Section 7, T. 5 N., R. 17 E.,
10 miles east of McAlester;
6 miles North of Hartshorne.
Named for Peter Adamson, mine owner.
Post Office March 1, 1906 - Unknown
Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (Katy),
Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad
(Rock Island), abandoned 1902
Adamson developed first as a coal mining camp
later in the early 1900's
as a town. Within the four square mile area which it served as the trading
center were fifteen mines, four of which were considered major producers. The
town reached its peak during World War I, when coal formed the chief source
of energy for railroads, electricity generating, and general manufacturing
activities. At that time the population in the area was estimated in excess of
5,500 persons, including the 700 who lived in Adamson. The Rock Island &
Katy railroads both built tracks into the community to serve the mines.
From 1913 to 1919 Adamson was known as a "live town." There was fighting
and dancing, Choc beer drinking, & living & marriage among the
conglomerate of peoples who had moved in from various parts of the world.
The mines were working twenty-four hours a day, the four major mines using
about two hundred men each. Railroads carried out trainloads of coal daily.
Money flowed freely. Holidays of a dozen different European Countries were
celebrated. One merchant of the time recorded: "We had a busy city then.
It was gay & happy & something happened all of the time." All of the mines
in the Adamson area were slope mines, & most had a dip of about 35 degrees
northward. Coal was taken from both the McAlester and Hartshorne outcrops.
The deepest bed was the Hartshorne, which was workable throughout most of
the area. It averaged about four feet in thickness. The McAlester bed,
approximately one thousand feet above the Hartshorne, varied in thickness
from three feet to a few places five feet. On September 4, 1914, one of the
major mine disasters in Oklahoma occurred at Mine No. 1, one fourth mile
south of the principle business district of Adamson. At about 3:30 p. m. a
miner reported that he had heard a cracking noise in the mine. All men were
ordered out of he mine at once. The trips carried the men up the sixteen-
hundred-foot incline, set on a 45 degree angle, to the tenth level about eight
hundred feet below the surface. All were up to this level except fourteen
from the bottom room. The underground tunnels & rooms of the mine,
almost without warning, began to "squeeze" & collapse. "Increasing cracking
noises, a groan from the earth, and a splintering of supports foretold the
carnage." Several stated there was on great noise like an explosion far beneath
the ground. On the surface the earth dropped about eight to ten feet. The
fourteen men were buried alive. Rescue or even recovery of the bodies was
Today about ten small homes, largely occupied by retired individuals, remain
north of the old main street. Two small grocery stores remain, but much of
their business comes from visitors to nearby Lake Eufaula. All the mines are
now closed & filled with water. About one quarter mile south of the former
business area the land between mine pillars continues to settle gradually, &
a series of somewhat elongated ponds is forming. Water flowing from the old
mines now presents a problem to the conservationists of the area. The water
is highly mineralized, thereby contaminating the streams into which it flows
& killing large numbers of fish.
One person now living in the area stated that Adamson was a ghost town with
fourteen ghosts watching over it.
From the book by John W. Morris, Ghost Towns of
Oklahoma (Norman: University of OK Press, 1977).
Published in KARD, Vol. 8, page 21 & 22.
Photographs in the Town of Adamson