Held by The Filson Historical Society
Creator: Keystone Furnace (Jackson, OH)
Title: Records, 1850-1870
Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.
Size of Collection: .5 cu. ft.
Location Number: Mss. Bb K44
Scope and Content Note
The collection includes ten ledgers of varying completeness from Keystone Furnace coal accounts and company store accounts. The four coal accounts ledgers (1850-1854) contain charts detailing daily amounts of coal purchased from specifically-named coal beds and the names of the employees who hauled it. Inserted intermittently are notations about the weather and work stoppages. The six company store ledgers (1852-1870) list the goods purchased by Keystone employees and their families. The ledgers record the purchase date, amount, and cost of the goods purchased, which range from tobacco, coffee, salt, and meat to kitchenware, garden tools, and textiles. The ledger in Folder 7 has been reused as a scrapbook containing vouchers for wood and monies due to laborers.
The ledgers document the daily operations of a portion of the antebellum iron industry in the Ohio River Valley and provide a glimpse into the lives of its laborers and their families. They identify the names of families populating the region at the time, as well as some of their activities. In addition, the company store ledgers offer economic and cultural information about a particular time and place.
Folder 1 includes coal accounts with the following individuals or companies: Goddard, Hale, Littlejohn, Near.
Folder 2 includes coal accounts with the following individuals or companies: Belcher, Murphy & Burns, O’Harrow & Dyas, Thornton Hughes.
Folder 3 includes coal accounts with the following individuals or companies: Calvary M. Burns, John Dickerson, Andrew Karr, Littlejohn, McNally, James Murphy, Moses Murphy, O’Harrow & Dyas, Patterson & Haldeman, Lewis Swearingen, Owen White, Hugh Wilson.
Folder 4 includes coal accounts with the following individuals or companies: William Collard, H. H. Hughes, Littlejohn, Shanks & Ashlafelter, Hugh Wilson.
Folder 5 includes, but is not limited to, purchases made by the following families: Dickerson, Ewing, Littlejohn, Thompson.
Folder 6 includes, but is not limited to, purchases made by the following families: Aldridge, Coon, Dickerson, Littlejohn.
Folder 7 includes, but is not limited to, purchases made by the following families: Aldridge, Coon, Dickerson, Higgins.
Folder 8 includes, but is not limited to, purchases made by the following families: Brooke, Burris, Littlejohn, Masters.
Folder 9 includes, but is not limited to, purchases made by the following families: Bishop, Brooks, Copenhaven, Folsom, Griswold, Littlejohn, Thomasson.
Folder 10 includes purchases made by the following families: Barber, Brooks, Griswold, Russell, Scurlock, Smith, Sprouse, Woolens.
Keystone Furnace was a charcoal burning iron furnace south of Jackson, Ohio that began operation in 1848. The surrounding region of south central Ohio and northern Kentucky is referred to as the “Hanging Rock Iron Region” and produced much of the iron for the Civil War. Construction of Keystone Furnace may have begun as early as 1830. It was built by John McConnell & Co. and financed by several Jackson County capitalists. The furnace had a 33 foot stack carved out of solid sandstone and initially had a daily capacity of twelve tons.
In 1853, Keystone furnace was bought by Green, Benner, Campbell & Co. who enlarged the stack to 36 feet and increased the daily capacity to 24 tons. From 1861 to 1863, the furnace ceased operations as the owners elected to form the 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which participated in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. In 1871 the furnace was sold to Hezekiah Sanford Bundy, who operated it until 1885 when it was closed. As of 2014, remains of the Keystone furnace are still extant, but are located on private property.
Folder 1: Coal Accounts, April-November 1850
Folder 2: Coal Accounts, April-November 1852
Folder 3: Coal Accounts, December 1852-August 1854
Folder 4: Coal Accounts, April-December 1857
Folder 5: Company Store Ledger, July-September 1852
Folder 6: Company Store Ledger, September-November 1854
Folder 7: Company Store Ledger/Scrapbook, May-June 1855; 1869-1870
Folder 8: Company Store Ledger, April-May 1863
Folder 9: Company Store Ledger, October-November 1865
Folder 10: Company Store Ledger Pages, June-July 1865
Blast furnaces – Ohio.
Coal mines and mining – Ohio.
Coal trade – Ohio.
Company towns – Ohio.
Company stores – Ohio.
Hanging Rock Iron Region (Ohio)
Iron and steel workers – Ohio.
Iron industry and trade – Ohio.