Coal's History in Southeastern OhioThis is a featured page

Early History

The center of Ohio's early coal mining, which began in the 1810s and 1820s, was located in the eastern and southern parts of the state. Before coal, people used firewood as fuel, but once coal arrived, it proved to be a more efficient source of power. In the early years, the steamboats traveling the Ohio River and Lake Erie benefited from the use of coal. As railroads came into the picture, as well as people choosing more industrial jobs, the coal market boomed. In 1872, the mines in ohio produced more than 5 million tons of coal. In 1886, that number increased to 10 million tons.

People migrated to the Ohio mines and settled in towns that were usually controlled by the same company that operated the mines. The companys exhibited a lot of control over the workers because the workers were paid in script, which was a paper that was only accepted at stores owned by the company. In the nineteenth century, miners faced unsafe working conditions, low pay and long hours because there very little government regulation. Despite efforts to organize and strike, most attempts were unsuccessful.

The value of coal began to decrease during the mid-twentieth century. One reason is because of the high sulfur content. The sulfur content increases the pollution that the coal gives off, as well as decreasing the coal power and heat production. Another contributing factor was the increase of use of oil and natural gas as sources of energy. These things led the the deterioration of many of the coal mining regions in Ohio (Coal Mining).

Cited Sources:

"Coal Mining", Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005,

"Meigs County", Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005,

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