Cover

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Content

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

On a cold March morning in 1975 I pulled into the little town of Tams, West Virginia. Tams resembled scores of other declining mining towns in Appalachia. Double rows of gray company houses squatted in the narrow valley beneath a steep hillside to my right, while a rusting ...

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Preface. The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia: A Brief History

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pp. 11-11

This brief and somewhat fragmentary history of coal mining in Southern West Virginia has been complied at the request of Dr. Robert F. Munn, Director of Libraries, West Virginia University. Dr. Munn has given a great deal of help ...

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Introduction

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pp. 12-14

In any law court, before a witness can be accepted as an "expert", he must qualify as such by stating his training and experience. For that reason, it might be well for the writer to give a brief account of himself. ...

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1. Location and Early Development

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pp. 15-23

The coal-producing areas of the New River Valley, the Kanasha Valley and that part of West Virginia lying south of those two rivers are called "The Southern West Virginia Coal Fields." The western porton comprises the Kanawha, ...

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2. Finances and Organization

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pp. 24-33

At the turn of the century mines could be opened with a relatively small capital investment. All that was required was to build houses for the miners, a store to supply them, and a tipple structure to dump the coal into railway cars. Many ...

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3. Work in the Mines at the Turn of the Century

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pp. 34-50

Coal mining was not a highly skilled occupation. Indeed, a man needed little more than a strong back and average intelligence to become a good miner. The miner often began work as a boy. There were then no minimum age laws, and ...

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4. Life in the Coal Fields at the Turn of the Century

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pp. 51-63

The company town and the company store have long been favorite targets of critics of the coal industry. Many appear to have believed that both were imposed on helpless miners by rapacious operators. However, such a view reveals a ...

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5. The Gulf Smokeless Coal Company

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pp. 64-73

In the preceding chapters I have attempted to outline something of the history and development of the Southern West Virginia smokeless coal fields. There seems some merit in supplementing this rather general discussion with a ...

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6. Personalities in the Smokeless Coal Fields

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pp. 74-99

The miner of 1903 would probably not have known what to make of his 1963 counterpart. Much the same thing might be said of the operator. The early operators were a highly individualistic lot, quite different from today's "organi-...

Place Names in the Smokeless Coal Fields

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pp. 100-107