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
Return to georgesbasement

Work in the Strip Coal Mines during November & December 1939
Field Work

November 1, 1939:  [I went to] Locality No. 8 on the east end at at the southern slopes a bit west of the cottonwoods [see map diagram in the September notes - GL,III].  No snow yet, and temperature about 40°F at 8:00AM.

November 3, 1939:  [I went to] Braidwood Coal Company at our first locality close to the coal truck road.  Nothing to brag about.

November 6, 1939:  [I went to] Locality No. 28 on the west end near the dike.

November 8, 1939:  [I went to] Locality No. 26 on the west end almost north to the Pond.  I brought home only thirty pounds of nodules.

November 9, 1939:  [I went to] Locality No. 3.  I worked the central portion of this area and the west small heap at the west end of the small pond, paying considerable attention to the very small nodules and to the dark blue stone nodules.  I got forty pounds, many of which were very small nodules with rather nice things in them.  There were no banner pieces and only one outstanding specimen: a fair bristle worm.  The following is the score of the next three selections:

Selection
Number
Description
#1
34
Of which nineteen were small and nine had to be mended.
#2
1

#3
25
Of which five were small and eleven had to be mended.
Total
60
Specimens weighing forty pounds; all rather small to very small.

November 10, 1939: (Friday) and Armistice Day (Saturday)  Weather was 28°F at night; and the day was clear, about 40°F.  I visited Locality No. 7 on the west and on the southern slopes.  I brought home about thirty pounds, all of only fair material.  The rabbit, quail and pheasant season had just opened, and the fine weather brought out hordes of hunters.

November 13, 1939:  [I went to] the 1st McClucki site towards the west.

November 14, 1939:  [I went to] the site west of the roundhouse.  I took the road parallel to the mine railroad track and went as far west as I could, then crossed the Santa Fe tracks and tried to get into our "Eurypteris site."  A drainage ditch, recently dug, blocked me.  So I worked the east piles near Pit No. 6 and got a few fair things.  The weather was clear and very mild.

November 15, 1939: (Wednesday)  I drove one-and-one-half miles southeast of the Tipple Road and stopped at the ditch which had blocked me the day before.  By much walking through sand near the ditch, I went west almost to Grundy County.  The material was mostly common, and the stone, poor.  I reached the "Eurypteris site" and found a second Eurypteris, a shattered specimen in poor stone.

November 17, 1939:  I went around the Northern Illinois Coal Corporation's roundhouse and southwest along the Santa Fe tracks as far as I could toward Pit No. 6.  But the ground was too bad, so I came back and went over the clay heaps on the south side of the cut from Pit No. 6 past the roundhouse.  I descended into the cut through mountains of sand so as to cross the coal track and explore on the north side of the cut.  Suddenly the quicksand got me and I was down to the middle of my thighs before I could reach out and use my tin bucket in the mess to hold me up.  That bucket was a life-saver, but it took me nearly an hour to get about eight feet to where there was something solid beneath.  The mass of wet sand was slowly drifting like a glacier, with more wet sand pushing it along from the sand hills.  I had been stuck in quicksand before, but this time I was in a fix to worry about.  I was so wet and cold and covered with grime that I drove home at once.  I lost the few specimens that I had gathered, but I did not care much, I was so relieved at freeing myself from the sand-grip.  I felt as though an octopus had hold of me.

December 7, 1939:  The weather was about 32°F in the morning, but [there was] no wind, [and it became] warmer later.  I went to the south face of Locality No. 4 and got very little.  At noon I moved west to Locality No. 5.  Here I found a whole, small Belinurus, a pupa-like segmented animal (?) and a cockroach (?).  I did pretty well for the short time I was there.

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