Tag Archives: coal mining

Stearns KY emerges out of the Big Survey

Louis Bryant and Justus Stearns needed each other, and it’s surely no accident that their worlds finally intersected. Bryant, a bright young mining engineer, had moved into what is today McCreary County, KY at the beginning of the 1890s to consolidate mineral and land holdings acquired there by his father. But while the Bryant family […]

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He said if miners picketed his mine he would slaughter them

By January 1, 1941, Harlan and Bell Counties were 95 per cent organized. The only nasty non-union outpost was the Fork Ridge mine just across the Kentucky line in Tennessee, a short distance from Middlesboro. The mine was operated by C. W. (Dusty) Rhodes, president and general manager. Searchlights were placed on the tipple and […]

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The Champion Coal Miner of the World

For all his great accomplishments in the mine, Finzel was not a large man. He was described as being of medium height, and his friends called him “the little big digger.” Because of his great feats, he was often examined by doctors looking for something that made him special. The Cumberland Evening Times noted that at “a physical examination at John Hopkins Hospital he was pronounced the finest muscled man that ever came to the institution.”

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You murdered that you and your wives might have palaces

Mary Harris Jones (1837-1930), better known as Mother Jones, was an American labor organizer and one of the founders of the Social Democratic party (1898) and the Industrial Workers of the World (1905). Her August 1912 speech to striking coal miners in Charleston, WV was one in a series of organized activities which were blamed […]

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We need a certain class o’ people workin’ in the mine

Black Mountain, near the town of Lynch in Harlan County, is Kentucky’s highest point, rising 4125 feet above sea level. It runs along the border of Harlan and Letcher counties, and also along the Kentucky -Virginia border. Thousands of families, most of them Eastern European immigrants, streamed into the shadows of Black Mountain between the […]

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