As we go down the bottoms south of Newport, we find, in the numerous
ravines and gullies excavated in the bluffs by the small streams, fine
sections of the equivalents of the beds noted in the foregoing sections,
as high as the roof of coal No. 6, of which an average section is nearly
Sandy clay shales, with pisolitic iron-
stone nodules, - - - 5 ft. 0 in.
Soft clay shales, - - - 2 ft. 0 in.
Coal "No. 6," - - - - 4 ft. 0 in to 7 ft. 0 in.
Indurated fire-clay, - - 3 ft. 0 in.
Clay shale, partly sandy and mica-
ceous, - - - - 25 ft. 0 in.
Black calcareous ironstone, - 2 in. to 2 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, - - 3 ft. 0 in. to 4 ft. 0 in.
Coal, "No. 5," - - - 8 in. to 3 ft. 0 in.
White fire-clay, mostly silicious,
sometimes changing to sandstone, 2 ft. 0 in. to 6 ft. 0 in.
Argillaceous sandstone, some por-
tions very shaly, others solid ferru-
ginous, lower portion more or
less concretionary, with thin ir-
regular ironstone bands, - 70 ft. 0 in. to 80 ft. 0 in.
Light drab clay shales, - - - 10 ft. 0 in.
Black shale, mostly slaty, - 2 ft. 0 in.
Coal "No. 4," - - - - 1 ft. 8 in.
Fire-clay, sometimes very dark and
shaly, with a thin band of com-
pact sandstone, containing Stig-
maria, - - - - 3 ft. 0 in. to 10 ft. 0 in.
Fossiliferous calcareous ironstone, 1 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, - - - 1 ft. 6 in.
Shaly cannel, fossiliferous, - - 2 ft. 0 in.
Coal, "No. 3," - - - streak
Fire-clay, - - - - - 3 ft. 0 in.
The beds below coal No. 4, lie just at the base of the hills, and
are generally more or less covered by debris, so that the exact section
is often difficult to obtain; but the thin band of very hard stigmarial
sandstone serves as a very reliable landmark. I observed it, either in
place or slightly removed, every few rods, for some miles below
Jackson's mill. The calcareous ironstone of the subjacent bed is also
pretty constantly developed, being the equivalent of the before-mentioned
outcrop, at the mouth of the Little Vermillion; but along the lower part
of this range it is below the level of the bottoms. It is also interesting
for its abundant fossils, beautifully preserved, including Nau-
tilus, Serpula, Pleurotomaria, Productus, Chonetes mesoloba, C.
punctulifera, Hemipronites crassa, Spirifer cameratus, Crania, Aviculopecten
rectilateraria, Entoliam aviculatus, Cyathaxonia, etc. The
Craniæ were found attached within the outer chamber of a
Nautilus. The underlying black shales and shaly cannel contain
many Aviculopectens, with Petrodus occidentalis, Orthoceras
Rushensis, and occasionally Cardinia fragilis.
On Whit. Jackson's farm, about four miles below Newport, wells sunk
in the edge of the bottom many years since, but now filled up, are said
to have penetrated coal No. 2, at a depth of about twelve feet. An attempt
was made, during the past summer, to ascertain the truth of this by
digging; but repeated floodings of their pit discouraged the workmen, and
the problem is still unsolved.
About three miles below Newport, near the head of Wimsett Hollow, on
section 10, township 16 north, range 9 west, one of the small branches,
on the right as you ascend, has an exposure of about two and a half
inches of "black band" iron ore accompanying the roof shales of coal No. 5,
and containing an abundance of Pleurotomaria, Bellerophon, Loxonema,
Productus, Chonetes, Mytilus, Nucula, Astartella, etc.
In the top of the bluff, east of Highland, the heavy bedded sandstone
occurring just below coal No. 5, has been considerably quarried, as it
here furnishes a very permanent building stone, and attains an extreme
local thickness of twenty feet.
On the various branches of Little Raccoon creek, we find essentially
the same section exposed piecemeal, here and there.
South of Little Raccoon, following the road under the bluffs, there
appears a local rise of the strata, which, within a short distance, brings
up coals No. 3 and No. 2. No. 3 is a thin seam, and has not been worked
at any point, so far as known; Its level is known to be from twelve to
fifteen feet above No. 2, at Wilson's coal bank, one mile above the head
of Helt prairie, and in a ravine, a hundred
yards west of that point, it shows twenty inches of coal, with a roof of
black slaty shale and calcareous ironstone. No. 2 is here from four to
five feet thick, with only a thin covering of soil so far as yet worked.
It has been opened, some time since, in the ravine aforesaid, where it is
reported to be divided into two seams by a clay parting two feet thick.
It appears to be the equivalent of the four foot seam worked just above
Thomas's Ferry, on the Wabash, below the mouth of the Big Vermillion.
From this point the rocks dip again immediately, and about a mile
farther south coal No. 4 has been opened in the edge of the bluff by the
side of the road.
Thus far the heavy band of quarry rock, which holds a tolerably constant
position in the shaly sandstones below coal No. 5, has served to keep the
hills pretty high by reason of its slow yielding to denuding forces; but
below here this band rapidly dips below water level, and there is only
a small elevation between the main valley and that of Norton's creek.
[In passing from the valley of the Wabash to that of Little Raccoon,
just below Highland, we find, on the contrary that this quarry sandstone
is high up in the hill, and that the termination of the dividing ridge
is comparatively abrupt.]
In following up the Eastern branch of Norton's creek from the head of
Helt prairie, I was unable to find or hear of any outcrop -- the
boulder-clay covers everything. Small quantitites of black shale were
noticed in the drift of the western branch of the creek, but it was not
traced to its
source. Judging from the outcrops lower down the stream, I inferred that
No. 6 outcropped on the upper part of this western branch.
Near the head of Helt's prairie, at Hawley & Helt's coal bank, No.5
shows a local thickness of from twenty inches to two feet, with the usual
roof of two or three feet of black slaty shale containing fish remains.
In some portions of the mine there occurs a bed of from four to six inches
of dark, drab, compact clay shale, with Pecopteris and
lopecten rectilateraria, intercalated between the coal and the
black shale. This was not met with elsewhere.
A short distance farther down the creek, near the mouths of the
ravines upon which are situated Nebeker's and White's coal-banks, this
seam, which has kept near the level of the stream all the way, has
returned to its usual thickness of from eight to ten inches. Near the
heads of these ravines No. 6 is largely developed, and has been extensively
worked. Its roof here consists almost entirely of massive concretions of
pyritous carbonate of iron, only the chinks being filled with the
black shale which commonly forms the roof of this seam. A layer of shale,
however, overlies the ironstones. Many of these ironstones are rich in
fossils, which are most readily obtained after the nodules have been
exposed to the weather for some time. Among them we especially note,
Aviculopecten rectilateraria, Petrodus occidentalis, Productus longispinus,
Discina nitida, Lingula, Cardinia ? fragilis, Edmondia ? and
Solenomya. The Cardinia also occurs in the overlying black
shales, sometimes accompanied by Stigmaria, all the fossils being
rendered noticeable by a brilliant thin layer of iron pyrites. The section
of this locality is as follows:
Black shale, some slaty, - - 3 ft. to 4 ft.
Nodular band of pyritous and sili-
cious ironstone, - - 1 ft. to 2 ft.
Coal, "No. 6," - - - 5 ft. to 6 ft.
Fire-clay and soft clay shale, - 4 ft.
Ferruginous sandstone -- bottom,
hard firestone, - - 6 ft. to 7 ft.
Sandy shales, changing below to
dark drab clay shales with iron-
stones, - - - 40 ft. to 50 ft.
Black slaty shale (and locally calcar-
eous ironstone), - - 2 ft. to 3 ft.
Coal, "No. 5," - - 8 ft. to 10 ft.
Shaly clay, with Stigmaria, ?
Two and a half mines farther south, near Clinton, at
Van Ness's bank, No. 6 has descended to near high water mark, and soon
passes below it as we go southward, making no farther appearance within
the county, and showing again on this side the Wabash only at the point
opposite Terre Haute, where Prof. Lesquereux reports it as worked near
low water mark.*
The mass of the hill between the Wabash and Brouillet's creek, below
Clinton, is composed of the shaly sandstones, sandy shales, and clay
shales with ironstones, which form the large part of the sixty or seventy
feet of rock between coals No. 6 and No. 7. No section was found exposed
in this part of the county which would give the exact distance between
these two seams. At Mr. Skidmores place, about 3 miles west-south-west of
Clinton, the "dirt" of No. 7 has been seen near the top of the hill, and
some traces of No. 6 in the meadows at the foot of the hill. The distance
between them was here estimated at seventy-five feet. I was informed by
the miller at Hedge's mill, that in diving in the pool under the dam at
that point, he had seen the outcrop of No. 6, five or six feet thick, with
a black slate roof. A measurement from this point to the outcrop of No. 7
in the hill above, gave the distance at about fifty-five feet.
From near this mill to the Wabash the shales of this division contain
numerous ironstone nodules of various sizes, in some of which fine specimens
of fossil ferns have been found, though in not nearly so great abundance as
at Durkee's Ferry, a few miles farther south in Vigo county.
In ascending Brouillet's creek, above Hedge's mill, we gradually
approach the level of coal No. 7. Near the Indiana Furnace we find, upon
Coal creek, the following section:
Greenish sandy shales, with iron-
stones, - - - 20 ft.
Drab clay shales, - - 15 ft. to 20 ft.
Slaty coal, - - - 1 ft. to 3 ft.
* Owen's Geology of Indiana, 1859-60, p. 330.
Coal, "No. 7," - - 4½ ft. to 6 ft.
Fire-clay, - - - 6 ft.
Sandy Shales, - - 10 ft. to 12 ft.
Argillaceous limestone, - 1 ft. to 2 ft.
Sandy shales, - - 8 ft. to 12 ft.
Compact sandstone, - - 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Greenish shales, - - - - 3 ft. to 4 ft.
The limestone here noted is a pretty constant accompaniment of No. 7
in this part of the county, at a slightly variable distance below it. It
is here rather farther from the coal than I have seen it elsewhere. It is
probably the equivalent of the limestone band found about fifteen feet
below the same seam in the neighborhood of Danville, Illinois, though no
such bed is present in the section taken on the Little Vermillion.
Going up Brouillet's creek, from the Indiana Furnace, we find No. 7
opened at various places, until within a very short distance of the State
line, where it finally dips below water level. Not far above the section
taken upon Coal creek, the overlying sandy shales yield, upon disintegration,
large numbers of heavy ironstone nodules, which will be more particularly
noticed under the head of "economical geology," although the principal
source of supply lies beyond the Illinois line. A short distance beyond
the line there is a streak of coal, from two to five inches thick, which
may be the equivalent of No. 8, though circumstances would indicate that
it more probably represents a higher seam, which is not exposed within
the limits of Vermillion county. South to the county line No. 7 and its
accompanying beds probably underlie the western half of the county, as the
lower beds do the portion along the lower course of Brouillet's creek.
Starting from the Horseshoe of the Little Vermillion I have followed the
natural succession of outcrops, and am now obliged to turn about in order
to deal with the northern end of the county.
In going northward from the mouth of the Little Vermillion we find, at
various points along the Wabash, nearly
to the mouth of the Big Vermillion, small outcrops of the ironstones and
shales below No. 3, with this seam itself sometimes in place. About a
mile below the residence of Mr. John Collett, and equidistant from Eugene
and Newport, No. 2 has been seen at extreme low water, with a reported
thickness of five feet, and the overlying band of ironstone is visible
at ordinary stages of water. But, through the whole distance, it was
found impossible to get a satisfactory section containing these two
In ascending the Big Vermillion we find on its south bank, a mile
below Eugene, a bluff of banks of from twenty-five to thirty feet of
irregularly bedded, highly ferruginous, coarse-grained sandstone, often
containing comminuted plant remains, with some large fragments of trees,
etc. Some of the beds are sufficiently solid to make good building stone.
In quarrying them many fine trunks and branches of Lepidodendron
and Sigillaria have been found, with a few fruits of
Trigonocarpum. This bed is supposed, from its position, to be the
equivalent of the sandstone belonging above coal No. 4, though it is
rather more irregularly bedded, and of a coarser structure. Its position,
however, is rather peculiar, for it lies in a hollow gullied into the
lower strata to such a depth as to have removed both No. 4 and No. 3,
and an unknown thickness of rock below them. The edge of this gully
passes just below Eugene, where, at the ford, we see this sandstone lying
over the edge of coal No. 3 and of from eight to ten feet of the underlying
clays and shales. The position of the southern edge of the gully is not
known, but the width is probably not very great, since the roof shales of
No. 4 have been seen in place about one mile to the southward, in the bed
of Tipton branch. (Just above that point a quarry in the overlying
sandstone has yielded some fine large stems of the new species
Syringodendron Porteri, Lsqx.) It would appear probable then that we
have here a fossil river of carboniferous times, which may have
flowed from the hills of conglomerate sandstone which still stand upon
the east side of the Wabash, and show, by the position of the later beds
their bases on all sides, that they were really hills during the deposition
of these later beds. Doubtless they were finally buried in the later
deposits of the carboniferous age, and have more recently been repeatedly
swept over by marine and fresh-water currents, but their relations to
these later beds are evidently unchanged, and they stand to-day as they
stood then -- hills above the surrounding low lands.
On the river bank, back of the tavern at Eugene, the following
Dark fire-clay, - - - - - 2 ft. 0 in.
Soft black shale, - - - - - 2 ft. 0 in.
Fossiliferous ironstone, - - - - 2 to 4 in.
Soft black shale, - - - - 0 ft. 6 in.
Black slaty shale and impure cannel, - 1 ft. 0 in.
Coal, No. 3, - - - - - 1 ft. 0 in.
Compact sandstone, with Stigmaria, - 1 ft. 0 in.
Blue fire-clay, - - - - - 2 ft. 6 in.
Buff and gray fire-clay, changing to sandy
shale, - - - - - - - 5 ft. 0 in.
At the sawmill above town four feet of shaly sandstone cap the
foregoing section. At S. Groenendyke's mine, above town, the following
section occurs, which is an average representation of the condition of
No. 4 in this neighborhood:
Dark-drab shale, with bands of ironstone
nodules, - - - - - - 12 ft. 0 in.
Black shale, - - - - - 2 ½ to 3 ft.
Shaly cannel, - - - - - 1 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, - - - - 0 ft. 10 in.
Coal, - - - - - - - 0 ft. 14 in.
Black shale, with pyritous nodules, - 0 ft. 15 in.
Coal, - - - - - - - 14 to 20 in.
Fire-clay, - - - - - ?
This section is peculiar as regards the shaly cannel in its roof
shales, which character does not commonly appear in
connection with No. 4; but I am unable to refer this coal to any other
The section upon Browntown branch is interesting, on account of the
disappearance of coal No. 5, (which has been seen nowhere north of White's
Mill, on the Little Vermillion,) and for the presence of a valuable band
of iron ore. It is as follows:
Black calcareous ironstone, - - - 1 to 2 ft.
Black slaty shale, - - - - 4 to 5 ft.
Level of No. 5.
Fire-clay, - - - - - - ½ to 1 ft.
Shaly sandstone, - - - - 6 to 8 ft.
Heavy-bedded quarry sandstone, - - 9 to 10 ft.
Shaly sandstone, - - - - 1 to 2 ft.
Compact ironstone band, changing to nod-
ules, - - - - - - 0 ft. 2 in.
Sandy shale, - - - - - 10 ft. 0 in.
Compact brown ironstone, with fish re-
mains, - - - - - - 18 to 20 in.
Sandy shale and shaly sandstone, with
some ironstones, - - - - 40 to 60 ft.
Shales of "No. 4," - - - - ?
Near this point No. 4 dips below the present level of the Big
Vermillion, and comes up again only at the Hanging Rock, and on Coal
branch just back of it. Throughout the intervening distance, the roof-
shales are seen at low water, proving its presence; and I am informed
that it was worked at several points before the building of the dam at
Eugene. The upper beds of the foregoing section, however, are very
irregular in this neighborhood. Valuable bands of ironstone, and more
or less sandstone and sandy shales are everywhere present, but the relative
positions and thicknesses of the beds are exceedingly variable, as
illustrated in the following section, taken at J. Jones', about two miles
from Eugene, and representing the condition of things on an outcrop of
about a hundred feet in length:
Blue clay shale-top with sandy streaks, - 10 to 15 ft.
Covered, - - - - - 3 to 5 ft.
Light brown ironstone, more or less calca-
reous, - - - - - - 1½ to 3 ft.
Drab shales -- some places, pure clay; oth-
ers, becoming sandy and micaceous
and even heavy sandstones; with pisolitic
compact ironstones, especially at top, - 20 ft.
At Hanging Rock, and on Coal branch just east of it, we find No. 4
well developed and considerably worked; but here, even more than is
common elsewhere in the county, it is split up into comparatively thin
partings, separated by shale and fire clay. I am informed that it has
shown here as many as five partings. The following is the section as
exposed in 1868, beginning with the capping sandstone, locally known as
the "Hanging Rock sandstone," and supposed to be equivalent to the
"Mahoning" sandstone of the Ohio coal-field:
Heavy-bedded soft ferruginous sandstone, 20 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, with ironstone nodules, 18 ft. 0 in.
Soft black shale with Productus and fish-
teeth, - - - - - - 1 ft. 6 in.
Coal, - - - - - - 1 ft. 9 in.
Fire-clay and blue shale, with pyrites, - 1 ft. 0 in.
Coal, - - - - - - 1 ft. 0 in.
Fire-clay, - - - - - - 1 ft. 0 in.
Coal, - - - - - - 2 ft. 8 in.
Fire-clay, - - - - - - 4 to 6 ft.
Black shale, - - - - - - 0 ft. 6 in.
Coal, - - - - - - - 1 ft. 6 in.
Indurated fire-clay, - - - - 2 ft. 0 in.
One of these partings, said to be the third from the top, has been
worked on Coal branch, with a thickness of from three to four feet.
The Hanging Rock itself projects considerably, in consequence of
the disintegration of the softer, somewhat
pyritous shales beneath it, forming a small shelter for cattle who
frequent the place both for shelter and to lick up the copperas and alum
which form in small quantities upon the surface of the decomposing
Above the Hanging Rock no outcrop of No. 4 occurs, and the banks are
composed of the overlying sandstones and sandy shales, with the black
roof-shales of No. 5 forming a prominent feature, until we pass beyond the
State line, where they are about thirty feet above the river. No. 5 itself
is represented by from six to ten inches of soft drab clay shale. The
roof-shales show an abundance of their usual fossils, Petrodus and
In going north from Eugene, I have, thus far, been unable to connect
the sections of the south part of the county with the outcrops found at
and above Perrysville. Below Perrysville the only outcrops known belong
to the conglomerate or millstone grit, which is so largely developed on
the east side of the Wabash; and the relations of this, even to the
higher beds on that side of the river, are still undecided.
The Perrysville section is as follows:
Coal (reported, as found in wells),
No. 1, ? - - - 8 in to 1 ft. 6 in.
Fire-clay, - - - - 2 ft. 0 in.
Soft blue clay shale, - - 12 ft. to 15 ft. 0 in.
Bluish drab shaly limestone, - 2 ft. to 3 ft. 0 in.
Blue limestone, bottom rich in fossils, 3 ft. 0 in.
Light blue and drab shaly clay, 1 to 2 in.
Soft, black, shaly, calcareous clay, 4 ft. to 6 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, - - 3 ft. to 4 ft. 0 in.
Soft, black, shaly, calcareous clay, 3 ft. to 4 ft. 0 in.
Light drab calcareous argillite,
rich in fossils, - - 1 ft. to 4 ft. 0 in.
Soft, black, shaly, calcareous clay, 1 ft. 0 in.
Black slaty shale, - - 5 ft. to 0 ft. 6 in.
Soft black shale, - 12 ft. to 15 ft. 0 in.
Dark drab shale, with ironstones at top, 27 ft. 0 in.
Exactly the same section occurs on Rock creek, in Warren county,
where the beds lie directly, and apparently conformably, upon a set of
shaly sandstones, which are continuous with the conglomerate sandstone of
Williamsport, only becoming more purely quartzose and more solid as we
descend the section. These shaly sandstones include a thin bed of very
impure brash coal, about sixty feet below the limestone, which may
represent "No. 1 A," but more probably belongs to an unnumbered seam
commonly known as the "conglomerate" coal. Three or four miles below
Rock creek, near Evans's coal mines, we find another band of limestone
of very similar character, from thirty to forty feet above the equivalent
of the Perrysville bed, and marks of one or more coal seams between them.
Above this upper limestone are the two beds now worked, which considerably
resemble Nos. 3 and 4. I believe that, by a little careful work in that
neighborhood, one could find a section which would settle the doubtful
Wells sunk below the limestone at Perrysville, to a reported depth of
ninety feet, are said to have encountered no coal, and it appears doubtful,
at present, whether any valuable seam, at least, exists there.
The old limekiln just above Perrysville, on the bank of river, was dug
in the soft clay shale of the base of the foregoing section, and shows no
disturbance of the layers; yet within fifteen feet of this kiln we find
a small quarry of sandstone, which extends from the base to the top of the
bluff, cutting off even the limestone. Judging from observations on the
east side of the Wabash, I conclude that this is an extension of the
conglomerate sandstone, which either stood as an island or projected as
a promentory in the old sea whose mud composed these shales and limestones.
Just north of this point, the limestone is thicker than at any point south
of it, and a slight difference has been noticed in the fossil contents
upon the two sides, although, for half a mile to the southward, this
feature is constant. On the north side the limestone runs only a few
rods, giving no opportunity to ascertain whether the more
southern characters would obtain at a suitable distance from the obstacle.
On the north side, close to the sandstone, some thin streaks and patches
of coal have been observed, none of which appear to the southward. The
lower shales, also, upon the north side, contain a few ferns and other
coal-measure plants, none of which have yet been detected upon the south
side. At the appearance and contents of these beds, as seen upon Rock and
Redwood creeks, in Warren county, seem to be identical with their appearance
and contents on the south side of this sandstone hillock, I am disposed to
assume that these are the normal conditions of rocks deposited at that
period in the open sea, and that the changed conditions on the other side
have resulted from special local influences.
Along all the small streams which fall into the Wabash, between
Perrysville and Covington, there are beds of fern-bearing shales,
accompanied by thin seams of coal, which appear to belong
below the Perrysville beds; but I have been unable to find any certain
clue to their exact position. Their fossils indicate that they are
low in the series, but cannot help us to any more definite conclusion.
Neuropteris hirsuta, Alethopteris Serlii, Cordaites borassifolia,
and Gyromices ammonis, are the most abundant fossils of these beds,
while Lepidodendron, Lepidophyllum, Trigonocarpum, Asterophyllites,
Hymenophyllites, Filicites, and fragments of bivalve crustaceans are
occasionally met with.
As the Perrysville beds contain a very interesting group of fossils,
I give here a complete list of the forms thus far collected at that point.
From the limestone: Phillipsia scitula, P. Sangamonensis ?, Bellerophon,
Naticopsis n. sp., N. nodosa, Euomphalus rugosus, Loxonema
2 or 3 sp., Spirifer cameratus, S. lineatus. Spiriferina Kentuckensis,
Athyris subtilita, Rhynchonella Osagensis, Productus semireticulatus,
Chonetes mesoloba, Hemiphronites crassa, Discina nitida, Lingula,
Placunopsis, Aviculopecten, Fusulina cylindrica, Crinoid stems and
Bryozoans: from the black shales: Orthoceras Rushensis, Nautilus,
Euomphalus?, Productus, Chonetes mesoloba, Dincina nitida, Edmondia?,
ten rectilateraria, Spirifer planoconvexus, Petrodus occidentalis:
from the calcareous argillite: Nautilus latus?, Goniatites, Macrocheilus
(large), Pleurotomaria carbonaria, Spirifer cameratus,
Rhynchonella, Athyris subtilita, Productus, Chonetes mesoloba, Ariculopecten
Coxanus, Solenomya radiata, Cyathaxonia prolifera.
All of the rock strata here described have a general dip toward the
southwest, at a rate of from fifteen to twenty feet to the mile, but this
is modified greatly by various causes, so that it were possible to find
local dips in almost any direction, and sometimes with quite a rapid pitch.
Starting, then, from the eastern side of the county, where we stand upon
the lower beds, we pass, on level ground slowly, on rising ground more
rapidly, to higher and higher beds; until, when we reach the State line,
if upon moderately high ground, we stand upon or above beds higher than
any which we have crossed in our trip. The principal irregularities
of dip have been pointed out as we went along; but the accurate
delineation of these irregularities would require far more careful and
expensive examinations than could be afforded.
Having thus sketched, as much in detail as seemed advisable, the
distribution of the rock formations of the county, though with the omission
of multitudes of interesting details, I will now proceed to that part of
my report which should treat of
The first subject to which the seeker for mineral wealth, in this
county, would turn his attention is the coal supply. The first impression
of the superficial observer would be that there is a great abundance for
all demands; and the final conclusion of the scientific explorer must be
that good coal can now be mined profitably under at least
one-half of the area of the county, and ultimately under
probablytwo-thirds of the remainder. A thickness of eight feet would
probably be a small enough estimate for the coal underlying every square
foot of the county. This would give, at
S. G. R. -- 11.
the usual estimate of one million tons to the square mile for every foot
of thickness, the amount of 1,950,000,000 tons, or 48,750,000,000 bushels,
as the supply of the county.
The highest workable seam is No. 8. This makes its only appearance
in the county, and, indeed, in this whole region, at the Horseshow bend
of the Little Vermillion, where it shows a thickness of from two and a half
to four feet, with a roof of black clay shale. It is a fat caking coal,
rich in gas, and very sooty; good for blacksmithing or for grate fuel.
Ash gray. This seam was formerly dug to some extent, but is at present
neglected, in consequence of the large development of No. 7 and No. 6 at
the same point.
At this locality, also, we find one of the only two localities within
the county where No. 7 is worked. In the immediate neighborhood of the
Horseshoe there are quite numerous openings into this seam, but only three
or four of them are now worked. This is the equivalent of the main coal at
Danville. It is a fat caking coal, good for engine or house fuel, and fair
for blacksmithing if picked; but it is rather apt to be somewhat sulphurous.
Ash reddish-brown. At the upper end of the Horseshoe, on Mr. Patrick's
land, it has been considerably worked, with an average thickness of four
feet; but the mines are now deserted. The shale between the coal and the
heavy limestone roof appears to be rather soft, and the difficulty of
supporting it has probably assisted in causing the desertion of the mines.
At the "toe" of the Horseshoe the shale seems to be more compact, and stands
very well in the two mines now open in this seam.
A barrel of coal, said to have been taken from this seam at Hibberly's
bank, was sent by Josephus Collett, Jr., Esq., of Newport, to the rolling
mill at Indianapolis, which, upon trial, proved to be fit for smelting iron.
This is far better than the common coal of this seam; and I am rather
inclined to believe that a mistake was made regarding the source of the
coal sent, its character closely resembling that of the coal of No. 6.
As already stated, No 7 has not been seen north of this
place within the county; but there is reason to believe that it occurs on
the highest part of the ridge east of the Little Vermillion, nearly or
quite continuously, to its outcrop near Georgetown, Illinois. Below the
Little Vermillion it is undoubtedly in place along all the western
boundary of the county, and can be reached by shafts sunk in the prairie
whenever any considerable demand may arise of coal.* It does not, however,
run far enough east to outcrop along any of the streams in the lower part
of the county, until we reach Brouillet's creek, along which it is worked,
at short intervals, all the way from the State line to Hedges' Mill, and
also on Coal creek, in the adjoining part of Vigo county. In this southern
extension we find the seam thickened up to nine feet in some places; but,
of this, the upper one to three feet consist generally of a very impure
"brash" coal, which is rejected in mining, under the false name of "slate."
These openings supply a large demand through the adjoining part of Grand
prairie. The outcrops are conveniently located, and the supply seems
Along the Big Vermillion No. 6 is nowhere seen, east of the Illinois
line; but it undoubtedly underlies a considerable portion of the space
between that stream and the Little Vermillion, along which latter its
outcrop is continuous from a point three miles below Georgetown to the
"silver mine" below the Horseshoe. Throughout this distance openings are
frequent, and large quantities of coal have been taken from them, but
none are now extensively worked. It has been recently reported, also,
upon W. Eggleston's land, about one and a half miles southeast of the
This seam also underlies the entire western portion of the county, but
runs farther east than No. 7, outcropping in the higher hills along every
stream between Newport and Clinton, just below which latter place it
passes below the level of the Wabash. Where it first enters the county,
* Serious difficulty can arise, in attempting to mine the
coal at points upon the prairie, only from the possible presence here of
the thick bed of water-bearing quicksand, which underlies the boulder-clay
in the western parts of Edgar and Vermillion coun ies of Illinois.
Little Vermillion, this seam has a roof of soft dark-drab clay shale,
containing fragments of ferns and the shells of the small Crustacean,
Leaia tricarinata. But, as we descend the stream, this gradually
becomes darker and harder until, at the Horseshoe, it is changed to or
replaced by black slaty shales containing Discina, Petrodus, and
other marine fossils, and accompanied by many large, black ironstone
nodules, more or less sulphurous. This latter character is still more
largely developed near Clinton, where the roof consists almost entirely of
spherical nodules of sulphurous ironstone, two to three feet in diameter,
closely packed together, and only the small interstices filled with
black shale. The thickness of the seam is variable, ranging from four
to seven feet. Through the northern part of the county, at least, it is
generally a very pure coal, with the lower thirty to thirty-six inches --
below the clay parting -- a free-burning "block-coal," every way suited
for smelting iron in the raw state. The upper portion of this seam swells
some in burning, but makes a choice fuel for engine or house use. Ash white.
The coal brought to Clinton from Nebeker's bank (No. 6) was observed to
contain much of the "block," but circumstances prevented me from ascertaining
how large a portion of the seam shows that character. Coal from this mine
has displaced, for steamboat use, the product of mines nearer to Clinton.
No. 5, in the immediate neighborhood of so much larger seams of better
coal, is not a very important source of fuel, and has been dug from only
for local use except at two points, viz.: at Burns' bank, east of Highland,
and at Hawley & Helt's bank, near the head of Helt Prairie. At Burns' bank,
the seam is locally thickened to an average of about thirty-three inches,
but yields only a rather coarse coal which burns with much flame and smoke,
and leaves considerable cinder. Both here and at Hawley & Helt's bank,
the coal was well spoken of as house fuel. At the latter place, the local
thickness of the coal is about twenty-two inches. At all other points
where this seam was encountered, it showed only from six to twelve inches
rather impure coal, and is entirely wanting at all points north of White's
mill. At Burns' bank, and at two or three points along Jonathan's creek,
the ordinary black roof-shales are wanting, and a rather solid sandstone
takes their place; and at Hawley & Helt's bank, as previously stated, a
few inches of dark drab compact shale are found between the coal and its
roof. It has been observed that where the fire-clay of this seam is not
silicious, the coal is apt to be more impure and less in quantity. I have
not yet ascertained whether this law holds good where the coal is entirely
wanting, as in the northern part of the county.
No. 4 takes a rather more prominent place among the sources of fuel, but
is still in the background when compared with the higher seams. This is
a very irregular seam, and the amount of fuel which it would yield at any
unexplored point, could not be calculated with any certainty. Its
different partings vary greatly in thickness, and often in character. As
a general rule, the upper portions are composed of a good blacksmithing
coal, rich in bitumen, while the lower parts are more splinty. It is
liked for house use, but is not extensively mined on account of the
thinness of the partings. The principal openings are at and near the
Hanging Rock, on the Big Vermillion, about four miles above Eugene, on
section 28, township 18 north, range 10 west. Ash reddish-gray, some
clinkers. These are among the oldest workings in the county. At S.
Groenendyke's mine, near Eugene, this seam has been considerably worked
for house fuel. Just below Eugene, as already stated, No. 4 and No. 3
are both cut off by the previously described channel, now filled with
sandstone; but its disappearance is only for a short space, since it
appears again within a mile of town and continues southward, though it
is nowhere worked until we reach Morehead's mine, a mile above Newport.
In the ravines below Newport, and upon the branches of Little Raccoon,
this seam has been frequently opened in a small way for local supply,
but is nowhere of much importance. Its last appearance is about a mile
below Wilson's bank, near the head of Helt prairie.
No. 3 makes no prominent show in the county. At Eugene it is too
thin to be worked. In the ravine back of Wilson's bank, it is about
twenty inches thick, but is neglected for the thicker and purer No. 2.
Wilson's bank is the only place where No. 2 shows above the ordinary
level of the river. It is said to have been seen on the bank of the
Wabash at low water mark, about a mile below Mr. John Collett's, with
a thickness of about five feet. There is every reason to believe that it
is continuous under nearly the entire prairie from Newport to Eugene,
and beyond towards Perryville, and can be mined by shafts of moderate
depth at any convenient point. Above Eugene, its outcrop, beneath the
alluvium, probably holds a general north-north-westerly course from the
mouth of the Big Vermillion, parallel to the outcrops of the higher
I am also of the opinion that the coal, from two to three feet thick,
which outcrops near low water mark on the east side of the Wabash at
Thomas' ferry, and which is one of the partings of No. 1, probably runs
under the same region, and will be found of workable thickness; but there
are no certain data for this opinion.
To the northward of Eugene, these lower seams are nowhere visible;
in fact, no rock is seen upon the surface between the floor of No. 4, on
the upper part of Coal branch, and the fire-clay above the limestone at
Perrysville. But, from the general regularity of the outcrops, wherever
exposed in this region, it appears probable that after the completion of
the Terre Haute and Danville railroad, it will be found profitable to bore
for these lower seams, at some point or points upon the prairie west of
A boring of two hundred feet would reach the lowest workable seam anywhere
in that region, and, over a considerable part of it, one hundred and fifty
feet would probably be sufficient.
Although the thin seams to the northward of Perrysville have not been
co-ordinated with the beds of the connected section, yet there is reason
to account them partings of
No. 1. Coal, from twelve to eighteen inches thick, occurs at several
points hereabouts, and has occasionally been dug from the outcrop for
local use. The seams will never be of any considerable importance.
Iron. -- Accompanying the coal-measure rocks in this county,
we find several valuable deposits of iron-ore. The principal ore is an
impure carbonate of iron, occurring in nodules and irregular layers or
"bands." Such nodules, accompanying the sandy shales above coal No. 7,
furnished, for several years to the Indiana Furnace, on Bouillet's creek,
an abundant supply of ore, yielding, on an average, thirty-three per cent.
of iron. The ore varies much, however, some specimens yielding as high
as forty-five per cent. which others would barely give twenty-five per
cent. The principal source of this ore lies west of the State line, but
much of it also occurs east of the line, along the branches of Brouillet's
creek, both above coal No. 7 and between it and coal N. 6. At the latter
level, the greatest abundance of ore was seen about a mile below Skidmore's
place before-mentioned, in the ravines upon the east side of the creek.
A few of these nodules are somewhat pyritous, but these could readily be
detached in preparing the ore for the furnace. An attempt was once made
here to use the coal of No. 7 in the furnace, and a number of kettles were
cast from the iron produced; but the metal proved brittle, probably from
the presence of sulphur, and the attempt was not renewed. No iron has
been made here since 1859.
Coal No. 6, which, in this part of the county, generally furnishes a
good "block" coal from its lower benches, apparently lies about fifty
feet below the creek-bottom at this place; it would probably pay to open
it and use the coal in the furnace, which is now lying idle, principally,
it is said, in consequence of the scarcity of charcoal.
Small quantities of this ore were seen at two or three points, near
the Horseshoe of the Little Vermillion, coming from the shales above No.
7; but the supply is limited.
Just west of the Illinois line, the shales above No. 6 yield large
quantities of this ore.
Similar nodules were noticed along the Wabash, near the mouth of
Spring creek above Perrysville; but the amount appeared to be too small
to be of any practical importance.
The heavy ironstones mentioned as forming the roof of No. 6 in the
vicinity of Clinton, generally contain so much pyrites as to render them
valueless as ores, considering the present state of our knowledge upon
the subject of freeing iron from sulphur.
The "black band" ore above No. 5, mentioned in the section taken upon
Wimsett Hollow, three miles below Newport, although a very valuable ore, is
probably not sufficiently abundant to be of any economical importance when
taken alone; but if the nodules of pisolitc oxide of iron above No. 6, at
the head of the main branch of that ravine, should prove to be sufficiently
abundant for mining, this band might probably be used to advantage at the
A coarse irregular band of calcareous ironstone, a few inches thick,
containing pisolitic iron "shot" through semi-crystalline calcite, with
small quantities of zinc blende, accompanies the fire-clay of coal No. 6
at the "Silver mine" on the Little Vermillion, but the amount seems to be
not large enough to make it of any importance.
The black calcareous ironstone which almost constantly accompanies the
roof shales of coal No. 5, ought to be a valuable ore for use with the
richer ones of Marquette, which are now largely shipped to Indiana for
reduction. Its specific gravity, at some points, indicate a considerable
percentage of iron, combined with lime suitable for fluxing. It sometimes
contains silex, but this impurity is not common. The bed averages about a
foot in thickness, but frequently thickens to three feet. The most favorable
localities for examining it would be along the Big Virmillion, from the
State line to within a mile of Hanging Rock, near the head of More branch,
branch, and at White's Mill on the Little Vermillion. At all these points
it could be very easily mined. On the branch next east of Tipton Hollow,
two miles below Eugene, large irregular concretions, ten to twelve feet in
horizontal diameter, and two or three feet thick, occur in this bed. This
structure is not common in the bed, but the sort of roughly conchoidal
fracture, which generally characterizes it, may be semi-concretionary in
its nature. This structure may well be called "shucky."
Upon Browntown branch, and along the Big Vermillion, as far as More
branch, there is a heavy band of quite pure light-brown calcareous
carbonate of Iron, which is of considerable value. At some points the lime
largely predominates, but the whole bed would probably average twenty-five
per cent. of iron. The combination of this considerable amount of iron,
with limestone suitable for fluxing, renders this, also, a very valuable
ore for mixing with the richer oxides in the smelting-furnace. The seam
varies from eighteen inches to three feet in thickness, and deserves more
attention than it has yet received. On Browntown branch, it was observed
to contain rather numerous rhomboidal fish scales, and it is possible that,
upon analysis, it will be found to contain too much phosphorous to be
fit for the furnace. Large quantities could be mined with very little
The shales lying between No. 4 and its heavy sandstone cover, frequently
contain small quantities of ironstone nodules, as at Hanging Rock, where
many of them contain fossil plants. But at no point do we find any
considerable amount of ore at this level.
Near the top of No. 3 we find, pretty constantly, a band of a few
inches of compact ironstone, filled with fossil shells of numerous species,
as at the mouth of the Little Virmillion, and in the numerous ravines
along the edge of the bluffs between Newport and Highland. At Zener's
saw-mill it is a foot thick, and easily mined.
Close above No. 2, along the bank of the Wabash, about four miles
below Eugene, we find a heavy bed of com-
pact limonite (hydrated oxide of iron), which promises to be of
considerable importance. The outcrop was covered with water at the time
of my visit, but masses a foot thick, lying upon the bank, showed its
character, and its full thickness was reported at from two to three feet.
It would probably yield from forty to forty-five per cent. of iron. Except
in times of freshet, it could be easily mined by stripping.
On Thomas Helt's land, along the bottoms of Norton's creek, near the
head of Helt prairie, a bed of bog iron ore, said to be three feet thick,
covers from six to eight acres. It was dug into some years ago, but none
of it is now exposed.
On the whole, the county is abundantly supplied with iron ore of good
quality, and the near neighborhood of the beds to the seams of "block"
coal, will soon make this one of the most important centers of iron
production in the West.
Zinc blende (sulphide of zinc) frequently occurs, in small quantities,
in the cracks and cavities of the ironstone nodules which accompany the
shales above coal No. 6, and in the ironstone band which is found just
above coal No. 4, along the Little Vermillion; but the amount is too
small to be of any value. It was the scanty presence of this mineral in
the pisolitic calcareous ironstone locally accompanying the under-clay
of No. 6, which gave rise to the so-called "Silver-mine" at the
"Slip-bank" of the Little Vermillion, on section 32, township 17 north,
range 10 west. To geologists, it were needless to say that no silver
bearing rocks occur in this region.
It is said that minute fragments of galena (sulphide of lead) have
been seen in some of these nodules; and here, as everywhere else, "the
Indians" have the credit of having mined lead in large quantities.
Possibly they did "mine" it here; but, if so, it was only after they
had first brought the ore from the Galena region, and buried it. Chunks
of galena and of the native copper of Lake Superior are occasionally
found in the drift. One of the small streaks of gravel, which occur
in the "boulder-clay," is said to yield
minute quantities of gold, through all this region, but not in
sufficient quantities to pay fair days' wages for washing it.
Clays. -- Next to coal and iron, the under clays of the coal
seams take the most important place among the mineral resources of the
county. The bed which underlies coal No. 5 seems to be, both from its
character and extent, the most valuable one of all, being generally of
a lighter color than the underclays of the other seams. At Burns' bank,
east of Highland, it was especially noticed as being nearly pure white,
and from two to six feet thick. At some parts of its outcrop, as at
certain points on Jonathan's creek, the clay, which is everywhere quite
silicious, is locally changed to a very compact, semi-crystalline
sandstone, full of the rootlets of Stigmaria, similar to that
before mentioned as marking the level of No. 4, below Newport. This
clay is continuous through the whole outcrop, though of varying
thickness. In the southern portions of the county it was noticed that
the thinner and more "brash" portions of the seams had the more
silicious fire-clay. The material seems especially well fitted for the
manufacture of tiling, both useful and ornamental, as well as for
fire-brick. For the latter purpose the under clays of No. 6 are also
suitable, though likely to make a darker brick. On Trosper branch of the
Big Vermillion, perhaps a mile west of the State line, and four miles
northeast of Georgetown, Illinois, these clays, including some thin
intercalated beds of limestone, are over sixteen feet thick, and show
a considerable variety of colors. At no point within the county was so
great a thickness observed, from two to six or eight feet being the
ordinary thickness; but it is not improbable that, at some of the
openings of this seam which will certainly be made upon the ridge between
the Big and Little Vermillions, clay of similar thickness and coloring
may be met with.
Building Materials. -- In a letter from Mr. John Collett, of
Eugene, dated 3d of January, 1870, he says:
"Bricks have been manufactured at about forty-five different localities
in this county, embracing every variety of
material. Those manufactured from the 'boulder-clays' of the table-lands
adjoining the Grand prairie, especially when made of materials unexposed
to oxidation of the air, are of light color, somewhat approaching the
brownish cream color of the 'Milwaukee' brick; in other respects are a
fair article. Bricks have often been made from the sandy loam of the creek
and river bottoms, sometimes adding a small proportion of 'terrace' or
'boulder-clay.' This material requires more care in burning, as the
alkaline potash, etc., held in solution by the water, is set free by
access of air, and this, with the great amount of vegetable matter,
readily forms, in connection with the sand, a coating of glass. Experiments
have been made at Perrysville, and at Newport, resulting in the manufacture
of good fire-brick from the 'under clays' and decomposed shales and
soapstones so abundant throughout this county."
Of stone suitable for building purposes there is no lack. Some of the
more heavily bedded, slightly ferruginous sandstone layers of the sandy
shales between coals No. 7 and No. 6 have been quarried, on a small scale,
along the hill between Clinton and the mouth of Brouillet's creek. The
heavy bedded sandstone, which commonly lies from ten to thirty feet above
coal No. 4, has yielded more stone for building purposes than any other
bed in the county. Along the Little Vermillion, just below White's Mill,
it generally varies from four to nine feet in thickness, and is a fine
building stone, but some of the accompanying layers, though looking
quite solid in the quarry, will not resist the disintegrating action of
the weather, and must be rejected. From this layer considerable rock has
been quarried, along the Big Vermillion, below Eugene; on Tipton branch,
south of Eugene; along the Little Vermillion, as just stated; and in the
bluffs east of Highland. At the latter place the face of the quarry,
twenty feet thick, shows well as viewed from the river. Among the shaly
sandstones just below the quarry rock we freqently meet with large, thin
flagstones, often showing ripple-marks. At all the quarries we find
containing more or less plant remains, of the genera Lepidodendron,
Sigillaria, Syringodendron, Calamites, Cordaites, etc.
From the upper beds of the Millstone grit small quantities of rock
have been quarried, between Perryville and Covington. Some of these
contain sufficient mica to make it probable that they will prove suitable
for furnace hearths. When furnaces shall be established in the county,
it will be worth while to test these fairly before going further for
hearthstone. Some portions of the Hanging Rock sandstone also appear
suitable for this use.
In the section at Nebeker's coal-bank, north of Clinton, a band of
sandstone, marked as a "firestone" in the section given, has been used
in fireplaces in sugar camps in the neighborhood, and found to stand
The limestone at Perrysville is not suited for building purposes,
since its argillaceous character renders it peculiarly liable to be
broken up by the frost, as is plainly shown along its outcrop. It would
make a valuable lime for agricultural purposes. Another thick seam of
limestone in the one described as existing on Fall branch, just below
the Horseshoe of the Little Vermillion, which appears to be a pretty
solid rock; but its position and thinness prevent its being of much
practical value. Still another occurs above coal No. 7, above the
Horseshoe, and the same remarks will apply equally well to this as to
the previous one. At two or three points, as at Perrysville, lime was
formerly burnt for masons' use, but the stone used was found loose in
the wash of the "boulder-clay." The lime now used in this county is
Of black bituminous calcareous shales, such as have been much used
for "patent roofing," there seems to be no limit to the amount, occurring,
as they do, constantly above No. 3, generally above "No. 4," abundantly
covering "No. 5," forming a considerable part of the
roof of No. 6, and the roof of "No. 8," so far as seen.
I cannot conclude the report of the survey of this county without
returning my hearty thanks to the many citizens
thereof who have, in all cases when called upon, rendered most efficient
assistance; but these are especially due to William Gibson, Esq., of
Perrysville, for guidance and repeated assistance in my attempts to
ascertain the truth regarding the distribution of the rocks in that
part of the county, and, above all, to John Collett, Esq., of Eugene,
to whose frequent hospitality and constant assistance I have been
greatly indebted, from the day on which I first entered the county
until the present time, his letters having followed me up, and supplied
the occasional "missing links" alwasy to be sought for in completing
the report of such work.
1869 Table of Contents
Geology Library, Indiana