Kitchen

Welcome


to the "THIS AND THAT PAGE"


Last Thanksgiving I received the email below from Roger Adkins. I was so impressed with the memory that he wrote in his Thanksgiving greeting. I thought then that we needed a page to just jot down some of our memories that aren't really long stories, just short memories. Before we lost the first message board, many of you shared those short memories about sleigh riding off of the mountain, or about the whistle that stood on the hill. Well, that is what this page is about, just a little of this and a little of that.
A few years ago, before the passing of my Mom and Dad, my brother and sisters would come home for a visit and we always ended up around Mom's kitchen table. Laughing and talking. Remembering. That tradition has passed on to my kitchen table. In fact I chose the background of this page because it "kinda" looks like my kitchen sink.
So pretend we are all sitting around a big kitchen table "you remember the time..." and "one time we...". Now finish those sentences or make up your own and send me your thoughts and memories of your years in Glen Alum. It doesn't have to be a complete sentence. Just anything that comes to mind such as stories of when the UMWA was organized in Glen Alum, things that happened at school, ghost stories, or just short "remember whens". I need your help in keeping this site going.

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......from ROGER ADKINS (November 23, 2003)
Warm greetings to all on this Thanksgiving Eve!!

This morning as I cleaned the frost from my windshield thoughts of my
childhood in Glen Alum returned.  I recall, distinctly, how Thanksgiving
was always hog killing time in Miller Town.  It was the responsibility
of us young ones to gather wood to boil water contained in a huge vat
which would be used to scald the carcass prior to removing the hair with
large butcher knives.

The day would always be brisk and cold just as this morning was.  Hog
killing was a lot of work and I always dreaded it!  But there would be,
regardless of how hard the economic times were, a bountiful table set by
the ladies after the hard work was done.  How we all enjoyed the close
family fellowship as we partook of the fruits of our labors! 

There was one particular Thanksgiving experience I shared with my
grandfather, Dick Miller, that remains embedded in my memory as if it
occurred only yesterday.  My grandmother had baked the entire head of
the hog and my grandfather took me into the kitchen telling me that he
wanted to show me something.  He placed the hog head on a table, took a
claw hammer and struck it hard on the forehead.  Then taking a long tea
spoon he extended the spoon down into the cavity and scooped out some of
the brains.  Tasting it he exclaimed to me how good they were and then
scooped out some for me.  I don't recall how they tasted but I have
never forgotten and will always cherish that experience.

Oh well, so it goes.  Life continues on and one season follows another.
 As I worked at cleaning my windshield today I paused for a moment and
gazed at the forest surrounding my home and observed how the trees
without their leaves were standing stark and nude with their limbs
lifted as surrendering sentinels to the harsh north wind that is now
blowing across the Blue Ridge.  Winter has come and another season has
passed just as that distant community and generation has passed and is
never to be again.  But we have our memories......

The campus closes at noon today and as I depart I wanted to wish
A HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL.

God bless.

Cordially,

Roger

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YESTERDAY

I wandered back thru yesterday,
And walked by the streams of "time"
Thru mountains, hills, and o'er the dales -
And all my thoughts sublime.
Went back to where I walked once more, as a child
Thru meadows, paths, and saw the flowers, wild.
The school-house, high upon the hill -
Where happy hours were spent,
The winding paths, the old rail-road -
On which, the old Coal Cars were sent;
And, I wandered past the old white church -
With it's steeple, tall and still,
And I seemed to hear all the "Old Time Saints"
Singing and Praising "God's Will"
And I walked on, past where the homes
once stood, of friends and neighbors;
But all was quiet - and still -
And I recalled, as a child -
How I used to listen - at nite,
To the low - gentle call of the Whipporwill.
Of the singing of the frogs in all the ponds,
Where my brothers used to play -
Catching all the polly-wogs!
And then, I wandered on ---
Past the old "Company Store" at home -
Where the Miners would meet and talk,
Discuss all their cares and woes,
And it seemed as if I could still hear
The old "store Whistle" as it blowed;
And hear the chugging of the old"Coal Train" -
As the Conductor put it into gear -
I could see the old "School bus" -
Stopping to pick up the High School kids - at the store
That somehow - will never be - no more!!
As I walked on, I heard the sound of hoofs -
And I saw the old Coal wagon - in the light of dawn.
The tar papered roofs - in rows- on and on.
Thought of all the friends
And loved ones gone before -
So I walked on - to the river -
Where I had picnic-ed as a child -
And saw the many flowers - blooming wild.
Heard the tustling of the river and the water
And, I paused and took the time to say,
"Thank You, God," for letting me be --
"A Coal Miners Daughter!"
For giving me such a wonderful Father,
And a loving Mother too -
Who always taught me what was best -
And how to with-stand, every one of life's tests;
Yes, I've just come from "Yesterday" -
Was such a peaceful trip -
You see, God made it all possible -
For, he showed me the way -
To travel back down thru
" the paths -- of yesterday".

By Marie Trent - About 1965



submitted by Don Trent, June 24, 2005


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.......from ROGER ADKINS, November 4, 2005


Judy, in my recollection of experiences from Glen Alum there remains an outstanding one which I have not shared with you. While I have taken certain poetic license in relating this story the names of the participants have not been changed to protect the innocent. And so here goes.....

Long ago and far away there was a land I prefer to think of as Avalon. Avalon was nestled in a green, lush valley between stately mountains in a remote and isolated corner of Mingo County. It was a community inhabited by men of independence and boldness, women of diligence and grace, maidens both fair and lovely and the children were all exceptional.

There arrived a summer in Avalon when John L. Lewis decreed that the miner's would produce no more coal until an acceptable contract could be negotiated with the operators. This action resulted in a great deal of leisure time for the men of Avalon, presenting an extended opportunity to engage in long hours of horseshoe pitching, softball playing, socializing at the company store and the passing around of more than a few communal jars of moonshine. A commodity which was always convenient and readily available in Avalon. It had a number of different names relegated to it such as Mountain Dew, Stump Water, Devil's Drink, Rot Gut and probably a few others. However, regardless of the name, the resulting effects were always identical and predictable.

After a couple of weeks of constant softball games the men and boys of Avalon arbitrarily determined that their athletic ability and prowess had attained such a degree of proficiency that they needed to expand and challenge other surrounding communities. Doc Lockard was to be the manager and he scheduled a game with the team from Beech Creek. Now the practicing really began in earnest. The reputation of Avalon was on the line! The enthusiasm and determination was apparent from the stern countenance reflected in the faces of all the players as they doggedly practiced from morning to sundown.

It was then that a rumor began to circulate in Avalon about a spectacular pitcher playing for Beech Creek. He was black, could pitch a ball like a bullet and went by the nickname of "Blue Steel." Well, this story caused a significant diminishing of spirit and confidence. What could be done to counter this unexpected threat? After extensive discussion it was decided that we would fight fire with fire. If Beech Creek could have a black pitcher that by jingos so could we.

In the colored section of Avalon lived a tall, slender black by the name of Malachi Green, better known by the nickname of "Milkeye." A very pleasant, easygoing person who was reputed to be quite some athlete. After talking with the manager, Doc Lockard, Milkeye was selected to be our pitcher for the long awaited event. Our confidence now began to soar! We would teach those guys on Beech Creek and their "Blue Steel" a thing or two about the game of softball!

Well, the day finally arrived. We all met at the company store, loaded into cars and pickups to began our odyssey. The ballpark at Beech Creek was located at the grade school separated from a large corn field by a split rail fence built in a zigzag shape. Upon arrival Beech Creek was already on the field warming up with Blue Steel on the mound firing the ball like it had been shot out of a cannon. A very bad omen indeed! He was quite an imposing man. Big and broad, muscular and of moderate height. As he stood on the pitching mound with sweat streaking down his very dark face I understood why the nickname of Blue Steel was very appropriate.

Soon the game was underway and a significant crowd had gathered to cheer their hometown team on to victory. Most were sitting in the shade resting against the split rail fence. A couple of men in this group were in possession of a quart of moonshine which they shared between them. After a couple of innings while we were at bat I noticed that Milkeye had approached them and was engaging in conversation. Of course, the code of the hills dictated that if you were in possession of something as good as mountain dew it was necessary to offer it to any visitors. Milkeye, not being one to refuse a generous offer of hospitality accepted. Of course, Milkeye never turned down an opportunity to share a drink with friends, and this was not going to be an exception.

I was only a young lad at this time and not very experienced in the ways of the world. Naive and inexperienced, to be sure, but I knew enough to recognize that this was not going to have a good ending. After a few between innings of this I heard some harsh words being expressed and turned in time to see Milkeye knocking one of the men down. His partner grabbed one of the rails from the fence and raising it above his head began chasing Milkeye across the ballpark toward the grade school. Now all hell broke out! One thing for sure, regardless of the score this ball game was over. Somehow Doc Lockard got all of us together, along with Milkeye, loaded up in the vehicles and we made a dramatic departure heading back to Avalon. Except for a few bruises and scratches, none the worse for wear.

Arriving back in Avalon that evening, darkness had fallen as I got out of the car and headed home. As I walked up Pistol Row and reminisced on the events of the day I could not help but be astonished that we had arrived all in one piece. It was at this point in my life, as I walked alone in the darkness, that I became a devout believer in miracles.

So ended the saga of Avalon's softball team. Soon the strike ended with John L. Lewis ordering the men back to the mine and everything returned to the normal routine. I don't recall the individuals who comprised this outstanding group of magnificent athletes. I'm quite sure that Donnie and Gene Harrison, J.C. Lockard, Johnny Toth, and others were included.

If you wish, Judy, you may share this and perhaps someone will remember this event and can provide other details.

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.......by Marie Hatfield Hoover (December 19, 2002)

I worked in the company store in 1950. Jean Collins and I worked the general grocery, Ralph and Tom Hatfield worked the butcher shop and Marie Trent ran the cashier department. Mr. Dalton was the Manager and Howard Nichols was the gas pumper and helped in the butcher shop.


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.......by JAMES COLE

I remember a lot of things about Glen Alum, the good and the bad. I remember how the coal miners would play marbles with us kids. They played ball with us and never let us win, and would not let us get away with cheating. But the men in Glen Alum did take care of everyone else's kids along with their own. I can remember a lot of people taking care of every child in the camp, remember, it was called the coal camp for what it represented, I guess. It was just one big family with a lot of funny last names. How many last names can you remember?

My Granddaddy Bragg and my Dad were the most important people to me. Granddaddy Bragg made me dig sassafras root and collect Paw Paws for him. My Granddad also bought me a bicycle (which Dell wrecked).

My Dad and I went to gather walnuts one time and Dad got lost. I found the way home. Dad told everyone about that.

I guess my two best friends in Glen Alum were John Willie Whitfield and Joe Lendaro as far as my age group went.

We had renters who stayed at our house. (usually school teachers) So a lot of my spare time was spent doing chores for my parents. I think I grew up fast, but I always had money in my pockets from working in the neighborhood or collecting for the scrap man.

I am not complaining about my life in Glen Alum, as there were some good times and bad times, but I guess the bad times out weighed the good. However it was bad for all of us as we did struggle to make ends meet. But most of all I am proud of Mom and Dad for working so very hard to raise seven kids. We were definitely loved.

Just keep the good memories in mind and thank God for where we are now.


I have a few remember whens.........

....My Grandpa, Tom Cole lived in the last house in the head of Shot Gun---Ciscos lived in last house in Pistol Row---Daniels lived in first house coming up from the station.
....What was the wooden building used for which was located just above the lower tipple?
....We did not have snow shovels. We used #4 coal shovels and my coal bucket was a #35 grease bucket. No automatic furnaces or water heater, all heating sources of stoves and fireplaces were hand fed and fired by me or Dad.
....Remember the war stamps? I lost a sugar stamp one time. Boy did I catch it.
....Uncle Joe Rice, the colored man who gave us candy.
....The Lite Drink.....Why was it called the Lite Drink?
....When Johnny Toth swung from the grape vine and we thought he broke his back when he hit the tree tops?
....Bobby Nichols swung on a vine and broke a bunch of teeth out?
....When the bulb cover came loose and fell on the head of Morris Ellis? We were in the church at the mouth of Pistol Row. (No damage to head)
....Remember when the slate pile started to smoke at the lower tipple and all of us were scared to death?
....Remember buying 2 hot dogs and a Pepsi from Lula Greene for $ .50?
....The metal school buildings at the lower tipple.
....Basil Lendaro lost his arm in an explosion.
....The dozer pulling the school bus over Glen Alum mountain in the winter time?
....The time the weather balloon lost some of its equipment in Glen Alum. The Gannon Boys recovered it but it sure had all of us in fear for a while.
....Tom Opan, the shoe cobbler?
....There were four churches, two movie theatres, the company store and two stores in Miller Town (Buck Miller's and Billy Croaff's store).
....Remember learning to skate on the company store porch?
....Remember when they put Dr. Kale's car on the store porch?

I Remember Glen Alum very well
James Cole

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....author unknown.
Submitted by Lou Callaway March 26, 2005

MINER'S BUCKET

The old time miner's bucket
Once held a lot in store
I watched for Dad's return from work
From behind the old screen door.

I always ran to meet him
To see what he had brought.
For times were hard for all back then
And goodies just weren't bought.

There was always joy in greeting
And giving Dad a kiss
And I'd retrieve his bucket
A treat I wouldn't miss.

The top had held the dinner
As reflective of the time,
A ham or fat back biscuit,
A cake that cost a dime.

The bottom of the bucket
Did cater to the thirst
For it held cool spring water
For the man who got there first.

I never stopped to think back then
As children seldom do.
That even though my Dad was grown,
He liked goodies too.

I've just begun to understand
Sometimes it's hard to see.
The cake left in the bucket
Reflected love for me.


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.......by PAT AKER WALKER (May 1, 2004)

One of my fondest memories of growing up in a coal camp is the memory of my Daddy coming home from working in the coal mines.  He was always covered with coal dust.  Only the whites of his eyes and the pinkish color of the inside of his lips when he smiled were the same as when he had left for work that morning.  He was always swinging that dinner bucket when he came through the yard.

My Momma always arose before dawn to make a hot breakfast of biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs and homemade blackberry jam.  The jam was made from the blackberries that Daddy picked on those hot summer days.  I remember when my Momma was recovering from surgery and Daddy had to cook his own breakfast.  We thought it was such a treat to get up and eat with him before he went to work.  Just because he had done the cooking.    He would say to us, “Now, if you want to eat with me in the morning, you have to get up when I call you.”  Sometimes we would get up eat, and go back to bed. Other times the bed just felt to warm and cozy to move.   Now, Daddy didn’t cook like Momma, he loved toast.  So he would make a big stack of toast, (the kind you make in the oven, 2 pats of butter on the bread before putting it under the broiler.) all nice and brown except the golden spots of melted butter.  Then he would stack the toast in a large bowl and pour the gravy over it.

The mornings were special, even though I didn’t realize it when I was a child.  I remember waking up many mornings to the sound of my parents saying grace before breakfast.  Well, they didn’t just say grace, they knelt on their knees by their chairs to pray.  And they prayed for us children and my Daddy’s safe return home from the mines.

I don’t  know what happened to the top part of Daddy’s dinner bucket, but the bottom section that carried the water is a cherished item in my home.  One year at Christmas, I filled that bucket with pinecones and ornaments and made it part of my Christmas decoration.  At other times I use it for a  pretty silk flower arrangement on my mantle. 



I remember clearly the day that my Daddy gave the bucket to me.  He and I were in his basement, and I said “ Daddy, why don’t you give me this dinner bucket bottom?”  He ask, “Now why would you want that ole thing?” I told him just because he had carried it in the mines and then after he didn’t work in the mines anymore, he carried it to the mountains to pick blackberries in.  He didn’t say yes or no at the time, but a little later, he came into the kitchen with a little grin on his face and said, “If you want this thing, it is yours”.  I remember giving him a big hug and telling him I would take good care of it.  And I have.

Most children who had fathers who were coal miners will share this vivid memory.  At our house we always waited to see what he had left in his dinner bucket.  If you were from a large family, you were lucky when you got the dinner bucket first before anyone else.  Because Daddy always left a piece of cake or bite of candy in the dust covered pail as a treat for us kids.

 

Judy had ask me to write something about this bucket, and I have been putting it off, because a writer I am not.  But with her help and encouragement, and today May 1, being my Daddy’s 101st Birthday, I am submitting this.  What a great memory of My Daddy and being a Coal Miners Daughter.

PAT AKER WALKER

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......June 19, 2005
The following article was copied from the Charleston Gazette Newspaper with the permission of Susan Williams. Ms. Williams' tribute to her father on Father's Day gives a vivid description of many of our Dads. Thought you would enjoy. Judy


.......by SUSAN WILLIAMS, Charleston Gazette-Mail, 6-19-05

ALL MY FATHER NEEDED TO KNOW, HE LEARNED IN A COAL CAMP


My father grew up in a small coal camp before anyone he knew ever heard about sending children to kindergarten.

Although he has traveled around the world, memorably crossing the Equator, his worldview was formed in that small coal camp.

He learned honesty, neighborliness, respect and hard work in that tiny, yet diverse, community.

When men came out of the mines after pulling their shifts, they were covered in black dust. Only their eyes were spared. Maybe it was that sameness of color that made them less likely to worry about divisions of color after they washed the coal dust away.

I never heard my Dad speak a racist word or act in a hurtful way to anyone of color. He often told stories affectionately about playing with black children as he grew up in his coal camp community. I am glad he never possessed a legacy of prejudice to pass on to me or my brothers and sister.

Some of his neighbors also spoke different languages. People from several European countries were drawn to jobs in the mines.

Some had, different practices, too. I can always remember him talking in amazement about some members of the community who rejoiced when a person died and cried when a child was born. But beyond the amazement, he never said a disparaging word.

I know my grandparents taught him the virtue of honesty, but I think he could see that lesson reinforced all around him with his neighbors, too.

His sense of duty, nurtured in the coal camp, has never left him. Besides serving in the Navy and on jury duty, he always felt his duty as an older brother, a parent, and as a caregiver to his parents. He took care of his mother better than any doctor could. For years, he saw to her every need, even at the expense of his own health. She never went into a nursing home and was almost 93 when she died.

I understand now as an adult that coal camps were little colonies, and the people who owned the camps liked to dictate behavior when they could. They sponsored contests to keep the camps clean and neat. To this day my Dad worries about keeping his grass cut in a certain way. He always used the word "clean" when he talks about yard work. From his coal camp days, he developed a taste for wanting the yard to look cleaned of all stray leaves.

He learned neighborliness in its true sense from his life in a coal camp. Even though women worked hard to keep their homes clean and prepared meals from scratch and men crawled into tunnels and spent hours picking away at coal, people in coal camps still found time to be genuine neighbors. Besides conversations over the fence, they also took time to care about each other's suffering.

A death in a family brought neighbors in to help. My Dad attends at least a dozen funerals a year, and he always makes a special effort to get to the funeral home if "someone from the camp" loses a family member.

From an early age, he saw the benefits a worker could receive by being a union member. Even though he suffered through a few long strikes when we were young, and I know he worried about where he would get the money to care for us, he always stayed loyal to his union.

Union mine was a safer mine, and a union miner was more likely to get his wages and benefits. My dad tells a story of my grandfather looking for a job at a mine that gave him a bad feeling. My grandfather left, and it was not long before the infamous explosion at Eccles happened at the mine he had visited.

My father followed his father into the coalmines, and my grandfather trained him on the job. My father always loved working in the mines, and he was saddened when his mine shut down. He treasures a blue and white map of the mines where he worked. It is full of creases, and he enjoys showing it to anyone who expresses an interest. He also likes to take visitors to see the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

No matter where he worked all of his life, my father made sure he rendered an honest day's work for an honest wage. I also know of countless times he helped people around their homes and never charged for his efforts or charged them less than his time was worth.

He is keenly aware of the efforts needed to earn money, too. He was always generous with whatever he had, but he could also count the time it took to earn money. I remember him telling one of my brothers how long it would take him to earn enough money to buy the item my brother wanted. He was also aware of other people who did not have enough money to live on. He gave to them what he could, and he was always conscious of never making them feel bad for their poverty.

Although they had little money, people in coal camps got cleaned up and put on their best clothes to go to church or to a special event. If they had "an automobile," the word my Dad always says, they kept those neat and clean, too. Sadly, I am not carrying on that tradition.

Coal camp people put on their Sunday best as a show of respect. My grandmother never traveled anywhere that she was not dressed in style. She also told me stories of dressing my Dad up in his best clothes before she took him for walks in the camp when he was just a toddler.

When my father bought his home in town, he faithfully attended town council meetings for years. His sense of how people should be treated and how the town should function to the benefit of its citizens came through in the questions he asked town officials.

His house is located on a main artery in town, and his porch is frequently full of neighbors and friends who stop by to talk and drink coffee.

My Dad's roots in a coal camp nurtured his ability to care for all people, regardless of race or religion, deepened his desire for honesty and worthwhile work and sustained his desire to respect and care about people's feelings al of his life. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

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.......by JAMES PERRY (May 2, 2004)

I have a lot of memories of Glen Alum, which was not the only coal camp I lived in, but it was the one with the fondest memories.

I remember the dirt roads and running, in the summer time, from one shady spot to another to keep from burning my bare feet.  The school carnivals at Halloween, especially the ones that the Clines were in charge of (Harry and Gary).  I also remember Billy Croft's store with the movie theatre across the road from it, I think they were 25 cent movies.  I remember the apple tree at the bottom of Mac Coleman's steps and the smell of the apples.  Also the old horse, Bill, that used to roam around town, that darned horse could open gates.  I remember the Company Store at Christmas time when they got the shipment of toys in and everyone would go look.  I remember the school plays and Dennis Noe's drawing on the blackboard of Christmas scenes. 

We got a TV when we lived on Pistol Row and Butch Trammel would help me get my coal in and we would watch the Lone Ranger on TV after the coal was in for the night.  I remember the ashes everyone dump in the road to fill holes and add traction on the slick roads, but also ruined the sleigh riding.

I also remember that everyone help out when anything had to be done, we moved to three different houses in Glen Alum, Mom always had help and I believe one of those who helped was Mary Armstrong, but she wasn't an Armstrong then and also Janice Owens help her with moving.  I remember the day we moved from Glen Alum and the return trips there to visit  James and Jessie Chaney. They eventually moved and we did not visit Glen Alum after that, but they lived near us until their deaths in the 60's, they were always with us. 

I remember a lot of my friends real well, some of them I still hear from and some are just memories.

I could go on forever about Glen Alum, I don't know if it was just because I was young and impressionable, but that was probably the best time of my life.

Hope everyone enjoys my memories.
James Perry

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.......by DAVID FRANCE (May 7, 2004)

I was born in Pistol Row and lived there until I was 3 or 4 years old. Then my family moved down to Miller Town, up the holler from John and Kessey Miller. I always went to Church and Sunday School at the Miller Town Church.

I delivered the Grit and Williamson Daily News papers all over Glen Alum. I also delivered the Grit paper all over Ben Creek, the left and the right fork. James Perry would help me deliver. We rode our bicycles from Glen Alum to Ben Creek. I delivered papers to the Hatfields on the right hand fork of Ben Creek. I think Roger Hatfield was kin to the people at the little Hatfield store above the park on the right side of the road. The park wasn't there at that time. Every year I go to the Taylor family reunion at the park. The Taylors were also from Glen Alum.

In 1962 I worked at the lower tipple keeping the fires in the stoves so the water lines at the tipple would not freeze up. Also, me and my Dad, Pearl France, would run the TV lines and repair them. Clifford and Ireland Crews owned the TV lines. They installed them. That was the first TV cable in Glen Alum.

I left Glen Alum in 1963 and moved to Ohio.

I have lots of good memories of Glen Alum.
David France

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....by ORVILLE FERRELL (July 22, 2004)
(I received this letter from Orville and have copied it with his permission)

I was born March 31, l921, at Glen Alum. Our house which was burned about 1990, was located about a mile down from Miller Town. My Father was Willie Ferrell. My Mother was Ava Carter Ferrell. My Father worked in the mine.

I went to Glen Alum Station School. My last teacher there was Myrtle Bragg Carter. My sisters were Virginia, Thelma, Myrtle and Linda. My brothers were Harold, Clarence, Richard, Denver and Michael. We all went to Gilbert High School and rode the bus over to GHS.

I graduated from GHS in 1938 and from Marshall College in 1950. I was in the Navy from 1942 till 1946. I am a retired Lieutenant. Harold served in the Navy and Clarence in the Army.

Kessie Miller was in my GHS class and rode the bus too. Her son Granville was married to Virginia's daughter, Sandra. Sandra is now deceased, as is Virginia.

All of my brothers are still living; however, all of my sisters are deceased except Thelma. She lives in Michigan.

I am related to the Millers and the Hatfields. My grandmother on my mother's side was a daughter of Sampy Hatfield. My grandmother on my father's side was a brother of Ben Miller. I remember your father.

I met my wife while I was in the Navy at Raleigh, N. C. I was in the Navy Diesel School there. We were married in Raleigh in 1945. We have three children, Richard, Billy and Gordon. Richard is a family name. My Grandfather was Richard Ferrell. My son Richard has a son Richard.

I have spent my working career mostly in Hospital Administration. I retired from Taft General Hospital in 1982.

I noticed the obituary of Dwight Elkins in the information. I was a classmate of his brother Malcolm and his sister, Charlotte. Some of the students from Glen Alum were: Louise Callaway, Bobby Callaway, Buster Miller, Harry Bragg, Louie Bobbera, George Hontos, Flora Kennedy, Jimmy Roach, Jim Bragg, _____ Totten, and my sister Virginia.

My wife, Rachel May, graduated from Limestone College, Gaffney, S. C. and received her Masters Degree from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA. She taught 2nd grade, fifth grade, and special ed for 26 years in Georgia.

It was so good to see your display on the internet. My address is racorv@planttel.net. We will probably go to the high school reunion on June 30, 2005. We ere there in 2000, and we drove over to Glen Alum. My father and mother are buried down at the Glen Alum Station Cemetery.

You know, Glen Alum people are all over this United States. My family is scattered all over -- Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, New Mexico.
The picture submitted by Dwight Elkins of the Glen Alum Station School showing the unidentified Ferrell is my sister Myrtle Ferrell. She was married to Morris Hatfield and they lived in Chicago. Myrtle died about 1994. She graduated from GHS.

Orville Ferrell

(NOTE ORVILLE AND RACHEL FERRELL PASSED AWAY SEPTEMBER 8, 2004)

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.....by RICHARD FERRELL (son of Orville Ferrell) July 27, 2004

I saw your letter to my dad, Orville Ferrell of Tifton, Georgia.
I am his oldest son, Richard Ferrell.  I have two brothers, Bill and Gordon.  I live in Milledgeville, Ga., on Lake Sinclair.

I am 55 years old and am retired from the USAF and on disability retirement from VA.  My grandparents were Ava and Willie Ferrell.  He was a coal miner, she a housewife and mother.  I believe they are buried on the fill over a railroad tunnel.

I remember visits to Glen Alum while still a child.  I loved the creeks and the roads through them.  I remember my mother being scared while driving over the mountain to Glen Alum.  I remember my Granddad walking up the hollow, black as pitch, covered with coal dust after work.  I remember when the creeks and rivers still ran black. 

I remember sitting on the front porch listening to my Granddad's rambling.  I remember my grannies slippers and her smoking a pipe. 
I remember some of dads brothers and sisters, Richard, Harold, Denver, Quentin, and Linda.  Some of his siblings I do not ever remember meeting. 

My last trip to Glen Alum was in 73.  We helped grannie do laundry.  We built a fire in the yard, filled the washpot with creekwater, heated it, and used the wringer washer.

Dad's old home is gone now, burned years ago.  He still makes trips there though.  I was shocked at how small the house was, cause, as a kid, I thought it was huge.

I think that Grannie is related to June Carter Cash.  Grannie was a Carter. 

One of dad's cousins, Gene Hatfield, was a policeman in Waycross, Ga. during the 60s,  we lived there then.

I am very proud of my dad and what he has done with his life.  He came a long way from the coal mines and the hollows, and yet, sometimes, I think he wishes he was back.

I will check your site from time to time.  If you need more info, let me know.

Richard Ferrell
ferrelllake@alltel.net


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.....by TINA SUE SMITH (daughter of Thelma(Ferrell)Porter) August 19, 2004

Hello Roger and Judy

I have visited the website and was so touched by your dedication to this
project. What fun you must have had in creating all of this beautiful
presentation about the little town that disappeared.

My name is Tina ( Pronounced Tyna )  Sue Smith and I live in Gobles MI. I am
the daughter of Leamon & Thelma Porter (Ferrell) and I was actually born in
my MawMaw and PawPaw Ferrell's ( Ava & Willie) house there in Glen Alum.
Weighing in at less than 5 pounds, Mom said they let me sleep in a dresser
drawer for a while after my birth. Mom said the Doc begged them to let him
have me, as he and his wife only had sons. True ? Who knows. Anyway - I
remained a Porter and moved to Michigan when I was 3 months old. However,
our family made at least one 1-2 week long trip to MawMaw and PawPaw's every
year while I was growing up. We usually stopped in Inez KY for a 1-2 visit
with my Dad's family and then spent the rest of the week in Glen Alum. My
first memory was the thought of going over the mountains to get there, the
roads were not much better than cow trails back then ( 45 yrs ago ). I would
put a quilt over my head or lie down in the back seat just to get through
that part of the trip.

However, when I was still really young, 2-4 yrs. maybe, I do remember living
there for a bit and always spending as much time as I could with my PawPaw.
We would walk the trails, gather the eggs and just be together. He had the
most calming way about him, and I remember him holding my hand. He was
always making sure I was safe from those darn snakes too. His attention to
me caused quite a bit of rivalry between me and my Aunt Linda - She would
always yell at me and say " He's my Daddy" to which my Mom said I would
always yell back -, "Well, he's my 'nother Daddy". Gee, I was quite a little
stinker then too. But the sight of him walking up from the garage, all
covered in coal dust and his eyes the only thing white, will always remain
in my memory.

PawPaw was always so proud  when we would all walk in from our trip down and
he could show us his latest addition to his Rattler Jar. I remember one
time, he had a snake rattler that was 13 rattles long. Scary knowing he
killed that old snake before it got him or one of the other Glen Alum Folk.

I will always remember the smells of down home. As soon as I ran in the
door, the food aroma : MawMaw always had biscuits and leftover gravy on  the
table till noon. The honeycomb and fresh honey was always sitting there, as
well. Just ready for a dip of the biscuit !! Bacon, pork roasts - anything
she cooked was so delicious, not to ignore my own mom's abilities. ( She is
still the best cook in the family - my mom, I mean ).  I LOVED the house,
the land -all of the memories just pile in at once. The feather beds, the
beautiful LONG wood banister we would sneak over to, we just HAD TO try
sliding down it - each and every visit. The joy of sitting there on the
upstairs steps in the evening listening to my Uncle Denver play his guitar
or harmonica.  And of course -  the sound of that clear cool creek running
in front of the house that never ceased to have the ability to put me in a
sleepy stupor, even when I was on the front porch swing or tucked up in the
bedroom.

We would also go down to Grammaw Collins house - formerly a Carter. She and
Grampaw Tolbert lived about a mile away - down toward the Tug. We would
visit there and she would always spoil me with candy or baked stuff.

I remember piling into the truck with PawPaw, Dad and the uncles - Denver
and Quentin and Aunt Linda. Off to the Company store to pick up something
MawMaw needed, and to visit along the way, of course. I made friends with
some of the local kids each summer and we would walk the creek bed, play on
the railroad tracks or ride bikes when my folks brought them along. Never a
boring minute, EVER that I can recall.

Well - I do have more things to write - in fact I could do a book. But to
make a long story short - I recently became the owner/care keeper of our
family property down there. I am so excited at the prospect of creating
SOMETHING down there for our family to visit over the next century.
Something that can help pull those memories out and make them a part of the
history of Glen Alum, too. When we have our research complete ( My husband
Todd and I ) we will update the entire Ferrell family and enable them to
create more Ferrell/Glen Alum memories for the future.

Sincerely


Tina Smith

Feel free to email me at: tynasmith1955@yahoo.com

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NOTE: The Christmas message below was sent to me by Roger Adkins. He so adequately and eloquently puts into words the very thoughts that run through our minds at this time of year. I thought you would enjoy reading his email and I do hope he approves of this posting to the site.

.....BY ROGER ADKINS, DECEMBER 23, 2004

Hi Folks,

Season greetings and salutations!

The campus closes at noon today.  The hallways are practically
deserted.  The students and faculty have departed with only a few lone
souls remaining.  In a few of the offices a decorated tree blinks
colorful lights to the passerbys.  Everything is quiet and peaceful.
And so, once again, another year has passed as we prepare to observe and
enjoy the festivities of Christmas.  Of course, Christmas cannot arrive
without me becoming somewhat melancholy as I recall how things once were
so many years ago in Glen Alum and on Tug River.

I must admit that I hate change, especially when those things precious
to one's soul are eradicated and totally removed from the face of the
earth!  How wonderful it would be to, at least, return to that old coal
camp and walk the roads of Pistol Row, Shotgun Hollow and Miller Town.
To stand on the portico of the company store and drink a Grapette from
the Light Drink.  I hear the song, "A Homecoming Christmas", and sadly
reflect that I can never realize the joy spoken of in those lyrics.  The
words do make me feel warm and good inside as I reminisce about the bag
of fruit and goodies handed out to the children and the turkey provided
to each home on this holiday.  The tree standing in the living room with
tinsel, icicles and presents beneath and walking Pistol Row and seeing
the candles in the windows.  It was, I suppose, just another dirty coal
camp to some but I reject that description.  It will always be a
wonderful and secure place where children could walk the roads at any
time of the day or night without fear or trepidation.  A place where
moms could give the children total freedom to come and go without
experiencing a moment of anxiety.

So, maybe it was just another coal camp, but as we all know, so very
well, there simply aren't may places left in the world like that today.
Yes, we did lose something.  Something that will never be replaced.
Therefore, I hope each of you will join me in this spirit of melancholy
as we reach back through the years and relive those special days of our
youth, our parents, grandparents and friends of yesterday.  Days when
the roads of Glen Alum echoed with the laughter and mirth of happy
children.

Forgive me for going on so, but I do this every year.  Just wanted to
share it with someone who would understand.  There aren't may of us left
that can relate to these emotions.  This is not meant to imply that I
don't appreciate the Christmas of today.  I enjoy my home, family, job
and the Blue Ridge Mountains, however, wouldn't it be wonderful to just
have one more Christmas like we use to have?

I wish all of you and yours the very best Christmas ever and may the
New Year bring happiness, good health and peace.

God bless.

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.... BY CHARLOTTE MILLER DAVIS, FEBRUARY 14, 2005

I wanted to write a little about my life and living in Glen Alum. I am John and Kessie Miller's oldest daughter. We lived in Miller Town. My grandfather, I was told, lived in a log cabin where all his children were born. My Dad was born in 1897. There were six of us children: John Michael, Diana Easter, Charlotte Anita, Bobby Dix, Granville Leon and Abbigail.

After you passed the company houses, going toward the Tug River, you entered Miller Town. My Uncle Edward Miller lived in the first house, John the second, up on the hill behind our house was the old Miller home place. Uncle Chuck, as we called him, and Aunt Betty lived there. Grandma and Grandpa Miller had passed. Beside our house was the Miller Town Church, which the Millers built. Then was Uncle Dick Miller's house, Paul Browning's house, Uncle Leonard Miller's house, Bill Miller's house, and Aunt Tint and Uncle Dix Browning's house. Across the creek from Ed Miller's house was Uncle Boone Miller's house.

My dad built our house. We had a bathroom, some folks didn't, some did not have running water in the house, but we did.

HOME OF JOHN AND KESSIE MILLER

My dad worked in the coal mines and was pastor of the church too. We kept all the Preachers at our house, who came for revivals and there were quite a few. If they spent the night then I knew I was to give up my room. For this reason, I always kept it clean and freshly painted.

Glen Alum, to me, was the most peaceful place of anywhere I have ever been. When I go to visit the land, for that's all there is now, when you get to the top of Glen Alum mountain and start down the other side, there is a peace that passeth all understanding. Life was hard there but we didn't know that, we thought we were rich. I suppose we were.

I attended the old tin school building above the tipple, first or second grade. When I first went, at recess, I thought it was time to go home, so I left and walked home. The school was worried when they discovered I wasn't there. They thought maybe the train had gotten me.

I remember the brick school on the hill by the Taylor's place. Mabel Elkins was my teacher and Toots Browning was the cook. What good food we had. I remember how we played paper dolls and pretended to be married to movie stars. Eddie Fisher was my husband. Ruth Hatfield's husband was Paul Newman.

When we got to high school was when the fun began. We got up at 5 AM, walked to the bus stop, which was a couple of miles. Waited for the bus; they finally built us a house to wait in. We went through rain, wind, snow or whatever. I wouldn't give trade with anyone, though, the way we were brought up.

Church was a big part of our life. WE cleaned the church, built the fires, I taught Sunday School, and sang with my Dad. We fixed treats at Christmas for the Sunday School. And for the Fourth of July, Dad would have ice cream, watermelon and all sorts of treats for the children. We would also have Easter egg hunts.
MILLER TOWN CHURCH

Hayes Bragg told me he had the biggest revival of his life at Glen Alum. He said he had 42 people come to the Lord.

Do any of you remember the treats the company store gave out to the families at Glen Alum at Christmas Time? I have so many good memories, I can't write them. I would need a book.

I dream all the time of walking Glen Alum mountain. I never did that, when the snows came, Mom would always get me a place to stay at Ben Creek.

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....BY JUDY AKER HATFIELD (2-21-05)

Thought I would add a few tidbits of information I have come across in the local papers.

.....On February 13, 2005, an article ran in the Williamson Daily News concerning the celebration of the 94th birthday of Garnet Rush. Garnet began her teaching career in 1930 at Glen Alum Station School.

.....In honor of Black History month, an article ran in the WDN on February 20, 2005 concerning Liberty High School, which was originally known as Dubois High School, established in 1923. June Mitchell Glover attended the only black high school in Mingo County and later was employed as a teacher. She stated in the interview that students came from as far as Glen Alum because they couldn't attend school in Matewan. They would ride one bus to Matewan and change to another bus for the final leg to Liberty High School in Williamson.

.....Charlotte Sanders, a long time reporter and columnist for the Williamson Daily News, covered a few points of interest in her weekly column on February 21, 2005. One paragraph that caught my attention concerning the Fairview Cemetery in West Williamson is quoted as follows:

"Incidentally, I have it on good authority (the late Dean of Reporters O.H. "Boots" Booton) that the five robbers of foreign extraction who ambushed and killed three Glenalum Mining Company employees in 1914 are buried in unmarked graves in Fairview cemetery."

If you have read the accounts of the payroll robbery in this web site, you will recall that O.H. Booton was the reporter who gave a first hand account of the robbery and the deaths of the robbers.

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....BY ROBERT C. BOYD (APRIL 2, 2005)

Dear Judy,
 
I remember well the location of your house in Glen Alum. I seem to remember
Carter, Kennedy, Aker, Trent. It's been a long time ago. I was a pall bearer
at your sister June's funeral. Seems like it was '47 or 48.

Does anyone have any information about how Glen Alum was named? I heard a long time ago a man named Glen found a deposit of alum there and it was so named.

I remember many of the  Doctors who served as company doctors, Dr. Perry, Freeman, Holton, Mccleese, Ferrell, Strauss, and Kahle.  I'm sure I missed some., but these names will mean something to many.

I went to freshman yr at Gilbert HS in 42-43. In my class were Margaret Collins, Georgia Blackburn, Myrtle Dillon, Beulah Taylor, Carl Trammel and Eugene Ferrell. Many of the kids that I went to school with  in the 8th grade did not go on to GHS. As I recall I was in the last class to finish there before someone set fire to it. That was  a sad day .

Does anyone remember:

The first sound motion picture to show at Glen Alum? Red River Valley w/Gene Autry

The  night the store window was broken? A man named Worley threw pop bottles and made a big crack, The Williamson paper nicknamed him Pop  Bottle Worley. I don't believe the company did much to fix it except drill  a hole in it and put two pieces of metal in to brace it.

Justice of the Peace Homer Bragg holding court on the RR ties in front of the company store.?

Who Shot Paul Rego? The doctor who removed the bullet was Doc. Freeman.

Shayde Chapman principal of the grade school? (and a good one)

Homer Step and his wife, school teachers?

J.M. Totten delivering coal in a wagon? '34

J.C. Bragg ,Jr delivering coal in the new '35 Ford dump truck?

Russell Myers going door to door reading the electric meters?

The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers on stage in person at the GA Theater?

Dwight Elkin's new '40 Ford PU.?

Tom Opan and his little shoe repair business.
(Buzz Suiter and I used to visit him after school. If he was having a glass of wine, he would always give us a small glass. And he always said," No Tella your momma".
It was always a pleasure to watch Tom  put half soles on shoes.

Anyone remember Lena Hooker? How about George Hontas?

Doc. Freeman and his Macinaw and riding britches  and Model A Ford coupe?

The Bocci games across from the Nagy family's house?

John Alley, the Butcher who introduced potato salad and pimento cheese as items in the display case at the company store..?

Gerald Faries and his car with the missing top that he drove to the mines every day?

A lot of freight was left off at Glen Alum station marked "To Light, WV"?  RR men knew what it meant.


Stories:
Doc Kahle as an early riser and was always on the store porch(sometimes before the store opened). He had listened to the radio that morning, and heard about the end of gasoline rationing. Being a doctor he had a healthy gasoline ration allowance. Doc is standing there and a man (Simpkins, I think it was) asked Doc if he had any gasoline stamps he didn't need. Simpkins had not heard about the end of rationing. Doc replies, sure, I'll sell you  enough for  4 weeks of  gasoline for $5.00. Later Simpkins found out he had been taken. Doc told him he could be  taken to court for buying ration coupons. He never did get his money back. Doc didn't mention he could also be taken to court for selling coupons.


Another good story.
  Dick Miller a foreman had to turn in time sheets to Russell Myers  at the company Office. Dick was a little hasty with his writing and often Russell could not figure out what was written. Russell put up with it for while, and finally he confronted Dick ,saying ,"I can't read your writing". Whereupon Dick replied. "Mr. Myers, I'm not responsible for your education".

Anyone who knew  Doc Kahle or Dick Miller will appreciate the stories. Doc Kahle was a gruff and sometimes surly individual. Dick Miller was  a tall lanky man who enjoyed a good joke, was serious sometimes and other times he just had fun. He was well liked.

Another story concerns my dad E.E.Boyd during the time he filled in as Superintendent after C.E.Suiter left. Dad had gone to the mines one day during wartime. The men were standing outside  refusing to go to work . When Dad asked them why. Their spokesman said, "Cause there is no meat in the Co. Store to  pack our dinner buckets." Dad stood still for a while and looked  at the men one by one. He finally settled on Bill Owens the UMW of A local President. He said . "Bill, you have a son in the Army, and others of you also have sons fighting. Do You think they are going to quit fighting when there is no food on the front lines. You know they are not". Dad then suggested it would be a good thing for them to go to work. Bill concurred, and the men went to work.


 .Does anyone remember:

Woodrow Trammel and Raymond Noe on their new bikes . I remember Woodrow had a cadillac bike.

The B& L Furniture collector on the Store porch on Pay day Sat'

George  Brookshire  with  bucket of fresh eggs on Sat.?

Clarence Hatfield and his '39 Chevy PU delivering the mail?

Men and boys playing Big Ring in front of the Post office.

Bethel and Anna Del Owens delivering Avon and Zanol products?

When Juanita Harrison joined the WAC. As I recall she was the first and only woman from Glen Alum to serve.

When Joe Nagy was drafted even before the war started. He left a void as he drove the timber truck for Lincoln Bragg and also ran the  projectors at the theatre.

What do you think? Would anyone be interested?

I'll wait to hear from you.


Kind regards
Robert C. Boyd
Universal City, TX

Clay Bros peddling  vegetables and groc., house to house?

Harry Owens delivering the Williamson Daily News?

Emerson and Bob Boyd delivering the Sunday Bluefield  Telegraph? 

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.....by CARL "BUZZ" SUITER, JR March 9, 2006

My sister Dottie was 16 years old on the Saturday morning she ventured to the Company store. Her dog Kaiser, a german shepherd was following her. Everyone from Glen Alum will remember how the guys would congregate on the store porch and shoot the breeze on payday. Many would sit on the bars which were about eight feet  above the railroad siding and others would sit on the step which ran the length of the store porch . As Dottie went up the steps Fred Hatfield was sitting on the bars with his boxer nearby. Fred must have been bored and sicced his dog on Dottie's dog. A vicious dog fight was soon underway. Dottie was angry ,and ran over and gave Fred a push, and he ended up on his back on the siding. The guys thought this was hilarious, because Fred was a guy no one who valued their health wanted to cross. Fortunately Fred wasn't hurt, but Dottie had provided the guys with some excitement and laughter that Saturday morning.
.


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..... Raspberry Caper....by Myron Henson (Bubby) April 24, 2006

Judy, I ran across your Glen Alum website and enjoyed it tremendously. I noted a story about Mr. Opan by Bob Boyd who dated my sister Kathryn when we lived at Glen Alum. We moved there in 1939 when my father got a job there as a section foreman and lived there from 1939 to 1944. I write to add a story about myself and Mr. & Mrs. Opan which your readers might enjoy. My mother was distressed about both my brothers going into the navy during WWII and I thought I would get her something to cheer her up. A lot of the people in Glen Alum grew gardens for vegetables in those days and Mr. Opan had cleared a spot up on the mountainside for that purpose. The difference between his and the other gardens was that he had a patch of beautiful raspberries included in his. In my accumulated wisdom of ten years it never occurred to me that everyone in town knew about the berries so I proceeded to pilfer a small bucket full which I proudly took home and presented to my mother. She looked at me like I was someone foreign to her and asked where I got them. Up on the mountain I replied. After a lecture on honesty, destroying the family name and starting a criminal career that would certain lead hell I was ordered to take the berries down to Mr. Opan's house, apologize, return them and submit myself to whatever punishment he might think appropriate. Now, Mr. Opan was known to all of us as a genial old guy who repaired shoes as an adjunct to his job at the mine but Mrs. Opan was a whole 'nother sack of potatoes. The Opan's had a fence around their yard that was latticed so you couldn't see through it and the few times we[speaking of small boys] had seen Mrs. Opan outside the fence in her babushka, long gray dresses and black stockings it had fueled our imaginations to concoct all kinds of stories about her. She was a witch and any kid caught inside that fence would never be heard from again. It had even led to dares as to who had enough courage to slip over the fence and knock on the door and then run. Needless to say there were no takers. My mother could not understand this and proceeded to tell me it was a lot of hockum and that Mrs. Opan was a woman just like her. I was given a choice of returning the berries right now or waiting 'till my father got home and tell him what I had done. The result of telling my father what I had done would be sure and painful plus he would probably make me do the same thing my mother had ordered. Going to the Opan's was an unknown quantity and I would be facing Mrs. Opan alone without even the sliver of protection Mr. Opan's presence would provide as he would not be home from work for at least another few hours. Despite my pleas that she was probably sending her child to a dreadful end I found myself trudging down the road towards Opan's with the proceeds of my crime. A lot quicker than I wanted I found myself reaching for the latch on Opan's gate. The gate squeaked appropriately as it swung open and each of the steps up to the porch added it's voice to the chorus of doom. Walking across the porch to the front door I knew how James Cagney felt as he walked to the electric chair in the movies. After staring at the door for two or three years I reached up and timidly rapped. I could hear footsteps approaching from inside the house and braced myself for what was to come. The footsteps stopped and the knob on the door began to turn. I could feel the hair rising on the back of my neck as the door slowly opened. There I stood with only a screen door between me and the dreaded Mrs. Opan. "What you want boy" she demanded in an odd accent. I explained in a quavering voice what I had done and my mother's instructions. She smiled and her face changed from a look of suspicious annoyance to an expression remarkably like I had seen occasionally on my mother's face. "Your mother good woman" she said with that peculiar accent. "Come in house and we talk." A million excuses crowded my brain but I could not utter one. I thought again of James Cagney as I stepped across the threshold into the house. That's odd. The inside of the house was very similar to our's even to the smell of something good coming from what I assumed was the kitchen. "Come. Come" she said leading me through the house. I followed her into the kitchen where she sat me down at the table and seated herself across from me. "You hungry?" she asked gently as though sensing my discomfort " I just bake spice cake. You want?' Without waiting for a reply she rose, went to the stove and returned with a piece of cake on a saucer. Then she set a glass of milk before me and reseated herself. "Eat, eat. Is good for you." The smell of the cake overcame my fears and a bite confirmed the delicious smell. Mrs. Opan studied me with a bemused expression as I ate. She took the saucer and glass to the sink as I rose to leave. "No, no. You stay 'till Tom get home. I want he should meet such a fine young man." This was an opportunity to really shine in the eyes of my friends as none of them had even been inside the fence much less being in the house and talking to the notorious Mrs. Opan. I sat back down at the table. She told me how fortunate she felt to have come to the United States. "Is not like this in country where I come from. People not treated good like here." I had not realized how much time had passed as she talked until we heard the front gate creak open and closed. I heard Mr. Opan walk around the house to the back door. He started removing his coal dusted outer garments before entering the house to bathe. Mrs. Opan walked to the door and said " We got visitor." Mr. Opan looked up quizzically and then peered through the screen door. "You bosse's boy. You Mr. Henson's boy" he said with surprise. "Why you here?" concern starting to show on his face. I had never thought about my fathers job but the word 'boss' seemed to bear some particular significance to him. "Is alright" Mrs. Opan reassured him " He good boy come to return something." Mr. Opan's face crinkled into the friendly visage we all knew as he smiled at me. "I take bath then we talk." he said almost as a question. "I would like to" I replied "but I have to get home before my dad does." "O.K. but you come visit us again" And I did many times. I spent many hours with Mr. Opan in his shoe shop where he regaled me with tales of the old country. I can still smell the orangewood he used on the thread he sewed the shoes with before he waxed it. I know this is pretty long but it truly speaks to me about the real Glen Alum as I remember it.

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.....by Richard Nichols April 26, 2006

I remember Mr Opan well although when I first met him I had a hard time understanding him. My Dad had sent me up to his house with 2 pairs of shoes to have half soles put on them. He told me to give him name for shoes. What he really wanted to know was who the shoes were for. So I named the shoes for him. I told him one shoe was Bill and the other shoe was Nichols and one shoe was Richard and the other shoe was Nichols.
When I would see him after that he would say ( hello Mr name the shoe ). He had a sense of humor.



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..... I Told You So.......by Myron Henson (Buddy) April 26, 2006

Judy, Another memory of Glen Alum. My two best friends when we lived at Glen Alum were Jerry Dunman and Buddy Collins, brother of Margaret and Jean. We did a lot of playing up in the hills surrounding Glen Alum and the popular game of our age group at that time was cowboys and indians. We, that is Jerry, Buddy and I had constructed some bows from which we would shoot dried 'stick weeds' as arrows. Anxious to try them out and knowing if our parents knew about them they would be confiscated, we decided to go up on the mountain for a trial run. Where we started up the hill happened to be right in front of Gannon's house. Mrs. Gannon[ mother of Charles, Ernest, Jr. and Kenneth was working her yard and as we passed she spoke that well known phrase " you boys better be careful or you'll shoot your eye out with those things". Yeah, sure. As if we would do anything so stupid. Score one for Mrs. Gannon because that's exactly what we did. I was hiding behind a tree and Buddy , I believe, was sitting on a branch of another tree. I stuck my head out and before I could draw it back I felt a blow like someone had hit me with a fist in the eye. Buddy had launched a stick weed in my direction and validated Mrs. Gannon's warning. We ran off the mountain and my mother took me to the company doctor. This happened to be Dr. Kayle who was known for his gentle beside manner. He took one look at me and said " boy you've lost yourself an eye". This seemed ironic to me considering the fact that he also had been blinded in one eye sometime in his past. He put a patch on it and told my mother they should take me to the hospital. The hospital was in Welch which I believe was about fifty miles away. Since we didn't have a car it was decided that we would wait until the next day and catch the train. During the night infection set in and I became delirious. My father, who had become general foreman of the mine by this time, called Mr. Boyd, Emmerson and Robert's father whom he knew had a '37 Studebaker and Mr. Boyd saved my life by getting out of bed and driving us to Welch. The doctor said if we had waited until the next day the infection would have caused damage to my brain{which some of my acquaintenances would probably testify happened} and as a result I would have died. I would like to extend my belated thanks to Bob, whose name I saw on your website for his fathers compassion. some more bits and pieces: Does anybody remember the fight between George and Leck Ellis where George cut Leck's throat and Leck walked from George's house on pistol row to his own house on Shotgun row? fortunately it wasn't fatal but I remember us kids following the trail of blood from George's house to Leck's. Does anyone remember the strange looking iron cage that stood on the store porch in front of the paymaster's window? Me and a couple of other kids were in the basement of the store, we were looking for metal script which the company had discarded when they went to the paper punch out type and we used the metal kind for mock poker games. Well what we found there was much more interesting than script. We found a .30 caliber water cooled machine gun and cartridge belts and cartridges packed in cosmoline{a preservative compound. None of us, to my knowledge, told anyone about our find since we didn't want anyone to know we had been there. Later I heard two old miners, who were sitting on the railroad tracks in front of the store talking, mention the payroll robbery and it's aftermath. Which brings me back to the odd metal cage in front of the paymasters window. According to these oldtimers the company became a little paranoid about protecting their payroll so they first built the metal cage and installed it on the porch so that only one man at a time could get to the paymaster's window and the machine gun was set up inside the office so that it pointed at the window to dissuade anyone with designs on the cash. I don't know if this story is true or not and would appreciate any information as to it's authenticity. Does anyone remember the shivaree for Gino Bobbera and his bride? As I remember it he had to haul his wife up shotgun row and back to the store and provide refreshments for all the participants since he was the store manager. and this: the store manager used to pay us kids a penny a sack for unloading bags of animal feed from the boxcars in which it was shipped and carrying them to a separate part of the store proper where it was stored until sold. Harold Ferrell was bragging about how strong he was and someone said 'yeah Harold. You're so strong you could probably lift one of those hundred pound bags of feed in your teeth." "Not only can I pick it up but I can carry it in my teeth to the storehouse" was Harold's reply and he proceeded to perform this prodigious feat to the stupefied amazement of us lesser mortals.anyone remember?

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.....by Richard Nichols April 26, 2006

Hi Buddy The 30 caliber machine gun was stored in the vault in the basement of the company store. My Uncle Howard Nichols who worked as a butcher in the store ask my brother Bobby Nichols and I to take the bullets out and dispose of them. What was he thinking--Giving bullets to kids. Any way he thought the powder in the shells was so old they wouldn't go off. We toke the shells home ( without our Mom or Dad knowing about them ) and took the shells out VERY carefully. We poured the powder in a paper bag and wrapped it up good and tight with tape. Then we went up Boyd's holler, put a fuse in it and stuck it under a big tree stump. Then we lit it and got behind a big tree. When it went off we took off running and when we got to the other side of the holler we could still hear small rocks falling. It sounded like it was raining Mrs Boyd told someone later that it shook the windows in her house. Those were some of the good old days in Glen Alum holler.



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