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1st Steam Shovel used at the Hill Annex Mine has the Name "Paddy Shields" on the Counterweight.


Who Is/Was Paddy Shields?

Spring visitors to the Hill Annex Mine State Park, before the sesonal opening (Memorial Weekend), are schools from all parts of Minnesota. One Very regular visiting School is from Morris Minnesota and they arrive in beautiful Coaches and have two elementry grades.

The teachers have compiled a list of scavenger hunt  styled question whose answers can be found inside the Museum and on the Historical bus tour of the 105 year old Iron Mine, located on the Western Mesabi Iron Range.

One of the questions is: "What is the Number of the "Paddy Shields"?

So the Museum is literally Buzzing with activity and of course pairing a game with learning is a very fine motivator!

Last spring (May 2018) being very interested myself in "Just Who is Paddy Shields"; I challanged the teachers in reserching this man, "Paddy Shields".

The picture of Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Shields, pictured at the top of this page, is on display in the Museum and i have to admit that i hadn't seen the plate that bears the name, but not long after making that challenge i did see it. Now looking at that picture, with his Lovley wife beside him, I am thinking was he a public official, statesman, etc. as the Man looks very distinguished.

I spent a week plus viewing old US Census micro films, at the Itasca County Historical society in Grand rapids MN, and did not find any records of any Shields family in the Calumet area. I then turned to Internet searches and found more Paddy Shields than expected and also that any Shields could have the nick name of "Paddy Shields"!
The 1st "Paddy Shields" that appeared to meet my expectations, of Whom might he be is General James "Paddy" Shields who had been a member of congress in 3 States, Illinois, Minnesota & Missouri and a Union Army Veteran.
The 1st story i found was about James Shields challenging Abraham Lincoln to a Duel!
Here is highlights of the story;

Duel with Abraham Lincoln

Shields almost fought a duel on September 22, 1842 with Abraham Lincoln, then a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln had published an inflammatory letter in a local newspaper, the Sangamo Journal, that attacked Shields, impersonating a local farmer, and taking the pseudonym of Aunt Becca, or simply Rebecca.[e] At the time, there was great controversy over the use of paper money, or that of gold and silver for the paying of public debts. The Illinois State Bank had been forced to close, and Shields as state auditor had become the target of resentment among members of the Whig Party, and more so given the upcoming 1842 elections. Lincoln's future wife and then fiancée, Mary Todd, helped to revise the letter, and she and a close friend Julia Jayne,[f] continued writing to the paper without Lincoln's knowledge.[5]:714[13]:113-5

"Rebecca" as she was, denounced Shields in the paper as a "fool as well as a liar," and scandalously described him at a party among a group of women:

If I was deaf and blind I could tell him by the smell ... All the galls about town were there, and all the handsome widows, and married women, finickin about, trying to look like galls, tied as tight in the middle, and puffed out at both ends like bundles of fodder that hadn't been stacked yet, wanted stackin pretty bad ... He was paying his money to this one and that one and tother one, and sufferin great loss because it wasn' silver instead of State paper ... [quoting Shields] "Dear girls, it is distressing, but I cannot marry you all. Too well I know how much you suffer, but do, do remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so interesting."[g][h][13]:114

The publications caused "intense excitement" in Springfield, and Shields, taking great offense at being publicly ridiculed, demanded satisfaction, as well as the true identity of the author, then known only to the editor of the paper. Lincoln took responsibility for the articles and accepted the challenge.[5]:714 Shields confronted Lincoln, demanded a full retraction, and the incident escalated to the two men picking seconds,[5]:714[13]:115 and meeting on an island located between Missouri and Illinois called Bloody Island to participate in a duel.[i][12][15] Lincoln, as the one challenged, chose the weapons for the duel, and selected the cavalry broadsword, as Shields was an excellent marksman, and because Lincoln stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) to Shields' 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m).[16][13]:114-5

At least two accounts have John J. Hardin and R. W. English intervening and convincing the two to cease hostilities.[16][17] Others have them resolving their differences without incident, whether through threats on the part of Lincoln, or through apology and explanation from him. Although all agree that they left the island without following through with the duel.[5]:714[13]:115[8]:49 Thereafter, Shields and Lincoln became and remained good friends.[5]:714[j]


But is this Our Paddy Shields??

In a google book  (Page 218 Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society)
I found the name "Conkling", and that is so close to the name of the Superintendent of the company(A. Guthrie & Co. Inc) contracted to strip the overburden off the Hill Annex mine pit's who's last name is "Conklin", well i was feeling like I now know who Paddy Shields is!

Well that was not to be when i found the picture of James "Paddy" Shields.


I was sent a copy (scanned) of the 1909 - 1959 copy of the Calumet Golden Anniversary where we again see the same picture of Mr.& Mrs. Patrick Shields, that is found in the Museum{Hill Annex) with additional information, "We Know her now as Mrs. Olinger". And also a paragragh in the section titled "History of the Hill annex" where in 1914, the 2nd year of the Hill Annex, the underground mining was halted because of the dangerous conditions with this soft fine ore, was a story about the Model 100 Marion Steam shovel with "Paddy Shields" at the controls!
Wow! That picture was leading me to think "Paddy" was a more distinguished person. Then remembering I have been telling tourists for years that the highest paid worker in the mine was the steam shovel operator!! Daha!!
I worked for 35 years in the Iron Ore mines of the Great Mesabi and all the shovel operators looked like all the rest of the miners, but i was forgetting  the European customs of the immigrants. For starters, that picture could have been taken on a Sunday or some other day or event where dressing up was a custom.
My Father in Law, Maynard Serfling was a long time Shovel Runner for the M.A. Hanna Company at several Red Ore mines and retiring from the Butler Taconite mine at Cooley MN and i had asked him about the higher pay a shovel runner made even throughout his career and the story was the same as what i had heard from others at the Mines i worked at, in that a shovel runner was in charge of the maitanence of his machine and was involved in the repairs therfore making more money than the mechanics working on the machine. He told me about the time he had a "digging brake" wheel drop on his foot while helping replace it and it caused him issues even after retirement. Today, shovel runners do not get top wages as electricians make a higher wage and mechanics are of equal pay and runners are not involved in repair anymore.
Some of the old runners that were shovel oilers and went through sometimes years of assisting and working under a seasoned operator still wanted to get involved. 
But the "King of the Hill" in this case the "King of the Pit" ,might have set him apart as he made more money than any other worker in the mine.
Mr. Shields would have been boss over everything done on that Huge steam shovel.  His job would have been exhausting, the levers would have needed the use of his legs in manny cases to cause the friction bands to hold function in full power, nothing like the finger tip joy stick functions of a modern day computerized machine with all the bells and whistles imaginable!

Back to the US census looking for "OLINGER".
Note: Mrs. Shields-Olinger is found in numerus documents AKA: Evelyn, Evelene, Evelean.
In the 1940 Census I find Evalean Olinger as head of household? Ok, now to the Obituary archive at the Itasca County Historical Society looking for Olinger and there is a 1961 Obit for Evelyn Olinger. The Grave is in the Lakeview Cemetary, Coleraine MN.
I then spent the better part of the day at Iron World Discovery Center in Chisholm, MN research library looking in the ancestry databases for Patrick Shields deaths records, and finding only 2 in the area. One at 82 years old in Maple Hill cemetery in Hibbing MN and one just listed Itasca County but with a 1923 date of death. The Hibbing cemetery told me the grave address was in a section reserved for babies and there was no grave marker at all and nothing but the name on the index card so that was a disapointment because I couldn't rule out that grave.
Another death index gave me a Nov 10, 1923 Date of death so back to the research library looking through micro films of old iron range newpapers. I searched the old Coleraine papers for 3 weeks after the Nov. 10 date and found so few death notices and so little information in any of those that discouragment was building! Then the Grand Rapids Harold Review was next.

Then there it is! And its 4 TIMES larger than any obituary I had seen in hours of serching!

              FUNERAL TODAY

Patrick Shields died last Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10,
at his home in Calumet.  Mr. Shields was one of the old
residents of this community, first coming to Calumet about

15 years ago, when he was employed on the construction
of the Great Northern road through this section.  He had
been in Calumet much of the time since then, being employed
by A, Guthrie & Co. as a shovel runner. He has been suffering
from Diabetes for some years and for the past three years has
been more or less of an invalid.  He stopped all active work last
spring and his death was expected.  The deceased is survived
by his widow and a brother who lives in Nebraska who is expected

to arrive so that the funeral service can be held from the church at
Calumet Wednesday morning.



Click picture to ZOOM

The next stop is the Lakeview Cemetery in Colerain MN looking for both Patrick Shields and Evelyn Olinger.
The caretaker at the cemetery misunderstood the spelling of Shields and said there is nothing listed so i asked about Olinger.

There was Patrick Shields and Evelyn Olinger together in this cemetery so i got the grave address and after looking for both names I couln't find anything so back to the office I go. Well the {close by} names i was given were quite a distance away but there was the Shields Stone but nothing making Evelyn Olinger's grave. I asked just where is her grave and was pointed to the empty spot on the Shields Grave Stone. Evelyn Shields/Olinger is in an unmarked grave.

Ok, I now have another mission! We are going to get a quote on updating the Grave monument with her name! and we will have a funding page on Face Book to help with this,.

But now who is MR. Olinger??
Back to the death indexes.... I found several Olinger's in the Northern part of the county then a Peter Olinger with only a date of death September 18, 1927 and little else.
Back to the Micro Film looking for an Obituary for Peter Olinger.

Caught Between Dump Car and Door and
Crushed -----Worked for Guthrie.

Peter Olinger of Calumet was instantly killed last Saturday
morning at half past ten, at the dump of the Hill Annex Mine.
He was employed on the dump and a train of dump cars was

being unloaded. One of the cars was dumped, and as it was
swinging back into position, in some way Mr. Olinger got in
the way and was struck by the door, or swinging side of the car.
Pinned between the car and the swinging side, he was crushed
to death immediately.  Stripping operations are conducted by
A. Guthrie & Co, Inc, and the unfortunate man was employed
by this company.  The dead man was 50 years of age. He had
worked for A. Guthrie & Company, Inc. for some time, and with
his wife made his home in Calumet.
  He is survived by his wife,
and his mother, two sisters and a brother, all living in
Holton, Mich.  The remains were taken to his former home
of the family at Holton for interment.  Paul Priach of Calumet
was slightly injured in the accident in which Mr. Olinger met
his death, but his injurys will disable him but for a short time.


Peter Olinger dies tragically 4 years after the death of Paddy Shields! That explains head of household in 1940 Census!
Note: There has been no solid link as of yet to Peter Olinger and Mrs. Olinger. Death records and Obituaries only make reference to (survived by wife or widow), The search continues.
Historical real estate records list 3 properties in Calumet to Mrs. Shields 1 to Patrick Shields between 1919-1922.
the last real estate parcle was lot 16 block 4 and was a bar. Mr. Shields was according to his obituary more or less of an invalid at that time so why is it in his name instead of Mrs. Olinger?? was it because a woman couldn't purchase a bar???
So, What does it mean to have Diabetes 100 years ago??
In a search i see that diabetes is a DEATH sentence.
The 1st use of insulin on a human was 1 year after Paddy Shields dies!
The site states that many die of starvation in an attempt to prolong their life.
So the use of Insulin is in its 96th year. (from 2018)
On the name plate by the picture of Mr & Mrs Patrick Shields is the words, "The first Hill Annex Steam Shovel is named in his honor". (Most likely after his death in 1923).

Now that "First Hill Annex" Steam Shovel has had two major conversions.
Following World War 1 when the Miners returned home to their jobs in the Mine they had seen for the 1st time Tanks with their tracks(belt drives) and the Steam shovels that were moved on twin sets of rails that had to be layed out in front by the track crews now had  with track belts, the ability to move without rails and less workmen.

The next major conversion happened starting ceria 1930 when the Hill Annex mine was the 1st mine in Itasca County to be electrified, the Steam era was on the way out and the picture at the top of the page show both conversions.
The conversion to Electricity is seen by the removal of the smoke stack.

Can you pick out Paddy in the photo below? (Click on picture to enlarge)


I would like to thank the staff of: The Itasca County Historical Society, The Itasca County Recorders Office, Iron World Discovery Center Research library and Niece Emily Benish, Daughter Shona Brohman.
This article is reflects these beautiful people!

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Memorial Day 2019

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