The Sebewaing Michigan Coal Mines
The discovery of coal in Sebewaing was made by Russell Brothers; well diggers based in Unionville. By the early 1900’s Sebewaing had three coal mines in operation. The Whittier, Sebewaing Coal Company and the Saginaw Bay Coal Company collectively employed about 100 men. Coal was brought to the surface on small mule driven cars on wooden tracks.
Coal mining was successful for only a few years. It seems that initially, the coal was of high quality however as operations continued it seems that the extracted coal contained so much sulfur it was deemed too explosive to be used as a fuel. Thomas Whitter, a chemist from Saginaw inspected the coal vein and found it an excellent source of pyrite and comparable with the pyrite sources then being imported from Spain. Changes were made to the operation that expanded mining capacity to 400 tons per day. Pyrite ore is an excellent material in which to make sulfur.
Below is a sketch map of the location of the mines in and around Sebewaing.