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Jake Wynn speaking in Tower City in 2018

Presentations Offered

The Coal Region in the Civil War

This presentation explores the important role played by the anthracite coal fields of Eastern Pennsylvania during America’s bloodiest conflict. It looks at the coal industry’s importance to the Union war effort and the soldiers who marched off to war. This is a good overview of how the war impacted the residents of the Coal Region.

Revolutionary Disloyalty in the Coal Region – Battles on the home front during the Civil War 

The Coal Region played host to many of the worst outbursts of anti-war violence during the Civil War. As soldiers from the coal fields fought on the battlefields in the South, battles played out in the villages and patch towns of Schuylkill and Carbon counties. Irish mineworkers took stances against the war and went on strike in search of higher wages and better working conditions. This led to a permanent garrison of Federal soldiers in the Coal Region.

This presentation examines this conflict on the home front and reveals the long-standing consequences of the Civil War in the Coal Region.

The Molly Maguires and the Coal Region

The case of the Molly Maguires is the most complex and controversial aspects of the Coal Region’s history. In the 1870s, a series of trials convicted and hanged a group of Irishmen accused of inciting violence and committing murder. This presentation strips away the myth and mystique of the Molly Maguires. It takes a hard look at life in the area in the 1870s, the lawlessness that reigned in the Coal Region, and the corporate power grab that incited the hunt for the Molly Maguires.

The Lykens Mine Fire of 1877

This presentation explores the story of a devastating mine fire that took place at the southern end of the Coal Region in the 19th century. On January 1, 1877, a fire broke out in the depths of the Short Mountain Colliery in Wiconisco Township. The fire burned for six weeks, caused more than $1 million in damage, and tossed more than 600 miners out of work during the nation’s worst economic depression to date.

Williamstown Colliery – The life cycle of an anthracite colliery

When it was built in the 1860s, the Williamstown Colliery was the most productive colliery (coal mine) anywhere in the world. This presentation examines the history of this Dauphin County colliery, exploring how it was built, how it functioned, the people who worked there. It also puts a spotlight on the disasters that took place and how the community reacted. Williamstown Colliery closed forever in January 1942.

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