acumen 3.0ɑ
A. S. Williams III Americana Manuscript Collections

Guide to the J. W. Worthington report on furnace properties W.0082


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

November 2013


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-11-15T16:23-0600

Language Usage:


Collection Title:

J. W. Worthington report on furnace properties

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.2 Linear feet




The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama

General Physical Description note

Report book is very fragile. The front cover has detached from the book, and the correspondence and reports bound in the book are also fragile.


One report notebook containing correspondence, maps, and reports on coal fields and iron furnaces located in Alabama and Tennessee.


Williams, A. S., III


Worthington, John Warren, 1856-1942

Acquisition Information:

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Preferred Citation:

J. W. Worthington report on furnace properties, A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Processing Information:

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013.

General note

Title on Spine: Report to J. W. Gates on Furnace Properties at Sheffield and Florence, Alabama and the North Alabama R. R. Accompanied by Maps of Florence and Sheffield - Compiled by J. W. Worthington, 1898

Access Restrictions:


Scope and Contents note

This notebook contains correspondence, reports, and maps related to iron furnaces and coal deposits located in Sheffield and Florence, Alabama, and West Point, Tennessee. The material, compiled in 1898 by J. W. Worthington for financier J. W. Gates, describes the output of the furnaces and the furnaces' proximity to major railroads. Worthington concluded that the coal, iron, and furnace properties should be consolidated with the Northern Alabama Railroad to maximize profits. In 1899, Gates purchased approximately thirty small Alabama furnaces, founding the Republic Iron and Steel Company.

The collection also contains a small collection of materials related to the creation of the Pensacola, Alabama, and Tennessee Railway, presumably collected by Worthington for inclusion in his report to Gates.

Biographical/Historical note

John Warren Worthington was born on January 14, 1856, near Trussville, Alabama. In 1882, he graduated from The University of Alabama, earning his degree in civil engineering. Worthington was influential in the development of the steel industry in Sheffield, Alabama, working as the manager of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company and encouraging northern investors to finance the growing industry.

Worthington's interests extended beyond steel, and he became an influential voice in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, lobbying for the development of hydroelectric power in the region. In 1906, Worthington founded the Muscle Shoals Hydroelectric Power Company, which merged with the Alabama Power Company in 1911. In 1924, the Alabama Power Company completed the construction of the Wilson Dam.

After the merger, Worthington continued to lobby government officials to provide greater support to the development of dams along the Tennessee River. His efforts culminated in the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933. Worthington died on April 4, 1942, and his ashes were scattered in Lake Wilson.

Source: Burt, Reynold B. "Worthington Was Truly a 'Shoals Man,'" Journal of Muscle Shoals History, 15 (2011): 61-64.

Related Archival Materials note

Republic Steel records, W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.


Gates, John Warne, 1855-1911 (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Republic Steel Corporation. (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Williams, A. S., III (local)

Business records (lcsh)

Iron and Steel Industry (Local)

Railroads--Alabama (lcsh)

Report Item 1 Box W0082.01