Big Muddy (a.k.a. White Row) History

Big Muddy was also called White Row. It was located in section 35 of Herrin Township. The St. Louis and Big Muddy Coal Company sank a mine there in 1910. A double row of 30 houses and a company store was built. The store and the houses were all owned by the Coal Company. They were never sold to individuals. If one worked at the mine he could get credit at the store and rent a house on credit. Only employees of the Big Muddy Mine had either of these privileges. The houses were little better than shacks and the prices at the store were always higher than those in private stores in Herrin or Marion.

A man named Crain was the store manager. The store sold groceries, dry goods, hardware, clothing and almost any other item one could think of. The rent and store bill was checked off the miners pay before he received it. It was not uncommon for a miner with a big family to not receive any cash pay for two or three months.

The mine shut down in 1929 and the village soon disintegrated. Today the Forcyth Energy Mine has stripped the sight of Big Muddy and all that remains are huge spoil piles.

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(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)