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Although coal mining in Moweaqua dates back to 1891, the Moweaqua Coal Corporation was created by a group of local businessmen in 1932 in an effort to keep a coal mine operating in the town. The mine was leased from the Pana Coal Company which had intended to close the mine. At this same time many miners across the state broke away from the United Mine Workers and formed the Progressive Miners of America. The Moweaqua Mine was organized by the Progressives. It is also notable that the workers in the mine were also shareholders in the Moweaqua Coal Company.

On December 24, 1932 methane gas exploded in the mine, killing 54 miners.

The January 11, 1933 edition of the Moweaqua News notes:

Moweaqua Santa Claus In Mine Trap

Through a cruel quirk of fate, the only major mine accident Tom Jackson, 54, had experienced in 40 years of mining Saturday deprived him of a long-anticipated joy by less than 12 hours.

For weeks he had looked forward to Christmas eve. He had been selected to impersonate Santa Claus at the annual Moweaqua Christmas party for all children in town. He was to have passed out the candy treats. Last week he joyfully aided in the party preparations and helped decorate a giant tree which was to go on a street corner in the business district.

Saturday morning he went to work with a light heart, his wife, Frances related Saturday evening. He told her he would work only until noon, then come home to prepare for the party.

But Jackson, one of the first groups of men to enter the mine Saturday morning was trapped with the rest.

His son Cecil, formerly worked alongside his father in the Moweaqua mine, but had lived during the last 10 years in California. Mr. ackson himself has been mining since he was 13 years old.

Shocked by the mine tragedy Moweaqua merchants and miners sponsoring the party hastily called it off. Three hundred pounds of candy and several boxes of fruit had been ready for distribution. It was distributed later.

The mine reopened a year later.

The Moweaqua Coal Mine Museum was dedicated on May 25, 1986. The museum houses a number of coal mining artifacts from the Moweaqua Coal Mine, which ceased operation in 1935.

The most remembered fact about the Moweaqua Coal Mine is the mine disaster; however pictures, newspaper clippings, coal mining tools and other mine related material are also on display. There is no charge for the museum. Donations are accepted.

Moweaqua is located 20 miles south of Decatur, IL on US 51.

Moweaqua Coal Mine Museum
129 South Main Street
Moweaqua, Illinois 62550
(217)768-3019

Hours:

June - August: Friday-Monday 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
September - May: Saturday-Sunday 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Groups are welcome - phone for appointment.

"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." --- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, 1830-1930

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Chicago, IL, 60605
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