Charles Devlin of Spring Valley, Illinois

In 1850, Charles Devlin was born in St. Louis, Missouri. By age 4, his parents had moved with him to Peru, LaSalle County, Illinois. At age 19, Mr. Devlin worked as a bookkeeper and business manager in Peru for the Union Coal company. Charles Devlin was convinced that the time was right to open what he believed was a very valuable asset, coal mines. So, in 1884, Mr. Devlin helped in the opening of the first Spring Valley, Illinois coal mine.

In 1885, he married Jennie Miller, daughter of a Spring Valley founder, Henry J. Miller. Their union brought forth two children. In 1886, the city was incorporated and given its name of Spring Valley. Charles Devlin became the first mayor of Spring Valley. He also started the first bank, the National Bank & helped Reverend John Power to establish the Immaculate Conception church in 1886. Until 1890, Charles Devlin was general manager for the Spring Valley Coal Company. He then became a fuel agent for the Sante Fe Railroad.

Mr. Devlin suffered financial failure in 1905 after a purchase of the Laceyville coal company, later known as Marquette. It was purchased in 1894 and had become the fifth greatest producer in the local coal field before its demise. Charles Devlin then moved on to Topeka, Kansas and sunk mines there. He was one of the most significantly known coal mine operators in the Southwest, stockholder in 26 mining companies.

It is said his financial demise was due to ailing health. He died 3 November 1905 in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. Funeral services were held in St. Patrick’s Church, LaSalle, Illinois. He was buried in St. Vincent’s Cemetery, LaSalle, LaSalle County, Illinois.

Source: Spring Valley City Directory, The Spring Valley Gazette. (pub Spring Valley, IL)

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