A one-time major Daviess County industry played out to oblivion in 1958. At a county tax sale, the Winston coal mine failed to produce one interested bidder with only a tax bill of $317.10 pending. That wouldn’t have been the case in earlier years.
Efforts to mine coal in Daviess County dates back as far as 1871 when an effort was made to form a company soon after a vein of fuel was discovered on a farm belonging to John S. Hughes. This failed, and nothing was done until about the turn of the century when the first shaft was sunk at a depth of 345 feet.
Lack of capital, cooperation and interest soon halted that venture. But in 1934 J.O. Elliott of Cameron opened the shaft, extended it and struck a 36-inch vein of fine quality bituminous coal. This effort ended in failure when litigation over the property forced its sale to satisfy creditors.
The Winston Coal Company was formed in 1936 and a new larger shaft was sunk 300 feet from the old shaft. These were connected and new hoisting machinery, cutting equipment and a double caqe were installed. Improvements increased output to 200 tons a day for a time. There were as many as 50 men employed at the mine and Daviess County coal was trucked into all sections of Northwest Missouri.
In its later years of operation, the property changed ownership frequently and attempts to operate the mine profitably failed. Eventually, federal inspectors would no longer approve the shafts for safe working without costly repairs which the business could no longer support.
— from the Sept. 4, 1958, edition of the Gallatin Democrat