Collecting Fossil Plants and Animals
in the Pennsylvanian Deposits of the Will County, Illinois Coal Measures
The Field Notes of George Langford, Sr. in the Years 1937-1960.
Prepared and organized by George Langford, Jr., 1973.
Copyright George Langford, III, 2010
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Work in the Strip Coal Mines during the first half of 1939
Field Work
With George Jr. gone to work with the J.C. Belden Company in Chicago, I spent the first quarter of the year sorting, mending and developing specimens previously collected.  I also took a good many to the University of Chicago for identification by [Dr.] R.E. Janssen.  Then the Illinois State Museum at Springfield decided to take over our loan collection there.  Dr. Janssen was writing a Bulletin for the Museum, using some of my coal plant photographs, and I agreed to make the Museum a gift of the specimens illustrated in the Bulletin.  He was also writing a Monograph on the Coal Plant Types in the Museum and was including ten new species of plants we had collected.  I agreed to donate to the Museum these type specimens, but I would keep the duplicates.  Professor Noe of the University of Chicago died suddenly, and as Dr. Janssen had completed his researches, I stopped taking specimens up to him in May and brought back all the ones he had.

[Raymond E. Janssen, Ph.D., did publish this work: "Some Fossil Plant Types of Illinois, A Restudy of the Lesquereux Types in the Worthen Collection of the Illinois State Museum, Augmented by Descriptions of New Species from Mazon Creek," Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers, Vol. 1, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois, 1940; and "Leaves and Stems from Fossil Forests, a Handbook of the Paleobotanical Collections in the Illinois State Museum," Illinois State Museum Popular Science Series, Vol.1, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Illinois, 1939. - GL,III, ed.]

On May 1st, 1939, the score of identifications stood as follows:
Type
Count
Coal plants, known species:
270
Coal plants, new species:
10
Animals:
25
Total:
305

Field Notes

April 1939: On a thoroughly warm day, Mrs. L. [Sydne Holmes Langford - GL,III] and I drove down to Locality No. 21, Custer Township.  I had very little luck.  It looked as though George Jr. and I had pretty well devastated this site during the late Summer of 1938.

May 1939: I went down to the southeast Pig Pen site 3 [Locality No. 3  - GL,III] two times and then on the west side to Locality No. 5.  Another trip took me to Locality No. 6, and another to Locality No. 3 again.  I got fairly good things during all of these visits and generally brought home three-quarters of a pail or more [each time - GL,III.]  I went down to Locality No. 1 and Locality No. 2 on Highway 59 and did not do so well.  I went back to Locality No. 3 again and did better.  Highway 59 had been laid south to Braidwood, so I made another trip south of Locality No. 14.  There were plenty of nodules, but nearly all of them were cross-seamed blue stone.

I went to Locality No. 3 again and then to Locality No. 6.  I collected fairly well - a nice worm at Locality No. 3.

On a cool day I tackled the long walk west of Pig Pen Road to Locality No. 7 on the north side.  Next time, I went there on the south side.  Next I made two trips farther west to Locality No. 8 on the south side and then still farther to Locality No. 17 on the south side.  I got some pretty good things on all of these trips, although presumably George Jr. and I had devastated these sites in 1938.  This ended my May 1939 explorations.

June 1939: I went to Locality No. 8 again and then switched over to Locality No. 21 in the Braidwood Coal Company Mine.  I made three visits, one on the west side, two on the east.

I made two visits to Locality 31 near the Santa Fe Rail Road; lost my hammer on the first trip and found it the next time.

June 18, 1939: Sydne (Mrs. L.) and I drove down to Morris, Illinois and had a two hour visit with Mr. Weimer and his family.  Mr. Weimer is General Superintendent of the Northern Illinois Coal Company.  I showed him some fossil plants and my two books of photographs [eventually to become the two books published by ESCONI Associates in 1958 and 1962 - GL,III].

June 19, 1939: I spent the day at the western end of Pit No. 6, which was in active operation.  Here is a section of the cut which ran from east to west:

Coal section on page 44, George Langford, Sr.

[unsigned, but in the handwriting of] George Langford, Sr.