Not only was Glen Alum my home, but it also holds many warm memories. I miss
friends and relatives with whom I grew up. I have had many heartaches of wanting
to be there and to help my family as they grew older. I have memories of my
Daddy going to work in a dark, damp mine ....to crawl on his hands and knees to
earn a few dollars, always coming home tired and dirty. But, thank God, he
always came home.
Mom was always there, taking care of us seven kids. How hard it must have been to see that we didn't go hungry and have clean clothes to wear! Mommy and Daddy always got the money together to see that we had a nice Christmas or a special birthday. How very poor we were, but we didn't know this because everyone else was in the same shape.
I remember seeing ambulances go toward the mines. Everyone waited in his yard to
see whose daddy was hurt and prayed it wasn't his. Daddy never got hurt in the
mines, but my uncle wasn't as lucky. He was injured from an explosion in the
mines, but he survived.
Strikes were common in those days. My daddy was a good man and belonged to the United Mine Workers Union. I remember his working at the mine during a strike. Protestors formed a picket line across the road, holding guns, black jacks and other weapons. I started running toward the mine to protect my daddy. The protestors were daddies also - kind and gentle. I ran and cried all the way to the mine which was about two miles. I must have been about fourteen at that time. When I reached the mine, Dad was all right. The men came out of the mine and went home. Thank God there was no blood shed in Glen Alum over the Mine Wars.
We walked about two miles to catch the bus to Gilbert High School. We left home
at 6:00 A.M. and got back about 5:00 P.M. We rode the bus over Glen Alum, and
Gilbert Mountain from Ben Creek to Gilbert. To do that five days a week, we had
to really want to go to school.
There were many times when someone walked in front of the bus with a flashlight to show the driver the road. Sometimes the mountains caught fire; the smoke was so heavy the bus driver couldn't see.
I think of the days we bought lunch for fifty cents. We bought grilled cheese with lots of good things on it, a Coke, and had enough left for a bag of popcorn to eat on the school house steps.
Daddy and I had so much fun going to movies on Thursday nights. There was only one small movie house, and sometimes Mr. Boyd, who ran the movies at Gilbert, took us on a Sunday morning. He let us watch the same movie over and over again all day long. The movie house was built by George W. and Sid Ellis. It was later sold to Mr. Boyd who also operated a theater at Glen Alum.
My Grandfather lived in the head of the hollow. In the summer we went to the mine, climbed to the top of the slate pile, sat on a piece of cardboard and slid to the bottom. We knew to hold on to the cardboard really tight!
The mining company truck delivered treats at Christmas time. Everyone got a brown paper bag with fruit, candy, nuts and gum.. I always think about this at Christmas. Daddy and Mommy made me a bag like that one Christmas when I was about forty. They brought it to Cleveland to me.
My dearest memories will always be how Daddy worked in the mine to raise seven children with Mom always by his side. She was loving and caring, especially in the last years of Dad's life when he needed constant care. For fifty years they took care of us and each other.
The coal miner was Earl W. Cole who was born on September 4, 1916 in War Eagle, WV to Tom and Lucy Cole. Daddy passed away on June 8, 199l. My Mother, Helen Blair Cole was born in Glen Alum on April 27, 1920 to J.C. and Mary Ellen (Hatfield) Bragg. Mom passed away on August 6, 1999. Earl and Helen had eight children - four boys, James, Bill, Darrell (Pete) and Doug, three girls, Delaphane (me), Polly and Kaye, and one adopted granddaughter, Cindy, whom they raised.
James now lives in Ohio, Bill in Texas, Pete in Tenn. and Doug in South
Carolina. Polly and Kaye at Delbarton, WV. Cindy lives in Ohio and I live in
I am married to John Brenner. My family consists of two sons, Eddie and Mike, and two daughters, Sandra and Becky and five Grandchildren.