Carterville District Mine History

The Carterville District Mine was located in the northeast quarter of section 36 of Herrin Township. This location is about two hundred yards north of Edwards Trailer Sales, on State Highway 37 between Johnston City and Marion. George Burr sank the mine there in 1901. A company store and about fifteen houses were built. Any miner working at Carterville District Mine could get rent and groceries on credit at the store.

Henry Zeigler was the paymaster at the mine. He was a timekeeper for men on wages and a check clerk for men at the face of the coal, who were paid for the tonnage they mined. He kept the company’s books and wrote the paycheck. Every man received a check for what he had earned, minus what he owed the company for blasting powder, fuse, rent and store account.

The mine did not work full-time. Most every summer the mine closed and did not open until late autumn. It was finally closed in 1915. The tipple and company store were torn down. The houses burned or were torn down until by 1922 but three were left. These three were torn down in that year to make room for State Highway 37. The mine shaft stood open for several years. During this time people dumped tin cans and household rubbish in the open pit.

The Carterville District Mine came back into history again in 1927. That year Charley Birger’s gangsters murdered Mrs. Ethel Price and cast her body into the mine pit. They covered it with a great quantity of rubbish. On June 11, 1927 Art Newman, one of the gangsters, told the story of Mrs. Price’s murder and where the body was disposed. The rubbish was removed and the decomposed body was found.

Today the area is in the village limits of Whiteash. The shaft is full of water, though much of it is filled with rubbish. Otherwise all traces of the mine and village around it are gone.

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