This is my first year burning coal, I live in Ky, but I don't burn local coal. I am running an Alaska Channing Stoker with a coal trol stat, burning Anthracite rice coal. I am very pleased.
Here is what I have gathered so far,
Most folks on this forum are burning hard coal (anthracite). The coal you burned as a child is soft coal(Bituminous), they are both black and the simularities end there. Ky coal or Bituminous is sooty, smokey and dirty. It is genarally sold to power plants. It is difficult to find dealers that handle it, even where I live, very few people use it locally for home heat.
Anthracite is very clean, no smoke and only a little fly ash. It is harder to start than soft coal but is very much worth the effort.
All these stoves are good, what it boils down to is, if you want a stove that runs without electricity get a hand fired or hopper fed stove, most require you shake and load them every 12 hours or so.
Stokers need electricity to run and can be left alone for up to 2-3 days if running on low, if running on high they need to be tended once a day. If you are away from home for exteded periods the stokers are definitly worth the money.
Looks like I will burn about 3 tons this winter, just judging from the amount of wood you burn I think you might be in the 3-4 ton range.
Anthracite is the way to go as far as coal is concerned.
Find a good sorce locally.That should not be a problem, I have 2 as far south as I live.
Look at several stoves, If you choose a hand fired you will have to learn how to light and burn it. That's where this forum is a life saver.
I know that Hitzer is made in Indiana. Fairly close to you.
Stokers are a little easier to master, the Alaska, Reading, Leisure Line and Keystoker are all straight forward and fairly simple. All the motors and controls on my Alaska can be bought at Grainger Supply.
The Harman Stoker is a little more complex in it's control than the others.
Almost forgot! What Type of chimney you have will play a big part in what type of stove you get. If you have burned wood that long I am assuming you have a masonry chimney. If you do the choice is yours. Stokers have direct or power vent options, I don't think anyone uses these with hand fired stoves.
I have heated with Gas, wood, wood pellets and corn, so far coal is the best heat I have found. Less work than wood, pellets or corn.
Much steadier heat than gas and cheaper than all the others unless you cut your own wood.
Read a lot in this forum and save youself from learning the hard way.