A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


Joseph Fletcher, superintendent of the Mount Carmel Coal Company, at Frontenac, Kansas, is an old and experienced coal miner and operator, having known no other business since he set out in boyhood to make his own living. He has attained a creditable degree of success in his life work, has the satisfaction of having made steady progress toward better things from the first to the present, and by his integrity of character and wholesomeness of action has gained the esteem and respect of all associates and friends.

Mr. Fletcher was born in Staffordshire, England, in 1855, being the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Cotherington) Fletcher. His mother died while they still lived in England, and about 1870 his father came to the United States with his family. He went to Bureau county, Illinois, and followed the occupation of coal miner in that county until his death.

Mr. Fletcher was fifteen years old when he came to this country with his father, and in his native land he had already gained his elementary education and got a taste of coal mining as prosecuted in the old country. He began work in the Bureau county mines, and during nineteen years' residence in that county advanced from the ranks of his occupation to a position of responsibility. His ability became known to Charles J. Devlin, who at the time was manager of the coal department of the Santa Fe Railroad, engaged in the exploiting of mines from Illinois to New Mexico. Mr. Devlin appointed Mr. Fletcher to the position of mine inspector for these mines, and the latter discharged those duties until Mr. Devlin left the Santa Fe and organized the Mount Carmel Coal Company, in 1897. Mr. Fletcher then left his former position and became superintendent of the new company's mines in Crawford county, Kansas, the collieries being located at Frontenac and at Chicopee, Mr. Fletcher making his home at the former place. The two mines at Frontenac and the two at Chicopee have an enormous output. In addition to these mines the Mount Carmel Coal Company operates the properties of the Pittsbirg Coal and Mining Company and the Osage Carbon Company, besides a number of other mines at Osage, Peterton and Scranton, it being one of the largest mining concerns in southeastern Kansas. Charles J. Devlin is president of the company, and Jonathan D. Norton is secretary, the main office being at Topeka.

Mr. Fletcher affiliates with the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias and the Elks and still retains his membership in Bureau county. He was married in Bureau county, Illinois, in 1879 to Miss L. C. Wilhite, a daughter of one of the oldest settlers of the county and a member of a well known and esteemed family there. They have three children, Arthur J., Lottie E. and Joseph, Jr.