Fred Tropf

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 277
Monongalia County

FRED TROPF. The fundamental cause of many of the
industrial disputes and disturbances of recent years has
been due to the separation of financial ownership from
the responsible direct management. A contrasted case,
in which disputes have been conspicuous by their ab-
sence, is furnished by the Tropf Coal Company of Mor-
gantown, of which Mr. Fred Tropf is the manager. Mr.
Tropf came up from the ranks as a working miner, qualified
himself for the responsibilities of mine ownership on the
score of actual efficiency, and today he works at the mines
with his men, knows their viewpoint as well as his own, and
conducts the business as a smooth running frictionless

Mr. Tropf was born in Brooklyn, New York, October 23,
1870. In 1880, when he was a boy of ten, he went to the
Connellsville coal and coke region of Pennsylvania. With
limited school advantages he started to work with a dump
wheelbarrow and a small fork handling coke, and for sev-
eral years he earned his living by labor in mines, car shops
and other industries. Not satisfied always to work for
others, he put himself in the ranks of independent operators
near Scottdale, Pennsylvania, where he began working an
abandoned mine and did it so systematically and efficiently
as to lay the foundation of his success there. He has been
a coal operator ever since.

In October, 1916, he secured his present mine, which had
been opened by Alexander Tait. This coal property
lies under about 200 acres bordering the Monongahela River,
three miles below Morgantown. There are four veins of
coal in this territory, the Pittsburg being the most valuable.
Above the Pittsburg lie at a distance of some sixty feet
apart two other veins. The Tropf Coal Company confines its
operations to the Pittsburg vein, where eight foot mine
props are used. At the beginning Mr. Tropf loaded only
one car per day, while now he has the facilities for the
prompt loading of from fifteen to twenty-two cars. He em-
ploys 165 men and the average production is 950 tons daily.
A few other local men are associated with him, but he is
the leading spirit and principal owner of the Tropf Coal
Company, and personally superintends every detail of pro-
duction. His mine has a reputation for fair dealing with
its men. Differences almost universally are settled without
calling upon officials of the unions. In only one instance,
and that concerning a minor matter, was an outside union
official appealed to. Mr. Tropf deservedly has won hosts
of warm friends, is a man of liberal views, and plays a sub-
stantial part in the affairs of Monongalia County.

He married Miss Margaret McGoogin, of Scottdale, Penn-
sylvania. They have one daughter, Anna Mary, now a stu-
dent in -the high school at Morgantown.