Chimney and gate of old house in Logtown

Chimney and gate of old house in Logtown

    Following the Civil War, somewhere around 1890, a community named Logtown sprung up near Ayrshire.  Logtown was given its name because of the log cabins the black coal miners lived in, they weren’t allowed to live in company houses.  Old timers pass down the story of them being hard workers and good people.  But they were treated differently because of their race, they were only allowed to live in this area and they had to be home by sunset. 

Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Logtown

Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Logtown


    The story is that sometime in the late 1800s, David Ingle was riding his horse one day in Ayrshire and came across the group of black people.  One of their group had died and they had not been allowed to bury them in Winslow because they were black.  They did not know what to do.  Mr. Ingle told them he owned land in the area and told them to pick out land for their cemetery.  He also gave them land for their church.  He employed the men in his mines.   

Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Graves in the woods at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Graves in the woods at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

    They operated the coke ovens and worked in the coal mines at the Ayrshire Ingle mines.  Soft coal was burned at high temperatures to form coke, used to make steel.  Many of the coke ovens are still visible today on Logtown Road near the railroad.  But nature is taking them over.  Some just look like mounds of dirt and others you can see a crack of the brick oven showing through. 

Old coke ovens on Logtown Road

Old Coke ovens on Logtown Road

Old coke oven almost taken by nature on Logtown Road

Old coke oven almost taken by nature on Logtown Road

Old coke oven on Logtown Road

Old coke oven on Logtown Road

The 1880 census of Pike County does not list any black families living here, but by the 1900 census there were several in Patoka township working at the coal mines.  The 1890 census were destroyed by fire.  However, in the Annual Reports of Officers of the State of Indiana 1890 Page 105 Census for Patoka Township is 651 white males 4 colored inhabitants. 

They worshipped at Mt. Hebron Baptist Church.  The Mt. Hebron cemetery has been carefully restored by Bobby Winn.  The Patoka Vally Longrifles  now meet near here. 

Grave at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

Grave at Mt. Hebron Cemetery

  Congressional Serial Set Issue 2655 1889 Pg. 399

In our last report we referred at length to the operations of the Laclede Coal and Coke Company at Ayrshire, Pike county. The work has been pushed at the ovens of the company. The coal used is slack, which is crushed in a Scaife crusher made at Pittsburgh, and washed in the Osterspey washer. If the lump or run of the mine is used it is crushed to 1-inch cubes or smaller. The coke is dense and hard, with a good luster. The market is principally west of Saint Louis, though the coke has been used in steel-making, silver-smelting, and iron cupola practice with good success. It had not, at the time this report was made, been used in blast furnaces.

For the following very interesting table of analyses, showing improvements made in the manufacture of this coke, we are indebted to Mr. George A. McCord, secretary of the company. The last analysis, I am informed, was of a 60-pound lot selected by a party not connected with the company, the pieces being taken from cars, oven and the wastepile.

Analyses of Ayrshire (Indiana) coke.

The first sample was made in a crucible; the second in an oven not fully heated; the fourth was a selected sample; the remainder are regarded as lair samples of the product of these works.

Annual Reports of the Officers of the State of Indiana 1891 Pg. 25

Ayrshire Mine Owned and operated by David Ingle & Brother; located at Ayrshire, a station on the L., E. & St. L.R.R., about seven miles south of Petersburg, the capital of the county; 56 foot slope: men employed – inside, 56; outside 8.

This mine produces a most excellent steam and coking coal; it is also very fine for domestic use.  In connection with the mine are 54 coke ovens, producing as good coke as is made in the West.  Some of the ovens, however, are idle, as it is not found profitable to use anything but slack for coking. 

Railroad in Logtown

Railroad in Logtown

The Iron Age: Volume 84 Issues 23 – 27 1909 Pg. 1794

The Ingle Investment Company has been Incorporated at Oakland City, Ind. With $50,000 capital stock by W. D. and David Ingle and others.  The company owns a battery of 50 coke ovens at Ayrshire, Ind., not operated for several years.  It proposes to rebuild 24 of them, as a new coal mine has been opened near them, again furnishing a supply for the ovens, which had exhausted the old mine nearby.  The ovens are of the beehive type. 

Coke ovens on the hill on Logtown Road

Coke ovens on the hill on Logtown Road

Annual Report of Indiana State Board of Health 1910 Pg. 62

Ayrshire, Indiana September 16, 1908   Request for condemnation of Ayrshire Schools.

Buildings:  Three one room, frame; two shingle roof, one iron.  The latter the colored school.  Two of the buildings, the white schools, occupy the same lot, one half acre, high, dry, clay soil.  Building in which upper grades are held, should be condemned outright.  The other white school building could be repainted and enlarged to accommodate the upper grades and the colored school should be repainted.  The whole town is dirty and derelict.  Mining is the industry.

White schools:  grades 1, 2, and 3, Ayrshire:  Seats single and double, all sizes; badly scarred.  Ceiling and walls wood, unpainted.  Pupils face south; blackboard on south.  Nine foot ceiling.  Vestibule 10 x8 feet.  Forty five pupils in room.  Each pupil has 13 feet of floor space.  Light space one ninth of floor space.  Open well.  Typhoid fever in schools one year ago.  Blackboards on north end and south sides.

Grades 4, 5,6,7,8, Ayrshire:  Pupils 30; face north.  Seats double, bad.  Ceiled with wood, not painted. Floor bad.  Flue smoky.  Buildings one to two feet from ground.  No Foundation.  Outhouses bad.  All door 3×7 feet.  Each pupil has 20 square feet of floor space.  Light area one ninth of floor area.  General conditions bad.

Colored schools. Ayrshire:  Pupils, 15, face west.  Board on west.  Tin roof.  No foundation; props; two feet from ground.  No well.  Closets bad.  Ceiling and walls plain boards, unpainted.  Each pupil has 24 square feet floor space.  Light area on fifth floor area.  Seats all sizes, single and double, badly scarred.

These buildings are in keeping with the town. 

Condemnation issued for June 1, 1909.


12 thoughts on “Logtown

  1. Thank you for the very nicely done piece on the Ayrshire beehive coke ovens!

    How many blocks of ovens actually were constructed ?

    Two separate locations ?

    I track coke ovens around the world and am delighted to know of these, which had mostly escaped my attention.

    Allen W. Hatheway
    Rolla, Missouri

    • Search coke in the Goodspeeds directory listed on my sidebar in the links. You will find some information there about the coal/coke and also the man whose idea it was to build the ovens.

    • During a recent visit of the coke ovens we discovered they are back to back. One side faces the railroad and the other faces the road.

  2. The one piece I found says there were 54 coke ovens. They are all in the one location I believe. Logtown is a horseshoe road. The bend in the road is next to the railroad. On one side of the road is the railroad then the other side of the road is a rather large hill. You can see ovens and mounds of dirt where ovens are along the railroad track side of the road. The hillside still has some ovens that are partially visible. You can also see indentations on the hillside where ovens were, but maybe someone over time has taken the brick out of them. Although the area was mined, I think the coke ovens were all in this one place. Maybe someone else knows more about it and will chime in.

  3. Pingback: Martin Minters of Logtown: Pike Pioneer Coal Miner Was Born in Slavery « Winslow Indiana and Patoka Township

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  5. My parents used to tell me, that when they were kids, parents would tell unruly children, “You be good, or I’ll take you out to Logtown, and leave you!” Thanks, Rose, for bringing this wonderful history back to light.

  6. Granny was born in 1915 in Ayrshire ( Alice Beuton Black, sisters Enida, & Genevie, brothers Neval & whoops… getting old is fun. Said everyone was poor & shared & cared & when boys went off to the war, they would walk into town (Winslow) on the railroad tracks & catch a bus to go off to war. So very strong of them.

  7. Just stopped In this area to look for the ovens. I can’t find them. The area around the church.. im not sure if it’s private property.

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