Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
The Romance of Old Barclay by Clarke
Chapter Ten - Mining in Barclay at Present Time (1928)
The Romance of Old Barclay

By Staley N. Clarke

Originally Published 1928, Towanda PA

Photos by Joyce M. Tice October 4, 1998
Retyped for Tri-Counties by Richard Harris and Connie Unganst and Formatted by Joyce M. Tice

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While there are several small mines in operation even to this day on Barclay mountain, such as that of Joseph Pelton at Sand Run, the main operation is near the Bear Creek bridge in the vicinity of old Carbon Run. There the traveler over the otherwise deserted mountain top will find the surprise of his life.

Suddenly one comes to a clearing and before his eyes spreads out a typical mining settlement—a large boarding house, several smaller homes—not beautiful, of course, but comfortable—a building used for the office and storage of tools, etc., and another building where the cars of coal are weighed before being sent down the incline to Laquin where they are picked up by the Susquehanna & New York railroad and hauled to market. The cars are pulled back to the mine by horses and mules.

Fifteen miners work daily at these mines for the LeRoy Coal Company, of which Ernest H. Holcombe is superintendent. They take out an average of 55 tons a day in the place being mined now. Mr. Holcombe says there is enough coal to keep the company busy for 25 years more.

Besides that, the company owns other drifts which will be opened later.

The coal is of high grade and finds a ready market.

It is called Lone Star Bituminous Coal and is advertised as "unexcelled for domestic use; excellent for steaming purposes." Its analysis is as follows: moisture 90 per cent, volatile matter 19.18 per cent; fixed carbon 71.06 per cent; ash 8.86 per cent; sulphur 1.65 per cent and b.t.u. (dry) 14.210 per cent.


Here is a snapshot of a home of one of the miners now working for the LeRoy Coal Co., near Carbon Run on Barclay Mountain. The picture was taken at the time of the Barclay reunion this year. The track seen in front of the house is the one used in taking coal to Laquin from the mine.

It is interesting to note that it costs more now to get a ton of coal to the surface and ready to ship, than the coal sold for in market when the advertisement of 1838, previously quoted, appeared in the Bradford Argus.

The boarding house is kept by Mrs. Frank Smith, a motherly soul, who has lived in the vicinity of Barclay all her life and loves the place dearly. She is a good housekeeper and the men are all willing to testify to her ability as a cook with no superior. She has taken so much interest in keeping alive the spirit of Barclay, that at the reunion of old residents held on the mountain in 1928 she was elected president and her daughter, Mrs. Joseph Cronin of Elmira, was chosen secretary-treasurer.

Despite the fact that these people live so far from civilization and approach to their home is so difficult, they are not out of touch with world affairs at all. A radio is installed in the superintendent’s office and there those on the mountain can keep in touch with the presidential campaign, boxing bouts, and other things of interest as well as those living in larger centers of population. One big advantage is that there are no power lines or other instruments that might cause interference and the reception usually is fine.

The road most used in getting to Carbon Run now is up the mountain from LeRoy.
Barclay Cemetery Listings
Barclay Cemetery Photos
Table of Contents
Coal Mining Photos

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 9/13/99
By Joyce M. Tice