The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 208
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
coals, being effected by "geological processes of short duration
and low intensity"; thus they fall rather low in the scale of coals
which runs from "Peat- + Lignite (or Brown Coal) - -> Bi-
tuminous Coal---+ Anthracite--- Graphite."
There are several varieties of bituminous coal in Texas. The
main division is by geological periods, with the Carboniferous and
Cretaceous being the two types represented. Texas also has sev-
eral forms of semi-bituminous, or a "hard" variety of lignite.
Cannel coal is yet another type. As late as 1917, Texas' reserves of
this type of coal also were believed to be the largest in the United
States. "It is a massive, noncaking, tough, clean, block coal of
fine, even, compact grain, dull luster, ... having a typical low
fuel ratio, a high percentage of hydrogen, easy ignition, long
yellow flame, black to brown greasy streak and moderate ash."8
The United States Geological Survey estimated that the "orig-
inal supply of bituminous coal in Texas was 8,ooo,ooo,ooo tons
and lignite 23,000,ooo,ooo000 tons or a total of 31,ooo,ooo,ooo. If we
should mine ten million tons a year, the supply of coal and lignite
would last more than 3,000 years."' Although these large quan-
tities of coal, especially lignite, were once thought to be the
largest in the United States, subsequent discoveries have greatly
surpassed them. By 1939, Texas ranked nineteenth in bituminous
coal reserves, with .57 per cent of the total United States reserves,
and third in lignite, but with only 2.44 per cent of the total
United States reserves."
The presence of coal in Texas quite probably was known to the
Indians. "Beyond a doubt many of the early settlers did use it as
a fuel, and many more told of finding coal, whenever a water
well was being drilled."' Among the first to mention it in publi-
cation was J. L. Riddell in the American Journal of Sciences
and Arts, in 1838. He said,
*George H. Ashley, Cannel Coal in the United States (Washington, 1917; U. S.
Geological Survey Bulletin 659), 8.
'William Battle Phillips, The Mineral Resources of Texas (Austin, 191o; Texas
Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 14), 9.
sHouse Executive Documents, 76th Cong., 1st Sess. (Serial No. 10335), Document
No. 16o, p. 285.
'Mary Jane Gentry, Thurber: The Life and Death of a Texas Town (Master's
thesis, The University of Texas, 1946), 4.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/248/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.