The Kempton, Maryland-West Virginia coal mine has been abandoned.
None of the miners were expecting it
In early April 1950 a notice was placed in the window at the company store that the mines would close in a week. None of the miners were expecting this.
“At midnight April 15, 1950, the Buxton & Landstreet Company store and the Davis Coal & Coke Company’s Mine Forty-two at Kempton, Maryland, ceased operations. Kempton was mortally wounded that night and died forty-two days later when its economic lifeblood, the company scrip now worthless was collected and tossed down the 480-foot mineshaft. Black earth was bulldozed over the opening and the town dump erected above it as a tombstone. The token profits reaped by the company store were returned to their source.” (allenbrowne.blogspot.com)
Beautiful pictures of past days
Thankfully, photographer, John Vachon, took these beautiful photographs of some of the families in May 1939 to record their place in history. When I look at these pictures, I was reminded of Loretta Lynn’s song, I’m proud to be a coal miner’s daughter. No matter how difficult their lives, these hard-working men managed to eke out a life for their families and become the backbone of our country. Be sure to play Loretta Lynn’s song, while you look at these photographs. Through her words, you’ll feel the strength and pride of these great Americans.
Father and daughter, Kempton, West Virginia
Italian coal miner with his grandchild, Kempton, West Virginia
One family, The Blizzard family (shown below) was identified by John Vachon in the photographs. They seemed to have had a rough time of it when you look at how the children are dressed. You can read more about this family at here
George Blizzard, a coal miner in Kempton, West Virginia
Son of the Blizzard family, Kempton, West VirginiaWife, and son of Blizzard family coal miner in the kitchen of their home. Kempton, West VirginiaWife and children of Blizzard family. Kempton, West Virginia
The Blizzard family, residents of coal mining town. Kempton, West Virginia
- Library of Congress ( Farm Security Administration)
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