Airshaft- A vertical shaft in which air is blown down through the various
sections of the underground mine. The air is generated by a large fan on the surface providing oxygen for the miners below
Blackdamp- A deadly gas that is caused from coal burning in an atmosphere
which lacks oxygen. Mostly a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen found in mines after fires and explosions.
Blacksmith- A person who forges and shapes iron. (A necessary occupation at
the coal mine)
Boiler house- is a building which house boilers, which provide steam pressure
to move machinery. Water contained in the boilers is heated by burning coal; thus causing the water to turn to steam which
provides pressure to cause machinery to move.
Cage- A rectangular transporting device used to haul mine cars (pit cars)
loaded with coal or dirt and rock from the earth below. The cage was also used to transport miners, mules and supplies to
and from the workplace below.
Cager- person who worked at the cages loading and unloading the mine cars
etc. on to the cages.
Carpenter- person who builds with wood. Any projects to be made of wood were
built by the mine carpenters.
Coal- A dark brown to black natural solid substance formed from fossilized
plants. It consists mainly of carbon and is widely used as a fuel and raw material.
Coal forest- A growth of the large tree-like plants that existed millions
of years ago, and whose fossil remains are found today in the form of coal.
C.M. & ST. P. RR- Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad formed in the
1870s and reached cherry IL. In 1904 to tap into the rich coalfields to provide fuel for the railroads steam engines.
Digger- A worker at the mine who digs for coal, and fills the mine cars with
the precious substance. [Miners in 1909 were paid $1.08 per car, averaging approx. four to five carloads per day.]
Downcast- Air forced down into the mine below, by way of the airshaft which
is adjacent to the escape shaft.
Driver- person whose duty it was to guide the mine cars to and from the cages
below. Mules usually pulled cars and the drivers led the mules to a designated area.
Engine Room- building which housed the steam-powered engine that raised and
lowered the cages in the mainshaft. Steel cables, an inch and a half in diameter were wound around a large 9-ft cylinder or
drum in the engine room. It is here where the cage operator controlled the levers that moved the cages up and down.
Entry- an entrance into a series of dugout tunnels and/or passageways in the
Escapeshaft- a stairway reaching from the bottom of the mine to the top of
the mine used in case of an emergency.
Fan House- usually a semi-circular enclosure/structure that housed the large
fan that forced air down below into the mine. The air ventilation was necessary for the miners to breathe and to remove dangerous
gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide. To prevent inhaling these dangerous gases, underground calmness
must be sufficiently ventilatedoften the total weight of the air pumped through the mine exceeds the total weight of coal
Hay- grass and other plants that are cut and dried were used for food for
the mules at the mine.
Headlamp- an illuminating device that provides light and is worn on the front
side of a cap or hat worn by the miner. The lamps could be illuminated with miners oil or kerosene.
Mule Stable- A stable located in the mine below (2nd and 3rd
vein or level) where mules are kept and fed.
Mine- a. The site of such an excavation, with its buildings, elevators, and
associated equipment. b. A hole, tunnel, or passage dug in the earth in order to extract metals, coal, salt, or other minerals.
Pick- a tool for loosening or breaking up coal or dirt consisting of a slightly
curved bar at both ends and fitted onto a long handle.
Pit Car- A small railroad-type car approximately 6 x 3 in size, used to haul
coal, dirt and rock.
Pump- A device used to move water from one place to another. Pumps were placed
in different sections of the mine floor to pump any excess build-up of water.
Railroad- pathway built of steel rails usually arranged in pairs and supported
by ties, used by trains, locomotives etc.
Shaft- a deep vertical passage used to enter the mine below. A shaft has to
be "sunk" or dug out until the vein of coal is reached. When a coal vein or layer was found, then the digging began in a mainly
horizontal direction to follow the vein.
Sheave- a large pulley used to guide a cable. Sheaves at the mine were placed
at the highest point of the tipple called the headframe. These sheaves guided the cables that raised and lowered the cages.
Skipjack- a triggering mechanism that causes mine cars (pit cars) to dump
its load of coal or rock to a designated area at the mine.
Slag Pile- a significant amount of dirt and rock excavated from the earth
below that is dumped into a pile.
Spragger- person whose occupation it was to apply braking to the mine cars
below by means of placing wood blocks or wedges underneath the wheels to prevent them from rolling down slight grades.
Ten-Wheeler- an old time train locomotive consisting of ten wheels, also referred
to as a 4-6-0, four small wheels up front near the pilot (cow catcher) and six larger wheels under the middle of the loco
and zero wheels at the rear or under the cab where the engineer sat. These types of locomotives were used at the St. Paul
mine in Cherry
Timberman- Men whose occupation it was to place timber supports in the mine
below to prevent the ceiling or roof from caving in where it was excavated or dug out.
Tipple- a large and imposing structure at the mine where mine cars were "tipped"
over and dumped into larger railroad cars for shipment. The cars were loaded down below in the second or third level and brought
up on the cages through the main shaft and to the tipple.
Torch- a device used for illumination. The kerosene-type of torch was used
in the mine at cherry when a short had caused the electric lights to go out.
Trackman- person whose duty it was to lay railroad track to selected areas
wherein miners could conveniently load the pit cars with coal.
Trapper- a person, usually of a young age, who opened and closed doors down
below in the mine for drivers. The doors down below were used to guide the downcast or airflow to desired areas of the mine.
Vein(coal)- a layer of coal found in the earth. Approximately two to four
feet in thickness was common at the St. Paul mine. The deeper the vein, the older and better quality of coal.