Original Document
Original Document
An Account of the Original Discovery of Coal on Mauch Chunk Mountain, 1873

...In the course of our pilgrimage we reached the summit of Mauch Chunk Mountain, the present site of the mine, or rather quarry, of anthracite coal; at that time there were only to be seen three or four small pits, which had much the appearance of the commencement of rude wells, into one of which our guide descended with great ease, and threw up some pieces of coal for our examination; after which whilst we lingered on the spot, contemplating the wildness of the scene, honest Philip mused us with the following narrative of the original discovery of this most valuable of minerals, now promising, from its general diffusion, so much of wealth and comfort to a great portion of Pennsylvania.

When he first took up his residence in that district of country, he built for himself a rough cabin in the forest, and supported himself by the proceeds of his rifle, being literally a hunter in the backwoods. At the particular time to which he then alluded, he was without a supply of food for his family, and after being out all day with his gun, in quest of it, he was returning towards evening over the Mauch Chunk Mountain, unsuccessful and dispirited, in a drizzling rain, and night approaching. As he trod slowly over the ground, his foot stumbled against something, which, by the stroke, was driven before him; observing it to be black, to distinguish which there was just light enough remaining, he took it up, and as he had often listened to the traditions of the country of the existence of coal in the vicinity, it occurred to him that this perhaps might be a portion of that 'stone coal' of which he had heard.

He accordingly carefully took it with him to his cabin, and the next day carried it to Colonel Jacob Weiss, residing at what was then known by the name of Fort Allen. The colonel, who was alive to the subject, brought the specimen with him to Philadelphia and submitted it to the inspection of John Nicholson and Michael Hillegas, Esq., and Charles Cist, an intelligent painter, who ascertained its nature and qualities, and authorized the colonel to satisfy Ginter for his discovery, upon his pointing out the precise spot where he had found the coal. This was done by acceding to Ginter's proposition of getting through the forms of the patent-office the title for a small tract of land, which he supposed had never been taken up, containing a mill seat, on which he afterwards built a mill, etc.; and which he was afterwards unhappily deprived of, by the claim of a prior survey.

Credit: Richard Richardson, Memoir of Josiah White (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1873), 35-37.
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