From the Carolina Watchman (1/20/1887):
"The Deep River coal field, Chatham county, North Carolina, has long been known to be of great value and of such importance as to make one wonder why it has never been worked and the coal placed on the market in competition with coal brought into the State. The Department of Agriculture had this field explored a short time ago by a competent man, and most probably as a result of that work, the district is now receiving the attention of some moneyed men from the State of Penn. The field has advantages which cannot be despised, especially in its location with reference to districts with which it must compete. It is convenient to all eastern Carolina, and within easy reach of the Atlantic Ocean at Morehead and Wilmington and at Charleston, S.C.; supplying the markets of the Carolinas, it has advantages voer both Virginia and Tennessee, and these advantages are so apparent that further reference is unnecessary, though figures could be given if required, to prove this position.
"The cost of mining is placed by the expert at $1.50 per ton, which is rather more expensive than such mining generally costs but is accounted for by the fact the work must be done 'below water level and on a moderately steep dip the coal must be hoisted, the water raised,' &c. But even this disadvantage does not eat up the caclulated profit, which is estimated to be ample when advantage of location is considered; for instance at Weldon the margin would be 70 cents to $1; Raleigh $1,50 to $1.80; Greensboro $1.47 to $1.77; Salisbury 75cts to $1.; Charlotte and Columbia, S. C. 80 cents to $1.07; fayetteville, (N.C.) $2.24 to $2.54.
"'These figures are large enough to show that a very considerable reduction could be made in the price of coal and yet leave ample profit for the operators.' As to the area, it is estimated at 2,160 acres. This may be reduced to say nearly one hald, as no allowance were made for trapdykes or thin spots in the area. This area is calculated to yield 6,000 tones to the acre, but a safer estimate would be 5,00 tons to the acre. This would make the available tonage more than six millions.
"TO BE WORKED
"At Egypt in Chatham county, a Pennsylvania Co. has purchased a large area of this field and propose to begin operations there in the near future. They propose to begin by supplying local demands along the lines of road most convenient to them, and to gradually broaden the business.
"There are also parties contracting for the Ore Hill iron property near, for the purpose of erecting furnace. [sic] The indications for that particular district are brightening. When work is once begun there in earnest a large and permanent business will result."