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AS Williams III Alabama Coal and Iron records

Identifier: W-0062

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, annual reports, and other materials related to coal and iron production in Alabama. Materials are dated from 1874-1943 and address business at nine coal and iron companies: the Eureka Company, the Empire Coal Company, the Pratt Consolidated Coal Company, the Corona Coal Company, the DeBardeleben Coal Corporation, the Cahaba Coal and Coke Company, Black Creek Coal and Coke, the American Fuel Company, and the Cullman Coal and Coke Company. In addition, the collection also includes records related to individuals, Thomas Greene Bush, John T. Milner and T.J. Scott.


  • 1874 - 1943


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

A brief historical note is provided for five of the companies featured in this collection: the Eureka Company, the Empire Coal Company, the Pratt Consolidated Coal Company, the DeBardeleben Coal Corporation, and the Cullman Coal and Coke Company, all in Birmingham, Bessemer, Cullman County, Jefferson County, or Walker County, Alabama.

Industrialists Daniel Pratt and Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben acquired control of the Red Mountain Iron and Coal Company in 1872 and renamed it the Eureka Mining Company. Henry D. Clayton became president of the reorganized company, and DeBardeleben was named general manager. In 1873, the company's two Oxmoor furnaces were fired. However, unable to make the new company profitable, the inexperienced DeBardeleben resigned his post in 1873. In fall 1873, the company was reorganized as the Eureka Mining and Transportation Company of Alabama, managed by Levin S. Goodrich, who successfully increased iron production although the company remained unprofitable. The Oxmoor furnaces were converted from coal to coke furnaces and began producing coke pig iron in 1876. The company changed hands again in 1876, as investors from Louisville and Cincinnati purchased the Oxmoor furnaces and created the Eureka Company.

In 1904, Frank Nelson Jr. founded the Empire Coal Company to mine 14,000 acres of land in Walker County. Nelson purchased land formerly managed by Henry W. Milner as the Empire Coal and Coke Company. At the height of production, the company produced 200,000 tons of coal a year.

The Pratt Consolidated Coal Company was created in 1904 by combining the Pratt Coal Company, Nunley Ridge Coal Company, Ivy Coal and Iron Company, Gamble Mines Company, Townley Mining Company, and Tracy City mines. The company's holdings consisted of fifty-four mines and 85,000 acres of land in Alabama and Tennessee. T.T. Hillman served as the company's first president, and Erskine Ramsay served as the company's first vice president.

Henry F. DeBardeleben founded DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company in 1886. The company merged with Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company in March 1892. DeBardeleben remained on the company's board of directors until he resigned in October 1894.

The Cullman Coal and Coke Company was founded in May 1909. The company owned 12,600 acres of land in Cullman County, Alabama. As of 1915, the company was owned by Parker Bank and Trust Company.

Sources: Poor's Manual of Industrialists: Volume 7. New York: Poor's Manual Company, 1916. Armes, Ethel. The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama. Birmingham: Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, 1910


0.3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence, annual reports and audits, maps, and other material related to coal and iron production in Alabama.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection also holds additional materials related to Alabama coal and iron companies: Woodward Iron Company records; Henry DeBardeleben business papers; and various publications.

The W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library also holds materials related to Alabama coal and iron companies: Woodward Family Papers; Bessemer Coal, Iron, and Land Company records; Shelby Iron Company records; and various other archival collections and publications.

Please contact Special Collections staff for more information.


Title on phase box spine: Annals of Alabama Coal & Iron

Processed by

Haley Aaron and Martha Bace, 2013



Guide to Alabama Coal and Iron records
November 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266