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Frostburg mining journal. : (Frostburg, Md.) 1915-1917
Place of publication:
Frostburg, Md.
Geographic coverage:
  • Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.B. Oder
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1915; ceased in 1917?
  • English
  • Frostburg (Md.)--Newspapers.
  • Maryland--Frostburg.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215885
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: 44th year, no. 21 (Feb. 13, 1915).
  • Notice in June 6, 1917 issue states that the newspaper will be temporarily suspended.
sn 90057212
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Frostburg mining journal. January 1, 1916 , Image 1


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Frostburg mining journal

The Frostburg Mining Journal commenced publication on September 30, 1871 as a weekly. The original publishers were J. R. Grove of Fairmount, West Virginia and J. Benson Oder, a Confederate Civil War veteran who had worked in newspapers in Front Royal and Harrisonburg, Virginia prior to the war. Oder (1841-1918) assumed sole proprietorship of the paper in 1873 and continued to edit the Mining Journal until 1913. He sold the newspaper to the Mining Journal Publishing Company in 1911. That company failed in 1913 and Peter L. Livengood purchased the printing plant and subscription list in May 1913. In September 1913, Livengood commenced publishing the Frostburg Spirit, which he considered the Mining Journal's successor, maintaining the volume numbering from the Journal. On January 26, 1915, Peter Livengood announced that he had sold the Frostburg Spirit to Lawrence Hitchens, and that J. Benson Oder would return as the editor. He also noted the resumption of the former name, the Frostburg Mining Journal.

The town of Frostburg is located in western Maryland in the heart of the George's Creek coal region. Mining dominated the economy of this part of the state as the combination of a rich seam of highly quality coal and the proximity of railroad and canal transportation links attracted investment and job seekers. At their peak, the George's Creek mines employed approximately 4,000 miners, and the area around Frostburg boomed with related industries. In contrast to the coal industry in neighboring states, the mining population in western Maryland was relatively stable. Scottish and Welsh immigrants, many with prior experience as miners, remained prominent in the life of the town throughout the coal era.

The pages of the Mining Journal featured local events and ads for businesses in Frostburg and Cumberland, the nearby seat of county government. Two major disturbances in the 1870s and 80s intruded on the ordinary news chronicled by the paper. In 1874, a fire consumed a large part of downtown Frostburg destroying houses, stores, stables, a church, two saloons, and a bowling alley. The town soon rebuilt, but there were hints that not all was well in the mines. Reports that organized labor associations were forming in response to grievances among the miners received a sympathetic hearing in the Mining Journal. Led by the Knights of Labor, the Great Strike of 1882, which lasted almost six months, ended in defeat for the miners who had to accept reduced wages and a 12-hour day. Earlier in 1878, J. Benson Oder, a Democratic member of the state House of Delegates, supported legislation that mandated better ventilation and the regular inspection of mine conditions. Oder's editorials were less sympathetic in 1894 when another wave of labor unrest, this time led by the upstart United Mine Workers, led to the arrest and imprisonment of strike organizers.

Frostburg's cultural scene included fraternal organizations, literary clubs, and the coal miners' Arion Band, which some regard as the oldest community band in the country still in existence. J. Benson Oder and the Mining Journal also led the campaign to bring higher education to western Maryland. In 1899, this resulted in the establishment of State Normal School #2, now known as Frostburg State University. Local residents rallied to buy the land for the new teachers college, and the July 7, 1899 issue of the Mining Journal listed over 900 names of contributors.

Provided by: University of Maryland, College Park, MD