Cornwall Borough resident Bruce Chadbourne moved to Cornwall Manor a few years ago after his retirement, drawn by the history of the mine and the Cornwall Iron Furnace. He has taken to writing a few historical articles, which he’s kindly shared with LebTown for our readers to enjoy in a semi-regular series titled, “Who knew?” We hope you enjoy.

Read episode one here.

Read episode two here.

This logo is reprinted from the reports filed by Pinkerton Superintendent R.J. Linden to Mr. Coleman.

Day 7 – Monday

Bob Coleman enjoying a summer afternoon playing baseball with his Cornwall colleagues. (Cornwall Iron Furnace)

There being no teams ordered out today, Thomas finished his work in the stable by mid-morning. The men sat about the remainder of the day and Thomas made note of a few remarks made by Fornwalt and Schult about Morgan.

Mr. Coleman had a number of gentlemen over to play baseball in the nearby field and sent Morgan to retrieve some extra gloves for the players to wear. Morgan asked all the men for their gloves but it seemed no one had any except for one man. When he asked Fornwalt for a pair he knew him to have, Fornwalt replied, “I lost it.” Fornwalt privately commiserated with Schult, “just you see, the damn Englishman will go tell the boss all about it.”

Averages of the Coleman-affiliated baseball team from 1888. (Cornwall Iron Furnace)

Later Fornwalt found Christ smoking a pipe that belonged to Morgan and told him “if that Lime Juicer sees you with that pipe you’ll be hearing from him. If you knew an Englishman like I do you wouldn’t be smoking it.” Christ replied not to worry as he’d smoked it before.

Schult’s job was carriage-washer; Thomas describes him as distant and close-mouthed. “He tends to be absent until Morgan shows up, suddenly he is ‘all work,’ then he returns to his loafing.”

The stable hand named Yake described Christ as an old devil, who causes trouble by telling Morgan everything he hears the men saying about him. Fornwalt seemed to be the only man working against Morgan, thinking he is being mistreated, when the prevailing view is that Morgan treats everyone well enough.

At 10:30 p.m. Thomas helped get a team ready to take a gentleman to Lebanon. Before retiring for the evening Thomas reported in his journal that he intends tomorrow to proposition Fornwalt to do something that will get Morgan in trouble and hopes that he will bite.

Day 8 – Tuesday

Thomas noted in his journal on this otherwise uneventful day that Fornwalt considers himself “pretty good friends” with Mr. Coleman’s mother, Susan Ellen Coleman, claiming “she would do anything for him.” Likewise, Schult seemed to think he was held in high regard by her and that he could do as he pleased.

That evening Thomas saw the manager secretly, hearing from him that Mr. Coleman hoped he was making out well. The manager had reported that Thomas was “making out first class.”

With nothing else to do on an early summer evening, Thomas took that hint of endorsement and went for a walk about Cornwall. As he passed the ball field a train sat huffing by the station. He looked upwards past the iron railroad bridge and noted the smoke from the chimney at the Mill and beyond that the tall stacks of the iron furnace fuming into the sky. Patch & Brady’s store was still open so he wandered in and dug 18 cents out of his pocket for cigarettes. On his way back to the stable all the noise of the evening made him think of home in Philadelphia. 

Burd Coleman Furnace. (Courtesy of local author James Polczynski, from his book Souls of Iron)
Patch & Brady’s Cornwall Store. (Cornwall Iron Furnace)
Cornwall Mill, located opposite the Cornwall Store, beyond the iron C&L Railroad bridge. (Cornwall Iron Furnace)

Day 9 – Wednesday

After completing his morning duties Thomas retired to his room in the stable and was surprised by an unexpected visit from Fornwalt. He seemed downhearted and proceeded to pour out his troubles, considering Thomas a new man who could be trusted. Without any instigation on Thomas’ part, Fornwalt described his plan to get Morgan in trouble with Mr. Coleman regarding the horses. He wished there was a drug store in Lebanon where he wasn’t known, so he could get “some aloes, Black Atamonia and Sweet Oil.”

“Some night when Coleman was going for a drive I would give it to the horses, it would not hurt the horse but make him so weak he would drop on the road and Morgan would be blamed for it.”

Perhaps more shocking, he described his “relations with Mrs. Coleman Sr,” who would send for him to come up to her bedroom where she would give him her orders for transportation. “When I would go up she would have nothing on but a chemise, I swear to that, and some of the men know it. But since I got married she don’t think so much of me and now Wash Schult is her pet.” He went on to blame “the Englishman” for all of his troubles and he intended to “fix him before I leave.”

Thomas caught wind of the men’s suspicions concerning him. Apparently Morgan had told the men he believed Mr. Coleman was going to “clean house” at the stable because typically Morgan had hired the men, and here Thomas had been hired on directly by Mr. Coleman. The men were frightened and were becoming more careful about their work. Schult, for example, would not talk at all, and told Morgan he had learned his lesson from the last round of trouble. Morgan had passed all of this on to Capt. Hean.

Thomas made a note to be cautious.

Day 10 – Thursday

An uneventful summer day, Thomas finished his work in the stable in the morning. He recorded that after the noon meal he lounged about the stable throughout the afternoon. The other men were keeping to themselves, reading novels. Nothing of importance being observed, that evening Thomas enjoyed a walk through the grounds before retiring.

From the walls of Mr. Coleman’s music conservatory, Thomas heard the sounds of the great organ that was Coleman’s pride and joy. On other occasions he had heard the whistles and rattles of Coleman’s model train shop. However this evening it was music, joined in with peepers and crickets.

Day 11 – Friday

Thomas went to the office to post his regular letter to Mr. Linden, his superintendent in Philadelphia. As before, Mr. Linden would review the report and prepare a typewritten letter to Mr. Coleman, so that Mr. Coleman was receiving updates every few days.

On his way to the office, Morgan stopped him and asked a favor, as he was going off to New York for a few days. Thomas was to keep an eye on the stable and on Fornwalt in particular, reporting any concerns to Capt. Hean. Morgan was well aware that Fornwalt “would do anything to hurt him. See that he does not hurt the horses, and if he does report him to the Captain.”

It was a typical day of work otherwise until evening. Thomas went to visit the manager, who informed him that Mr. Coleman had decided to discharge Fornwalt. Further, Thomas was to stay on a few more days to avoid suspicion as to his role in the matter.

Day 12 – Saturday

Fornwalt met Thomas early in the stable, telling him he was off for the day to Columbia, and would be returning in the evening. Before the noon meal, Thomas went to his room and was met by Capt. Hean, who said Mr. Coleman had received the latest letter from the Agency and was very angry and sent Hean to discharge Fornwalt at once, having heard enough and perfectly satisfied to send him away “where he would never see him again.” 

Thomas went back to work. Things were quiet the rest of the day with Morgan and Fornwalt away. Christ was also off in Colebrook.

Day 13 – Sunday

By 7:30 a.m. Capt. Hean had discharged Fornwalt, who took it very quietly, blaming Morgan, and left the stable. That left the other men griping all day about who got to take over Fornwalt’s work. Both Christ and Yake claimed it and the issue wouldn’t be settled until Morgan returned. 

Frightened by Fornwalt’s dismissal, the men blamed Christ, as he was known to often be Morgan’s snitch. While Yake warned Thomas to steer clear of Christ, he as well as Schult and Benner blamed Morgan. Schult guessed he would be the next to go, “for the d__n Englishman does not like me and knows I have no love for him, and he knows who is back of him.”


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