Truax-Traer Coal Co.

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

Truax-Traer Tipple
Postcard courtesy Grant Walker Jan 2018

#9678 painted on side of 320B dragline, possibly the “Official Mine Number” registered with the Saskatchewan Government.

This Company started in Columbus, Burke Co., ND ca 1920. Founder, Elmer Merton Truax, (1873-1936), son of Newton Curly Truax.
His brother Arthur Harlan “Harold” Truax (1889-1963) joined him in the business then after Elmer's early death, Harold ran the business till his death.

Found an internet article that stated:

“1908-1917 Truax opened underground Lignite mine in Divide Co., ND. 200 employees, 10 railroad cars /day shipped.”

I found another article online that describes the early Strip Mining procedure.

“The operations which led to the modern lignite stripping industry began just prior to 1919 when the Whittier Coal Co. and the Truax Brothers began stripping lignite in Kincaid, Burke Co. ND, with horse drawn elevating graders, and horse drawn dump wagons. The wagons were used to dispose of overburden and haul lignite to the tipple. The first power equipment used to strip lignite in ND, was put into service by the Truax Brothers in 1919. This was a 1 1/2 cu yard steam shovel, which replaced the elevating graders, for loading overburden into the dump wagons. The same shovel was used to load lignite into narrow gauge pit cars, which were hauled to the tipple by steam locomotives. ”

The start of “Strip mining for coal”, rather than “Underground mining”, Elevator Graders were used. Elevating graders were first invented ca 1880's, pulled by usually 2 rows, 4 each, by horses, or mules, originally, later steam traction tractors, then finally crawler tractors pulled these huge steel units. 1 teamster on the front for the horses, another man on the back to adjust height and angle of cutting blade. Machine consisted of a cutting blade, or disk, set on an angle to the direction of travel which directed the overburden, or lignite coal, once overburden was removed, onto a conveyor belt, raised on outside end, the conveyor portion was extended out 90 deg, to the direction of travel. The conveyor dumped the overburden into horse drawn dump wagons, which followed on the side of the unit. The conveyors were run by chain or gear drive, from the running wheels, later gas engines were used. Russell Grader Manufacturing of Minneapolis MN., was one of the early companies making these, founded in 1903. They used a gas driven conveyor belt. Caterpillar bought them out in 1928. J. D. Adams was another Company at the time, making Elevating graders.

Truax-Traer Company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1929

Truax Township, Williams Co, ND, probably named after this family

Origins of the Truax-Traer business, and family were harder to trace than my own family tree. Here is what I have found so far.

First the founder and partners in the business, Their Family History included

Elmer Merton Truax was the Founder of the Company, became a partner with his younger brother Harold Truax. Elmer Truax was a Commissioner in Divide County, ND, ca1912-1920, one of 3 men, credited with building the County Court House, in Crosby ND, in 1917.

1908-1917 Truax opened underground Lignite mine in Divide Co., ND. 200 employees, 10 railroad cars /day shipped.

Elmer M. Truax article written Sept 22, 1929 claimed The start was made by Elmer Truax at Columbus, ND, in the north west, part of the state. He found the strip mining so profitable that he opened another mine so looks like it was Elmer that figured out Strip Mining was the way to go, Their Kincaid Mine was close to Columbus, Burke Co., ND

Descendants of the first settlers of Schenectady NY

Elmer Merton Truax
  • b- Sept 24, 1873, at Long Lake, MN
  • d- Jan 3, 1936 in Evanston, Cook Co., IL., age 62
  • of a heart attack in his home.
  • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery, (see location below)
  • shown as a farmer in 1900 census
  • married 1st -Mary F. Jardine, on Mar 25, 1903, Parker's, , Lake, MN
    • b- 1880 in Scotland
    • d- ?
  • married 2nd, a lady named Rose Henderson.
    • b- ?,
    • d- ?
    • one source says these names were reversed
  • Rose, married 1894, Mary in 1903, but Bill told me the order above.

Elmer M. Truax had 3 children: (note- possibly 4 children)

  1. David “Dave” Elmer Truax
    • b- Aug 21,1905, in Kermit Co., ND
    • d- May 7, 1982 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg, MC, age 76
    • Buried in Concord NC
    • Occupation- Chemist
    • married Marjorie Packard
  2. Howard Newton Truax
    • b- 1909 in ND
    • d- 1936
    • (Father of Bill Truax, my family source)
  3. Harman Jardine Truax
    • b- Sept 27, 1910 in Wayzata, Hennepin Co., MN
    • d- ?(deceased)
    • Harman shown as 4th child of his mother.
  4. I seem to be missing one, possibly died young.

1920 family living in Divide Co, ND

Arthur Harlan "Harold" Truax

  • b- July 3, 1889 in Marshall, MN, USA
  • d- June 21, 1963 in IL
  • buried June 24, 1963, in White Chapel Memory Gardens, Hill Garden, Plot 80, Fulton Co., IL
  • headstone reads Arthur Harold Truax
  • In the same plot is buried
    • 1st wife- Edith A. Truax, nee Lundberg
      • b- 1888,
      • d- Feb 10, 1940
      • married bef. 1920
      • Edith nee Lundberg was the mother of Glenn and Elmer.
      • Feb 11, 1940 obituary:

        She leaves her husband and two sons, Glenn and Elmer Truax of Canton in Fulton county. Aunt of Gladys Russell of Chicago and Robert Russell of Hinot. Funeral services will be held tomorrow at 2 p. m. in the Chapel

    • 2nd Wife- Edith B. Truax, nee Brown
      • b- Dec 5, 1889 in Illinois, USA
      • d- Oct 21, 1975 in IL, USA, of cancer
      • buried in White Chapel Memory Gardens, Hill Garden, Plot 80
  • He remarried Edith Brown, who was his 1st wife, Edith Lundberg's nurse.

Harold's Son's

Glenn Harlan Truax
  • b- June 18, 1915 in ND
  • d- Nov 18, 1978
  • obviously named after his partner Glenn Traer
  • Glenn married Margaret (Margie) Louise Truax, nee Boyd
    • b- Sept 20, 1915
    • d- Dec 8, 1978
  • Glenn and Margie had 2 sons and 2 daughters:
    1. Elizabeth A. Truax (living)
    2. Hobart Harlan Truax
      • b- 1943
      • d- 1984
    3. Mary M. Truax (living)
    4. Charles G. Truax (living)
  • Glenn, Margaret, and Hobart, buried in Hyatt-Thompson-Putman Cemetery, located in the southeast portion of Section 2, in Putman Township, IL, USA
  • June 2010- I have been in email contact with daughters of 2 of the ladies above.
Elmer Newton Truax
  • b- Mar 31, 1918 in Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin
  • named after Harold's brother, Elmer, and father, Newton
  • d- Apr 9, 1960

Harold's Bio

1913 Harold was a member of the Masons in Illinois, part owner of Truax-Traer Coal Co, 1900 US Census, Harold living at Plymouth township, Hennepin, MN. 1920 US Census, Harold, Edith, and his 2 sons, living at Burke Co., ND

Glenn Truax, Harold's son, was also involved in the ownership in the 60's, as Harold died in 1953. Glenn was involved in developing lots at the resort of Wee-Ma-Tuk, Fulton Co IL, over 3200 acres, near Canton IL. with a Mr. Judd Henninger, real estate agent. All of this was on land strip mined by the Truax-Traer Coal Company. The Cemetery Glenn is buried in, is very near here. Developing this land was Harold Truax, as well as Gene Long, a company employee. Turns out these lots were sold to retired miners.So here again Arthur Harlan Truax is called Harold. This development also contained a golf course.

Elmer Truax is in a 1941 workers photo of a Truax-Traer Co mine at Fiatt, IL Were Arthur and Harold the same person? yes for sure he was. The family says his name was always Harold

Aug 1, 1952, Harold Truax Elected Chairman of the Board of Truax-Traer Coal Co of Chicago


  • Father - Newton Curly Truax
    • b- Mar 10, 1844 in Rocky Run, Bazetta Township, Trumbull Co., Ohio, USA
    • (Mar 12, and 13 another 2 sources)
    • d- Jan 7, 1929 (Jan 6, 1928 another source, Jan 1, 1929 another) in Minneapolis, Hennepin, MN
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery (see below)
    • Machinist Buckland in 1900 census
    • June 1900, family living in Plymouth township, Hennepin Co, MN
  • Mother- Ella Jane Truax, nee Parker, in 1880 census,
    • b- Sept 20, 1851 in Topsem, Maine, USA
    • d- Apr 15, 1909 (1910 another source) Minneapolis, MN
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery
  • married 1870 in Plymouth, Hennepin, MN
  • 1880 Newton Truax family, living in Clifton, Lyon, MN, Farmer


Newton and Ella Truax had 7 children:

  1. Elmer Merton Truax-
    • b- Sept 24, 1873 Long, ?Lake, MN
    • d- Jan 3, 1936 in Evanston, Cook, IL.
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery, (see location below)
    • History above
  2. Anna Mary Truax
    • b- Aug 30, 1875 in Minneapolis, Hennepin, MN
    • d- Sept 8, 1876 in Minneapolis
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery
  3. Fred Parker (Frank?) Truax
    • b- Dec 29, 1877 in Parker's Lake, Rochester, Olmsted, MN
    • d- Nov 21, 1931
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery, Plymouth, MN
    • Enumerator of 1900 census in Plymouth Township, Hennepin Co., MN
    • shown as a farmer in 1900 census
    • married twice,
      • 1st- Cora Nelson, on Aug 1905, at Montrose, Wright, MN
        • b- ?
        • d- 1907
      • 1 child with Cora:
        • Rolland Arthur Truax (mother Cora)
          • b-1906
          • d- May 6, 1959, Tukwila, King Co. WA, age 54
      • 2nd- Olive Egilson in 1908
        • b- 1884 in Parker's Lake, MN
        • (b- 1888, in Canada, per census)
        • d- after 1920, Rochester, Olstead Co. MN
      • 1 child with Olive:
        • Ethel Daisy Truax
          • b- 1910
          • d-
          • 1920 family living in Divide Co. ND
  4. Walter (Walt) (nickname Bud) Myron Truax,
    • b- Aug 30, 1880 in Marshall, MN
    • d- 1959
    • buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery
    • married Emmalena (Lena) Minnie Keller, on Nov 7, 1902 at Parker's Lake, Hennepin, MN
      • b- July 27, 1882 in Golden Valley, MN
      • d- July 13, 1947, in Seattle, King, WA
      • buried Parker's Lake Cemetery
    • 3 children:
      • 1. Goldie Ella Truax
        • b- 1903 in MN
        • d- 1973
        • married Iver L. Brujord
          • b- 1887
          • d- 1972
      • 2. Lena Mary Truax,
        • b-1906 in MN
        • d- ?
        • married Cushman Kelson
      • 3. Walter (Jr) Truax
        • b- Nov 24, 1906 in ND
        • d- Aug 1983
        • married Alice O. Truax, nee ?
          • b- 1904
          • d- 1963
          • both buried in Parker's Lake Cemetery
  5. Howard Truax
    • b- ?
    • d- ?
    • can't find info on him, need to verify this guy with Bill
    • I found a Howard Truax:
      • married Florence Cora Vanoss
      • b- Apr 14, 1909 in Waubun MInnesota
      • d- 1972
      • married Aug 15,1930 in Estevan Saskatchewan.
      • daughter of Maxine Vanoos and Annie Pederson
      • same guy?
  6. Daisy L. Truax
    • b- June 13, 1886 in Marshall, MN
    • d-
    • 1920 census, living in Cass Co., ND, single
    • staying in home of James H. McDonald, widower, age 39
  7. Arthur Harlan “Harold” Truax
    • b- July 3, 1889 in Marshall, MN, USA
    • d- June 21, 1963 in IL
    • History above


  • Grandfather Peter Isaac Truax
    • b- New York
  • Grandmother- Mary Curley
    • b- New York
  • Aug 2, 1842, we see Peter had another wife :
    • Henrietta Truax, of Schenectady, 19 years of age, wife of Peter Truax, of Brooklyn. 50. ,Mary Frances Cecilia Truax, 4 years old , all died in the Henry Clay Steamer Catastrophe, near Yonkers, New York
    • Great-Grandfather- Isaac Peter Truax
    • Great-Grandmother- Anna De Riemer
      • GG Grandfather- Pieter DuTrieux
      • GG Grandmother- Jacoba Van Santvoord
        • GGG Grandfather- Isaac DuTrieux
        • GGG Grandmother- Jacoba Van Santvoord
Received a nice phone call Sept 24, 2010 from the grandson of Elmer M. Truax and brother of Harold Truax, Mr. Bill Truax, from Denver Colorado. With some scratching down of some notes from the call, he cleared up a few things on this company's history, and gave me some clues on family names and info.

He did note that there is many Harold and Elmer names, so can get confusing.

  • Truax-Traer became the 4th largest producing Lignite Coal Mine Company in the World.
  • Working mines in ND, IL, and VA, beside this Canadian one.
    • Parker's Lake Cemetery, Plymouth, Hennepin Co, (near Minneapolis) MN
    • Parkers Lake Cemetery - County Rd 6 at Niagara Lane, Plymouth MN
      • note- Parker name is related to the family, see above

per Bill, Harold and his brother Elmer were “making money hand over fist” in the Coal Mines. The Truax-Traer mine in Estevan was bought out by the Canadian Government, at the time of WWII. They had no option but to sell the mine. It was Nationalized. They continued to mine in ND, then expanded to IL, then to VA.

Harold and Elmer were mining as early as 1920 in ND.

He told me Elmer M. Truax, his Grandfather, was a real showman.

Bill Truax operated a Coal Mine himself, in I think he said Montana.

He told me Glenn Traer, shown below, was only the money man. He had nothing to do with the operation of their mines. Harold and Elmer were expanding so fast, they needed cash. And Glenn Traer was the man for that.

Bill told me he would send some info and pictures, so hope they will clarify a bit more. He did correct the death year for Harold, I had 1953, but 1963 was correct, a typo by me. I thank Mr. Bill Truax for his contribution to this web page.


Glenn Wood Traer (Sr)
b- June 1859, in Iowa, USA
d- Jan 10, 1936, 67 yrs of age
died of a heart attack at his daughter's place, not sure which one.
Shown as Vice-President of Truax-Traer in obit.
living in Chicago IL when he died
buried in Graceland Cemetery, Cook Co., Chicago, IL, Sec d, Lot 437

1900 census shown as a Coal Dealer
Glenn Sr. had 4 brothers, 3 sisters.
Some became very important citizens.
He was a Clerk in the family Bank in 1880, in Vinton, Benton, Iowa, age 21
He was a very big name in Underground Coal mining ca 1914
He was Chairman of the Illinois Mining Commission

Sr's Father- James Clarkson Traer,
b- 1825, in Ohio
d- 1898 in Vinton Iowa
buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton, Benton Co, Iowa
1880 US census- Banker in Vinton, Benton, Iowa
Banking House of Traer Brothers, located in Vinton, Benton Iowa

Sr's Mother- Marcia Wright Ferguson,
b- 1828, In Ohio
d- 1906 in Vinton Iowa
buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton, Benton Co, Iowa

Wife- Ida Solberg
b- July 1862 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
d- Oct 1935 in Chicago IL, USA
buried in Graceland Cemetery, Cook Co., Chicago, IL
Father- b- in Norway
Mother- b- in Norway
Glenn and Ida had 5 children I know of:
3 sons, 2 daughters

1st Son- Glenn Wood Traer (Jr.)
b- Apr 9, 1889 at #50, 35th St, Chicago, Cook County, IL

d- Sept 13, 1962 in Illinois
buried in Graceland Cemetery, Cook Co., Chicago, IL, Sec D, lot 437
His bio further down
I believe he took over his Dad's Business
after Sr. died in 1936.

1st Wife- Nadyne Traer, nee McNeill (see correction below)
b- ca 1891, IL, USA
d- ?
married- Jan 16, 1915 in IL
children Sylvia and Milton M.

married twice (see Correction below)
Marjory Stewart Acklin (see correction below)
married Jan 19, 1941
died ca June 2, 1971

correction Aug 2020- Spouses: (1) Nadyne Vera McNeill; (2) Marjory Stewart Acklin Marriage Date: (1) 16 January 1915; (2) 19 January 1941 Children: (1) Sylvia, Milton M.; (2) 2 Daughters; (2)

daughter Sylvia Traer, Married ca 1949
Husband last name Reeves
Son Milton M. Traer, engaged ca Jan 1948
wife- Anne Smith, lives at Lake Forest

2nd child- Son- Charles Solberg Traer
b. Nov. 24, 1890 in Chicago, Cook County, IL

d. Oct. 25, 1949
buried in Graceland Cemetery, Cook Co., Chicago, IL
Lived at 4363 Oakenwald ave, Chicago IL ca 1920
his wife Josephine Schumate
had at least one daughter Barbara
short bio below

3rd child- 1st Daughter- Josephine Traer
b- Oct 1892
d- Nov 1947, see below
1900 census- living in Chicago city, Cook Co., IL
married Nov 29, 1917 in Chicago to
Wallace Thaxter Jones Jr.
son of Mr. and Mrs W. T. Jones of Brooklyn

4th child- Son- Morton Traer
b- bet July 1-13, 1894 at 4463 Lake Ave., Cook Co, IL, USA

d- June 14, 1942
buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL, USA
served in WWII, 2nd Lt. 335 HV. Field Artillery, 86th Division,
ca 1921, at 4363 Oakenwald Ave., Chicago.

Aug 1925, married Ruth Gates Merritt
They had 2 daughters:
1 - Ann Merritt Traer
b- Aug 14, 1926 in Chicago, LaGrange IL
d- Jan 25, 1868 in St. Louis, MO
she married Lee F. McCue
Jan 16, 1947 engagement announced
2 - Marcia Ferguson Traer- b- ?

5th child- 2nd Daughter- Elsa Traer
b- Nov 1896
d- ?
1900 census- living in Chicago city, Cook Co., IL

Apr 9, 1889, Glenn Wood Traer Sr. was an agent for White? Fuel Company
see sons birth cert above

Glenn Wood Traer, Jr. (bio)
Business address- 8 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, 111.
Residence- 4363 Oakenwald Avenue, Chicago, III.

Glenn Wood Traer, Jr., was born April 9, 1889, in Chicago, III, the son of Glenn Wood Traer, chairman of the Illinois mining commission, and Ida (Solberg) Traer. He is of Scotch-English and Scandinavian ancestry. He has two brothers and two sisters : Charles S. Traer, Yale '10 S., Josephine Traer, Morton Traer and Elsa Traer.

He was prepared at the Harvard School, Chicago, 1L., and received the degree of Ph.B. at Yale in 1909.
He was a member of Chi Phi.
He is unmarried. (later married)
Traer took the Forestry Course in Sheff and in Senior year, completed a portion of the Junior Forest School work. In the fall of 1909 he entered a law office and also studied at the Kent College of Law in Chicago. He entered the coal mining business at Danville, 111., in March, 1910, and held various positions, such as engineer, clerk, salesman and assistant superintendent, until April, 1912, when a strike amongst the miners of Illinois led him to give up that occupation temporarily. He is now assistant to the sales manager of A. B. Leach & Company, dealers in bonds and securities.
another address in 1920, Glenn W. Traer, Jr., 736 McKnight Bldg., Minneapolis, Minn. [Fin.]

Glenn W. Traer Jr. had a Canadian and American patent
Process of carbonizing and distilling carbonaceous materials such as lignite, coal, wood, peat, and similar materials - Patent US1747731(A)

1920 US census, Glenn W. Traer Jr living at Hennepin Minnesota, USA, married now

1942- He was a major investor in Greyhound bus lines and became a director of Greyhound Corporation.

Apr 21, 1961
Mrs. Glenn W. Traer.
Services for: Mrs. Marjorie Traer, 70, of 1500 Lake Shore dr., who died Wednesday on a train en route to Chicago from Phoenix

In July 27, 1901, it was reported in a Wisconsin paper, Glenwood Traer and Charles Traer of Chicago, and Max Thompson of La Cross Wisconsin, were guests of Mrs. W. B. Chandler's party for her children. Also Mrs. G. W. Traer arrived to spend a few days, no doubt a family relative of Ida
Glenwood was a son of Glenn Wood Traer Sr's brother
Dr. J. C. Traer

Charles S. Traer, Apr 1941, President of Acme Steel company
Traer who was 50 years old lived at 6901 Oglesby avenue

Oct 25, 1949
Charles S. Traer was born in Chicago, attended Harvard School for Boys, and was graduated from Yale University in 1910. 40 years with Acme Steel Company

Nov 24, 1957
Services for Mrs. Josephine Traer Jones., former resident of Chicago who died Saturday, in her home In New York City, will be held In New York tomorrow.

Nov 13, 1951
The Peter Darlings [Sylvia Traer] named their second child and first son Glenn Traer, after his maternal grandfather, Glenn Traer of Lake Shore Dr

Others buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, family?

Mary Rose Traer, Payne
b. Nov. 24, 1936 d. Apr. 3, 1993

Marjorie Arnold Traer
b. Sept 26, 1901 d. Nov 1984
last res Chicago, IL

Thomas Norton Traer
b. Jun. 27, 1934 d. Jul. 6, 1934

Trivia- There is a City of Traer, Tama County, Iowa, reached by the railroad 1873, named after John Wells Traer

Aug 30, 1925
Glenn Wood Traer Sr living at 4721 Greenwood in Chicago

Apr 12, 1907
Glenn W. Traer of Chicago elected President of the Illinois Collieries Company
They controlled 5 mines in Illinois in 1925

Truax Coal Company was formed as early as 1908 by Elmer Merton Truax in North Dakota. His brother, Arthur Harlan Truax (Known as Harold Truax) joined him in the business

Between 1920 and 1925 Harold Truax Harold went into partnership with Glenn Wood Traer Strip mining took big investment to buy these big stripping machines
Truax brothers had the idea of doing strip mining, and Traer had the money

In 1930 this American Company, Truax-Traer Coal Co., bought out the Big Lump Coal Co. LSD 4, Section 27- Township 2- Range 8- West of the 2nd Meridian
Their mine was very close to the first Pioneer Cemetery, South-East of Estevan SK., near the old Brick Plant.

from Obituary for Peter Paul Unterfinger:
b- June 6, 1875 Alsace Lorraine, France
d- Nov 12, 1945 Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Funeral services Nov 15, 1945, for Peter Paul Unterfinger, aged 70, who died in St. Joseph's Hospital (in Estevan SK) early Tuesday morning, were held at ten o'clock this morning at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic church with Msgr. Hughes officiating. Burial was made in the family plot, and pallbearers were Rudolph Ivan, Louis Parkinson, Weldon Matte, Gus Schwegman, Frank Journault and J. Peterson.
The late Mr. Unterfinger suffered a stroke at his home about five o'clock last Saturday afternoon and moved to hospital but never regained consciousness. He had never before been ill in his life. He was born in Alsace Lorraine, and married the former Caroline Rubin 46 years ago. They came to Estevan in 1910 where they were early pioneers. Mr. Unterfinger farmed near the river south east of Estevan and also operated a coal mine for many years.
He sold out his holdings to the Truax-Traer Coal Company which started the first strip mining plant in this area,
and he continued to farm until he retired to Estevan three years ago. For a time he was in partnership in the greenhouse business with his son, Frank.
In addition to his widow he is survived by one son, Frank of Hamilton, Ontario, and one daughter Madeline (Mrs. Menzies) of Montana. There are five grandchildren, as well as a brother living in France.
Mrs. Unterfinger expects to leave Estevan shortly to make her home wth her daughter in Montana.

1930 they bought the mine at Wilton ND, and did the same there, as they did in Estevan, started strip mining, and putting many underground miners out of work.

Guy L. Scott was a Representative of the Truax Traer Company in Winnipeg for 19 years, at the time of his Obituary here, Nov 20, 1944,
he was Manager of Coal Sellers Company Ltd., in Saskatoon SK.
Coal Sellers Company Ltd. head office was in Calgary AB, they also had an office in Edmonton AB
R. B. Bennett, Prime Minister, 1930-35, was a shareholder in this company
John I. McFarlane, Calgary AB. was President of the Co. at least in 1940 and 1941.
John McFarlane was previously with the Canadian Wheat Board ca 1931.
In 1931 he was part of what was called the Northern Syndicate with R. B. Bennett, and Pat Burns, of Burns Meat fame.

Sept 1930 newspaper article describes the mine as 1 1/2 miles east of Estevan.
All along the south edge of the mine is a deep ravine.
South of the mine was the Dominion Electric Company plant.
They had an artesian well, tipple, and the railway.
From the valley the mine lies to the north.
The hills rise about 40 feet, and that is where the big shovel was set to do it's work. working north to another ravine on the extreme north of the property.
Covering of the coal was on average 32 feet. Under this a seam of 10-12 feet deep. Top covering contained lots of gravel, and this was to be sold for use on local roads.
Mine property was level and contained 1600 acres. Where the tipple was, they dug up remains of prehistoric animals.

In 1943 I thought Truax Traer sold their Estevan mine to Coal Sellers Company Ltd. But Elmer's grandson Bill tells me the Government Nationalized the Coal Mine and they were forced to sell out. I think they were used to manage and sell the coal. So now we know the end of the Truax Traer connection to Estevan

In the Mar 24, 1939 Leader-Post they reported the sale to or merger of the Truax-Traer Coal Co with Great West Coal Co.
They were going to use the big shovel from the Truax Mine, to the Taylorton field, where they were going to start strip mining.
Sale of the Truax-Traer mine was going to result in a loss of Office Staff jobs in Regina.

In 1950 Truax-Traer Coal Company, a corporation engaged in production, distribution and sale of coal, desiring to acquire Binkley and Pyramid mines in IL, offered to take over the stock of the two companies

In 1955 this company was #491 on the Fortune 500 list, Company head at one time was Harold Truax, Home Office was In Illinois, USA.

in 1956 they applied to SEC to offer a stock option plan to employees of 19,200 shares, at $1 per share, to it's own employees and it's subsidiary, Little Sister Coal Corp. employees

1961- Truax-Traer Coal files Stock Plan.
Truax-Traer Coal Company, 111 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago. filed a registration statement (File 2-18647) with the SEC on August 7th, seeking registration of $800,000 of participations in the Employees Stock purchase Incentive plan, and 20,000 shares of common stock which may be acquired pursuant thereto.

Listed as one of top 10 depression stocks +30,500% return from 1932-1954, not a bad profit!

Truax-Traer are still big time owners and operators in the Coal Industry, holding the 16 leases in North Dakota. They were in West Virginian, Georgia, and Minnesota, etc etc. as well.

They owned mines in Kincaid, Hazen, Garrison, and Velva, ND, in Jackson Co., IL, in Kanawha Co, 1942, 1953, Fiatt IL, found a Pyramid Mine, Red Fox Mine, Truax-Traer no1 in Jackson Co IL #1 Drift and #1 Strip in Elkville Il, Cabin Creek mine, WV, Little Sister Mine Company, all owned by Truax-Traer

a Harry Piper Sr. was on Truax-Traer's board of directors

From a ND school book-
Harold and Elmer Truax led the way in surface mining, and by 1930 were operating 4 surface mines at Kincaid, Velva, and Wilton.

Over decades of Coal Company acquisitions by Truax-Traer Coal Co. They themselves were taken over by a bigger boy on the block, the Consolidation Coal Company,
and became a Division of Consolidation Coal Company.

Jan 23, 1962 the announcement was made to consolidate the 2 companies

Based on all accounts, it was this company moving into the area, that really lit the fuse, for the Black Tuesday Riot.
Can't stop progress, but in this case, it couldn't have come at a worst time, and again was possibly a plan behind it, to break the formation of a Union in the area.
Can just imagine how many jobs were lost to this shovel below, compared to loading by hand.

TRUAX-TRAER Photo ca-1925 per caption
First Open Pit Mine in the Souris coal Fields
Supplied Coal to the Estevan Generating Station
I think 1930 is the correct date for this mine, at least under the Truax-Traer name.

Picture above shows the loading shovel in action, a small brother of the big Stripping shovel, which is in the picture below.
To further insure only good clean coal being loaded, a gang of men would sweep the surface clean with steel brooms immediately in front of the loading shovel.
This shovel above is a 42-B Bucyrus-Erie Electric shovel with a bucket capacity of 1 1/2 cubic yards. Three dumps fill one four-ton pit car,
the entire train of ten cars being loaded in less than 10 minutes.

Their advertising claimed this procedure, was an important factor in insuring prompt service on “Monogram” Coal. Truax-Traer Coal Company Ltd.- Estevan Sask.

Truax-Traer's Bucyrus Erie 320B Stripper Shovel
Picture taken by Rose Gesell
Sign on side below

Picture taken ca1930
This Shovel was brought into the area in 1930, and was equipped with a 8 yard bucket
It was the start of Strip Mining in the area, and the end of underground coal mining up to that date.
It was also the catalyst that activated the strike and eventual riot in 1931
The Estevan Museum has obtained what I believe is this shovel for display beside the museum.

Founded in Bucyrus, Ohio, the Bucyrus Foundry and Manufacturing Company, Started Production June 3, 1882
In 1893 they moved their operation to South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In 1927 Bucyrus merged with the Erie Steam Shovel company becoming Bucyrus-Erie Co. the name on this Shovel
In 1997 Bucyrus International bought Marion Power Shovel company, to become the worlds largest producer, of draglines etc.

see description below

description above on the back, sent to me Jan 24, 2012, by Mr. Roger Phillippe, with Thanks.
His grandfather ran a Coal and Wood Depot in Regina in the 1920's.
He probably sold this Monogram Coal from the Truax-Traer mine.

This is a great photo, showing the size of the machine, in a great working view.

Then Feb 13, 2012, Roger found another gem below. A Nice clear photo of the cleaning of the coal face.

Sept 13, 1930 new Coal Mine talk of the town, population is now 3,000 Sept 13, 1930
Grand opening ceremony planned at their mine, 1 1/2 miles east of Estevan.
New Tipple valued at $123,000
will automatically sort 5 different sizes of coal, and load it in rail cars.
Takes 700 HP to operate the tipple alone.
Dominion Electric Company will supply the power which is situated nearby, from it's new plant , which opened on Aug 1, 1934.
Mr. E. C. Dyer was the Engineer in charge of this plant.
Overburden is 32 feet above the seam of coal.
The coal is a 10-12 ft seam at this point.
Estimate is 25,000,000 tons of coal on the property.

Sept 13, 1930
Truax-Traer had this big shovel in operation as described in the article above. It was a Bucyrus-Erie 320B?
It weighed 600 tons
with a 8 Cubic Yard Bucket.
Swings every 45 seconds.
Mounted on 4 Caterpillar treads
Boom 90 feet long. (article above says 80?)
Size of the cabin, an ordinary 8 room house.
Cable size- 2 1/8 inches in diameter

July 3, 1934
Here we see Henry Eugene Sellers was vice-President
of Truax Traer Trail Coal Company (Canada)
so looks like they operated in BC as well.

Dec 5, 1934
Article from the Saskatchewan Lignite Inquiry in Estevan

General Manager for Truax-Traer,
Eleazer William Garner
b- April 28, 1887 in Walkerton, Bruce County, ON
d- Oct 27, 1937, probably in Estevan
He was Mayor of Estevan 1921-1923
and a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly
He owned a law practice in Estevan.
He was General Manager of the Big Lump Coal Mine in 1928, and it was the first coal mine to be completely Electrified.
It became this mine when bought out by Truax-Traer.
Came to Saskatchewan in 1908 from ON.
He came to Estevan in 1915 from Regina.
He donated the Garner Shield to ECI, for Public Speaking.
He was heavily involved in the Strike in 1931, and the riot that resulted from it.
Member of the Order of Oddfellows, Rotary Club. and the Estevan Board of Trade.
Manager of the Estevan Agricultural Society from 1917-1923.
Also mentioned:
Associate Counsel for the Deep Seam Group-
William Wallace Lynd QC
b- Aug 14, 1891, county Derry Ireland.
Father- Thomas Lynd, living in Moosomin Oct 17, 1916
when William enlisted in WWI, Rank- Lieutenant, Reg # 276070

Small Mines Counsel- W. J. Perkins

Trivia- Truax-Traer Company donated a trophy used at the Woodlawn Golf Club in Estevan.

found an Allan Lincoln Truax and wife Evelyn who came to Divide Co in 1908 as a Great Northern Railroad mail clerk.
they lived in Crosby ND ca1917
related? don't know yet

found a picture of a Truax barn hit by a cyclone dated Aug 15, 1911, near Noonan ND

Continue on to Truax Page 2, photos from Duane Bill

Note- Link below is NOT my site or video
A great 3min+ silent film on underground and strip mining in Estevan area from Sask Archives site


  • Last modified: 2020/08/19 09:19
  • by dlgent