Interview with Frank C. Thomas, November 16, 1988

Project: Appalachia: Coal Operators Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Frank Thomas's father was the first dentist in McCreary County and came to Stearns, Kentucky in 1913. Frank Thomas was born in Stearns in 1921. He describes growing up in McCreary County and states that it was a pleasant but isolated area. He describes the Stearns school system as excellent because it was subsidized by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company. He describes recreational activities in Stearns including the movie theatre. Thomas also remembers the Great Depression and his father helping people who were less fortunate. Thomas discusses company officials who he remembers from his childhood including J.E. Butler, a former general manager, R.L. Stearns, who was also an artist, and John Wright.

Thomas became a dentist like his father and served in the Navy during World War Two and the Korean War. He took over his father's dental practice in Stearns until 1958 when Bob Stearns, Jr. invited him to work for the coal company. Bob Stearns died shortly thereafter, and Thomas describes taking over the coal company and modernizing it. The coal company still owned all the homes, several stores, the movie theatre, the electric company, and other parts of Stearns when Thomas took over. Thomas discusses mine safety and recalls an incident when three men were killed while inspecting a mine. Thomas also provides his opinions on the economic conditions of eastern Kentucky as of 1988.

Interview Accession

1988oh248_app197

Interviewee Name

Frank C. Thomas

Interviewer Name

Henry C. Mayer

Interview Date

1988-11-16

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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Thomas, Frank C. Interview by Henry C. Mayer. 16 Nov. 1988. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Thomas, F.C. (1988, November 16). Interview by H. C. Mayer. Appalachia: Coal Operators Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Thomas, Frank C., interview by Henry C. Mayer. November 16, 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/xt7qz60bzn7r