Coal mining is a tough and dirty business. Even before you go near a mine shaft.
Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia has called for a moment of silence at 3:30 today to honor the 29 miners killed at the Upper Big-Branch Mine-South. I hope you can join in. Just for a moment.
Social Media is with them: There is a Facebook fan page called “I support Coal and Coal Miners” that has 27,312 fans as of this writing. I just grabbed the top post I saw and wanted to share it with you.
Ann Shelton writes,”Grandfather, father, father of my children…all coal miners…all died with black lung. All were union men. Never complained about the hard work, were proud to be miners. Are there still men like this out there?”
I also know the story of a man who killed himself in 1946 to support his family. This tells you what kind of people coal miners are. Out of work and desperate, Ross Craig was seeing his children starve right before his eyes. So he hanged himself on his back porch to provide his wife and kids with the $90 a month from Aid To Families With Dependent Children.
I found a collection of last letters entitled: “Oh God, For One More Breath.” It is a series of final letters of Tennessee Coal Miners’ last words. Here is one from 1902.
From Henry Beach: Alice, do the best you can; I am going to rest. Good-bye dear.
Little Ellen darling, good-bye for us both. Elbert said the Lord had saved him. Do the best you can with the children. We are all praying for air to support us; but it is getting so bad without any air. Howard, Elbert said for you to wear his shoes and clothing. It is now 2:30 o’clock. Powell Harmon’s watch is in Audrey Wood’s hands. Ellen, I want you to live right and come to Heaven. Raise the children the best you can. Oh, how I wish to be with you. Good-bye all of you, good-bye. Bury me and Elbert in the same grave. My little Eddie, good-bye. Ellen, good-bye. Lillie, good-bye. Jimmie, good-bye. Horace. There are a few of us alive yet. Oh, God, for one more breath. Ellen remember me as long as you live. Good-bye darling- Henry
I almost don’t know how to end this post other than to ask that you pass it on, pray for the miners and their families. Thanks. ~Mike