Nothing about Kentucky would seem right unless we take into account of the mighty king coal, and in this area many of a hard working man met their deaths mining this black gold. My father started in the mines when he was only about 12 years old, he would carry water in to the miners and I am glad he talked with me about this because, it gives one a sense of this area and where we came from. he told me also about the early organization efforts by the United Mine Workers of America and how bad the conditions were before that time. In the early years and middle years of the mining industry in this area they (The Company) would issue script and the script could be traded at the store for food and other goods, the store also was on by the companies as well as most of the housing the miners lived in which came to be know as 'camp houses'.
Whatever script that was used by the miners would then be subtracted from their weekly pay which was not that much,,in the early years miners worked for fifty cents to a dollar a day and now it is hard to believe that that pay scale ever existed but it did. If you are thinking that the miners had a pretty bad life you are not far from the truth, it was a hard and tiresome life and most died young either from the hazards of cave ins or from black-lung from being in the mines most of their life breathing the dust.
Many coal companies sprang up in the area buying up prime land for pennies on the dollar,,CONTINENTAL COAL CORPORATION operated in Arjay Ky. from 1912-1915 and had up to 450 employees,FEDERAL COAL COMPANY operated from 1916-1923 employees of 156,FOX RIDGE MINING COMPANY INC.,1943-1958 with 120 employees,LANDRUM COAL COMPANY 1921-1924 with 60 employees,NEW ARJAY COAL COMPANY 1925-1929 60 employees,OLD STRAIGHT CREEK COAL CORPORATION 1925-1933 120 employees,ROTH COAL COMPANY 1921-1924 80 employees,STRAIGHT CREEK COAL,INC,1935-1940 75 employees.This is only a few of the list when I get time I will put the whole list on for the old coal companies. Coal Museum at Benham Ky. Coal Miners Memorial Theater at Benham,Ky. Theater Interior