Mining in the Port Byron Quadrangle
The Rock Island Coal was mined in the Port Byron Quadrangle, generally in small drift mines or from shallow shafts. Taylor Williams had the most extensive operations, running surface mines and then drifting into the hillsides (the locations of these drifts are unknown) as well shafts, including Mine Indexes 4895, 4921 (Cox Shaft), 4937 (Crouch Shaft), 4951, and 5399, mining almost 500 acres in total. Mine index 4895 closed most recently, being abandoned in 1889. Most of the mines that operated in the Port Byron Quadrangle are little known, with the dates of production and even the ownership being uncertain. The last known operating mine was the Cook Mine (Mine Index 4936), which closed in 1898. However, Happy Hollow (15 & 22-T18N-R1E) is partially included on this quadrangle, and some mines may have operated during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Perhaps the strangest circumstance of mining in the vicinity was at Cleveland in Henry County. In spite of all the nearby competition, coffer dams were built in order to pump the water out and mine coal from the bed of the of the south side of the Rock River (Mine Index 5619). The years of operation, ownership, and production are unknown.