Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Dayton Coal and Iron Company - More Supernatural Happenings

I only buy a local paper very occasionally. I'll be honest, I usually read something in it that winds me up, so I leave it alone much of the time these days. I actually once worked for our local paper and also for the Yorkshire Post, but there you go

Anyway, for some reason I did buy a copy of the local paper yesterday and in it I read about historian Dave Shaw and associate Dave King going to Tennessee to view the mines and land formally owned by Titus Salt Junior and his company , The Dayton Coal and Iron Company.& This kind of set me off doing my own research as Saltaire, these days is a bit of a quango. Certain persons seem to be of the opinion that they 'own' Saltaire and its knowledge and are charged with protecting a heritage that has only come into the spotlight as a result of Jonathan Silver restoring the Mill and filling it with Hockney's work. Nothing to do with Salt.

The truth is that Denys Salt, grandson of Titus Salt Junior, chose to make his home in Austria where he co- authored a book called 'Austria - A Bibliography' part of a series aimed at scholars and he actually has very little to do with Saltiare other than by association with his forebears; he does not even live in the area.

With no disrespect to Saltaire or the Salts, they had actually completely lost control of the mill and their American mines, iron and coke works by the early 1890's and other than in name, their actual attachment ends there. Or does it? Because that is the angle I am looking in to.

Yes, some may scoff at the supernatural and that is just fine (for them!), but for those who believe or are of the spiritual persuasion we have the same rights as the atheists and scoffers. So for those who want to bask in the reflected glory of the Salt family up to the 1880s in the 21st Century, today, that is up to them. I am sure it brings in a lot of funding. And of course plenty of work for the photographers.

My concern is that there is usually something funny going on closely connected to Titus Junior. No one could live in his house, Milner Field. A different approach to investigating this is covered in our ebook, Milner Field: The Magickal Corridor, available on Amazon.

When we started studying Titus Junior we didn't intend to like him, but we did end up liking him, almost championing him, however not as fans or worshippers of Saltaire or the Salt history, which is just that - history.

The thing about Titus Salt Junior was that he so wanted to be one of the members of the top echelons of society, putting himself out for princes and princesses, to the cost of his health and his finances, but the Salts didn't perhaps have the business acumen of their father and they let others steal from them what their family had built up. James Roberts must have really been laughing up his sleeve, not that it did anyone any good who did take the Salts property.

Anyway, I read with interest the article in the Telegraph and Argus about the Richland Mine owned by Titus Junior and also backed by Mr Stead another Salts Director who eventually lost his home, The Knoll - James Roberts got this too. After several long hours of research and reading a lot of websites and articles that told a lot of different accounts, this is what I pieced together. Titus Junior was found dead in the billiard room of Milner Field in November 1887 by the way.

Titus Junior was, in my opinion, up to his usual tricks again! This time with the mines. He started buying up land in Dayton, near Chattanooga in Tennessee in 1879 and set up the Dayton Coal and Iron Company. Over 200 mine workers houses were built and an impressive house was built for his manager a Mr Ferguson with 10 bedrooms.There Coke ovens were hastily built and pig iron manufactured.

In 1884, despite the boom and employment of hundreds of people, Titus Junior got financing back up from James Watson Iron Merchants of Glasgow. When the Americans put tariffs and embargoes on foreign textile trade to protect its own textile industry in 1892, the mill began to suffer, Titus Junior was by that time some years departed and the whole concern of Dayton Coal and Iron Company was sold to James Watson Iron Merchants of Glasgow. Then it all goes wrong.

There were three main mines - the Richland mine, the Nelson mine and the Dixon-Slope mine.  According to one account, when digging in the Dixon-Slope mine, the miners were only 20 feet from a lucrative coal seam which they missed!

There was a disaster at the Nelson mine on December 20, 1895 killing many miners, accounts of exactly how many vary. Then there was an explosion at the Richmond mine in May 1901 which killed more miners, some of whom were entombed forever in the mine and others burned to death. Apparently some of the miners bodies were buried near the Richmond mine. After this on March 31, 1902 there was another disaster in the Nelson mine.

In between this miners set fire to some of the outbuildings and were forever striking.  Many lawsuits were brought against the Dayton Coal and Iron Company, owned by James Watson, Iron Merchants of Glasgow, for smoke pollution.

On June 24, 1913 Peter Donaldson, the well respected Managing Director of James Watson Iron Merchants who had offices in Glasgow at 7 Royal Bank Place, and also had offices in Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Swansea and Grangemouth, committed suicide. He chained himself into his car and drove it into the River Thames as himself and his companies faced ruin.

Peter Donaldson lived at 5 Prince's Terrace in Glasgow from 1905-1913 and had a summer house, Woodbine, which is now the Kilgreggan Hotel and he was instrumental in building Cove Burgh Hall as well as this he enjoyed yachting on the River Clyde.

The company eventually changed its name to the Cumberland Iron and Coal Co which is probably where the name Cumberland Way comes from.

I am of the opinion that, as with Milner Field, there were supernatural agencies at work, causing the trouble with these mines and also causing trouble with the Dayton Coal and Iron Company and those associated with it. It is exactly the same as what happened to Milner Field, reduced to rubble and who is the common denominator of all this? Well, whether the purists of Saltaire or the modern day Saltaire quango like it or not the catalyst is always Titus Salt Junior.

As a footnote and just to show how 'tuned in' I am, Harlington Craven, (our pen name for our ebook, Milner Field: The Magickal Corridor) is actually an ancestor of ours.  His father, from Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire, was an iron foundary foreman and Harlington went to America in the early 20th Century and along with another relative, he owned and ran an ironworks company, though luckily not on the scale of the Dayton enterprise. More eerily still, Harlington eventually returned from America and went to work in Glasgow, before returning to Bradford, where he died in his early 40's.

We used Harlington's name on the ebook about Milner Field because he was a free spirit, a person who's roots were from near Milner Field, but who got away and did his own thing.  We knew nothing of Titus Salt Junior's American Dayton Coal and Iron Company at that time and learned this only from the publicity given to Dave Shaw in the Telegraph and Argus of May 15, 2012 and from Dave Shaw's Saltaire Forum blog.

Mine Fired by Incendiaries as reported by the New York Times

Tennessee Mine Disaster as reported by the New York Times