Interview with James C. Ward, November 18, 1988

Project: Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

James Ward's family moved to Van Lear in 1925 when he was four. He talks at length about the material differences between his family and the families of the management class. He remembers that the company charged the miners a fee each month for the costs of sharpening their augers. The men often had his father, who did not charge a fee, do the sharpening instead because ostensibly the company's blacksmith did not do a good job. He remembers bill collectors coming from Paintsville each payday, and states that it was not embarrassing because everybody owed money. Ward also describes racial segregation in Van Lear, but does not remember blacks and whites being segregated in the mines. He tells several stories about the miners who would sit on a bridge and whittle after work. Mr. Ward describes his life as a teenager in Van Lear. He recalls occurrences of other teenagers drinking, smoking, and having sex, but states that things were not as out in the open as they are today. Ward remembers the company store and the use of scrip. He describes his attitude towards the union and becoming a coal miner himself. Ward states his feelings about women coal miners and the role of women in the union. He also remembers an accident that occurred while he was operating a loading machine. He explains that he was not hurt. Ward describes the hierarchy of the mining jobs.

Interview Accession

1988oh185_app182

Interviewee Name

James C. Ward

Interviewer Name

Glenna Graves

Interview Date

1988-11-18

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.

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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.

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Ward, James C. Interview by Glenna Graves. 18 Nov. 1988. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Ward, J.C. (1988, November 18). Interview by G. Graves. Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Ward, James C., interview by Glenna Graves. November 18, 1988, Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7bzk55hj3m