Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Ked and Eileen Sanders on the 22nd of October, 2015 taking place in the g--Zegeer Coal and Railroad Museum.
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks Kedrick and Eileen Sanders to talk about their personal backgrounds. K. Sanders describes his background first. He states that he was born in 1941 and raised in #15 Holler, McRoberts, Kentucky coal mine camp on the opposite side of the mountain from Jenkins, Kentucky and explains that the town was part of the same Consolidation Coal Company-owned land as Jenkins. K. Sanders says that he was part of a broken family and reared on welfare, as well as detailing the time spent on his grandmother's farm. K. Sanders details the movement of his family from Detroit, Michigan to Dante, Virginia to McRoberts, Kentucky. K. Sanders explains that he moved in with his grandmother after his parents split up. K. Sanders describes the school he went to in McRoberts and says that he didn't realize what good of a place he came from until venturing out from it.
Eileen Sanders then begins to detail her background which she describes as being a bit different from K. Sanders. E. Sanders discusses how her father was a GI stationed in England, where he met her mother during WWII. E. Sanders states that she and her brother were born in England and came to the U.S. when she was ten months old, moving into a coal camp called Bill Craft then but now called Sand Lick. E. Sanders continues that they lived there for a short while before moving to Kona, Kentucky and then to McRoberts in the late 1940s. E. Sanders states that her father never worked for Consolidation Coal Company and, by the time her family moved to McRoberts, the company had sold all of its properties to individuals and other companies. E. Sanders says that her father worked for Blue Diamond Coal Company and lived in three or four houses in McRoberts before her parents purchased a small home there in the early 1950s. E. Sanders adds that she attended the same school as K. Sanders from first to sixth grade and then went to Jenkins High School before graduating in 1963. E. Sanders states that she had five sisters and one brother, her father dying when she was seventeen. E. Sanders says that she went to college and obtained a degree in teaching before becoming a school librarian, retiring in 2005. Komara asks when E. Sanders was born. E. Sanders replies that she was born in 1945. Komara asks E. Sanders where she obtained her teaching degree. E. Sanders answers she obtained it from the University of Kentucky in 1967. Komara asks E. Sanders what her mother did. E. Sanders responds that she was a mother/housewife. Komara notes that it is very interesting that E. Sanders was born in England and asks if her father was ever in active combat. E. Sanders replies that her father probably wasn't in active combat because he was a mechanic for airplanes. Komara asks how E. Sanders's father became involved in coal mining. E. Sanders explains that her grandfather died when her father was still young so he had to go to work to help support his family. Komara asks K. Sanders how his father got into mining. K. Sanders explains that it was probably because his grandfather had been working for Consolidation Coal Company and so his father followed in his footsteps. K. Sanders describes how both sides of his family migrated into Jenkins, Kentucky.
Keywords: 15 Holler, McRoberts (Ky.); Bill Craft, McRoberts (Ky.); Blue Diamond Coal Company; Coal miners; Coal mining camps; Consolidation Coal Company; England; Family; Family migrations; Sand Lick, McRoberts (Ky.); WWII; World War II
Subjects: Blue Diamond Coal Company; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Consolidation Coal Company; England; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); World War, 1939-1945
Map Coordinates: 37.207320, -82.670984
Partial Transcript: Can I ask you guys to, you know, pretend I'm a visitor to McRoberts, um, when you were kids--when you, you know--
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks K. and E. Sanders to describe McRoberts to her as if she was a visitor to it when they were children. K. Sanders states that Jenkins and McRoberts were separate school districts, but there was no high school in McRoberts, so you had to go through Fleming-Neon, Kentucky to get between the two. K. Sanders describes how you would get to #15 Holler in McRoberts after entering from Fleming-Neon and the mines in McRoberts. K. Sanders explains that not all the mines were operational at the same time. He describes helping his grandmother farm and her cow pasture, orchard, and gardens. K. Sanders talks about helping his grandmother can. He describes when they got a Maytag washing machine and the process of installing appliances in his grandmother's farmhouse. K. Sanders states that his grandmother also made soap from hog lard and describes how she made it, adding that the punishment for saying a bad word was that you had to put a small bit of soap in your mouth. He talks about how the coal company avoided digging under his grandmother's well and how you gathered water from it. K. Sanders describes how his family used the water gathered from the well. Komara asks where most other people in the area got their water. K. Sanders explains that the company ran water lines to every neighborhood in the corporation limits, but not to every house. People who didn't have direct access would access water through the fire hydrants on the street that produced treated water.
E. Sanders explains how her upbringing differed from that of K. Sanders. She states that she had running water and a bathroom, highly unusual things to have in the McRoberts area in 1953. E. Sanders says that, even though she lived in the country, she was more like a city girl because she didn't do things like help in the garden, but helped her mother in the house and was more inclined to reading a book or something. K. Sanders interjects to mention that most houses had outhouses and the company provided a service to pump the outhouses, and only upgraded the houses with bathrooms when selling them off to individuals in the 1940s. Komara asks what kinds of things that E. Sanders's family grew in their garden. E. Sanders replies that they grew things like tomatoes, green beans, corn, cucumbers, and cabbage. She recalls doing some canning and only a couple of instances where they killed a hog. E. Sanders explains that payday was every two weeks and her parents went grocery shopping in Fleming-Neon, Kentucky on payday weekend, but sometimes went to the community grocery store nearby her house in between paydays. Komara asks if the store nearby E. Sanders' house had a name. E. Sanders answers that it was "Oldham's Grocery" when she was younger and changed to "Goldie's Grocery" for several years after it was bought by Goldie Dorton. She adds that her aunt worked for Goldie for a while and may have run the store for a while after Goldie passed away.
Keywords: Cattle farming; Coal mines; Dairy farming; Farming; Grocery shopping; Grocery stores; Household appliances; Livestock farming; Soap making; Water access; Water usage; Well water; Wells
Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Dairy farming; Grocery shopping; Household appliances.; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Subsistence farming.; Water use; Well water; Wells.
Partial Transcript: Would you, would you both, um, one at a time, walk me through the process of how your families to can? This is something I'm specifically interested in for my research.
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks K. and E. Sanders to each walk her through the process of canning. K. Sanders explains that you would have hundreds of glass jars and occasionally had to replace the lids, describing the process of sanitizing them and storing/preserving them. He details how his grandmother pasteurized the milk she collected from her cows and put it in jars, adding that you didn't worry about it spoiling because it would be consumed, and any leftover/old milk would be used to make butter. K. Sanders describes how his grandmother churned butter and canned the leftover buttermilk, explaining that if there was still stuff leftover, you'd feed it to the hogs and chickens. K. Sanders details how his grandmother ordered chickens from Sears Roebuck every spring and kept them in the house until they got big enough and the weather got warm enough to put them outside. He describes the process in which the chickens were caught and then prepared for dinner. K. Sanders mentions the subject of garbage. He explains that his family didn't have garbage because almost everything was repurposed and/or recycled. Komara asks if the other families who lived in company houses generated a lot of garbage. K. Sanders replies that he doesn't know, but noting that people in company houses had gardens but didn't own their own lawnmowers.
Komara asks E. Sanders if she remembers how her family canned. E. Sanders responds that her family probably didn't do as much canning, but recalls her mother canning tomatoes and green beans and making sauerkraut. She mentions that anything grown in their garden was usually eaten fresh and her mother stopped gardening after her father passed away, mostly relying on purchases from the grocery store. E. Sanders states that her family wasn't richer than K. Sanders's family, but they just lived differently. Komara asks if either individual's families ever used pressure cookers to can. K. Sanders answers that his mother bought a pressure cooker later in the 1950s. K. Sanders recalls that since there weren't any refrigerators, his family often pickled things to preserve them, describing when and how his family pickled things. E. Sanders recalls the process of making sauerkraut in her family. K. Sanders states that he still likes to can and, in a typical year, he and E. Sanders consume probably fifty cans between the two of them. E. Sanders states that you can see the difference in their upbringing because she never cans, but he does. Komara asks if either of their families used jars other than the traditional mason jars. K. Sanders replies that he doesn't remember many things in stores being sold in jars, noting that you normally had to specifically buy the jars to get them. Komara asks if they remember where their families bought canning jars, whether that was locally or ordered them. K. Sanders answers that his family bought them locally at the store, mentioning that his aunt and uncle owned a store that was closer to #15 Holler than the company store and detailing the merchandise they sold there.
Keywords: Butchering chickens; Butter churning; Butter making; Canning; Canning and preserving; Canning jars; Chicken butchering; Churning butter; Cooking sauerkraut; Glass jars; Grocery shopping; Grocery stores; Making butter; Making sauerkraut; Mason jars; Milk; Milk consumption; Milk jars; Pickling; Pickling food; Sauerkraut cooking; Sauerkraut making
Subjects: Canning and preserving.; Chickens.; Cooking, American.; Glass jars; Grocery shopping; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Milk consumption; Sauerkraut
Partial Transcript: And how did people pay in that store? Did that store take scrip from the company folks as well as cash?
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks how people paid at that store, and whether the store accepted scrip, cash, or both. K. Sanders responds that he doesn't think they did because people had stopped using scrip by his lifetime. E. Sanders explains that the company stores ceased to be company stores after the companies left the area, so they naturally stopped taking scrip. K. Sanders explains that Fleming-Neon, Kentucky was not a company town so a miner paid in scrip would have to get it changed to American money to shop in that town. E. Sanders recalls there being a scrip office in Dunham, Kentucky where she thinks scrip could be exchanged for money.
Komara asks K. Sanders if his grandmother ever sold her extra produce for money. K. Sanders replies that she did, explaining that she had split with his grandfather but was helped to buy her own land and property by her wealthy father in Pike County, Kentucky. He states that if she had extra produce, she'd sell it to neighbors or the coal camps and use the money to buy anything she needed from the company store. Komara recalls K. Sanders saying that his grandmother canned milk and how it wasn't the most sanitary process. K. Sanders explains that the cows came out of the fields dirty and she'd run the milk through a strainer and cheese cloth to remove any particles from it and then pasteurized it on the stove before putting it in jars, noting that they never had any problem with food handling. Komara asks where she learned to pasteurize milk. K. Sanders guesses that it was probably handed down to her and she may have not known what pasteurizing was, just that she was purifying/sanitizing the milk. Komara asks if people were ever worried if the milk his grandmother sold was unsanitary. K. Sanders answers that he doesn't think that people gave it a second thought. E. Sanders recalls having neighbors that her parents sometimes bought milk from and her not wanting to drink it since she was used to store bought milk.
Komara asks K. Sanders if he could clarify whether or not his grandmother's house was company built/owned. K. Sanders replies that it was private land, then describes how the people who farmed and lived in the area before the coal company came in probably were prosperous even after the company came in. E. Sanders mentions that there were company houses up to the point of K. Sanders's uncle's store but not beyond there and not big houses. Komara asks E. Sanders if she lived in one of the duplexes in her neighborhood, Cannel City Row. E. Sanders responds that she did and mentions that the Tom Biggs neighborhood also had some duplexes there. E. Sanders explains that the houses in 13 Row were not as big, for some reason, as the duplex houses of her Cannel City Row. E. Sanders references photos that she is looking at with Komara, noting that a lot of things haven't changed much except that the houses have been improved. Komara asks how common it is for people to have turned duplexes into single-family houses. E. Sanders replies that it is pretty common and mentions that the house her family lived in had two families on the different ends of the duplex, but the ones surrounding her had already been turned into single family houses. Komara asks if certain styles or models of houses are more popular or sought after by home buyers in McRoberts and Jenkins. E. Sanders responds that she doesn't think that there are any duplexes left that haven't been converted to single family dwellings and it's just a matter of whether you want a larger or smaller house. Komara asks if there is status associated with living in old company houses versus building a new house in McRoberts and Jenkins. Both E. and K. Sanders reply that they don't think this is the case, with K. Sanders saying that status would be more likely associated with building a new house. E. Sanders remarks that most of the houses still are the old company houses, mentioning that houses in the area that she and K. Sanders lived in were built in the late 1960s. K. Sanders details how families remodeled the company houses after the company sold them to individual families.
Keywords: Cannel City Row, McRoberts (Ky.); Canning and preserving; Company housing; Company stores; Dairy produce; Duplexes; Food sanitation; Grocery shopping; Grocery stores; Milk; Milk consumption; Milk jars; Milk pasteurization; Private housing; Sanitation concerns; Selling dairy products; Social status; Social status--Housing
Subjects: Canning and preserving.; Chickens.; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Cooking, American.; Dairy farming; Fleming-Neon (Ky.); Grocery shopping; Homemade living; Housing.; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Milk consumption; Sanitation, Household; Sanitation, Rural; Sanitation.; Social status.; Subsistence farming.
Partial Transcript: When we were real young, of course, parents were real protective.
Segment Synopsis: K. Sanders mentions that his mother was always protective of him and his siblings when they were young, but gave them more freedom to roam when they got older. He adds that he and other boys went to collect walnuts and shell them in the woods, not worrying about whose land they were on, and making the walnuts into candy and things. K. Sanders explains that the stain the walnuts left on your hands was sort of a status symbol since it was so hard to wash off and people would remark how brown your hands were. K. Sanders states that kids kept marbles in their pocket to play marbles with other kids whenever the occasion arose, detailing a story about this topic. Komara asks if people still walk off into the woods to gather things. K. Sanders replies that that practice has largely died off since there are four-wheelers to ride back in the woods now. E. Sanders mentions that they may pick berries, but she doesn't know about walnuts, mentioning K. Sanders's cousin who shells pecans. K. Sanders recounts picking berries and a story about how his mother pulled out spoiled berries from a jar, remarking that they could have been made into wine. Komara asks if people still use the woods as community land or if the land has become more privatized. K. Sanders replies that a lot of that area has been mined out or is covered in underbrush, he himself hasn't been out in the woods much except for areas specifically designed for hiking.
K. Sanders asks if Komara knows anything about the Killing Rock Massacre. Komara replies that she does and that someone else showed her the gravestones in the area. K. Sanders explains that the Massacre occurred in 1892 and it was a hundred years later in 1992 when they put markers out for the graves. He wondered if the historical society had actually found the graves or just picked a spot to place the markers so he conducted his own research. K. Sanders states that he found out that it was the actual site where the massacre took place. E. Sanders asks Komara if she is familiar with the Facebook page "Kentucky Tennessee Living." Komara responds that she thinks she's part of that group. E. Sanders explains that the creators of that page had just finished a documentary about the massacre. K. Sanders details the research he's done into the massacre and offers to show Komara some of the things he's gathered over time.
Keywords: Berry gathering; Berry picking; Childhood recreation; Kentucky Tennessee Living; Killing Rock Massacre; Marbles; Pound Gap Massacre; Recreation; Rural recreation; Social status; The woods; Walnut gathering; Walnut harvesting; Woods
Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); Marbles (Game); McRoberts (Ky.); Memorials--United States.; Pound Gap (Ky. and Va.); Pound Gap Massacre, Va., 1892; Recreation--United States.; Wild plants, Edible--United States; Wild plants, Edible.
Map Coordinates: 37.154954, -82.632659
Partial Transcript: Can I jump back for a moment and ask you, um, when you were kids, where did your family use to shop for things like clothes and furniture and aditi--uh, refrigerators?
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks where E. and K. Sanders's families shopped for clothes, furniture, and refrigerators when they were children. E. Sanders recalls that appliances and clothing were mostly purchased in Fleming-Neon, Kentucky. K. Sanders describes that area in Fleming-Neon as a modern day mall. Komara asks what the draw was for people to shop in Fleming-Neon rather than in McRoberts, Kentucky. E. Sanders replies that she thinks it was because of the selection and because the company stores had closed in the late 1960s. K. Sanders states that it was because miners got paid better, had cars, and were able to leave town to shop elsewhere. Komara asks K. Sanders if his family ever shopped at the Dawahares store in Fleming-Neon. K. Sanders replies that they did and recounts the history of the Dawahares family and why they were successful in establishing their stores. Komara asks if K. Sanders remembers any of the Syrian families from Fleming-Neon. K. Sanders responds that he does and lists several that he can remember. E. Sanders jumps back in and lists some Syrian families she knew of and talks about pictures that she has of the merchants before they left east Jenkins for Fleming-Neon. Komara asks why the business owners left East Jenkins for Fleming-Neon. K. Sanders explains that the headquarters of the Elkhorn Coal Company, a branch of Consolidation Coal Company, was located in Fleming-Neon and Fleming-Neon had a fairly large population while McRoberts was a dead-end place. E. Sanders adds that Fleming-Neon had a theater and several clothing stores. K. Sanders recounts hitching rides to Fleming-Neon from McRoberts to conduct business and hitch a ride back home. E. Sanders mentions that there used to be a bus service and train, and K. Roberts recalls there being several taxis lined up in Fleming-Neon since there was so much business in taking people back and forth from the hollers, but this public transport boom ended when most people began to own their own private vehicles. Komara asks for confirmation of if the train went from McRoberts to Fleming-Neon. K. Roberts confirms that it did and adds that it went all the way to Lexington, Kentucky and along the Kentucky River. Komara asks E. and K. Sanders if immigrant families lived in McRoberts and if they can tell her about them. K. Sanders responds that there were several and describes a Russian family and their property, noting that they were hardworking good people. E. Sanders asks if Komara has talked to a particular family from the area, and she and K. Sanders discuss where some of the family may be now. Komara asks if E. or K. Sanders remember the immigrant families cooking any different foods. K. Sanders remembers the woman from the Russian family making nut rolls for Christmas time.
Keywords: Appliances shopping; Business owners; Clothes shopping; Consolidation Coal; Consolidation Coal Company; Dawahares; Dawahares Retail Company; East Jenkins; Elkhorn Coal Company; Furniture shopping; Immigrant families; Immigrants; Kentucky immigrants; Private transport; Public transit; Public transport; Public transportation; Retail stores; Russian immigrants; Russian-American families; Syrian families; Syrian immigrants
Subjects: Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Consolidation Coal Company; Fleming-Neon (Ky.); Immigrant families; Immigrants; Immigrants--Kentucky; Immigrants.; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Retail trade.; Russian Americans; Syrian Americans; Transportation.
Partial Transcript: Well how about, um, African American families in McRoberts?
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks about African American families in McRoberts. K. Sanders answers that there were none in #15 Holler, but they originally lived in the She Fork neighborhood until being moved to the head of Tom Biggs neighborhood, noting that there was segregation in McRoberts before they knew what segregation was. Komara asks if any of the African American families remaining in McRoberts have moved out from Tom Biggs or remain in that neighborhood. K. Sanders restates their movement by the company from She Fork to Tom Biggs. E. Sanders mentions that there are some African American families in Jenkins, Kentucky that are mixed into the community now. E. Sanders states that African American families lived in the upper end of Fleming-Neon and recalls a particular family that were well-off. E. and K. Sanders talk about several other people that Komara could possibly talk to for her research. Komara asks if K. and E. Sanders have ever heard African American residents talk about racial tension. K. Sanders states there was virtually no racial tension in McRoberts, but E. Sanders recalls there being some racial tension when the schools were integrated, with a drug store owner not allowing black people into his store. K. Sanders recalls the school prom being cancelled the first year after school integration because they didn't want black and white students dancing together. E. Sanders remarks that someone she knew didn't know why it was such a big deal because they danced together other places. She says that she thinks that everything went fairly smoothly except with the schools. E. Sanders mentions that Jenkins Independent Schools contracted with Letcher County Schools to take their black students since the county schools did not have its own black school. K. Sanders describes his first experience of seeing "white only" and "black only" signs when he was in the army, but E. Sanders says that there were signs like that in some places, like the recreation center, in McRoberts and Jenkins. K. Sanders emphasizes that even though African Americans lived in separate areas, it didn't feel like a division because blacks and whites worked, shopped, and socialized together in McRoberts.
Keywords: African-American families; African-Americans; Consolidation Coal Company; Desegregation; Jenkins Independent Schools; Letcher County Schools; Racial tension; School integration; Segregation; She Fork, McRoberts (Ky.); Shea's Fork, McRoberts (Ky.); Tom Biggs, McRoberts (Ky.)
Subjects: African American families; African American families.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Segregation--Southern States; African Americans--Segregation.; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Consolidation Coal Company; Fleming-Neon (Ky.); Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Segregation; Segregation in education; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education--United States; Segregation in education--United States.; Segregation in education.; Segregation.
Partial Transcript: Can I ask about, um, people's relationship with the companies, with Consolidation Coal, uh, and then Beth-Elkhorn and then the companies that operate in the area now? Um, how did people feel about Consolidation Coal?
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks K. and E. Sanders what the feelings of people in the area were for the coal companies in the past and now. K. Sanders replies that he remembers talking to some of the older miners in the past about the Consolidation Coal Company and notes that they had a fondness with it. He explains that the company conducted maintenance on company houses, gave workers access to healthcare, provided a stipend for laid-off workers in the winter, conducted sewage removal, and provided them with a living wage. K. Sanders acknowledges that none of this was free and that the workers were working for these services in the mines and paying a portion of their wage as sort of health insurance daily. He mentions that many people were born in a company hospital and buried in a company cemetery. K. Sanders describes how the old system of the company was the first form of socialism, asserting that the Bolsheviks of Russia sent observers to study how a socialist society functions when setting up their government. Komara asks if E. and K. Sanders recall any socialist mining associations ever coming into town. K. Sanders replies that he doesn't.
Komara asks if the unionization process started under Consolidation Coal Company. K. Sanders responds that it did, in the 1930s, and describes the situation in which unionization began. He explains that mechanization was in full swing and many miners lost their jobs to machines that performed their work more efficiently. K. Sanders says that it was a good time for those who kept their jobs and were able to benefit from the union, but many others were forced to board up their houses and look for factory work in the north. K. Sanders states that he left McRoberts, Kentucky after high school for Cleveland, Ohio, working in a factory and joining the army, but the McRoberts area was more prosperous when he returned in 1963. Komara asks E. and K. Sanders if they have ever heard anyone talk about labor conflicts when the mines unionized. K. Sanders answers that the company had conflicts with the union because the company didn't want the union telling them what to do and didn't want to have to negotiate. He says, however, that after both sides accepted the presence of one another, the company realized that it was to the benefit of all parties to work with the union.
Komara asks how people reacted to the switch of control in the area from Consolidation Coal to Beth-Elkhorn. K. Sanders replies that there was apprehension at first because Consolidation Coal was the only company most people in the area had ever known, but soon found Beth-Elkhorn to be just as good or a better company to work for. Komara asks if K. Sanders thinks that transition may have been easy since a lot of people worked for both companies. K. Sanders responds that he agrees and explains that it helped because the new company didn't come in and fire all of the workers, the only change was what company you got your paycheck from. He remarks that some found the period under Beth-Elkhorn better than under Consolidation, adding that he worked for the company and always had a good relationship with it because of its safety standards and the opportunities it offered. E. Sanders mentions David Zegeer and his climb to being general manager of Beth-Elkhorn. Komara remarks that she has found him to be a very revered figure in Jenkins, Kentucky. K. Sanders describes the background and character of Zegeer.
Komara asks what companies operate in the McRoberts area today. K. Sanders responds that all of the mining entities sold out to an investment company after Beth-Elkhorn left who then sold everything to TECO Energy. He explains that its subsidiary, TECO Coal Corporation, chose to base itself out of Pikeville, Kentucky rather than Jenkins and mostly conducted surface mining, underground mining, and contract mining. K. Sanders recalls talking to a TECO manager who estimated that around six thousand jobs were created from TECO's presence and states that all of the money that left with Beth-Elkhorn came back to the area when TECO arrived. Komara asks what the perception of TECO is in the McRoberts area. K. Sanders replies that it is generally favorable, but that there are almost no coal miners left in Jenkins to care about the business of coal companies. E. Sanders adds that TECO had recently sold its coal mining properties to the Booth Energy Company [Editor's note: Specifically speaking, the coal mines were sold to Booth's subsidiary: Cambrian Coal Corporation], practically giving it away. Komara remarks that she often hears favorable things about Beth-Elkhorn but hardly anything about TECO from people. K. Sanders responds that it's probably because she doesn't know of anyone in the area who has worked for them, adding that he's done inspections of their facilities and has a favorable impression of them. K. Sanders explains that coal is being replaced by natural gas extraction in the area and discusses the many factors involved in the decline of the coal industry.
Keywords: Automation; Beth-Elkhorn Coal; Beth-Elkhorn Corporation; Booth Energy; Booth Energy Company; Cambrian Coal; Cambrian Coal Corporation; Coal industry; Coal industry's decline; Coal's decline; Consolidation Coal; Consolidation Coal Company; Dave Zegeer; David A. Zegeer; David Zegeer; Decline of coal; Decline of the coal industry; Mechanization; Mining associations; Mining automation; Mining mechanization; Mining unions; Natural gas; Natural gas extraction; Socialism; Socialist mining unions; TECO; TECO Energy; Tampa Electric Company; Unionization; Unions
Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Letcher County; Coal miners--Labor unions; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal miners--Labor unions.; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining--Environmental aspects; Coal mines and mining--Government policy; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Pikeville; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Pikeville--Management; Coal mines and mining.; Consolidation Coal Company; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Mechanization; Pikeville (Ky.); Socialism; Socialism.; TECO Energy, Inc.
Partial Transcript: When you guys were younger, how much contact, um, did people from Jenkins and McRoberts have with each other?
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks E. and K. Sanders how much contact people from Jenkins, Kentucky and McRoberts, Kentucky had with one another. K. Sanders states that McRoberts residents probably knew and interacted with Fleming-Neon, Kentucky residents more than they did Jenkins residents. E. Sanders says that McRoberts became its own town sometime in the 1970s. K. Sanders recalls differently, stating that it became its own town in the 1940s. He recounts a memory of a policeman in McRoberts being paid as part of the Jenkins Police Department while he was a kid. E. Sanders states that she is on the Jenkins school board, explaining that there used to be an elementary school in McRoberts, but it was closed because there weren't enough students, with many choosing to go to school in Fleming-Neon, Kentucky instead of Jenkins. Komara asks if there is any interest from residents in Jenkins and McRoberts of ever consolidating the town again. K. Sanders states that there was another attempt to combine Fleming-Neon, McRoberts, Haymond, Kentucky [Editor's note: AKA Cromona, Kentucky], Whitaker, Kentucky [Editor's note: there is more than one Whitaker, Kentucky, but this is referring to the one in Letcher County], Millstone, Kentucky, and Hemphill, Kentucky [Editor's note: AKA Jackhorn, Kentucky] into one city to get more funding, but this didn't happen because people didn't want to pay the taxes for it and people wanted to keep their separate identities. K. Sanders states that McRoberts was actually the biggest city in Letcher County at one time and the last of the coal in McRoberts was taken out in the 1940s.
Komara asks what most people do for a living in McRoberts. K. Sanders responds that most are retirees and there are very few young people in McRoberts. E. Sanders says that the young people commute because there are no businesses in McRoberts unless a person is involved in something like the cottage industry. K. Sanders recounts how crowded schools in McRoberts were in the past. Komara asks K. and E. Sanders what they used to do for fun in McRoberts besides going to the movies. E. Sanders replies that you played with your friends outside and swam in the town swimming pool in the summer. K. Sanders states that hardly anybody had a bicycle and kids made a lot of their own games like marbles, hopscotch, made sling-shots, and other things. E. Sanders adds that girls played with dolls, jacks, and hopscotch. K. Sanders mentions that no one had a television in the late 1940s, recounting his memory of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and only two or three people owning a TV in town. K. Sanders states that the quality of the television was poor and describes what you had to do to get the closest channel. Komara asks when the internet became widespread in Jenkins and McRoberts. E. Sanders answers that it came to the school districts first in 1990-1991 through the Kentucky Education Reform Act and describes how internet access has progressed since then. E. Sanders says that she worked at the elementary school as the librarian when they started getting computers and she was appointed as the technology person for the school since she had taken a computer class. K. Sanders changes the subject by saying that he doesn't think he saw a school bus until he moved out of 15 Holler in the mid 1950s, explaining that it was two miles to walk from home to his school one way, uphill both ways. Komara asks what the biggest changes E. and K. Sanders have seen in their communities during their lifetimes. E. Sanders responds by explaining how long it was until her family had a telephone and the evolution of phones since then has come a long way. K. Sanders states that its information, prosperity, and healthcare are the biggest changes in his lifetime, detailing how much easier it is to get information, how much better people live, and how there's much better access to healthcare. He thinks that things have definitely gotten better overall, but that there's a sense of a loss of culture. E. Sanders explains that one of the things that she thinks they've lost is the physical closeness people used to have to their families.
Komara asks what they hope for the future of the McRoberts and Jenkins communities. K. Sanders jokingly replies picking out a place to get buried, but then discusses how much infrastructure has deteriorated and continues to decline. E. Sanders mentions that there is a new business in Jenkins, but that there's a need for employment and the population will continue to dwindle if there continues not to be employment in the area. K. Sanders adds that coal severance tax money has been one of the things keeping the communities in the area alive, noting that the lack of taxes to pay for things in the community is a huge issue. K. Sanders adds that, on the positive side, the healthcare business is booming because of there being so many aging retirees in the area, but it's a business that will also dry up if people continue to leave the community for work elsewhere. K. Sanders mentions how people bring up tourism as a replacement for the coal industry, but thinks it isn't a sustainable industry to completely replace coal.
Keywords: Coal industry; Coal industry's decline; Coal's decline; Consolidation Coal Company; Decline of coal; Decline of the coal industry; Education; Future outlook; Healthcare; Internet; Internet access; Mining towns; Municipal incorporation; Outlook upon the future; School buses; School districts; TV access; Taxes; Television access; Tourism; Tourism industry; Town incorporation; Unemployment
Subjects: Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Coal miners--Kentucky--Letcher County; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Education.; Identity; Incorporation; Internet access; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Retirees; School districts; Television stations; Television stations.; Television--History.; Tourism; Tourism--Appalachian Region; Tourism--Kentucky; Tourism.; Unemployment.
Partial Transcript: Ah, I was going to ask you all about--I guess I forgot. I was going to ask you all about alcohol consumption in Jenkins.
Segment Synopsis: Komara asks about alcohol consumption in Jenkins. K. Sanders replies by explaining how Letcher County went dry in the late 1940s, and then the reintroduction of alcohol to the county. He says that people learned that you can have alcohol without crime and describes the income generated by alcohol in Whitesburg, Kentucky. K. Sanders states that he drinks sometimes and always resented buying alcohol in Virginia and contributing money there. He emphasizes the problems alcohol had caused in the past and believes that its outlawing in the past was probably justified back then, but that it doesn't cause those problems in the current generation. Komara asks about dumpsites generated from the company era, particularly about one on Store Hill. K. Sanders mentions one being in Tin Can Holler and refers to a photograph that they are viewing. He explains that people just dumped garbage anywhere and everywhere for a long time and fought against there being a mandatory garbage disposal system. E. and K. Sanders discuss how to get to the area they are talking about. E. Sanders mentions that there was a garbage dump around #2 Holler. K. Sanders describes how repulsive the dumps were and how big the rats got, describing how you could get a free pass to the movie theater if you proved you had killed a certain amount of rats. He restates how his family didn't have a lot of garbage growing up but that it has changed a lot in the current generation. Komara asks if there is still a garbage dump on the top of Dunham Hill. K. Sanders replies that it isn't there anymore unless it's illegal, describing how people used to cut off the locks to a gate of a baseball field to dump their garbage there to avoid paying for garbage disposal. Komara recounts visiting the hill and wondering if maybe she had missed the correct spot, but figures it's gone. E. Sanders jokes that Komara is having a hard time finding garbage dumps in the area. She recalls a garbage dump from when she was a kid. Komara asks if the garbage dump around #15 Holler still exists. K. Sanders replies that it doesn't and was cleaned up a long time ago, restating that the only open dumps still around come from illegal garbage disposal. K. Sanders describes where some dumps used to be and how most of them have been buried. Komara states that she might be out of luck in finding garbage dumps. Komara asks E. and K. Sanders have anything else they think she should know about McRoberts, Kentucky and Jenkins, Kentucky. K. Sanders replies that she knows everything that he knows now.
Keywords: Alcohol; Alcohol consumption; Alcohol industry; Alcohol regulations; Alcoholic drinking; Coal severance tax; Dry counties; Garbage; Garbage disposal; Garbage dumps; Illegal garbage disposal; Mandatory garbage disposal; Natural gas severance tax; Outlawing of Alcohol; Wet counties
Subjects: Alcohol.; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Coal miners--Kentucky--Letcher County; Coal mines and mining; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining.; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.)