by Polla Horn
for The Frostburg Express
John Hanson Sultzer
John “Edward” Brown
Robert L. Brown
The village of Morrison was located half-way between Barton and Westernport, along the banks of Georges Creek.The Hampshire Mine tapped an island of the Big Vein immediately west of Morrison. The mine dates back to 1853, and was operated, over the following thirty years, by several different companies.
Coal was taken by mine car to a 1,200 foot incline plane. It descended to a tipple along the C&P railroad tracks, where it was loaded into rail cars. Eventually a tram road ran north along the hillside, connecting the incline with 15 openings carved into the outcrop of this vein. Although the Hampshire Mine dropped from the Annual Reports of the Mine Inspector after 1883, coal was still mined there--- which led to the deaths of three men.
John Hanson Sultzer and Nancy Barrick, both from Frederick, Maryland, were married February 27, 1849. Their son Charles was born four years later on August 30, 1853. In the census of 1870, John Sultzer is listed as a day laborer; Charles is 17 and attending school. Before the next census was taken, John, Nancy, and Charles had moved to Westernport, where both Mr. Sultzer and Charles were employed in the Hampshire Mine.
On December 7, 1885, Mr. Sultzer, age 67, was working with his son Charles, 32 years old, and 26 year-old John “Edward” Brown. A large amount of breast coal fell, killing Mr. Sultzer and Edward Brown. Charles, severely injured, survived. His wife, Susan Dawson Sultzer, pregnant with their first child, was filled with emotion; she was deeply saddened over the loss of her father-in-law, yet thankful that her husband’s life had been spared.
John “Edward” Brown was one of eight children born to John Taylor Brown and Catherine Smith Brown. Born November 12, 1859, he was the fourth of their seven sons and one daughter. Mr. Brown was a butcher, and Edward and his siblings worked on the family farm. Edward gave up farming to become a miner in the Hampshire Mine. He married Mary S. Wolf on October 6, 1881, and they soon had two children: John Edward, Jr. born July 20, 1882, and Mary, born in 1884. Edward’s untimely death in the Hampshire Mine left his wife Mary with two little toddlers.
Edward’s younger brother Robert also left the farm to work in the Hampshire Mine. We don’t know if he was working on the day that his brother died; six months later, on June 14, 1886, he met the same fate. Robert was crushed to death by a fall of roof coal at the age of eighteen.
As Paul Harvey would say, “and here’s the rest of the story.” Mrs. Nancy Sultzer lived 15 years after the death of her husband, John. She died on September 7, 1900 at the home of her son Charles, on Franklin Hill in Bloomington.
Charles, (who had been injured in the same accident that took his father’s life) his wife, Susan, and their two children left Bloomington sometime after his mother died. They moved back to Westernport, where Charles worked at the paper mill. He died on February 15, 1915.
Edward’s widow, Mary Brown, died August 16, 1886, just nine months after her husband was killed in the Hampshire Mine. She was twenty-six years old. What claimed the life of this young woman? Who raised her two little children? Perhaps one of our readers can tell us “the rest of the story.”
The Coal Miner Memorial Statue Fund is accepting contributions for the placement of a bronze statue to honor all of our coal miners and name those who died while mining. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the
Foundation for Frostburg CMMSF
P.O. Box 765
Frostburg, MD 21532.
We welcome updated information and encourage your participation.
Contact Polla Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bucky Schriver at email@example.com
to share your thoughts and stories. Be on the lookout for future “Miner Recollections.”