I now conclude the article on Island, written by W. E. Daniel, which was printed in the Owensboro Inquirer on July 1, 1928.
“Romance is not often associated with a coal mine, but sometimes if one looks beneath the smudge and grime, it is seen lurking suspiciously near, and the plant of Island Coal and Mining company has its elements in the person of the dark-haired superintendent, who is none other than George Galligan, sheriff of Williamson County, Illinois, during the most colorful period of its history, and a participant in many of Herrin’s stirring events a few years ago, which were climaxed by the killing of Glenn Young, noted Klan liquor raider, by Ora Thomas, Galligan’s deputy, who was himself slain by his victim’s gun.
“But the Galligan of today bears slight resemblance to the figure of fiction, and away from the theater in which he played a major part four years, he has laid aside his guns and bullet-proof vest and as mine superintendent is busy with the tasks of industry. He is a quiet-voiced man of 40 years, whose heavy, stocky frame is indicative of a powerful physique, and who is glad to see the Illinois county that enjoyed an unsavory reputation rapidly regaining the prestige it enjoyed before the beginning of the regime of retaliation that drew upon it probably exaggerated censure.
“In the Island Deposit bank, established in 1903, is found another man whose coming to Island was due to the coal business, I.G. Reynierson, native of Marion county, cashier since the first of January this year. He is still vice-president, of the Westchester Coal and Mining company that operates two openings, and is also engaged in extensive farming, his diversity of interests not uncommon in Island, where those who are community leaders are not content with concentration in one particular line but, with restless energy are engaged in various pursuits.
“Before getting away from Island’s mines it is well to note that in the 35 years since the pioneers opened the first mine in this vicinity that only one man has been killed by a falling, faulty roof, and that no accident has been caused by gas in the tunnels, the utter absence of which is emphasized by those familiar with the different mines. The Island mines have the best roof in Kentucky they say, and in proof mention that the number of props required is few in comparison with those necessary in mines in other coal fields in the state, and that the margin of safety is in Island’s favor has not been disproved.
“While in the bank talking with Cashier Reynierson and his assistant, B. W. Hall, former Tennessee young man, one is likely to meet several of the town’s leading people, for the bank seems a kind of rallying point, its air of friendliness inviting and its general atmosphere inducive to community good-fellowship.
“H.K. Kirtley, vice-president, head of the Kirtley and Coke Lumber company that in 1927 sawed and marketed more than 2,000,000 feet of lumber from its mills, may tell of his part, which he insists is small but others attest is large, in the community life, and T.R. Barnard, 14 years cashier of the institution, having relinquished that position at the close of 1927, will review the history of the bank from his organization 25 years ago by J. W. Patterson, its first and only president.
“It is a helpful bank in that its influence is exerted for the general good of the community, explained Mr. Barnard, who related how while cashier he was instrumental in having more than a score of homes built, and how he set on foot, through the bank agencies the desire for home owning, which is now reflected in the large number of working people who dwell beneath their own roofs, and the preponderance of land owners among the farmers.
“But the greatest single factor all agree was the completion last year of the permanent highway into Island, the extension three miles south of Green river forming a link with Owensboro 24 miles north, hitherto reached by motor only in favorable weather, that barrier forever removed through the demands of her forward looking people who sensed the incalculable value of a hard surface road outlet at seasons. Not content with one year around road they worked successfully for a connection with the Central City-Owensboro highway at Semiway three miles west, for that is all graded and drained and a large part surfaced with prospects for completion this year.”
The Museum and Treasure House are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please bring donation items to the Treasure House only when they are open for business. The Museum is located at 540 Main St., Calhoun, and our number is 270-499-5033.
I wish everyone a great week ahead!
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