Otto Guy and Matilda (Stebner) Sharrer
Images and notes from Liz Sharrer, O. G. Sharrer's granddaughter with contributions from Bob Leathers
1886: Otto Guy Sharrer was born in Putneyville, Pennsylvania.
Otto Guy Sharrer, a descendant of Bavarian immigrants who came to America in 1725, was born October 5, 1885, in the original log house formerly used as a combination fort and trading post at Putneyville, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, and, like many young men, he took Horace Greeley’s advice and came west.
His father was engaged in mining, being General Foreman of several small mines in the Pittsburgh district, and Otto received his education in the several small schools in the mining villages in Pennsylvania where his parents resided from time to time. At an early age he entered the mines, and was employed in general mine work, and in summer vacations while attending school he also found employment in the mines. After graduating from high school, he spent some time in the military academy and next attended Ohio Northern University. (History of Union Pacific Coal Mines 1868 - 1940)
1888 June 14: Matilda A. Stebner was born in Wyoming to Martin and Amelia Stebner.
1900: Otto Guy Sharrer, age 13, born Oct. 1886 in Pennsylvania, single, was living in Wayne, Armstrong, Pennsylvania with his Uncle and Aunt Haroe and Annie Sharrer. (1900 US Census)
O.G. Sharrer worked for the Union Pacific Coal Company in Rock Springs, Superior and Hanna, Wyoming from 1908 to 1914, and again from 1924 until his death in 1944. During that time, he held several positions, including Superintendent of the Union Pacific Coal Company mines in Hanna from about 1929 to 1942. (Liz Sharrer, Superintendent Sharrer's granddaughter)
1903 June 30: The Union Pacific Coal Company's No. 1 Mine Exploded killing 169 men.
1908 March 28: The Union Pacific Coal Company's No. 1 mine in Hanna exploded twice in the same day killing 59 men. The two explosions of the Hanna No. 1 mine were before Otto Sharrer's employment in Hanna, but when he came to Hanna the Union Pacific Coal Company was still trying to recover from the results of the explosions. This included abandoning the No. 1 mine, enhancing the No. 2 mine and opening the No. 4 mine.
1910: Otto Sharrer was living in Hanna, Wyoming. (1910 Wyoming Census)
1910: Construction of the Union Pacific Railroad's second main line started through Wyoming.
1911: The United Mine Workers of America organized a Hospital Commission in Hanna. The Commission obtained the old school, which had been turned into a boarding house, and created the Hanna Hospital to take care of the Hanna miners and their families.
1914 April 20: The Ludlow Massacre of Colorado coal miners occurred. It was an attack by the Colorado National Guard and the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company owned by John D. Rockefeller on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow Colorado. It had a profound affected on Hanna's miners.
1930: Otto Sharrer was age 44, born in Pennsylvania, married, head of house, living in Hanna, Wyoming. He was the Superintendent of the Hanna Coal Mines. Living with him was Matida Sharrer, wife, age 39 and a son John L. Sharrer, age 9.
1930 February 16: Superintendent Sharrer of the Union Pacific Coal Company mines in Hanna published an article The History and Development of Mechanization at Hanna Mines in The Mining Congress Journal, Volume 19. (Journal copy provided by Liz Sharrer, Superintendent Sharrer's granddaughter)
1940: O. G. Sharrer, age 54, was living in Hanna, Wyoming. He was Superintendent of the Union Pacific Coal Company Mines. Living with him was his wife Matilda Sharrer, age 51, born in Wyoming. (1940 US Census)
1942: Otto Guy Sharrer, living in Hanna, Wyoming, age 56, born in Putneyville, Pennsylvania on October 5, 1885, registered for the World War II Draft. He was living in Hanna, Wyoming and working for the Union Pacific Coal Company in Rock Springs, Wyoming. (Wyoming Draft Card)
1946 October 17: O. G. Sharrer died in Salt Lake City, Utah and was buried in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Otto was living in Rock Springs, Wyoming at the time he became ill and was taken to Salt Lake for treatment. (Utah Death Certificate)
1977 December 17: Matilda A. (Stebner) Sharrer, age 89, died in Mahoning County, Ohio. She is buried in the Rock Springs cemetery with her husband O. G. Sharrer. (Social Security Death)
Rock Springs Daily Rocket, Oct 19, 1946
Otto Sharrer, Special Engineer For U.P. Coal Company, Dies
Otto Guy Sharrer, 61, special engineer for the Union Pacific Coal company in Rock Springs, died Thursday night in Holy Cross hospital, Salt Lake City, where he had been a patient for the last 12 days.
Born Oct. 5, 1885, in Putneyville, Pa., Sharrer came west following the death of his father in 1908 and soon accepted a position as engineer with the Union Pacific Coal company, under Frank Manley, at Rock Springs.
After a few months, he was transferred to Hanna as resident engineer, and in August 1911, he was made mine foreman of Hanna No. 1 mine. From March 1913 to December 1914, he was mine foreman of Superior E mine.
Sharrer left the services of the Union Pacific Coal company late in 1914 and for the next ten years worked in various Wyoming coal mines, including the Cambria Fuel company.
In July 1924, he returned to the Union Pacific Coal company as mining engineer at Rock Springs and was transferred to Superior as assistant superintendent in September 1926.
Three years later, in September 1929, Sharrer was appointed mine superintendent in charge of the properties at Hanna. He remained in Hanna for more than ten years, and while there took an active part in community affairs. He served as mayor of the town and was a member of the Hanna school board and the hospital commission.
Dec. 1, 1942 Sharrer was appointed assistant general superintendent, with headquarters in Rock Springs and on Nov. 1, 1944 was named special engineer, the position he held at the time of his death.
Surviving Sharrer are his widow, Matilda, and a son, Jack.
His body is to arrive in Rock Springs about noon today and will be taken to Rogan mortuary pending funeral arrangements. (Rock Springs Daily Rocket, Oct 19, 1946)
The image below is Otto G. Sharrer, mine Superintendent at Hanna. He was enjoying the band concert upon the occasion of the 12th Annual Reunion of The Old Timers’ Association at Rock Springs and was requested to step aside long enough to be “snapped” by the official photographer. (UPCCEM, October 1936)
My dad, Jack Sharrer (who grew up in Hanna and who also became a mining engineer) left my grandfather’s transit to me and my sisters. His transit was used in surveying in all the Wyoming mines in which O.G. worked over his career. It’s a beautiful instrument, as you can see from some of the photos attached.
We are interested in donating the transit and tripod to your museum, which would bring it back to the place it was used for many years. If it could be displayed that would be great, although I understand your display space may be limited. We live in Denver and could certainly bring it to Hanna at some point, maybe this spring or summer. (Liz Sharrer)