By Marilyn D. Rhinehart
The coal mine represented even more than a fashion of constructing a residing to the miners of Thurber, Texas, within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries-it represented a life-style. Coal mining ruled Thurber's paintings existence, and miners ruled its social existence. the big immigrant inhabitants that stuffed the mines in Thurber represented greater than a dozen countries, which lent a strong point to this Texas city. In 1888 Robert D. Hunter and the Texas & Pacific Coal corporation based Thurber at the web site of Johnson Mines, a small coal-mining village at the western fringe of North vital Texas the place Palo Pinto, Erath, and Eastland counties converged. for nearly 40 years the corporate mined coal and owned and operated a city that by way of 1910 served as domestic to greater than 3 thousand citizens. Marilyn Rhinehart examines the tradition of the miners' paintings, the demographics and social lifetime of the group, and the advantages and constraints of lifestyles in a firm city.
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Additional info for A Way of Work and a Way of Life: Coal Mining in Thurber, Texas, 1888-1926 (Texas A&M Southwestern Studies)
Oratory abounded during dead time on the gob piles at the entries and strengthened bonds that naturally developed in the pits. A tradition of oral transmission of information in the mining community heightened the significance of such meetings as well as the time spent lined up for hoisting to the "bottom" (the surface) and riding in the train to and from the pits. "21 The miners probably spent considerable time on the ride to and from work complaining about the company's policy of deducting one dollar from each miner's monthly earnings for transportation to the mines, whether an individual rode the train or walked.
Although 70 percent of these miners were unmarried, widowed, or married but not living with a spouse, a group-living experience prevailed. Almost one-third of households headed by coal miners included nonrelatives, usually boarders, in addition to family members (see tables 3 and 4). These workers, then, tended to reside in close proximity to one another, surrounded by members of their own ethnic or racial group. 31 Thus, at the same time that Colonel Hunter was establishing the town that he proprietarily viewed as his own, miners of many different backgrounds built their own communities underground and above- Table 3 Marital Status of Coal Miners, Thurber, Texas, 1900Marital Status% of Total ReportedSingle56Married37Living with spouse30Not living with spouse7Widowed7SOURCES: Twelfth Census, 1900, MS; computer analysis of data base, Thurber, Texas, 1900.
Coal miners established a local assembly of the Knights of Labor as early as 1882, and within three years claimed a membership of over 200. The United States commissioner of labor included in his summary of labor difficulties in the nation for 1884 a 186-day-long strike at Gordon by 450 coal miners and laborers. 4 If the latter is accurate, particularly in the number of miners employed in Gordon, considerable mining activity must have preceded the Johnson enterprise. The report also suggests that a significant number of skilled and union-organized miners already populated Palo Pinto County when the Johnson company began operations, and that they played a central role in the industrial development and shaping of employee-employer relations there throughout the last decade of the nineteenth century.
A Way of Work and a Way of Life: Coal Mining in Thurber, Texas, 1888-1926 (Texas A&M Southwestern Studies) by Marilyn D. Rhinehart