurs close to the surface. 

     The output of these shallow mines, known locally as gopher 

     holes, is processed by a crude method and sold to truckers 

     at about half the price of deep-vein coal. 

     Many of the gopher holes have no storage in the tipple, 

     and the miners underground are idle when no truck is waiting 

     at the chute to load coal. Wages of gopher hole miners run 

     from seventy-five cents to five dollars per day, and many 

     miners earn less than WPA (Works Progress Administration) 

     workers. Some of the larger gopher holes, such as Blue Ribbon 

     Number 2 at Spillertown, Williamson County, are better 

     equipped, pay better wages, and produce as high as 40,000 

     tons a year. 

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  Nanette Riley ©Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group