A Way of Work and a Way of Life: Coal Mining in Thurber, by Marilyn D. Rhinehart

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 past due 19th and early 20th centuries-it represented a lifestyle. Coal mining ruled Thurber's paintings existence, and miners ruled its social existence. the big immigrant inhabitants that crammed the mines in Thurber represented greater than a dozen countries, which lent a distinctiveness to this Texas city. In 1888 Robert D. Hunter and the Texas & Pacific Coal corporation based Thurber at the website of Johnson Mines, a small coal-mining village at the western fringe of North relevant 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 neighborhood, 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)

Sample text

In the 1870s and 1880s, native whites and northern and western Europeans, most of them highly skilled and familiar with union organizations, filled the industry. 26 In the Southwest, mining companies transported the first mine workers by special train from Pennsylvania and the Midwest. From 1895 through the turn of the century, however, southern and eastern European immigrants, whose numbers entering the United States reached high tide by 1900, poured into southwestern coal mining centers like Thurber.

Born in South Wales in 1869, he emigrated to the United States at age eleven with his parents, Thomas and Eliza. Thomas Gower, a coal miner by occupation, first settled his family in Illinois in 1880, but in pursuit of more steady work moved them to Indian Territory and then to northern Texas, where a son-in-law dug coal. 6 His memories of Thurber in its infancy as a "Bull-Pen" (the town Page xvii probably reminded him of a cattle pen where people were treated like animals) and of the protest activity of "underground patriots" indicate in the simplest of terms that adverse working and living conditions there produced a protest movement with far-reaching consequences.

Considering that the closest commercial coal resources were 625 miles away in Indian Territory, the existence of those reserves assumed an even greater significance. 2 The railroads, so anxious to see the development of the state's coal reserves, apparently even offered rewards for the discovery of coal along their lines. Jay Gould's Texas and Pacific Railroad demonstrated a particular interest in coal resources in Erath, Palo Pinto, and surrounding counties by 1880, when management extended the line west of Fort Worth into the sparsely populated Texas frontier.

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