ALFRED E. POWELL. When a man is desirous of obtaining any information concerning mines and mining at Coulterville he is usually referred to Afred E. Powell, who is at present operating the leading coal mining property in the district, He has been identified with the mineral belt of the St. Louis coal regions all of his life and has spent more than a third of a century in active mining, so he is amply able to speak with authority on the subject to which he has devoted so much of his life.
He was born at Chiltenham in St. Louis county, Missouri, on the 20th of July, 1865, and as a child came with his father into the region around Belleville, Illinois. Here he spent his youth, managing to pick up here and there scraps of learning and as a lad of ten becoming a wage earner. His father was John Powell, who had been connected with mines in various capacities from, his youth, which had been spent in the mines of England. He was a native of Staffordshire, the year of his birth being 1816. He married Thirza Pierce, and hoping to find better conditions for labor in the United States, they migrated hither in 1848. About the time of their arrival the cholera plague was raging, but they passed safely through it and lived in this country for a third of a century, dying in 1881. Only one other member of their family ever settled in America. This was a brother of John's, William Powell, and he died in Chiltenham, leaving two children.
John and Thirza Powell were of the best type of English emigrant, modest and plain in manner, of great industry, with few matters of greater significance, than the regulation of their domestic affairs, capable of causing them either interest or concern. John, believing that the policies best suited to our form of governemnt were to be found in the platform of the Republican party, adopted the politics of this party and was always a loyal member. They had three children, the eldest of whom was Arthur, a mining man of New Baden, Illinois; Thomas H. who is identified with his brother's mine at Caulterville, and Alfred E., the youngest.
Alfred E. Powell seemed destined to become a miner from the very nature of his environment, and it is a significant fact that although he dropped the industry a number of times, sooner or later he was irresistably drawn back into it. He first took a job at "trapping" at Belleville and remained in that district till 1889, when the Consolidated Coal Company, having discovered his executive powers, sent him to Peoria, Illinois, as the manager of one of their mines. At the end of two years, finding that their confidence in him had not been misplaced, he was transferred to Gillespie in a like capacity. He remained here for eighteen months, and then, as a mechanical engineer, he went to St. Louis. He soon gave up this profession, and engaged in a merchandise, furniture, coal and feed business. In 1903 he came to Coulterville, Illinois, and leasing a mine that had just been opened up west of the town, he set to work and developed the property and operated it very successfully for two and a half years.
Again abandoning mining, Mr. Powell now engaged in a general merchandise business in Coulterville. His interests were really in the mining business however, and when he saw an opportunity to secure the fine property of which, he is at present lessee, he was willing enough to give up his mercantile business. He took possession of his new mine on the 19th of May, 1908, and has operated it ever since. The property is very valuable, being the most productive mine at
Coulterville and giving employment to seventy-five men. The daily output is four hundred and fifty tons.
His connections with the civic affairs of Coulterville has been rather that of a quiet citizen, with an inclination to vote his sentiments and to perform such public functions as he is called upon to do. He has served on the town board and was a faithful and efficient member. In political matters he supports the Republican policies and in the world of the fraternal orders is a member of the Odd Fellows.
He was married at Belleville, on the 20th of November, 1886, to Miss Bessie Marsh, a daughter of Daniel Marsh, who was a coal operator of that district. The latter was a well known and popular man who claimed old England for his birthplace. His wife was Bessie Glover and his daughter Bessie was one of six children. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Powell are Leroy, who is the general sales agent of the Randolph Coal and Mining Company, which is the official name of the Powell property in Coulterville, and one daughter, Miss Elva Powell.