Tag Archives: coal mining

Dey didn’ pay me nothin’ fer gittin’ my legs cut off

“I went to West Virginia to work in de coal mines. I made eight dollars and one penny er day er drivin’ er mule in dem mines. Later on, I made ten er twelve dollars er day loading coal. ‘At wus hard work but de more you worked de more money you made. Awe, I […]


The mule I drove was called Old Red

You hear young folk singers today sing happy work songs about mule drivers and mule-skinners. I sometimes wonder if any of them know what driving a mule is really like, and if they’d still sing so merrily if they knew. My first job was carrying water on the Interstate Railroad grade at Josephine, about a […]


Had to furnish my own horse; bought one from the coal company

John Holt (1870-1918), a coal miner in Murray City, OH, kept a journal of his daily life. John Holt and the coal miners he worked with outside of the mine in Murray City. April 1907- “The miners here geting 57 cts per ton for screened coal and two dollars and fifty six cents per day […]


Joe Ozanic’s AFL challenges John Lewis’ CIO

In this excerpt from interviews of coal miner Joseph Ozanic, Sr. (1895-1978), Ozanic discusses the conflict between the Progressive Miners of America (of which he was president) and John L. Lewis’ United Mine Workers of America. Interviews conducted by Rex Rhodes, 1972; Barbara Herndon and Nick Cherniavsky, 1974, and now in the collection of Norris […]


Picnic in a coal mine

Sometimes the official stories that make it into museum collections just don’t shed enough light on the complete context of an event. Take this photo, titled “Picnic in a Coal Mine, Mount Savage, 1889, 
Photographed by Edgar S. Thompson.” The caption provided by the Maryland Historical Society gives scant background on this picture, and in […]

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