We had boardwalks all around here, there wasn't any concrete around.
Wright's Hollow. I started working for the company in 1916, World War I time. I wasn't old enough, but I started in shining shoes in the barber shop and you know the company, if you go on their property, they have you signed up. I signed up and they paid me $1 a day to clean up the barber shop. The barber shop was located in the recreational building.
I was 14 years old when I came here and I went to work for them when I was 15.
Yes, my mother and dad both died here. We moved here from Jefferson County, Alabama.
Yes, the only mining I've done was at 206 in 1929, but I just worked three months and I came back to the recreational building and stayed there till the day it went.
I run a place there where the Ashland Oil Station is, a colored recreational. After it went, I went back to janitoring in the office building and stayed there until I retired in 1968.
Well, we had a pool table and sold pop, ice cream and cigarettes. We always had a good business. I went in there in 1944.
We had a bandstand along where the post office is and course, that office building wasn't there, nor the bank building or service station, Ladd Building, none of that. They had a big garage there where the Baker building is where they kept the company cars. The first concrete we had went from where the red light used to be down to Jenkins Hotel, and all the bosses rode — they had a hitching rack in between the store and Dairy Bar, and the bosses tied their horses to the rack. In the evening if some fellow didn't want to go down to the barn because he had to walk back, if you was a pretty good sized boy, they let you ride the horses down. I used to ride the manager's all the time, Mack Forrester. They had a long horse barn over where the shop is. They had a lot of stock, see they used mules in the mines, hauling coal, sanitary wagon, all that stuff was pulled by stock back then.
Yes, there was right smart. We used to have a church there where Butch Mullins' store is. Course, they didn't have no houses down there, but Dr. Perry's house and the undertaker's house was already there when I came.
There ain't been but two houses added down in there and that's Old man Plummer's house. So most of the houses were already in Wright's Hollow when I came.
Yes, there was a lot. Course, it took a lot before this machinery came along.
I was appointed to City Council twice, but I never was elected. I run two times, but didn't win.
Yes, we used to have the greasy pig, then had ballgames, and fireworks at night.
Yes, we had some good players. We had a fellow named Grady Dobin. This Grady fellow was the first baseman and he was a long ball hitter. Montie Weaver, he went to the major league.a We have had two or three fellows here that played ball here and then went to the major league. We played other colored teams, Wolf Pit, Hellier, Burdine.
Yes, over about where Charlie Johnson lives on the side of the hill and the ring was down below there. They had great crowds. They used to raffle off cars and cut tickets through the mining office. They brought boxers in from Cincinnati, Lexington, etc. They brought in good boxers.
No, they started coming in around '16 or '17, Fords and Dodges, and a little later, two fellows bought Packards.
The first radio I ever heard was down the recreational building. "Doc", I believe, brought it down there but you had two sets of batteries and all that junk. He brought it down there and we would go up and listen to the ballgames on that thing. They were a lot of trouble back then, but they improved fast.
I have an adopted son out in California. I have a daughter, she lives in Akron — Katherine, and the boy is John W.
Well, I think they have done extra well. I've been to Benham and Lynchb and around, and this job here has been one of the fastest to keep the people up on time. Just like television, we had it as good as they were getting it anywhere, long before a lot of places even got it.
Yes, we had wagons, then we had trucks. First, we had a colored fellow that had a team of mules. Henry Foster, he had a pair of mules that were so well trained that when he worked Lakeside and Wheaton Hollow, would hop off there in front of the store and go on in the door and they would go on around that side and pull up and back that wagon without him being in it.
You would have to bring it or send it and they would take it home for you. You didn't have to carry it.
Yes, they had a ice wagon and later on an ice truck. We had a little old ice box you put the ice on top and the food down under there, and it kept it cool. They had a bakery. They made the bread and then carried it to the store. They made bread, cakes, buns. They would bake a cake and then package it up in small amounts and the bakery fellows they used to give us kids the trimmings. The bakery was located where the legion is.
It lasted pretty long, I think, they went out in the early 30's.
Yes, we have had two businesses. Two fellows had stores down in East Jenkins. One was a fellow named Erskin and I can't remember the other fellow's name. He garnisheed a fellow and he met him there about where Leo's house is. He had been up to the post office. He was riding a horse and this fellow was working on the railroad. Railroad workers they used not to allow them to get garnisheed, and he garnisheed this fellow and he met him along there, and shot him off his horse and killed him.
Yes, they used to be a killing about every week, white and colored — they was rough in them days!
Yes, they had plenty law enforcement, but they couldn't be around everywhere.
G‑48 Yes, when I first came here it stayed wet until 1919. You could order it from Cattlesburg. They had a farmer lived here and he sent people around and took your order, if you wanted a case of beer or whatever. He got beer by the boxcar and then he delivered what you wanted.
No, we didn't have it as rough as some, this company was such a big outfit they let men have so much a day if he had it in there or didn't. The state and Federal Government put out flour and stuff like that to everyone, issued it out. It was never as bad here as other places. They have always had something to eat here. When they didn't work they always gave them something and then when school started they always let them go to the store and get a lease so they could get coal for the kids going to school.
They would go and fill out what they wanted and they let them have it knowing they wouldn't get any money until later on. You had to sign that lease saying you would pay it.
No, what they did they were good enough to them that they let them just sign up and they would cut you through the office and if you wasn't working they didn't look to get nothing. Some of the cheap homes they finally just gave them to the people. The houses were sold real cheap and they set up monthly payments.
No, I was on salary most of the time.
Yes, I knew him well, but I didn't know nothing about him shooting anyone. But I have went out and got his saddle bags off his horse, see he was always in the company office he had a lot to do with the Company land. He brought them moonshine. I've went out many a day to get the saddle bags off and take them upstairs in the office.
Yes, he was a pretty nice fellow, I never did see him any other way. He didn't look rough but I've heard plenty of them say he was rough but just coming in contact with him in and out of the office around there. I never did have any trouble with him.
I just don't know there is one or two over McRoberts been here a long time.
Yes, it was in the 40's.
Yes, they couldn't get it to hold. That's one reason the railroad was glad to get out of there, they never could feel safe with that tunnel.c The way that rock is sloped you just can't hold it.
I don't believe it will decline. You know I've seen fellows for the last 25 or 30 years they have had it folding up every day but it has always gotten bigger. So I'm thinking they will come up with something to keep going.
Yes, I noticed them boys fooling with that store down there they have made it pick up a right smart.
Yes, I have a pop stand, I don't sell no groceries. I sell potato chips, pop, and candy, things like that. The trouble with places here, most of the people want credit and they get in debt and the little man can't stand it.
Down there where the shop got that stuff up that hollow, the last one was up in there. At one time way back there, there was one at Church House Hollow. They always had garbage wagons pick up garbage and then when trucks come they had a truck. It went all around the camps and then hauled the garbage off.
That was a big pain but they had them. They cleaned out the toilets about twice a year sometime.
In other words they did everything for you, clean your toilet out, brought your groceries for you. I never did even put up a stove pipe until they sold these houses. I would just go by the office and say I want "so and so" fixed and they would say, well, I'll get around to it today or tomorrow and that would be the last of it. They would go right ahead and do it.
Yes, they had been used to the company doing everything for them. A lot of them didn't improve their houses or nothing, they just let them go waiting for someone to do it for them.
Yes, he was the manager.d
I remember Mack Forrester, Carpender,º Tarleton and then Zegeer.
Dick Brogan was the first I worked under, A. W. Jordan, Ransom Jordan, he worked there for years. It used to be for years when somebody would come back to town and they wanted to know about someone, they would come and see me, but I just can't remember like I could.
a The printed text has "Monie Weaver", but this is very likely just the interviewer hearing wrong, or a garden-variety typo. Monte Weaver played in the major leagues in the 1930s: he is the subject of an excellent biographical sketch at The Baseball Biography Project.
b Benham and Lynch are two small towns about •25 miles SW of Jenkins, very similar to Jenkins and essentially competitors, in that they too were coal company towns, founded by International Harvester (now Navistar). They seem to have had a larger proportion of black miners, and are therefore of particular interest in terms of black history; for a while Benham had an interesting website, but with the continued shrinkage of the Web, it has disappeared.
c There was a short-lived railroad connecting Jenkins to Pound, VA. The tunnel thru the mountain has collapsed here and there, and it is now blocked off. The entrance on the Kentucky side is said to be a few hundred meters from the new high school, near the road up to Pound Gap, behind the area of the long projected tourist amphitheater (marked by the "Cavalier Country" sign); I haven't seen it.
d Samuel M. Cassidy, Jr. would eventually become President of Consol; for a biographical sketch, see his entry in the university of Kentucky's Hall of Distinction.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 19 Apr 19