Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Spurlock Cure, June 12, 1987

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - His grandfather

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Partial Transcript: Okay, now we're going.

Segment Synopsis: Cure discusses the life of his grandfather who was a carpenter in Pike County, Kentucky.

Keywords: Banks; Coal tipples; Family; Floods; General; Grass; Graves; Honesty; Johnson City (Tenn.); Logs; New York; Orville Cure; Photographs; Rivers; Sisters; Uncles; Watermills

Subjects: Carpentry; Coal; Death; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Families.; Fathers; Freemasons; Furniture; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Harlan (Ky.); Horses; Logging; Marriage; Pike County (Ky.); Salt; Timber; Tools

00:09:39 - His grandfather's work

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Partial Transcript: Now he was a great, uh, blacksmith too.

Segment Synopsis: Cure describes the carpentry work and blacksmith work that his grandfather did, and considers the fate of some of his grandfather's pieces of carpentry.

Keywords: Aunts; Creeks; Houses; Orville Cure

Subjects: Blacksmithing; Carpentry; Fire; Furniture; Grandfathers; Oak; Rocking chairs; Tables; Tools

00:13:31 - Career as a coal miner

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Partial Transcript: Well, Spurlock, let's talk about you for a minute. Tell me when you started working in, in the mines.

Segment Synopsis: Cure reflects upon the start of his career as a coal miner, which began in 1945.

Keywords: Black powder; Coal docks; Coal trucks; Conditions; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Experience; Improvements; Inspectors; Mines; Pay; Push in car (coal mining); Safety

Subjects: Coal miners; Electricity; Groceries; Life; Machinery; Money; Pike County (Ky.); Twentieth century; Work

00:19:08 - Life in the 1920s-1930s

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Partial Transcript: So what have, what have you heard about the way things used to be around here, you know, back in the '20s and '30s?

Segment Synopsis: Cure articulates what his father's life was like during the 1920s and 1930s.

Keywords: Coal cars; Company houses; Corn fields; Creeks; Farming; Jackson Branch; Johnson City (Ky.); Land; Loading coal; Rivers; Uncles; Weekends

Subjects: Coal; Coal miners; Death; Fathers; Grandparents; Mothers; Pike County (Ky.); Rent; Twentieth century

00:24:05 - Changes to farming

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Partial Transcript: How, how come people stopped farming?

Segment Synopsis: Cure illustrates the changes that he has experienced in his lifetime, including the switch from the majority of people working on a farm to most people working in the mines. The cultural changes associated with this occupational change are also considered.

Keywords: Cars; Corn fields; Farming; Fields; Gardens; Gristmills; Sawmills; Schools; World War II

Subjects: Beef; Change; Chickens; Children; Corn; Crops; Culture; Economics; Families; Fathers; Happiness; Knowledge; Neighbors; Pike County (Ky.); Pork; Siblings; Talking; Time; Walking; World War, 1939-1945

00:27:38 - Start of coal mining in the area

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Partial Transcript: Well, when did the mining really start in around here?

Segment Synopsis: Cure describes the beginning of the domination of coal mining as the primary occupation in Pike County, which occurred after World War II.

Keywords: Coal mining; Mines; Pony mines; Scarce; World War II

Subjects: Coal; Coal miners; Life; Pike County (Ky.); World War, 1939-1945

00:29:01 - Edgewater Mine

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Partial Transcript: Well, what do you remember hearing or do you remember hearing anything about the Edgewater, and Henry Clay, and all that stuff over on Marrowbone?

Segment Synopsis: Cure relays what he knows about the Edgewater Mine.

Keywords: Coal; Coal companies; Edgewater Mining Company; Henry Clay Mine; Pay; Rock; Unions; Yardage

Subjects: Brothers; Coal miners; Fathers; Pike County (Ky.); Social security; Work

00:31:54 - Unions

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Partial Transcript: Well, why do you think some of the miners didn't want the union?

Segment Synopsis: Cure recalls the reactions of other miners to the unionization of the mines. Cure also compares the strength of unions and the attitudes of the miners towards mines throughout the years.

Keywords: Benefits; Equipment; Fired; Hard; Modern mines; Opposition; Shutdown; Small mines; Unionized; Unions; Weaker

Subjects: Coal miners; Generations; Insurance; Men; Money; People; Pike County (Ky.); Retirement; Work

00:35:56 - Henry Clay strike / Strip mining

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember anything about that Henry Clay strike?

Segment Synopsis: Cure talks of the Henry Clay strike, and of the beginning of strip mining in Pike County.

Keywords: Edmond's Branch (Ky.); Fighting; Henry Clay Mine; Strikes

Subjects: Coal; Coal mining; Fathers; Kentucky; Natural resources; Pike County (Ky.); Shooting; Strip mining