One mining engineer I would love to have met and about whom I would love to know more is George Rappelyea. Wikipedia has very little about him so he must be fairly obscure. But is he? A Time article from 1 June 1925 starts:

It was a reductio ad absurdum that the chemist and coal man, George W. Rappelyea, of Dayton, Tenn., had in mind when he caused the arrest of his friend John T. Scopes, 24-year-old instructor in the Rhea High School. It started in a drug-store conversation; Scopes told Rappelyea that he was still using a Biology text book containing an explanation of the theory of evolution which had once been approved by state authorities and not yet recalled, though Tennessee's anti-evolution act had been the law for a month. Rappelyea swore out a warrant, "to test the law."

Another version of George Rappelyea’s role:

The basis for the Scopes trial was laid when the Tennessee State Legislature passed the Butler Act - which took effect on March 21st, 1925. The essence of the Act was that it made it illegal for anyone: "... to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals". The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) were already aware that the Act was likely to become law because it had been passed by the lower house of the Tennessee legislature by a landslide (in January, 1925). After a few false starts, the ACLU sent a press release to several Tennessee newspapers, such as the Chattanooga Daily Times, announcing that they would provide legal assistance, etc. for a school teacher in Tennessee who would be willing to stand trial for having taught evolution in a public school so that a test case could be mounted to challenge the constitutional validity of the Act. Encouraged by George Rappelyea, (a mining engineer who managed six local coal and iron mines owned by the Cumberland Coal Company), a group of leading citizens in the small town of Dayton - the "drug store conspirators" - decided to accept the ACLU's offer, in the hope that the publicity surrounding the trial would help to reverse the town's declining fortunes. On May 4th the group recruited John Scopes, football coach and algebra, chemistry and physics teacher employed, on a one year contract, by Rhea County High School as the subject for the test case, on the basis that he had taught from the section on evolution in Hunter's A Civic Biology - the State-approved textbook. Rappelyea sent a telegram to the ACLU's New York office. The ACLU replied the next day, accepting his proposal. Scopes was charged with having taught evolution on April 24th, 1925.

George Rappelyea’s thinking is made a bit more apparent from this piece:

In Dayton, Tennessee 1925, John Scopes met a man named George Rappelyea, a 31-year-old local company manager from New York, who was also a modernist who disliked the Butler Bill. Rappelyea asked Scopes if he would challenge the antievolution law called the Butler Bill. Rappelyea told Scopes that it was impossible to teach biology without the study of evolution. Scopes agreed and told Rappelyea that he assigned his class reading about evolution already. Rappelyea told Scopes that he will have to face a trail and this trial will be a controversial one and might help make the small town of Dayton famous. Earlier Rappelyea spotted a press release in a Tennessee newspaper offering legal support to any teacher who would challenge the law. Scopes impressed by Rappelyea’s point of view agreed to take part in the trial.

Before we brand him a hero or a trouble maker (depending on your lifeview), read this:

Scopes' involvement in the so-called Monkey Trial came about after The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that it would finance a test case challenging its constitutionality of the Butler Act if they could find a Tennessee teacher was put on trial for violating the statute. A group of businessmen in Dayton, Tennessee, led by mine manager George Rappelyea, saw this as an opportunity to get publicity for their town and approached Scopes, who was the football coach and who had substituted for the principal in the school's science class. Rappelyea pointed out that while the Butler Act prohibited the teaching of evolution, the state required teachers to use the assigned textbook - Hunter's Civic Biology - which included a chapter on evolution. Rappelyea argued that teachers were essentially required to break the law. When asked about the test case Scopes was initially reluctant to get involved, but after some discussion he told the group gathered in Robinson's Drugstore, "If you can prove that I've taught evolution and that I can qualify as a defendant, then I'll be willing to stand trial."

All of the remaining pieces that I could find focus, understandably, on the trial, the issues, and the modern controversies. None tells me more about the mining engineer who started it. I have read parts of the text book at issue. Most of it is Spencer and Social Darwiniasm, not Darwin plain and simple, and therefore by modern perspectives wrong and obnoxious. I hope George was not supporting Spencer.

If you can let me know more of the education, career, opinions, and history of this enigmatic mining engineer, please let me know. After all I do not have a Time subscription and saw only the introductory paragraph of their 1925 report.