Date: August 7, 2005
Creator: Belden, Dreanna L.
Description: Photograph of a historic plaque in Thurber, Texas. It reads: "Thurber. Most important mine site in Texas for 30 years. Coal here, probably known to Indians, was "discovered" in 1886 by W. W. Johnson, who with his brother Harvey sold out to Texas & Pacific Coal Company in 1888. (T. & P. Coal Company provided fuel for the Texas & Pacific Railroad, but was independently owned. Town was named for H. K. Thurber, friend of T. & P. Coal Company founders. Most dynamic firm member was Robert D. Hunter (1833 - 1902), developer of 7 of 15 mines. Next president was E. L. Marston, Hunter's son-in-law, who left mining largely to William K. Gordon (1862 - 1949), an engineer who brought daily output to 3,000 tons. Then in 1917, Gordon (backed by management of coal company) was primarily responsible for discovery of Range Oil Field, 20 miles west. Adoption of oil-burning railway locomotives cut demand for coal. Last mine here closed in 1921, and the 10,000 or more inhabitants of Thurber began to move away. The coal firm changed its name to Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company and was sold in 1963 to Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., ...
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