Sheridan Area
Coal Camp Photos

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Table of Contents
About This Site

Wyoming Coal Co. Tipple, Monarch, Wyoming, 1907

Monarch, about 10 miles north of Sheridan, was founded in 1903 when the Chicago, Burlington and Qunicy reached the area. The Wyoming Coal Co. was originally owned by J. A. Kenrick, L. H. Brooks, and William C. Ervine.

Monarch, Wyoming, 1909

About 1903, the claim was acqured by Edward M. "Bud" Holbrook of Chicago who organized the Wyoming Coal Mining Co. The claims were rapidly expanded through the use of middlemen by an associate Robert McPhilamey and Sheridan lawyer Ellsworth E. Lonabaugh. Specifically, "entrymen" wwere paid to file for homestead. At the center of the scheme was Lonabaugh using money provided by Holbrook. The claims were proved up by presenting to the Land Office in Buffalo false affidavits. In one instance, an entryman later testified that she had been on the property for slightly less than the required five years. She had, she testified, been on the property only six days. Other entryman later testified that they did not even know were the claimed land was situated. See United States v. Lonabaugh, 158 Fed 314 (1907)

In 1903, prefabricated houses were brought in from Washinton State and a company store was opened. By 1907, the three were millionaires.

Monarch Tipple.

On May 12, 1907, a United States Grand Jury indicted the three along with E. T. McCarthy for defrauding the United States. McCarthy was granted a separate trial and testified against his three co-conspirators. On July 13, 1907, the three were found guilty on two counts each of conspiracy to defaud the goverment. They faced possibly as much as two years in prison. While on bond, the three appealed to the 8th Circuit Court Appeals, contending that even if the affidavits had been falsified, the three-year statute of limitations had run; that the crime was completed in 1903 when the federal land patents were issued.

Three years later, the Court of Appeals reversed the convictions. See Lonabaugh v. United States, 179 Fed 476 (8th Cir. 1910). the court held that not withstanding clear evidence of the fraud, the object of the conspiracy was accomplished when the government land patents were issued. Therefore, the statute of limitations had run.

Following, the reversal of the conviction, Holbrook took a trip around the world. Upon his return, he announced himself as glad o be back in Monarch. On November 7, 1910, Holbrook was dead as a result of, in the words of the Sheridan Enterprise, a "slight" operation on his throat.

His widow inherited the mining company. In 1913, Mrs. Holbrook married a New York banker. In 1920, the Sheridan-Wyoming Coal Company acquired the the Sheridan Coal Company, th Acme Coal Company, the Carney Coal Company, the properties in Monarch, the Looi Coal Company and the Acme Amalgamated Development Company.

At its peak Monarch had a population of approximately 800 and was connected to Sheridan by a street railway. Sheridan-Wyoming controlled some 14,000 acres of coal lands and had an additional 2,700 acres under lease. It had a reserve of an estimated 650,000,000 tons of coal and mined some 5,000,000 tons a year. In its company towns it owed some 876 "cottages" as well as hotels and store buildings.

Monarch, Wyo., 1914

Beginning in the 1920's, coal mining in the Sheridan area began to decline. By the 1930's, most coal mined in the area was for local use. In 1940 a gas pipeline reached Sheridan and most of the remaining mines closed. Monarch was abandoned about 1953 and today consists of several buildings and the cemetary.

Church, Monarch, Wyo., 1905.

Next page, Acme and Carneyville.