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Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation Records, 1910-2009 (Mss3 J5495 a FA2), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.
Gift of Robert H. Moore, Jr., Richmond, Virginia, 6 February 2008 (Acq. 2008.0006). Accessioned 30 September 2014.
Repository: Virginia Historical Society.
Collection number: Mss3 J5495 a FA2
Title: Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation Records, 1920-2009
Size: 154 folders (4.5 linear feet).
Abstract: Primarily legal materials relating to a lawsuit instituted against company president Huston St. Clair, Sr. and the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation on behalf of stockholders Robert H. Moore, Jr., Volney F. Righter, and Albridge C. Smith III. Also includes Board of Directors' meeting minutes and annual financial reports, ca. 1950-1964 of both Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and the related Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company, and an oral history by donor Robert H. Moore, Jr.
The Jewell Ridge records were collected and donated to the Virginia Historical Society by Robert H. Moore, Jr. in 2008, forty-two years after the purchase of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company by the Pittston Company in 1966. The collection is primarily concerned with corporate events following World War II when Moore, Jr. was a director of both companies. The collection contains administrative and financial documents of both companies from 1910-1966 in addition to much of Moore's correspondence as a director and major stockholder. The majority of the collection is concerned with the mass of litigation that arose out of company president Huston St. Clair's private coal leases in eastern Kentucky, and falls within the date range 1956-1966.
Because of the focus of the material, it may provide a limited or incomplete record of company operations and management.
The Jewell Ridge records are arranged into five series as follows: Series 1. Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation records; Series 2. Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company records; Series 3. Legal records; Series 4. Northfork Coal Company and related research; Series 5. General and historical research.
Researchers should note that within the folders materials are largely in reverse chronological order.
George W. St. Clair moved to Tazewell County, Va., in 1902 to practice law. Shortly thereafter Pennsylvania coal mine operator Thomas M. Righter came to Tazewell to speculate and hired St. Clair to help him identify available land. The two jointly formed Pocahontas Mining Company and beginning in 1905 purchased more than 18,000 acres. Since Righter put together the majority of the capital, the Righter family would retain a sixty percent interest in the landholding company after his death in 1918.
Righter and St. Clair formed Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation in 1910 as a coal mining operation. After the extension of the C&O railroad through the area, the coal corporation began extracting high quality coal out of its first seam. Meanwhile, consistent with his plans to organize a community for the mine workers, St. Clair began to build what is now the town of Jewell Ridge on a ridge well above the mine entrance. This foresight is a large part of what would eventually make Jewell Ridge a nationally recognized coal mining community, keeping the town away from the noise and dust, and the noxious fumes of the coal coke ovens. Jewell Ridge, for much of its history, was entirely owned by the company; miners were offered housing and sometimes paid in "scrip" to use at the company store. Both Jewell Ridge and the mining operation held reputations in the coal industry for being models of modernity.
George W. St. Clair and his wife, Annie Huston (Walker) St. Clair, had three children: daughters Margaret Huston and Katherine Bell and son Dr. Samuel "Huston" St. Clair. When George W. St. Clair died in 1939, Dr. Huston St. Clair took over the presidency of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and its selling agent, the Virginia Smokeless Coal Company. Both Dr. St. Clair and Robert H. Moore, Sr., the husband of Margaret, were named co-executors of George St. Clair's estate. Moore, Sr., died in 1948, leaving Dr. St. Clair in charge of the trust created out of his father's share of the company stock.
The Coal Corporation thrived due to the high demand for coal during World War II; one of its clients was the United States Navy who still used some coal-fired ships. Moore, Jr., in his oral account, says that Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation was one of the ten largest coal producers in America during that time period. When Moore, Jr. returned from military service in 1944, he was employed as Dr. St. Clair's assistant for several years. During that period the two men came into conflict regarding the management of the companies and investments made with company funds.
During the 1950s, in the aftermath of World War II, the coal industry experienced a drastic downturn. Excess capacity from non-union operations during World War II translated into artificially low prices for coal, and when the demand for coal shrank after the war, it became far more difficult for union companies to profit.
Moore, Jr., left the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation to pursue first an M.B.A. and then a law degree. He worked for the Consolidation Coal Company as well as the investment firm of Otis & Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It was during this time that information came to him concerning Dr. St. Clair's private leases in eastern Kentucky, leases to non-union mining operations that directly competed with Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and presumably undercut their prices. This led to significant conflict within the company's Board of Directors. St. Clair resigned as president of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and of the Coal Sales Company, but endeavored to regain control of the Jewell Ridge stock. Moore recruited Volney F. Righter, son of founder Thomas M. Righter, and Albridge C. Smith III and together they filed suit against St. Clair for damages under the doctrine of corporate opportunity.
The resulting action was a "derivative suit," in which an action is brought by a shareholder against a third party on behalf of the company. Due to legal technicalities, the company itself, as in the case of Volney Righter et. al. v. Huston St. Clair et. al., is listed as a defendant.
Dr. St. Clair's representative, John S. Battle, Jr., was pitted against Moore, Jr.'s attorney Eppa Hunton in the legal proceedings, which extended for a long period, during which Dr. St. Clair negotiated the sale of the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and Jewell Ridge Sales Company. Stockholders were forced to accept the offer of the Pittston Company in 1966.
Coal mines and mining - Virginia - History - 20th century
Family-owned business enterprises - Virginia - History - 20th century
Jewell Eagle Coal Company
Jewell Ridge (Va.)
Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation
Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company
Moore, Robert Huston, 1931-
Northfork Coal Company
Real estate development - Tazewell County - Virginia - History - 20th century
Righter, Volney Foster, 1903-2003.
St. Clair family
St. Clair, Samuel Huston, 1900-1974.
Virginia - Economic conditions - 20th century
Virginia Smokeless Coal Company
This series consists of the corporate documents, meeting minutes, and correspondence of directors and stockholders of the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, with corporate offices located at Tazewell, Virginia.
These materials chiefly concern meetings of the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation's Board of Directors. Most items are very routine in nature. However, they also help to document the conflict between Robert H. Moore, Jr. and president Huston St. Clair, particularly in regard to a last-minute special stockholders meeting, September 21, 1963. A Letter to Stockholders, 1964 April 24, also lays out the parameters of the managerial conflict.
|1||By-Laws and certificate of incorporation|
|2||Board of Directors correspondence and memoranda, 1946-1963|
|3||Board of Directors minutes, 1950, 1955-1965|
|4||Board of Directors Executive Committee minutes, 1950-1958|
|5||Stockholders, Annual reports to, 1949-1953, 1955-1962, 1964-1965|
|6||Stockholders correspondence and memoranda, 1949-1965|
|7||Stockholders, Lists of, 1949-1964* (also concerns Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Co.)|
|8||Stockholders meeting minutes, 1950, 1957-1962, 1964-1966|
|9||Stockholders special meeting, 1963 September 21|
|10||Stockholders special meeting, 1963 September 21, memoranda and legal documents concerning|
|11||Stockholders, Letter to, 1964 April 24|
The bulk of this correspondence concerns dates for meetings of the Board of Directors. However, there are also letters from Robert H. Moore, Jr., acknowledging receipt of minutes or asking for copies of minutes and financial reports. Of particular interest is the correspondence between Moore and his uncle, company president Huston St. Clair. Also of interest is the folder of correspondence concerning McLouth Steel's counter offer of Pittston's offer for the purchase of Jewell Ridge. Despite offering a higher price per share, McLouth was rebuffed by St. Clair and Pittston and prevented from examining both Jewell Ridge's financial situation and its land holdings.
|23||Correspondence, 1967, 1969|
|24||Correspondence, 1956-1963, between Robert H. Moore, Jr., and Huston St. Clair|
|25||Correspondence, 1965-1966, concerning Pittston Company purchase of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation|
|26||Correspondence, 1966, concerning McLouth Steel offer for Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation|
These materials are extremely repetitive. Annual statements and final statements were produced in-house and contain much the same information as the annual financial statements produced by the accounting firm of John Heins & Co. [later Arthur Young]. Monthly reports apply only to end-of-year figures and thus repeat information in the annual and final statements.
|27||Annual statement, 1951|
|28||Annual statement, 1952|
|29||Annual statement, 1953|
|30||Annual statement, 1956|
|31||Annual statement, 1957|
|32||Annual statement, 1958|
|33||Annual statement, 1959|
|34||Annual statement, 1960|
|35||Annual statement, 1961|
|36||Final statement, 1955|
|37||Final statement, 1957|
|38||Final statement, 1958|
|39||Final statement, 1959|
|40||Final statement, 1960|
|41||Final statement, 1961|
|42||Final statement, 1962|
|43||Financial statement, 1950 (by John Heins & Co.)|
|44||Financial statement, 1955|
|45||Financial statement, 1956|
|46||Financial statement, 1957|
|47||Financial statement, 1958|
|48||Financial statement, 1959|
|49||Financial statement, 1960|
|50||Financial statement, 1961|
|51||Financial statement, 1962|
|52||Financial statement, 1964|
|53||Monthly report, 1951 December 31|
|54||Monthly report, 1952 December 31|
|55||Monthly report, 1953 December 31|
|56||Monthly report, 1954 December 31|
|57||Monthly statement, 1956 December 31|
|58||Monthly statement, 1957 December 31|
|59||Monthly statement, 1958 December 31|
|60||Monthly statement, 1959 December 31|
|61||Monthly statement, 1960 December 31|
|62||Monthly statement, 1961 December 31|
|63||Monthly statement, 1962 December 31|
|64||State Corporation Commission, Annual reports to, 1957-1961|
Materials regarding Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation subsidiary Coal Company of Alaska demonstrate the company's attempt to make a development deal with interested Japanese parties in 1958, but these plans would eventually fall through and the company would be dissolved.
|65||Coal Company of Alaska, Inc., Articles of incorporation and By-laws|
|66||Coal Company of Alaska, Inc., Commitment, 1958|
|67||Coal Company of Alaska, Inc., Memorandum of understanding, 1958|
|68||Coal Company of Alaska, Inc., Proposal, drafts, etc.|
|69||Coal Company of Alaska, Inc., Miscellany|
|70||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1956|
|71||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1957|
|72||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1958|
|73||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1959|
|74||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1960|
|75||Jewell Eagle Coal Company Financial statement, 1961|
The three folders relating to the Colombia, South America mining venture are a puzzle, as they are clearly related to Huston St. Clair on his own, without any relationship to Jewell Ridge. They include correspondence and itemized bills for the various agents St. Clair employed to inspect potential mining sites and to interact with Colombian government officials.
The Booz, Allen, & Hamilton General Management Study provides extensive and valuable information on how the company was organized and run, as well as pertinent financial data.
|76||Colombia, South America, mining venture, 1961|
|77||Colombia, South America, mining venture, 1962-1964|
|78||Colombia, South America, mining venture, 1971-1973|
|79||General Management Plan, 1959, by Booz, Allen and Hamilton|
|80||Pension Plan outline, |
The Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company, a reincorporation of the original Virginia Smokeless Coal Company, served as the sales agent for Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation and other companies. While technically a separate organization, the stockholders for both the Coal Corporation and the Coal Sales Company were the same and many of the financial reports of the Coal Corporation listed in Series 1.3 also include information for the Coal Sales Company.
|81||By-laws and certificate of incorporation, 1946, of the Virginia Smokeless Coal Company|
|82||Board of Directors' meeting minutes, 1948-1963|
|83||Board of Directors' memorandum to stockholders, 1958-1966|
|84||Board of Directors' correspondence, 1957-1958, concerning Huston St. Clair's debt to company|
|85||Stockholders, Annual reports to, 1953-1964|
|86||Stockholders' meeting minutes, 1948-1966|
|87||Stockholders, list of, ca. 1963|
See also Series 1.3. Many early annual reports for Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation contain information about Jewell Ridge Sales Company
|88||Final statements, 1948-1950, 1952, 1954-1962 (produced internally)|
|89||Financial statements, 1951-1952, 1956-1961 (produced by John Heins & Co.)|
At the same time that the Pittston Company purchased the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, the name of the Jewell Ridge Coal Sales Company was changed to Bellcoal, Inc. Also at this time the sales agency agreement between the two companies was terminated.
|90||General Management Study, 1959, Booz, Allen and Hamilton|
Robert H. Moore, Jr., spent a short time working for his uncle Huston St. Clair and Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation. He left Jewell Ridge to attend graduate school and later to work for the Consolidated Coal Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there Moore began to hear rumors about St. Clair's involvement in eastern Kentucky coal leases, leases that St. Clair held as a private individual and not as an officer of Jewell Ridge. Further research disclosed evidence that St. Clair had indirectly received a loan from the United Mine Workers of America to purchase coal lands which had then been worked as non-union mines. Moore's goal was to have St. Clair disclose his holdings to the board of directors of Jewell Ridge, as the leases St. Clair held, and which were run as non-union mines, were in competition with eastern Kentucky mines run by Jewell Ridge. Moore alleged that St. Clair had profited substantially from his private holdings, while at the same time Jewell Ridge was showing a steady decline in revenue.
While an effort has been made to separate the legal actions relating to particular cases, researchers need to understand that all of the cases represented were occurring simultaneously. Correspondence and memoranda concerning all of the legal actions have been interfiled in Series 3.7, as law firms represented clients in more than one action and letters frequently discussed more than one case. Duplicate record copies have been discarded, where possible.
The full title of this case, filed in the Roanoke Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, is Volney F. Righter, Robert H. Moore, Jr., and Albridge C. Smith III v. Huston St. Clair and Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation (Civil Action 64-C-7-R). While the legal action began in January, it was not announced to the stockholders of Jewell Ridge until a letter sent in April 1964 (See Series 1.1, Folder 11). This is actually the second legal action related to St. Clair's eastern Kentucky coal leases. In May 1963 St. Clair had asked the court for a declaratory judgment establishing that there was no conflict of interest between his personal investments and his management of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation. That pleading appears in Series 3.2. With the sale of Jewell Ridge to Pittston Company this case was dismissed.
|94||Pleading, 1964 January 27|
|95||Answer of Huston St. Clair and Janet St. Clair, 1964 March 13|
|96||Answer of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, 1964 March 14|
|97||Answer of James H. Haley, [1964 March ?]|
|98||Request for admissions, 1964 March 16, and responses|
|99||Interrogatories, 1964 September 8|
|100||Deposition and examination of Huston St. Clair, 1964 October 28|
|101||Answers to interrogatories, 1964 November 21|
|102||Discovery deposition of Robert H. Moore, Jr., on behalf of Huston St. Clair et al, 1965 February 4|
|103||Deposition of George Richardson, Jr., 1965 March 9|
|104||Deposition on oral examination of Albridge C. Smith, III, and Volney F. Righter taken in behalf of defendants, 1965 March 15|
|105||Deposition of Guy H. Lawhead, 1965 May 11|
|106||Deposition of Robert H. Moore, Jr., taken on behalf of plaintiffs, 1965 September 30|
|107||Order allowing rebuttal evidence, 1965 November 26|
|108||Plaintiffs' pre-trial memorandum of law, 1965 November|
|109||Plaintiffs' trial memorandum, 1966 March 28|
|110||Memorandum of James W. Haley [motion to dismiss], 1966 April 15|
|111||Defendants' trial memorandum, 1966 April 16|
|112||Memorandum of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, 1966 April 23|
|113||Plaintiffs' reply memorandum [to Defendants' trial memorandum of April 16], 1966 April 26|
|114||Reply of plaintiffs to memorandum of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, 1966 April 26|
|115||Order for dismissal, 1966 July 2|
|116||Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation per Robert H. Moore, Jr. v Huston St. Clair et al. memorandum of law, n.d.|
|117||Citations and abstracts, etc., 1961-1965|
|118||Exhibits , n.d.|
As Robert W. Moore, Jr. became more adamant in his demands, Huston St. Clair took a preemptory step by asking the Tazewell County Circuit Court to make a ruling concerning his responsibilities to Jewell Ridge (Chy. Flat File 14, No. 4630).
|119||Declaratory judgment pleading, 1963 May 2.|
The full title of this case as submitted to the Tazewell County Circuit Court reads Margaret St. Clair Moore, Margaret Moore Ripley, James R. Moore, George W. St. Clair Moore and Robert H. Moore, Jr. vs. Huston St. Clair, Trustee under the Will of George W. St. Clair, deceased. Tazewell County Circuit Court.
In his will company co-founder George W. St. Clair named his son Huston St. Clair and son-in-law Robert H. Moore co-trustees to vote the share of the company stock left in trust to his heirs. When Robert H. Moore, Sr., died Huston remained sole trustee. In this suit Margaret St. Clair Moore and her children sued to have Huston disqualified as trustee and a neutral third party put in his place.
In the legal correspondence in Series 3.7. this suit was often referred to as the "voting trust" suit in an effort to separate it from the "trust suit" discussed above. This action involved Katherine B. St. Clair, Huston St. Clair, Sr., Janet St. Clair, George W. St. Clair, and others, all of whom formed a voting trust on September 4, 1963. The trust named Huston and Janet St. Clair's daughter, Anne Huston St. Clair Evans, trustee. This suit is titled Katherine B. St. Clair, Huston St. Clair, Janet St. Clair, and George W. St. Clair et al v. Anne Huston St. Clair Evans, Robert W. Evans, and Huston St. Clair, Jr. et al. Tazewell County Circuit Court (Chy. Flat File 15, No. 4730). The voting trust was eventually dissolved.
|121||Bill of Complaint, 1964 March 30.|
In September 1963 Jewell Ridge president Robert W. Bruce, Jr., was not re-elected to the board of directors. As Virginia law required that a company president also serve on the board of directors, Bruce was essentially fired. However, according to his employment contract with both the Coal Corporation and the Coal Sales Company, Bruce was to receive his salary through June 1964. When the companies failed to make these payments Bruce sued for breach of contract in Robert W. Bruce, Jr. vs. Jewell Ridge Sales Company and Robert W. Bruce, Jr. vs. Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation. U.S. District Court for Western District of Virginia. Abingdon Division (Civil Action No. 64-C-20-A and No. 64-C-21-A).
|122||Deposition of Robert W. Bruce, Jr.|
|123||Correspondence, etc., 1961-1966|
Huston St. Clair countered Righter, Moore and Smith with a libel suit: Huston St. Clair vs. Volney F. Righter, Robert H. Moore, Jr., and Albridge C. Smith, III. U.S. District Court for Western District of Virginia. Roanoke Division (Civil Action No. 65-C-35-R). Their response was a letter to stockholders, 1965 April 24 (see Series 1.1, Folder ll). This suit was dismissed at the same time as the derivative suit.
|124||Opinions, orders and correspondence|
Robert H. Moore, Jr., kept up a busy correspondence with his partners in the various lawsuits and the many law firms employed before, during, and after the derivative suit was decided. His filing system reflected the proliferation of copying technologies that enabled the same information to reside in multiple locations. His attempt to sort correspondence by case, law firm, and/or subject matter resulted in extensive duplication, especially as the lawyers also sent copies of correspondence to each other, all also copied to their clients. In fact, it was a rare letter that did not include some indication of having been sent to multiple recipients!
In reality, all correspondence ties back to the derivative suit and its various related actions. Therefore the decision was made to combine all legal-related correspondence into one chronological file. This serves to tell the story, at least from Moore's perspective, from its beginning to the ultimate conclusion. The exceptions to this are the file of original correspondence between Robert H. Moore, Jr., and Huston St. Clair that is located in Series 1.2, Folder 24, and the correspondence that documents Moore's early research into the Northfork Mining Company, located in Series 4.
The folder of memoranda included here contains those written by Moore to record various meetings and conversations, as well as his ruminations on various subjects. Also included are memoranda by Moore's main lawyer, Frank Harrison. The folder of legal expenses documents monies Moore expended throughout the legal process, chiefly fees paid to lawyers. These fees were later refunded as part of the eventual settlement of the derivative suit.
In addition to the litigants, the main correspondents represented in this series include: John S. Battle, Jr., of Battle, Neal, Harris, Minor and Williams, Richmond, Virginia; Frank Harrison of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey, Cleveland, Ohio; A. Linwood Holton of Eggleston, Holton, Butler, and Glenn, Roanoke, Virginia; Eppa Hunton of Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell and Gibson, Richmond; and Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam and Roberts of New York.
|126||Correspondence, 1963 January-June|
|127||Correspondence, 1963 July-September|
|128||Correspondence, 1963 October-December|
|129||Correspondence, 1964 January-March|
|130||Correspondence, 1964 April-June|
|131||Correspondence, 1964 July-December|
|132||Correspondence, 1965 January-June|
|133||Correspondence, 1965 July-December|
|137||Legal expenses, 1962-1966|
Robert Moore began his investigation of Huston St. Clair's Kentucky leases several years before litigation began. He employed lawyer J.E. Johnson III of Lexington, Kentucky, to do much of the background research for him. The correspondence they exchanged, along with the memoranda Moore wrote, give a history of St. Clair's involvement in the Northfork and Pertlecherry coal companies. The folder on the United Mine Workers of America discusses the overall problems between union and non-union mines. Folder 145 contains general information, as well as Dun & Bradstreet reports on a number of mining companies mentioned in this collection.
|138||Certificates of incorporation, etc.|
|144||Memoranda, etc., on the valuation of Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation stock|
|145||United Mine Workers of America, Information on, 1962-1971 (includes U.S. Labor Bureau reports, 1960 and 1961, showing outstanding loans to coal companies)|
|146||Research on coal industry, 1954-1964|
This series includes general historical information about life in a coal mining community as well as newspaper articles and a book about Jewell Ridge Coal and the town itself. Also included is silent film about the town and an oral history, 2008, of donor Robert H. Moore, Jr.
|147||Jewell Ridge No. 11 becomes automated : special issue of The News Progress (Richlands, Va.), 1964 January 28|
|148||Jewell Ridge : portrait of a coal town. Louise B. Leslie and Terry W. Mullins. Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub., c2008.|
|149||Jewell Ridge silent film, n.d. (DVD)|
|150||Lathrop, Harriet Eliza Williams. Memoir of life in Pocahontas, Va., ca. 1881-1885 (photocopy).|
|151||Moore, Robert W., Jr. Oral history, 2008 (audio tapes)|
|152||Moore, Robert W., Jr. Oral history, 2008 (CDs)|
|153||Newspaper articles, 1922-1996, concerning Jewell Ridge, Va., and the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation|
|154||Photograph of Jewell Ridge mine, ca. 1922|