Westmoreland Coal Company

Alternative names
Dates:

Biographical notes:

Southern Appalachian coal producer, incorporated 1902, active in Lee and Wise counties, Va. Merged into the Westmoreland Coal Company in 1964.

From the description of Westmoreland Coal Company collection of the Stonega Coke and Coal Company papers, 1915-1957. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 53966093

The Westmoreland Coal Company (Del.) was formed on April 30, 1964, by the merger of the Westmoreland Coal Company (Pa.) and the Stonega Coke & Coal Company (Del.). From the former it inherited coal mining operations in Boone and Logan Counties, W. Va., and from the latter a larger mining operation in Wise and Lee Counties, Va. The company is a major producer of steam and metallurgical coal.

Westmoreland nearly doubled in size in 1968 through the purchase of the Imperial Smokeless Coal Company and Winding Gulf Coals, Inc. These two firms were located in the Smokeless Coal Field of southern West Virginia and amounted to nearly 90,000 acres of reserves and leaseholds. Westmoreland purchased its affiliated sales company, the General Coal Company, on October 31, 1969.

In the early 1970s the company expanded into western low-sulfur coal. It joined with several other firms to form Westmoreland Resources, Inc., a partnership which developed a large open pit coal mine in Montana. It also investigated other properties in Wyoming. A second western mine, Colorado Westmoreland, Inc., followed in 1976, but it was sold in the mid-1980's. Between 1971 and 1980 Westmoreland also owned a majority interest in the Virginia Birmingham Bolt Company, a manufacturer of mine roof bolts.

From the description of Records of Delaware corporation, 1964-1982. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122333717

The Westmoreland Coal Company was incorporated in Pennsylvania on June 27, 1854. The company's lands were located in the Irwin Basin which long enjoyed a near-monopoly of gas coal. As the gas coal market contracted with the coming of electric light, the company was forced to turn to the more competitive steam coal markets.

Westmoreland emerged as the leading operator in the Irwin Basin by absorbing its smaller neighbors beginning in 1870. In 1886, Westmoreland purchased a two-thirds interest in the Manor Gas Coal Company (founded 1884), and in 1905 it purchased the controlling interest in the larger Penn Gas Coal Company (founded in 1860). Penn Gas owned the other third of Manor Gas, and the three firms were merged in 1917. Production from the company's 15,000 acres peaked at 4.8 million tons in 1913. To maintain its position, Westmoreland purchased 14,000 acres of undeveloped coal land along the border of Boone and Logan Counties in West Virginia in 1923-28.

Following the collapse of the entire soft coal industry in the late 1920s, the management of the Westmoreland Coal Company was taken over by the managers of the Stonega Coke & Coal Company, whose founder, Dr. John S. Wentz, had purchased a large block of Westmoreland stock in 1917-18. The firms retained their separate identities but were managed by common officers headed by Edward B. Leisenring, a nephew of Dr. Wentz. Westmoreland's sales department was absorbed by the General Coal Company, and its real estate was spun off to a new company, Westmoreland, Inc., so that it conformed to the land company/operating company arrangement found in the southern Appalachian coal fields.

Westmoreland's West Virginia property was brought into production as the Hampton Division in 1948-58. Westmoreland's Pennsylvania mines were phased out because of exhaustion in the mid 1950s.

The entire corporate structure was simplified in the 1960s. The Virginia Coal & Iron Company acquired a majority of Westmoreland's stock in 1962, and in the following year it absorbed Westmoreland, Inc., to create a single land company. In 1964, the Stonega Coke & Coal Company absorbed the old Westmoreland Coal Company. The current Westmoreland Coal Company operates under Stonega's Delaware charter with the older Westmoreland name.

From the description of Records of Pennsylvania corporation, 1854-1964. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86119086

The Westmoreland Coal Co. is the oldest independent bituminous coal producer in the U. S. and usually ranks among the top twenty producers in terms of output and sales.

The present Westmoreland Coal Co. is an amalgamation of several previous firms, which have at one time or another operated bituminous coal mines in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Montana and Colorado. The oldest of these firms, the Westmoreland Coal Company (Pa.) was incorporated on June 27, 1854. Its initial land holdings were in the Irwin gas coal basin in Westmoreland County, but as these were exhausted the company purchased 14,000 acres of undeveloped coal land along the border of Boone and Logan Counties in West Virginia in 1923-28.

In 1916-17, Dr. John S. Wentz purchased a large block of Westmoreland shares. Dr. Wentz was a prominent anthracite and bituminous coal operator whose major bituminous coal property was the Stonega Coke & Coal Co. in southwestern Virginia. Stonega was incorporated on April 19, 1902, for the purpose of acquiring an operating lease and colliery plant from the Virginia Coal & Iron Co., a land company partly owned and managed by Dr. Wentz. The Stonega Company was a typical large southern Appalachian coal producer. In 1923 it purchased the New River Collieries Co. of West Virginia from the Guggenheim interests. By 1925, it was operating mines at nine company towns in Virginia and two (Sun and Eccles) in the West Virginia smokeless coal fields.

Following the collapse of the entire soft coal industry in the late 1920s, Stonega took over the management of the Westmoreland Coal Co. The firms retained their separate identities but were managed by common officers headed by Edward B. Leisenring, a nephew of Dr. Wentz. Westmoreland's real estate was spun off to a new company, Westmoreland, Inc., so that it conformed to the land company/operating company arrangement found in the southern Appalachian coal fields.

The entire corporate structure was simplified in the 1960s. The Virginia Coal & Iron Co. acquired a majority of Westmoreland's stock in 1962, and in the following year it absorbed Westmoreland, Inc., to create a single land company. In 1964, the Stonega Coke & Coal Co. absorbed the old Westmoreland Coal Co., but it was rechristened Westmoreland to retain the oldest name in the industry.

The Wentz/Leisenring interests also maintained a separate sales company, the General Coal Company, established in 1923. General's sales force sold the output of all the Wentz anthracite and bituminous mines as well as those of independent producers.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the larger coal companies continued to grow by merger and consolidation. In 1968, Westmoreland acquired the West Virginia coal properties owned by the Sprague family. In 1968, Westmoreland also acquired the coal sales department of Charles H. Sprague & Son. General Coal became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westmoreland at the same time.

In the 1970s, Westmoreland joined the general switch to develop low-sulfur coal resources in the western states. In 1970, it participated in Westmoreland Resources, a joint venture which developed the Absaloka strip mine on land leased from the Crow Indian tribe. From 1976 to 1988 a second western subsidiary, Colorado Westmoreland, Inc., operated on land leased from the federal government near Paonia in western Colorado.

From the description of Records, 1854-1982. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86134296

This group contains records that were in the possession of the Westmoreland Coal Company, but do not strictly belong to it. They originated with companies that were owned by Westmoreland's officers as outside investments and were never brought into Westmoreland's corporate structure. There are also two groups of records from the Philadelphia and Virginia central offices shared by Westmoreland, Penn Virginia and their associated companies which are not specific to any one firm. These are primarily concerned with the joint expenses of maintaining the two offices or biographical data on officers and directors who held appointments from more than one firm.

The A. A. Investment Company was formed by a group of Philadelphia industrialists for the purpose of trading in the more popular speculative securities in the last stages of the bull market prior to the stock market crash of 1929. It was dissolved in 1934.

The Purcell Coal Corporation (1920-22) was formed by several Virginia officers of the Stonega Coke & Coal Company as an outside venture. It operated a small mine in the St. Charles Coal Field of Lee County, Va.

The Upper Boise Hydraulic Mining Company (1897-?) owned gold or silver properties in Idaho, and was a joint investment of John Leisenring, Jr., John Leisenring Kemmerer, Patrick J. Quealy and Frederick R. Reed.

The Youghiogheny Coal Hollow Coal Company (1865-c.1880) was a small coal company organized by Thomas Mellon and other Pittsburgh businessmen. James R. and Horace Magee of the Westmoreland Coal Company served as corporate secretaries, which doubtless accounts for the presence of some of its records in the Westmoreland archive.

From the description of Records of outside companies, 1865-1971. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86119442



Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Constellation Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6g787k4
SNAC ID:
47656018

Subjects:

  • Coastwise shipping--Coal trade
  • Coal--Export marketing
  • Textile machinery industry
  • Wages--Coal miners
  • Company unions
  • Industrial safety
  • Mine rescue work
  • Affirmative action programs
  • Coal shipping terminals
  • Account books
  • Coal preparation
  • Land companies
  • Sawmills
  • Grievance arbitration
  • Coke-ovens
  • Lungs--Dust diseases
  • Strip mines
  • Longwall mining
  • Industrial relations
  • Coal-mining machinery
  • Industrial welfare
  • Industrial housing
  • Coal miners
  • Coal trade
  • Women coal miners
  • Mine accidents
  • Investment companies
  • Company towns
  • Coal--Research
  • Coke industry
  • Employees' magazines, newsletters, etc.
  • Collective bargaining--Coal mining industry
  • Coal mines and mining
  • Synthetic fuels
  • Mine roof bolting
  • Police, Private
  • Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining
  • Strip mining
  • Company stores
  • Coal-handling machinery
  • Coal Strike, Westmoreland County, Pa., 1910-1911

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Australia (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • West Virginia (as recorded)
  • West Virginia (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Raleigh County (W. Va.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Crow Indian Reservation (Mont.) (as recorded)
  • Raleigh County (W. Va.) (as recorded)
  • Wise County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Logan County (W. Va.) (as recorded)
  • West Virginia (as recorded)
  • Colorado (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Westmoreland County (Pa.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Westmoreland County (Pa.) (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Boone County (W. Va.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • Wise County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Lee County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Lee County (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Missouri (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Kentucky (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Fayette County (W. Va.) (as recorded)
  • West Virginia (as recorded)