A little history on the Franklin Coal Co. In Trevorton, PA.
In the 19th century, corporations were only allowed to do what the government chartered them to do. The Reading Railroad was not allowed to own coal operations. Gowen, head of the railroad, used his monopoly to cripple southern anthracite coal companies. In January 1871, he created a dummy corporation called the Franklin Coal Co., buying up the Trevorton coal lands. He intended it to be bought by Reading, giving them the right to own coal mines. But anti-monopoly members of the state legislature realized he was behind it and crippled the legislation allowing it.
He successfully used the same plan just one year later, creating the Laurel Run Improvement Co., which was renamed Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co. They bought up smaller companies who couldn’t afford the railroad’s shipping rates, eventually owning a full 1/3 of anthracite lands.
This from the book “the Molly Maguires” by Wayne G. Broehl, Jr.