Today the Whipple Company Store, built in 1890 by coal baron Justus Collins, is the only remaining coal company store of its architectural design type in southern WV’s Pocahantas coal basin. Its oval arch entry sheltering a deeply recessed porch is typical of a design style once commonly found in the 30 or so company stores that dotted the basin in the early 20th century.
“People think of this place as a museum, but to me it’s a place for sharing stories,” says Ms. Lynn, who with her husband Chuck purchased the compound in 2006.
Esau was issued only to women, and it was a form of scrip that would enable a women to purchase food for her children during the time that her husband couldn’t work. But it was only good for 30 days, and if her husband went back to work within those 30 days, then the company in their kindness would forgive the debt. And if he did not go back to work at the end of 30 days, then the scrip became a loan that was due and payable in full on day 30. And of the course the women didn’t have jobs or scrip or money, and so they had to pay it back—and it was a collateralized loan—and the women themselves were the collateral. Their physical selves would be used to pay the debt.