by Bucky Schriver
for The Frostburg Express
The Schuylers Voyage to Lonaconing
Andrew Schuyler was born in Wishaw, Scotland on December 4, 1824, and immigrated to the United States in 1846. He brought with him his young wife Catherine (Alexander) Schuyler, a native of Red Hill, Scotland. Andrew and Catherine were married for only a few days before embarking on their journey across the Atlantic. The Schuylers first settled in Pittsburgh, PA before moving to western Maryland. They resided in Eckhart, then moved to Franklin for fifteen years, and finally chose Lonaconing to be their hometown. The marriage of Andrew and Catherine Schuyler produced 13 children.
John Schuyler was born to Andrew and Catherine in October of 1864. On a chilly Monday morning, January 3, 1887, John entered the "New Engine Side" of the Old Coney Mine to begin his work day. The Old Coney Mine, also known as the Dug Hill Mine, was located 1/2 mile west of the Old Coney Cemetery. Young Schuyler encountered a trip of mine cars that were being run out by the brakeman, and supposing that the trip was a runaway, jumped aboard and attempted to put down the brake. In doing so, he fell under the cars and was run over, crushing his leg from his knee to his thigh. Doctors Porter and Skilling were called to amputate John’s mangled leg, but the young miner died without ever recovering from the effects of the chloroform. The day after the accident, the Cumberland Evening Times reported that "the deceased was a brother of James Schuyler, formerly a pitcher on the Lonaconing baseball team, and was a very estimable young man."
John’s baseball-pitching brother, James, and his wife Kate (McIndoe) Schuyler, were the parents of a daughter, Verna,, and a son, Andrew. Surely, Andrew was proud to carry on his grandfather's name. On January 4, 1909, 24 year-old Andrew was killed by the fall of top coal in the New Central Coal Company's Big Vein Mine, located on Big Vein Hill, on the northeastern outskirts of Lonaconing. Andrew’s death came one day after the 22nd anniversary of his Uncle John’s fatal accident.
The roof fall that took Andrew Schuyler's life was caused by what is known as "horse back." According to the Mine Inspector's Report, "the danger from this source is very hard to detect, which makes it doubly dangerous." Andrew's sister Verna Schuyler later married Dr. Gorman E. Getty who practiced Dentistry in Lonaconing (as well as in Meyersdale Pennsylvania) for many years . Verna and Gorman Getty had three sons: Gorman E. Getty who practiced law in Allegany County until his death in 1975, John O. Getty who was a food broker until his death in 1995, and Judge James S. Getty who passed away in November of 2017 .
Both John Schuyler and his nephew Andrew are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lonaconing, beside their respective parents.
The elder Andrew Schuyler died at age 84, three months after the death of the grandson who bore his name. Family matriarch Catherine (Alexander) Schuyler died in 1910. At the time of her death, just six of her thirteen children were still living.
The Schuyler family persevered through tough working conditions and brutal accidents, and felt the heartache caused by the premature deaths of their loved ones. Ironically, their surname, of Dutch origin, means “scholar.” As did many of our Georges Creek Valley miners, they encouraged their children and grandchildren to take heed, and search for a more “scholarly” way of life.
The Coal Miner Memorial Statue Fund is accepting contributions for the placement of an educational memorial near the crossroads of state Route 36 and the National Road in Frostburg. A bronze statue will honor all of our Georges Creek miners and name those who perished while mining.
Tax-deductible donations can be mailed 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.