Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Johann M. Groeber, February 20, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:22 - Moving from Glasgow, Scotland to Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: We came from Glasgow, Scotland in 1923. October.

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about her father finding work in Lynch, KY mines, then bringing the rest of the family over from Glasgow, Scotland. She mentions her family travelling America and their first house in Lynch.

Keywords: Adjusting; Family; Financial situation; Housing; Impressions; Indoor plumbing; Relocating to Kentucky

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Glasgow (Scotland); Immigration; Lynch (Ky.); Miners; West Virginia

00:09:07 - Life in Lynch, KY.

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Partial Transcript: We had school, which I wasn't able to go to for several years

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about life in Lynch when she was a child. She talks about how her family was treated as immigrants and race relations in town.

Keywords: Coal town; English speaking; Job in coal mine; Race relations; Segregated schools

Subjects: African Americans; Lynch (Ky.); Miners; Schools; United States Steel Company

00:14:28 - Life in Lynch compared to Glasgow, Scotland / the churches

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Partial Transcript: They work hard over there and it is cold. They have a good life...

Segment Synopsis: Groeber tries to compare her life in Lynch to that in Glasgow, Scotland, based on her memory and one visit back to Scotland. She also talks about the local churches in Lynch, mentioning that generally they got along.

Keywords: Activities; Building the church; Church; Community relations; Father; Hard work; Jewish immigrants; Property ownership; Role in community; Spare time; Work day

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion; Lynch (Ky.); United States Steel Company

00:18:22 - Miners' work: accidents, safety, compensation

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Partial Transcript: I'm sure he didn't work on Saturdays

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about the miners' work week and accidents and safety in the mines.

Keywords: African Americans; Days off; Injuries and support; Superstitions

Subjects: Coal mine accidents; Coal mines and mining--Safety measures; Compensation; Healthcare; Mining safety; United States Steel Company

00:22:41 - Community relations

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Partial Transcript: Were the native Americans pretty easy to deal with? I mean did they...

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about remembering that everyone was treated equally. She mentions the advancement of people she knew.

Keywords: African Americans; Community relations; Fair treatment; Moving up the ranks; Number 1 Camp; Privileges; Race relations; Segregated dances; Segregated housing

Subjects: Country clubs--Social aspects--United States; Promotion (advancement)

00:30:11 - The catholic church / unionization

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Partial Transcript: Hmm, one Catholic Church for all Catholics to go to we didn't have too many...

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about the race relations in the Catholic Church in Lynch, KY. She talks about the introduction of the union in the coal mines in Lynch.

Keywords: African American Catholics; Outsiders; Shootings; Union men; Union organizing; Union schools

Subjects: Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Lynch; Schools; United States Steel Company

00:36:41 - Elections / schools in Lynch

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Partial Transcript: Well, one time my--the company, I guess, wanted certain people to be elected, elected to office.

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about voting and the influence of the coal company in elections. She also talks about the school system in Lynch.

Keywords: Better education; Company influence; Demographics; Immigrants; Intimidation; Politics; Population; Quality education; Voting; Work checks; Work records

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Lynch; Education--Appalachian Region; Schools; United States Steel Company

00:45:04 - School sports / immigrant women and girls: languages, education, marriage, employment, and voting

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Partial Transcript: I wasn't good in sports but my sister Alice was. She participated a lot.

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about the sports and clubs at the high school.She also talks about women speaking English or their native languages in given locations, and the opportunities for women.

Keywords: Domestic help; Generations; Girls and education; Speaking English; Speaking native language; Voting rights; Wisconsin Steel Company

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Education; Extracurricular activities; Lynch (Ky.); Political rights

00:53:14 - Immigrants: citizenship, politics, and marriage

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Partial Transcript: But they had to have, be American citizens first

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about immigrants and citizenship, politics, and marriage.

Keywords: Al Smith; Anti-Catholicism; Becoming American; Immigrant marriages; Immigrant women; Older husbands; Religion; Staying out of politics

Subjects: Citizenship-United States; Immigrants--Kentucky--Lynch

00:59:54 - Family size / mine accidents and widows compensation / employment

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Partial Transcript: Most of them had, had, not, not, not, in my day, my age they didn't.

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about family size. She goes on to talk about the company support of the families when a husband died in the mines, widows, employment, training for girls, and out-migration.

Keywords: Catholics; Employment; Large families; Out migration; Remarriage for women

Subjects: Coal mine accidents--Kentucky--Harlan County; Compensation; Lynch (Ky.); United States Steel Corporation.; Widows allowance

01:02:52 - Lack of employment for girls and out-migration / Scotland / retirement from the mines

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Partial Transcript: There wasn't anything for them to do.

Segment Synopsis: Groeber talks about the lack of employment in Lynch for girls and young women, employment in the mines. She talks about Scotland, immigration, and retirement and home ownership.

Keywords: ; African coal fields; Emergency hospital; Employment opportunities; Home ownership; Moving on; Out migration; Search for employment; Single girls

Subjects: Benham (Ky.); Cincinnati (Ohio); Employment; Hospitals; Immigration; Lynch (Ky.); United States Steel Corporation.