A Sedalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Blog
By L.C. Melton
Browsing for Sedalia sights on the Internet, especially on archival newspaper sites often brings up Sedalia Mining Companies (SMC). Today it is easy to forget that mining was a very popular commercial enterprise in not only Sedalia, Missouri but around the mid-west from the Minnesota Mesabi Range down through our Ozark region. In fact the first European related place name in the area was the Lamine (La mine) River.
After the French trappers explored the Midwest, the miners came next and when gold and silver eluded them, they sought, metals, coal and salt. The vital salt licks of Missouri drew Nathan Boone into Central Missouri and Saline County to the north evinces the importance of salt to the early settlers.
Thus is was no surprise to find Nineteenth Century Sedalians forming mining companies to not only excavate the land around the new town but to branch out to Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa to name but a few of Sedalia’s Mining Companies.
In 1892 a SMC was probing around the environs of Sedalia itself because “the locality is supposed to be underlined with immense deposits of coal.”1 The following year they began digging in northeast Sedalia looking for coal and lead.2
In 1899, a new SMC was organized by B.F. Hughes with financial interests in Sedalia, Mo. And Des Moines, Iowa again for the purpose of lead mining in Missouri.3 Sedalia’s place name was probably also indirectly given to an Ohio community named for a nearby SMC of Cleveland mine and that one has me temporarily snockered….stay tuned.
In more recent times, an SMC has drilled for gold on their Quebec, Canadian property originally staked out in 1923. Elvin Gordon, A.H. Clark, Julius Hyken, Samuel Raskin and Gene Kriesel named the company after their home town.4
And so we find that mining as well as railroad interests spread the euphonious name of Sedalia across the country like Johnny Appleseed spread his beloved trees.
1 Sedalia Weekly Democrat; “A Big Bonanza”; April 22, 1892.
2Sedalia Weekly Bazoo; “June 6, 1893.
3Des Moines Gazette; “Lead Mining Company Formed”; September 28, 1899.
4Sedalia Democrat; “Plan to Start Gold Digging”; April 1, 1945.