Interview with David A. Zegeer, September 21, 1988

Project: Appalachia: Coal Operators Oral History Project

Interview Summary

David Zegeer, a former Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, discusses his experience working in coal mines. He was born in Charleston, West Virginia, but both of his parents were immigrants from Lebanon. Zegeer's father died when he was a child, and so Zegeer helped supplement the family's income by selling peanuts and candy at football games and doing other odd jobs. He attended West Virginia University where he majored in mine engineering, and after World War Two, he moved with his wife to Jenkins, Kentucky where they lived for 38 years.

Zegeer discusses his first jobs for the Consolidation Coal Company as a transit man, mining engineer, and surveyor. He explains that he and his wife had a pleasant life in Jenkins where he even became a Boy Scout master. Zegeer recalls when the Consolidated Coal Company stopped using scrip for money in the late 1940s and when the company stores were sold to private individuals. He talks about the often difficult relationship between foremen and the miners and provides examples from his own experiences as a foreman. Zegeer discusses his job as a supervisor and remembers when he first hired women to work in the mines. He also describes the process of hiring a foreman and the qualifications needed for the job. Zegeer explains how long walls were established. He talks about some of the men that he worked with including Sam Cassidy, Bill Stapleman, a miner who eventually became superintendent, and Hascel Davis. Zegeer also describes the need for a well-trained workforce and how he handled morale after an accident.

Interview Accession

1988oh227_app191

Interviewee Name

David A. Zegeer

Interviewer Name

Henry C. Mayer

Interview Date

1988-09-21

Interview Partial Date

September 28, 1988

Interview Keyword

Coal Operators

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Zegeer, David A. Interview by Henry C. Mayer. 21 Sep. 1988. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Zegeer, D.A. (1988, September 21). Interview by H. C. Mayer. Appalachia: Coal Operators Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Zegeer, David A., interview by Henry C. Mayer. September 21, 1988, Appalachia: Coal Operators Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt72bv79vn1t