Brush Junction History

Brush Junction is the point in section 27 of Blairsville Township where the Illinois Central railroad connects Colp and Clifford with its Johnston City branch. The name recalls the mining activities of Samuel T. Brush, general manager of the St. Louis and Big Muddy Coal Company organized in 1889. His associates were Samuel M. Dodd of St. Louis, Ephraim C. Dawes of Cincinnati, and Charles W. Fairbanks of Indiana, vice president of the United States 1905-1909. Their first mine was the Dawes shaft. The Negro miners Mr. Brush brought in during the strikes of 1898 and 1899 made their homes in the village of Dewmaine. The Madison coal corporation bought the properties in 1906, and the last non-union mines in the county changed their policy. Madison #8 was known as the Captain Brush Mine at the time of the transfer.

The length of railroad extending north from Brush junction is known as the Madison 9 lead of the Illinois Central. It was built in 1904 to serve the mine at Colp, renamed Madison 9 when sold to the Madison Coal Corporation. The coal of number six seam is worked out in both Madison 8 and 9.

The Illinois Central Railroad extended the Madison 9 lead to Clifford in 1906 and 1907, to serve mine 8 of the Big Muddy Coal and Iron Company there.

Samuel T. Brush was born in Carbondale, orphaned at ten, and reared by his uncle, Colonel Daniel H. Brush of the 18th Illinois infantry, who was one of the founders of Carbondale. The boy learned telegraphy when the Illinois Central main line was built, and during his Civil war enlistment was detailed as telegrapher. He returned to civilian life as a farmer, engaged in lumbering, and was active in early developments of the Williamson County coal field with his own company, organized in 1889. After he sold his mine property, he interested himself in temperance work, and was once a candidate for congress on the prohibition ticket.

Charles E. Brush, a cousin of the mine owner, drew the plans for Marion courthouse.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)