Perry Gilpin Memoir
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Perry Gilpin Memoir G427. Gilpin, Perry (1916-1993) Interview and memoir 1 tape, 90 mins., 24 pp. ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY Gilpin, strikebreaker during the coal mine wars, discusses the violence between the Progressive Miners Union and the United Mine Workers Union in the Taylorville area, working conditions and the management at the mines, dangers of being a strikebreaker, and living conditions for the families of miners. Interview by Kevin Corley, 1986 OPEN See collateral file Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1986, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Preface This manuscript is the product of a tape recorderl interview conducted by Kevin Corley for a special project, "Illinois Coal: 'Ihe Legacy of an Industrial Society." The project was sponsorerl by the Illinois State Historical Society and funierl in part by the Illinois Humanities Council ani the National F.lld~nt for the Humanities. Additional support came fran the Oral History Office of Sangarron State University. Joyce Fisher transcribe:l the tape and Susan Jones editerl the transcript. Perry Gilpin entered the mines in 1932 in Taylorville. In this m.et:OOir Mr. Gilpin describes fighting his way through picket lines to get to w:>rk and the safety problems he encountererl in the mines. He also discusses some of the people he w:>rked with such as Bill Hardy and Jolumy Miller. Remers of the oral history IDt::m:>ir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken w:>rd, and that the intervie~r, narrator and editor sought to preserve the informal , cOINersational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangam:m State University ani the Illinois State Historical Library are not responsible for the factual accuracy of the tnel'IDir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. The manuscript may be real, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproducerl in ~le or in part by any n:eans, electronic or mchanical, with>ut pennission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. ----·-·-------· -··· Perry Gilpin, Taylorville, Illinois, July 10, 1986. Kev'in Corley, Intervie~r. A: 'lhat was in 1932. I picked up a local Time's one werrlng and it hai Taylorville courthouse in it. They was running CNer with prisoners. The jail was full and they was locking them in the courthouse. Q: Now, you ~re out on the road at that time? A: I was in L:>uiSV"ille, Kentucky, yes. I was v:orld.ng with ~ngleson's Box Ccmpan.y on the fann for ten cents an hour doing everything. The worst job I had was vaccinating chickens. But I read in that paper that night that they \<\ere hiring mm at the coal mines for two eighty-five a day. Man, that is big nnney, right or wrong. I hai a little black suitcase, about that long ani that wide, just took a pair of cCNer-alls with~. if I hai than, and I headed dow:1 the road for bane. But it wasn't as easy to get a job as I thought it ~dbe. My dad worked on the railroad and he took old Bill after they quit meeting on the square and riding out to the mines,see. ~rl caught than, he used to haul than on the roai e~ery morning fran the square out there but I didn't know him at that time. So I \'lent dowt to the house, old Bill Hardy's house, he like beat me up. Q: How is that? A: Because I cane to his house and asked him for a job. Well, I lived aver here on 930 rest Brad Street ani you couldn't even get dowt the street or to the mines for the pickets. 'Ihe roads ~re so full. \ell, he said, ''You scared to go out to that mine, you will be scared to corte to w:>rk." So, the next nnrning I fought my way through. Course, they had militia all arourxi the mine. Q: lbw did you fight your way through? A: Hitting through the pickets. Just pushing back ani forth. I got wer there old Bill , he came out, he hirai me. Well, there was three or four of us then, Levi Wilson, Alex Daugherty, W:xxiy Richard and Charlie and me. So, it wasn't too bad caning hane that e<Jening, all live:i right arOI.ll'd One another CNer there. But going out there of a IIDrning was mert you had a rough time getting through and you didn't know Wl.en one of than was going to knock you in the head. I live:i on the corner here on West Prairie ani Cheney, y,e had been up tOWl one night ani come bane about midnight. I just got in bed ani they broke do\-D Tanbozzi's porch off the house. Broke windows in our house and the old m:m thought by God they done baDbed us cause I was T.+.Urldng. (laughter) Q: N:>w, men you 'Wellt through the picket line ~re you by yourself or was there a group of you? A: I want through the day by myself. Q: Did they know you ~re trying to go to v.nrk? A: They didn't know what I was doing. Q: So you just kind of mingle:l with than and want straight through? A: I knew them all. Q: Yes. Chce you broke the picket line and headed for the mine did they start . . . A: They was right there at the gate. (laughs) Bill cane out and look than aver and the ones that talk to him, he told them to cane on in, see. Old man M:Guire, Ike M:Guire, was a gate watch man. He was Johrmy Bull or sooething you couldn't unlerstand him. I l<now ¥hen he opened the gate I was going in anyway, I wasn't going to fight them pickets going back. (laughs) Poor Harry Renals, he ~ot kille:l in 1958. I l<new him real well, he had a sign in there, he didn t have no ld.ds, it said , "Ixm' t take jobs fran your brother and starve our babies." Arrl he didn't have a kid (laughs) but I laughed and that militia gp.y stabbed ne in the back with a bayonet and told me to get going. Q: 'Ihe mi.llitia guy stabbed you with it? A: Yes, stabbed rre in the back. Them guys weren't taking no chance on than. He p.lt that bayonet to them. Q: Now W:1en you returned hooe did you . • • ? A: Ch, the pickets would be gone later, it wouldn't be like it was of a mrning, see, cause nolxx.ly had nothing to do. All the pickets would be there of a mrning. Very few at night. Her dad use:l to nm that store dow:1. there as a pool roan then, right on the comer. Q: Your wife's dad? A: And they blow:!d the Yhole side off of it. Q: was that, you say, as a pool roan? A: Yes. Progressives mstly lumg out in it. I don't know. 'Iha.t's Yhen I was running arouni with Alan Heyw:xxi. His dad bought him a '29 like a Ford Coupe but it was a, Yha.t you call a Cabaret. Rumble seat in it and he was going with sane gal and she was baby-sitting for old man Reese. I YJOUld take the car and go on and then I would cane back and pick him up. I picked him up one night just alx>ut midnight, at four o'clock the militia was getting ne out of bed • Th.ey had blown Reese's car up that night. It was a brand new '33 Ford or '30 Ford , 33 I believe. Q: N:>w, W:lo blew it up? 3 A: 'Ihe miners . Q: The T.MW? A: Yes. They lrung a sign on it "A souvener fran Peabody Coal Company." 'lhey ~t in the garage, they bloWt that son-of-a-bitch all to hell. But the militia ha:l took Alan's name, see, men he ~nt in, then Alan gave them my t:'l.aiie ani they got IIE out of be:i. I didn't know v.hat in the hell was going on. Q: Did they question you? A: Yes . For about two hours. Same old questions. They caught me one night up on the square. I usai to take a four-ten shot gun, livai dovn here then. Q: Ibwn on the south en:l of tom. here? A: That's where Fritz live:l right across the street. I'd take that four-ten there and take it apart see, and then I ~uld hide it under the steps of the Old Freemasters Clrurch, go on to tow:1. They picked tiE up one night up on the square, I had than shells in my pocket. I didn't know how to get out of that rut I finally wi.ggle:i out of it. They kept ·my shells. I just got four m:>re vhen I got hoJ:re. I ha:l the gun but I didn't have no shells. Q: So, the militia picked you up and took you down to the courthouse? Vbere did they take you to then? A: Cb East Main there they hal hea:l quarters at that time, one of them wildings along there. Old Ritz, t~ Stark boys and I YES standing there looking at the pictures and a bunch of guys cornered us. That big boob fran Twey, couldn't get through that door without tum.ing. He was giving ne a talking to. (laughs) Q: Say this again, Wiat happened exactly? 'Ihe Progressive, big, big Progressive . . . A: Yes. There \\ll.S a gang of them fran Jerse)'\Tille. ~ wa.s in the hallway there looking at the pictures to make up our minds if \<I.e wante:i to go to the show or not. Q: N::>w that was a Quality Market? Where ~re you at? A: At Ritz's Theater. It is all gone now. There \\ll.S a gang of them, they didn't do nothing. ~11, that's men~ got caught with the shells, that's how cone they picked us up. Q: \hat was Jerseyville at that time? Were they nnstly Progressive? A: Yes, Jersepille, Kincaid, all of than. Q: \-by did those camunities go Progressive so heavily? A: I don't understani that myself. The best I can figure out is they starte:l another union cause sane of the big ooys in Pealxxly got let out. 'lliey starte:l this EMW&A rut they lost out. Q: But I can see how the Progressives got starte:l rut Yha.t is kind of interesting is that most of the people in Langleyville went Progressive, there is only one or ~families that didn't. lhe same thing in TCNey, sane thing in sooe of those other little ccmiJJili.ties. But here in tow:1, in Taylorville, most of the people stayed. There was a mixture, maybe sixty percent UMW. A: 'Ihan people had been out of ~rk and a lot of than cane up here fran Southern Illinois. 'lliey just couldn't live off of that stuff that they give up there. llttle sack of beans ani flour. Q: You are talking about the Progressives ani the handouts they gave than. A: Yes. Q: So they Y.ent back to ~rk? A: 1he biggest part of than did . Her da:l oootlegge:l ani he didnI t go to ~rk until 1933 after I did. He got killed New Year's Eve at Fifty-eight. Q: J:bw was he killed , dawn in the mine? A: Yes. Q: He got killed in Fifty-eight, in the mine Fifty-eight. Vbat year did he get killed? A: 1933. At three o'clock. I was ~rki.ng on top then, there was guys ~rking the table quit at three-thirty. But guys that was raking rocks ani stuff to go through the rock crusher, they ~uldn't go through and you'd have to break the big ones up, w:ruldn' t go through the conveyor , they quit at three. I was on the sledge llarmer and I thought it was the three o'clock Whistle blo\ei, didn't know the man got killed until after I left. vent across the street there vbere the grocery store was, Lantz Fritz's Grocery store, and they ha:1. a tavern in there. Claudia Rains nm it and I I!Et these guys caning in fran down below and found out that Pink Whiskers ha:1. got killed. Of course I didn't know her at that time, knew of her but didn't know her. Q: Vbat was he called? A: Pink W:li.skers. Q: Pink Vhiskers. A: Yes. Q: '!hat was just his nick-name? A: Yes. I couldn't tell you his first nane because that is all that I erer kno~ him by, was Pink Whiskers. But I believe it was leon, his .--------------------------------~---~-·------------·-······----··---~-··· 5 first rume was Leon. Q: W:l.at was your wife1 s maiden name? A: Choquet. can you spell it? Q: tb, I will figure that out later . (laughter) A: '!here is very few that can spell that. Q: You began w:>rk in Fifty-eight then ~you cane back? A: Yes. Q: And how old were you? A: I was just barely sixteen years. I hal w:>rked t:wJ years and Wl.en they passed that law that you had to be eighteen to go to w:>rk in the mine, I had just turned eighteen. Just got in urrler the wire. Q: So, ¥hen you began VDrk in the mine did you w:>rk under SCXIEOne else, did you say? A: I worked on top then. I was aver eighteen went I ~t below. Q: Arrl you were picking rock on top. A: Yes. 'lhen they hal an opening below and the guy flipped a nickle to see ¥hich one got it. I wished a thousand ti.n:E.s now he got it. Q: Yes, you didn1 t like picking rock? A: I like::l picking rock, it was better than dom below. I only weighed tu.m:lred and fifty-six pourrls but I was just as tall and it didn1 t take long. I lNellt dow:~. there about half drunk one mming. 'lhey started them biX> IJDtors to a machine, you just carried one car and e~ery other time you had to go get ten empty, see. Or you ha:l to get eleven empty and I maie a miscount and got ten. So to keep going and get anpties that took the last tw:> cars. I forgot about that extra space. 'lhey carrie:l ne out. Q: W:la.t happened? A: I got caught beb\een them. \hen I whistled for him to stop I dropped it instead of turning sideways because I figured I ha:l plenty of time, see. lbt I forgot about that extra six inches. Broke this collar bone, ribs. Then I caught pnamnnia in the hospital. 'lhat was the old hospital. Hospital was so damn full that I laid out in the hall on a stretcher all night. Then they brought old Harry in .the next mrning, a cloo ha:i fell on him and injured his neck. We went up for X-rays at the same time and they cam doWl ani they brought ne dow:~.. 'lhey kept putting that hea:i gear on ne, tying it up and stretching it. I kept asking that sister, 1'Vba.t the hell are you doing to ne?" She said that is the new thing. Old Ibc Miller fran Kincaid cane in and I said, "What the hell are they doing to ne ll:>c?" Had that hea:i gear all tied to the bed. He said, "'lhey got you mixed up." I shouldn't have said nothing. I should have Y2nt ahead ani let than p.1t that plaster of paris cast on old Harry's leg. Q: Th.ey got you mixed up with . . . ? A: With Harry,see, he got hit in the head with a big clrunk of rock. Q: So, toihat ~re they trying to do to you? Stretch your neck out? A: Yes, stretch my neck, ani it drove his head do'Wl. Q: And you ha:l a broken collar bone? A: No, I ha:l a broken leg. Q: <h, okay. A: I should have let them plt that cast on before I said anything to old Ibc. But he got it straightened out. You know what? That 'WaS a r.bctor. he looked than x-rays over. lbw, they can't eren read an X-ray up here. He cam do'Wl there ani that ankle 'WaS broke plun through. He set that son-of-bitch, ani you know, it's nerer given me a damn bit of trouble. I hear people talk about their broken bones ani this, you know, giving than trouble. 'lb.at didn't give me a bit of trouble. He v.as a rough s .o.b. rut he knoval his business. Q: I:bw old ~re you then When you broke it? A: About eighteen, nineteen. Right after I Y2nt below. Q: OJ.ring that time did you get any cClllpensation for not working? A: Very little, very little. Q: Yes. A: N:>t enough to eren keep you in beer. A beer v.as about a nickle a glass, you got a big glass. Q: Vbere ware you living at that time? A: Right do'Wl there by Fritz. Q: In your OYKl house by then? A: In my dad's house. Q: <h' in your dad' s rouse. A: I couldn't own nothing. I didn't eren ow:1 a bicycle. Q: Well, how 'WaS your relationship with your stepwther then v.hen you came back? A: tbt worth a shit. Q: Still bad? A: Yes. Fran the day the old man ma.rrie:l her til the day she di oo. Q: When did yru rrove out of the house? A: \Vhen I quit the mine. Q: How old v.ere you then? A: wait a minute, I lDJ\Ted out before then. I got ma.rrie:i men I was nineteen. Moved aver here right there on Ritz Street on Houston Street. I walked to work. That kid and his wife split up and there WiS t:\ol:> roans ani a little kitchen there. It has been tore dowt, there is a nursing home there now. I didn't buy it, he just give it to l1'e and I took aver the payments on it. Live:l there until v.e foun:l out that v.e couldn't get that water out of the basement. The furniture, you close the dra:v.ers on that ani tOIIDrrow mrning you couldn't get them open. Com COllE dowt toore and shaved the doors and shav'ed it and shaved it. I didn't know that there was water in the dcmn base!IOOilt until I got to talking to the guy that livoo in the other side of it. Then I 11D\7ed, m::JV"ed aver on Vandeever Street. 'llien the furniture dra~rs would fall out. ve just rented that bedroan suite, the vanity and dresser. But they'd ccme out there e~ery so often and shave them doV!ll so ~ could get than open. Q: So, you got ma.rried then WJ.en you -were nineteen? A: Yes, nineteen or t\llmty. I w:1sn' t t"liiE1ty-one because I hal to lie for a year I think it was. Q: You ha:i to Yhat? A: Lie for a year. Q: Oh, lie to a year? Because you ba:i to be how old to be getting ma.rrioo? 1\-enty-one? A: And the vunan was supposed to be eighteen. She lied three years. Q: Oh, so, she was fifteen? A: Yes. Q: \-ell, how many children did you have? When v.ere they lx>m? A: I just hal the one. She was lx>m in 1940, I believe it was. 1939 or 1940. Q: So you v.urked in the mine then until mat age? A: I worked there fran 1943, I was sixteen either just before I was sixteen or fifteen. Q: That vrnll.d be in 1933? A: Yes. I worked seven years. I was about ~nty-three vben I quit the mine. Q: Vhy did you quit? A: I got lrurt e~ery time I turned around. Q: lbw is that? What type of thing happened to you? A: Well, a c loci fell on rre once. Q: Vba.t happened then? A: My uncle drug rre out. Q: lbw bad were you lurt? A: 'lhat' s m.en I broke my leg in t:wJ places, my ankle. 'Ihen I was coming out on a mtor ani a pole jumped the track ani hit the ceiling c~ down, I don't know. I still think it was broke but there's a knot there, you see. Q: You n:ean the knuckle there on your right hand? A: Yes. Ani then I got this hand broke. Q: Your left hand? A: ~ were out there and a guy hit J:IE with a sledge 'harrmar. I was jacking up the track one night, and the boss hollered at him and he jumped and swung, hit the ceiling. Knocked hlm off balance and broke my hand. I was lrurt about four tines. I quit. He said, ''Nothing to it, you may Ileler get lrurt again." He vent back to "W:>rk, worked tw:> or three days ani got killed. Q: lbw did he get killed? A: I don't know exactly now, but I think that a roof fell in on hlm. Ha:l than old tine loading machines, that's how her da:l got killed. When they sroot that coal they didn't put enough povrler in there, see, and it was tight and than big old arms are digging that coal out. That boom would just fly e.rerywhere, knock the prop out and the top fell in on him. Ck1e of my oldest cousins, older still, Ralph Alexander run the machine, was second man, and Otis was third man. Old Brig Young fired this trip rider on his first day. That's vilen they carried four cars in. wad one, switch that and go back. Old Joe Rodden cane down there and got me, him and Otis went up there. You couldn't ride trips for than silly sons-of-bitches. Vben they got the car loa:led, I would catch it back in ani ride out, switch it, bring in the car just get off it ani sit doWl.. Old Joe Rodden cane 01er here, he said, ''What in the hell are you doing?" I said, "I an supposed to be riding trips." But I said, ''When them sons-of-bitches don't have machines they can go to hell." I said, ''You can go to hell as far as I am concerned. I don't need a job that ba:l." I said, ''I am supposed to tell that tiDtorman W:lat to do not than." So Rodden said something, and I beard Otis, ''We'll get the goddann coal out of here now. You just go on down the rail and we'11 get the coal out." Sat do...-..n to eat d:i.nn.er and after d:i.nn.er, this kid come walking back in. He walked up to old Joe Rodden and he says, ''Hey, Brig Young told ne to tell you he hired 100 and he'11 fire 1IE • " I said, "If I was you right now, I'd go aver and sit down and let them run the goddCIII[l thing the way they want to cause you can't ride no drill." Well, Rodden, he just turned around and walked out. I quit right after that. I don't know how the kid ever made out, 'but I'11 bet he wi.shei he'd stayerl out When they hai fired him the first time. (laughs) Q: Yes. Did you have a lot of other trouble with the managa:rent? A: N:>. Just one boss I ha:i a lot of trouble with, old Johrmy Miller. Q: W:ly \'68 that? A: Slave driving son-of-a-bitch. Well, men you raised up to get your ~b--and the least little thing you do wrong, they'd put you in the dirt gang. I was in the dirt gang a lot. (laughter)--but he'd want to know W:lat' s the matter, \tlat are you waiting on? '!hat \'68 the laziest one son-of-a-bitch that ever lived. Q: Yes. A: He got fired. See, the boss wasn't supposed to do nothing, and the bridle on a switch--the bar, you know, ~they kick and pull both sides--they was recovering material and this Dago Pete was standing there with a sledge h.am:er. He 'W'3.S going to cut that bridle. E.\rert, \\h> was supposed to hold the coal cut, Miller hollered at him and sa:id, "Kneel dow:1," you know. 'Ihey didn't want you to kneel dovn, they wanterl you to bend CNer. Told him to do something else ani he grabbed that coal cut and held it, and after Pete hit it to cut that bolt and that sledge ha!InEr glancerl and hit him right in the nose. ve accuserl Da.go Pete of doing it on purpose . ''No," he said, "I didn't. But you know, after I hit that coal cut, that sledge hal.urer did pick up speerl." Well naturally it w:ruld l You know, it'd glance off. So they fired h:im for about four days, then they brought him back and put him to loa:iing washer coal off the side of the track. I was w:>rking in the recCNery gang then. We ~t by and ~ got down there to unloa:i them rails and--M:xius Y.Rs the boss, Alfred M:xius--and he said, ''There's ya.rr old b.Jddy right there." I said, "Who was it?" He sa:id, "Johnny Miller." I said, ''Well, take it by real easy ~y;e go by. I want to razz him a little bit." And I did. It wasn't three days later they put him back CNer in the dirt gang and then throYBi my ass in the dirt gang. (laughs) Q: He threw you back in the dirt gang just because you'd said that before. A: Yes. He'd probably asked for 100 though. Give IIE a ba:i time. Q: Well, how did you handle problems with managaoont ~you ha:i them? A: 'tell, I never had but one real problem with than, because every time they'd fire me, old Bill \<llOUld p.1t me back to w:>rk on some other job. But the last one, I WiS wrking the seren to three shift, night shift. I don' t know, Bill got it in for me for some reason and I'd go out there at saren o'clock ani they'd serrl me inside to ride trips. Ride trips until one, then I'd go back CNer into my gang, see, w:>rk until three. Then they'd order me out until five o'clock the next night, five, five-thirty. I'd go out there and then I'd have to sit aroun:l and. wait for my gang to go to w:>rk. That's the way it -was. So one night I 'Went out there ani Gates told me to go in and ride trips for Johnny Miller and I said, ''No. I ain't going." ''Well," he said, "there's a letter in there on the desk fran the old lll8Il, says you go ride trips." I said, ''Well, you just give the letter back to him. I ain't going." I went on top, took a shower. Ehgineer coo:e over there just as I was getting dressed, said, "Gates 'Wai'lts you on the phone." So I ~t over to the engine roan and Gates said , "Cane on down," said , "you don't have to ride trips for Miller. ~on back.11 I ~t and changed clothes ani went below, got down there and he said, ''Miller's on vacation. Your going to ride for so-and-so.11 I said, ''You go to hell. I said I wasn't riding trips for Miller or anylxxly else." I walked off--~11 see, at that tine, the bylaws said they couldn't p.15h a man fran shift to shift unless he 'Wai'lted to. So I took it up with the pit camd..ttee. ''Yes," he said, "old Bill can't do that. You've got to wrk one shift. He can't push you off on the five o'clock shift and then back to the seven." So I wmt on hc:ue an::l ~t out there the next IIDrning and talkai to the pit cannittee. If it had been Howard Hill's pit camrl..ttee, they'd have paid me for f!tlery day I was off. But they had this other son-of-a-bitch in there then. Ritter W3.S his name, wasn't it? I belifNe his name was Ritter. hlyway, Bill c~ over there and he got rough as hell with me and (errl of tape) Errl. of Side Che, Tape Che Q: Go ahead • You just said that you talked to the . . . A: Oh, yes. Q: • talked to the pit camrl..tteanan? A: Yes, and. Bill got on the pit cannitteeman. He said, "Gilpin, you a:in' t got no case . " Said , 'They can do that if they want to. 11 I said , ''Well, let them do it then. I'm going hcxiE. 11 And I nfNer did go back. Q: So did the pit coomitteanan do m.JCh? Did he lw.re m.JCh po~r? A: Yes. But he didn't use it. Howard Hill WiS pit camrl..ttee and I quit, went to Kentucky and w:>rked for the Krogers for six or sf!tlen IIDnths. I lost out dow:1 there and I caiE back. Talked to Howard Hill and he said, ''You w:>rk any other place?" I said, ''Yes." He said, ''Well, don't tell them that.11 Said, ''Tell than you ain't v.orkai a lick since you left here. 11 Well, I went on vacation and narer caiE back, see. So old Bill said, ''No, no, I ain't p.1tting him back.11 Howard said, ''You go on haiE this DDrning, and tarorrow, bring your bucket. You be sure to stick around to after nine o'clock, eat a sandwich, they'll pay you." So the next mrning I vent out there. A bench was sitting out there by the guard shack, so I just sat down on it and '[Xlt my bucket there beside me. Went on CNer to the coal bin, Bill did. IJ.ow:m:l left. Of course, Howard went with him and then Howard left and on the way out, he said , "Be sure to stay until after nine o'clock and eat a sandwich." In the meanti.Jre, here cane old Bill. Said, "Go down there and get you a long handled shovel and go over to the coal bin and clean up arourrl there." Said, ''Th.an guys cOOJe in here and loa:l their trucks and wagons and they throw that rock off, you throw it back on." Q: Wly did he say that? A: \Ell, they buy the rock smoo as they did the coal, and that way it kept it cleaned up arourrl there. They had Perlin, with that old one horse and cart, he'd have to go aver and clean it up and haul it aver to the dump see, that slag pile there behind it? Q: Yes. A: So I worked there a couple days, ani then here cane M:mning down there. He needed a rock picker, so they put me back up on the tipple at that time. fut men Howard lost out on a pit camrl..ttee job, that just shor.vs you how silly the men is v.hen they suck for the ooss. They voted a good man out and p.1t a counterfeit in just because the superintendent wanted him in there. Q: \h> was the superintendent? A: Bill Hardy. They run him out of \E st Frankfurt. Q: \hy is that? A: Fbr pulling so.mts like that. Yes, I mean they give him five minutes. He's still got four to serve do'lfoll. there. He didn't take the five minutes they gave him to get out of to'Nn. He left right then. Q: So let me lll'derstand here, he wruld want a certain person in charge. What position wruld it be, pit ccmnitteeman or A: Superintenient was Bill Hardy. Q: Yes. What type of people did he want to p.1t into power? A: cnes that'd suck for him. Q: Yes. A: Pets. Q: Mine bosses and that type of thing? A: Yes. Q: Cl<a.y. A: If you kissed his ass, you got a good job. Of course I never could do that, until I 'i.\erlt to \<Drk for the railroad. I got firErl about four times there, but I beat than every time and finally I decided I'd join them. I found out it \<BB better to join them than it was to fight than. Q: (lwgh.s) Yes. lbw tEre the corrlitions down in the mine, in 58? A: Rough. They was rough. Btxldy, ~you crawlai off that trotor and got to your jobt thatIS men yoU tEnt tO w:>rki.ng and you w:>rked until they blo'\ei the wstle for noon, or hollered. You didn't stand around like you do now. Hell, I was w::>rking with the railroad, v.urking out here on the hill, tw:> drunks doWl there I~Easuring a strip of iron, and I hal to stay over that night. Th.ey ha:i ten special cars ccming in and I had to check them over. The tw:> hours that I W!lS waiting until they callei me ani told me that they W!lsn't going to get them, them tw:> guys W!lS still uea.suring the goddann piece of steel and arguing 011er who W!lS right and who was wrong as I v.;ent out. If you'd done that then, they w::>Uld 've firErl you right on the spot. Yes sir . Q: Wlat ~re sane of the safety problans in the mine? A: There 'i<IBSn' t none then. Hell , there W!lBn' t none . Q: 'lhere 'i<IE.Bn' t any safety problans. A: There W!lB dann little safety doWl. in the ndn.es. Only your OWl safety. Q: You just took care of yourself. A: Dann right. I know one night, I was v.urking the seven to three shift, and after they shot, tE 'd go in and run the entries for firers. Well, this kid 'i<IBS fran &linburgh, ani we'd get in the fan house, it was wann in there. Of course, outside there you'd be w::>rking and you'd be stEaty, see, and I dropped off to sleep and he did too. Pretty soon I v.uke up and it 'i<IBS darker than a son-of-a-bitch and I hollerErl at &linburgh and he jurnpai up. I lit my lamp. It 'i<IBS 4:30 and then the lights caroo on. W'a ran out and jumped on the trotor. I said, "Aren't you going to run no fire?" and he said, ''Hell no." He said, "It's 4:30." I said, ''Well, tE're going to hav'e to think up sanething before tE get to the oottan." Q: You had to think up sanethi.ng for mat, because you ~re late? A: Yes. He said, "I '11 think of sCJllething between here and the bottan." Well, tE ccme to the run-around and the lights tEnt out. He just ran in there and hid. We thought it 'i<IBS Gates caning in looking for us, see, and he W!lS blinking them lights to let us know that he knew that tE 'i<IBS in there. We sat in there about ten minutes, then we took on off for the oottan. We got out. I ne.rer stopped, I just went right on to the cage. F.dinb.lrgh care on, dropped in and he said, "I told them we hal a fire in the third entry in nunber nine roan. But we got it out." So I just told him the saroo thing. So we Yalt to \<Drk the next night. ''Hey," he said, "you guys get these goddamn rOClllS straightenErl out frcm now on. That fire was in Number Eight," and he said, "they ha:l to go in there and fan the SDDke out fran this IIK>rning and JUt that fire out. You didn't get it out." Q: (laughs) So there really hal been a fire. A: Yes, a fire in the roan right next to it. Q: Yes. well, I'll be. A: Or ~·d have got fired. Because you can tell Miere there's a fire in the coal mine. Ibn't matter where you're "W:>rlting, you know there's a fire. Q: N:Jw, they said the fire w:ts in Number Eight. A: Yes. Q: ~re you w::>rking at Fifty-eight then? A: Yes. Q: And Fifty-eight connected with eight? A: No. Q: lb. A: I think they cut into it aver there fran Number Nine. Q: Vbat do you IIEan by rn.mber eight then? A: N.Jmber eight roan. Q: <h, I see, the eighth roan of mine Fifty-eight. A: When you drive an entry, they turn roans off of it ani every so many roans, you have a cross cut so the air will circulate. Q: I see. Right. Okay. A: ve missed the roan by one rrumber, ani we ne.rer p.lt the fire out either. It W!lB going gocxi by the next mrning. (laughter) Q: All right. Well, that's :interesting. A: Now, old Bill , he W!lB a ladies man. Q: Bill Hardy? A: Yes. 1he old la:iy used to cane out there vhen I ha:i a 1935 Ford coupe. Old Ralph Alexander, he never did mrrry that wcman, but she'd hang on his car and them guys ~uld razz him, you know, so he started that shit going to my car. So I told the old lady, I said--they started razzing TIE, you know--''When you cane after m;, you park out there in the alley." I'11 be a son-of-a-bitch, next night I go out ani that son-of-a bitch cut there and valked by and "What'd you do, ruy a Ford?" I said, ''You know gcxldarm well Ylhat I bought. You ain't blind." I said., "I'd rather you -w:ruldn't cOIIe to my car at all, Bill, ~the old lady's in it," and fran then on, me and Bill hal trouble. Q: Now, \\bat was he doing? He was coming to your car and getting a ride after w:>rk? A: t'b. He was just going out there to talk to the old lady. Q: Oh, he was talking to your wife. A: Yes, he was a ladies man. That old son-of-a-bitch made calls at these houses. This guy that lives next door to ne here, used to see his car wer at his house all the time. In there w:>rking one night, and this guy, he lived on Vanderrurg Street. He was running a cutting machine. Yes, he was running a cutting machine, and he cane out and started across the entry as they was coming in, and the trip rider tillSt've went to sleep. He dirln' t stop the mtorman, and theX hit him. And the foranan told him, ''You do that again, you'll be out. ' Said, "I can sleep with a lot of ~for that job you got." Well, he told the truth too, old Argust. Q: He said that to Argust? A: Yes. Argust said it to him. Q: Ch, Argust said it to him. A: Yes. He was the boss, the face boss. Q: Yes. A: I'd have told him, I'd have knocked the son-of-a-bitch in the hea:i. Q: Did you know W .C. Argust very gocxi? A: Yes , I did . Q: What was he like? A: He was a helluva good man. Q: Was he? A: Put walter 'WasnIt too bad men he YBS out of the mine. But down there, he done just what old Bill Hardy told him. Of course, Bill Hardy didn't like him either, but he'd put extra w:>rk on Walter so walter ~ld put it on us, see. Q: Yes. A: But Johnny Miller, nobody hal trouble with him. Vhen they put this extra mtor on, they put ne with a kid, Henry Cashford. That son-of-a-bitch would l\Ork wertime to get an extra car on there. He'd take ten minutes CNertime to loal that last car. Q: W:ly's that? A: Just so he could out do me, see? Q: Yes. A: And I told old Bill, I said, "I'm not w:>rking a goddamn minute 011ertime unless I get paid for it." I said, "I -was hired for eight hours w:>rk, and," I said, "that's vbat I do." But he'd eren go out and then raise hell with the machine man, after he'd w:mt on top, he'd tell Bill, ''Well, they ltoDUldn't load the last car I brought in." Then Bill w:ru.ld get on them, see. Q: Was there a lot of that canpetition in the mines? A: Oh, yes. Ev"erybody -was cutting on one another's throat. Shit, you hai to w:>rk. And than Boch boys aren't shitting me, because I w:>rked right along with them. 'Ihey w:>rked. Fritz, he w:>rked on top all the time. He got in good somehow. And my cousin got in good with him too, Earl. Q: fuw do you tlrlnk some of the w:>rkers ~re able to get in good with than? A: Through their wives. Q: Through their wives! A: Dann right. 0: [Mrs. Gilpin] Henry! Q: W:la.t do you mean? 0: Will you be careful of W:lat your sayingI A: Well, it's the goddann truth, and you know itl 0: That's none of your b..J.siness I A: \ell, by gcxi, let the people know how the old son-of-a-bitch die::l. Q: W:lose that that died? A: Old Bill Hardy. They hal to cut half his tongue off to stop cancer. 0: You're talking about the coal mine, not the people. A: I'm talking about--l!ell, that is the coal mine. They're the ones that made the conditions. There's been a lot of laws changei since then. You can ask Max there, he w:>rked for the law, and the only safety first you got was What you made of it. They hai mine inspectors but dann little w:>rk they done inspecting. Q: They didn't do a very good job inspecting the mines? A: Hell no. N:>w by god, they inspect than, but they didn't then. Because if you talked to Boch ani than, they used to kill one a \Eek out here at 58. You don't hear that anyanre. 'Ihe Goverrment stopped that. Q: Yes. A: They hal a wreck out here at 58 on the main line--that 'NB.S before I \Erlt to w:>rk--ani they ha:l IIUles. 'Ihey called everybody out to clean up the wreck and the first goddam question old Bill Hardy said 'NB.S, "Did they hurt the nule?" '!hat's the truth. Q: Yes. I've heard that story before. A: 'Iba.t' s the goddann truth, "Did they hurt the Illlle?" And sanebody said something to him about it later on, ani he said--or "Did they kill a Illlle?" that's the way it was--and Bill said, "By god, \E have to buy a IIUle but you can hire another man." Yes sir. No, they didn't get rwch benefits Wen. they lost a husbani then in the mine, or if he got l:UJ.rt. Q: ~11, -.;..hat \<laS the role of the wives then? You \Ere talking earlier about they helped--the w:mm--helped to get the tren jobs? A: Hell yes. 'Ihey helped them get good jobs. Q: Yes. 'lbe wives 'i110Uld sleep with sane of the bosses you think? A: Hell yes. I know a WJil1ail that lives right here in Taylorville now, she1s got--well, she did have--tw:> daughters ani a boy. Her husband wasn't the da:idy of none of then. But you could tell, each one of then, who their daddy was. L:>oked just like him. Q: Yes. (laughs) A: That's right. Che of them belonged to Walter Argust too, one that got killed here not too long ago. Q: w.c. Argust? A: No, Walter. Q: Walter. A: The boy. Q: Ch. A: There was three of them boys, Walter and the cripple, Willard, and then the oldest. I don't know Wla.t that oldest one done. He wasn't in the mine that I know of, unless he YllS aver at Nine. Wa1ter w:>rked at Fifty-eight. Willard I don1 t think was ever in the mine. Q: ~11, did the management take advantage of the w:>rkers in any other way at that time? Did you ever hear about patents, like wben a person came up with an idea to make imprCJilanents in the mine? A: Yes. Q: Vbat type of thing happenerl then? A: 'nley ne.rer did collect on it, but yet they userl their patent. Oh, I done that for C ani IM. Q: Qtat's that? A: Write up a patent, a suggestion. G:>t five dollars for it. Q: Yes. Did they use it? A: Yes, they used it. lhey used it then because they closed the sand blast doWl. See, it's against the law to sand blast in the open in Illinois, and they hal a sherl built and these gauges on these air hoses we used--or elements? Q: Yes. A: \ell, hell, they was putting one of than on e~ery day, and I wrote a suggestion for than to stop that. Saved than thousands of dollars in gauges. I got five dollars out of it. Q: Did s~body else share the patent with you? Did sooelxxiy else get some of the IIDney? (pause) Well, in the mine did the ~rkers e~er talk about that, making a suggestion for a patent ani then . • . A: Yes. <he guy patented a catch for an old time pen lamp. vell, he dem:mstratai it to ne--I ran a tavern here upstairs years ago--and he came in and s~1m and he give the patent to old Bill Hardy. Bill said, told him later on it w:tsn't no gcxxl. lhey ~t to the bJg light right after that, so I don't know if he'd v.ent to the right people Wl.ether they WJUl.d 've patented it or not. But they used to have tw:> wires on a bug light and c~ out here ani make it fit your cap so it "W)Uldn't w:>bble. He put one on that you just screw it dov.n there ani it w:>uld stay, see. Q: Ch, so it stayed flat on your heal. A: Yes. Q: \Ell, were you in the mine vben the hard hats cane in? A: Oh, yes. Q: W:tat year ms that? A: Well, we just w:>re regular pit caps up in . . . but the hard hats was in ~nI went below. 'Iha.t was about 1937, 1938. lhey WiB in already. Q: Yes. (tape turne:i off m.:mentarily) Vbat I was just asking you, vhen those hard hats canE in, how'd they feel about than? A: 'lhey liked than. Q: Yes? A: '!hat vas one of the safety's that I can remember now since you lllmtioned it, that ever done the miner any good. Because them cloth caps--hell, I got a scar right there Q: Yes, on top of your head? A: .•. yes, v.here I had a cloth cap on and a clod fell and hit rre. But than bard hats vas all right. I rrean, it protected your head. It's a shame they couldn't ~emade shoulder pads and all. (laughter) Q: Yes, like a football player. How about the steel toed shoe? A: You had to have them before they'd let you go below. Q: So you had those when you cane in in 1933? A: Yes, they YBS there vben I first ~nt to the mine. In fact, I wore than in the tipple. Especially walking up the tipple, they w:>re a pair of shoes on like this, you'd stumble and fall and mash your toes, bruises. Q: Yes. A: <hly thing is, they lji)Uld ENentually lnlrt your feet, than steel-toes. W:Juld mine, when you bent your foot. I never could get aYBy fran that. But then they made a new one. I nENer did wear than. 'Ihey say they don't do that, they cut across the top of your toes. Q: Yes. A: Just v.hen you had to berrl your shoes a little too tnJCh. Q: Yes. You talke:l earlier about the pit camli.tteeman, you said that they didn't get a mole lot accomplished for you men you had a complaint. A: Howard Hill's the only one that I ever kno\ei that made them live up to their agreement. Q: How did you solve your problems then, if the pit ccmni.tteeman lji)Uldn't help you? A: Just went ahea:l and took the shit. You just had to take v.hat they give you. Q: Yes. ~11, sounds like you didn't take it too tnJCh. A: I di.dn't get along with them, but I should've ~nt the other way, been like my cousin. I'd ~e been a foreman too. Q: Yes. A: 'Ihen vhen he got laid out as foreman \-hen 58 went down, they put him on that big truck. I vas lji)rking in Kentucky at the Kroger store. We cane out here for a ~ek's visit and drOV'e down by his house one day, one Surday aftem.oon. There he sat on the left, superintendent in the or, Goldie :in the middle and Bill Hardy OV'er there. All buddy-buddy! (laughs) Ani they tried to nm. him off vh.en he first \eflt to w:>rk out there. Old Charlie Marming told him to bring a short dinner toonrrow because he wouldn't be there all day. And I'11 be a son-of-a-bitch if he didn't wiggle in there and get Cllarlie's job. Got Cllarlie fired . Q: \ell, let's talk a minute again about the mine wars then. Did you un:ierstanl the Progressive's problems at all, vhat they ~re trying to accanplish? A: l'b sir, and I still don't un:ierstand it. I rea:i a lot about it here a~ile back :in the paper, but it didn't make sense to me, the way they was acting. Q: Yes. Well, you ~re just glad to get a job then. A: I was, that was mat I was after, a job. I didn't give a dann. Q: were there a lot of w:>rkers that came here fran Kentucky, to strike break? A: There was a few, not like they did fran southern Illinois dOWl there. Alabama, there was a lot of than doWl. there. fust of them was convicts. Q: A lot of coiNicts came here? A: Oh, yes. They'd hire e~ery convict they could. Q: Yes. They knew they'd get a job up here, and pretty tough characters then? A: I worked with old lewis Roper, and he hadn't been out of the penitentiary long. He killed a couple :rren doWl south or e~eryl:xxiy said he did. He went to the penitentiary for it anyway, and somel:xxiy shit on a rail. I was laying track with him, ani they covered it up with b..Jg dust. He rea::hed down and grabbed it. Q: Oh. A: And man, I'm telling you, if he'd knowed mo it 't<IBS, he'd have killed him right there. I took off doWl the track. Hell, I looka:i around (laughs). . . . Q: Okay. Well, Yhat did you do in 1940 then, '\i\b.en you left the mine? Where did you w:>rk? A: let's see, 1940 .•. oh, that's vh.en I went to w:>rk for Krogers. Q: Okay. Now, when you came back . • . A: I didn't get nothing because old Bill Hardy blackballed me here. Q: So you ~re gone for Yila.t, about six ~eks? A: I was gone about se~en mnths. I went to Kentucky, but I ran a filling station here for Caroline Davis's old man. Then the guy that had it before her . . . Perry Gilpin Q: Vben \<IDS that? A: In the 1940s. Q: Wlen you came back then, fran . . . A: No, before I left. Q: Ckay. A: '!hen I left . . . I left here in the 1940s. I left here in the '40s, and I got marrie:l in the '40s. I w;mt to "WJrk for Krogers in the '40s. '!hen I cane back up here . . . ~it a mit:n.tte, I'm way ahea:l of my damn story there. VJhen I quit the mine in 1936, I 'Went to Louisville, [Kentucky] and ~nt to w::~rk for Krogers. '!hen I came back and ~nt to "-X>rk at the mine. That ~s al:xJut--well, it ~s after the 1937 floods in Kentucky--and I worked then up until 1940. '!hen I went back to Kentucky and ~t to WJrk in the shipyard in Indiana, in Tiptoil\Tille. Vbrke.d until 1943, then I went to the navy. came bane and v.ent to ~rk for the railroa:i. Q: All right, let rre get it straight then. So you went to Kentucky again, until al:xJut 1943. When did you join the ncwy, \\bat years were you in the Il1Ny? A: 1943 I V~Jent in the niNy. Q: \ere you in the DJNY during W:>rld War II? A: Yes. Q: Yes, so that 'WOuld've been . 0: He w;mt in the first of May, 1945. Q: Ckay, Vk>r1d War II ended in 1945. Okay. 0: He w;mt in the first of May . . . A: '!hen I went to w:>rk for the railroad right after that. 0: . • . first of May and he ~s discharga:l the last of September. A: I didn't even hare to go, only I just went. 0: He got a DEdical discharge in 1945. Q: Okay, vhat was the ue:lical discharge for? A: Asthna. Q: Okay. A: I hal it ~en I went in. Perry Gilpin Q: Did you enlist or "tNere you drafted? A: lhth. Q: Jhth? A: I enlisted in 1940--or 1939. 1hen I was drafterl a couple of times ani didn't pass. So the last time I want to a lieutenant there in the shipyard and he gave IIE a letter and I went in the niNY. 'lb.ey wouldn't take IIE in the army lut they took me in the nB.\/y. Q: Yes. You were in the niNy, and then you got out in mat year, 1945? A: 1945. Q: \eren' t in there too long. 1hen you c~ back and did vhat? A: \ent to the railroad. 'Ihe C & IM. Q: Ckay. All right, how long did you "tr.Ork there? A: lbtil 0: He want back to the shipyards for a little bit and then went there. A: Well, yes, lut -we're talking about after I carre h.are fran the UB.\lY. I didn't "tr.Ork there but a little bit. 1hen I cane here and went to YX:>rk for the railroad. 0: Well, want back to the shipyards and they was only getting t:YX:> or three days a week and we couldn't live on that, so wa carre back here an:l he want to the railroad . Q: Okay. Arxi did you retire fran the railroad? A: Yes. Q: \bat year was that? 0: 1975. A: It was in 1975. Q: 1975, okay. All right, I'll stop it there. That's a good place. Enl of Interview
|Title||Gilpin, Perry - Interview and Memoir|
Coal Mines and Mining
Coal Mines and Mining--Strikes and Lockouts, "Mine Wars"
Progressive Miners of America (PMA)
United Mine Workers (UMW)
|Description||Gilpin, strikebreaker during the coal mine wars, discusses the violence between the Progressive Miners Union and the United Mine Workers Union in the Taylorville area, working conditions and the management at the mines, dangers of being a strikebreaker, and living conditions for the families of miners.|
|Creator||Gilpin, Perry (1916-1993)|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Corley, Kevin [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Relation||ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||Perry Gilpin Memoir|
|Source||Perry Gilpin Memoir.pdf|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Perry Gilpin Memoir
G427. Gilpin, Perry (1916-1993)
Interview and memoir
1 tape, 90 mins., 24 pp.
ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
Gilpin, strikebreaker during the coal mine wars, discusses the violence between the Progressive Miners Union and the United Mine Workers Union in the Taylorville area, working conditions and the management at the mines, dangers of being a strikebreaker, and living conditions for the families of miners.
Interview by Kevin Corley, 1986 OPEN See collateral file
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1986, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
This manuscript is the product of a tape recorderl interview conducted by Kevin Corley for a special project, "Illinois Coal: 'Ihe Legacy of an Industrial Society." The project was sponsorerl by the Illinois State Historical Society and funierl in part by the Illinois Humanities Council ani the National F.lld~nt for the Humanities. Additional support came fran the Oral History Office of Sangarron State University. Joyce Fisher transcribe:l the tape and Susan Jones editerl the transcript.
Perry Gilpin entered the mines in 1932 in Taylorville. In this m.et:OOir Mr. Gilpin describes fighting his way through picket lines to get to w:>rk and the safety problems he encountererl in the mines. He also discusses some of the people he w:>rked with such as Bill Hardy and Jolumy Miller.
Remers of the oral history IDt::m:>ir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken w:>rd, and that the intervie~r, narrator and editor sought to preserve the informal , cOINersational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangam:m State University ani the Illinois State Historical Library are not responsible for the factual accuracy of the tnel'IDir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge.
The manuscript may be real, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproducerl in ~le or in part by any n:eans, electronic or mchanical, with>ut pennission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708.
Perry Gilpin, Taylorville, Illinois, July 10, 1986.
Kev'in Corley, Intervie~r.
A: 'lhat was in 1932. I picked up a local Time's one werrlng and it hai Taylorville courthouse in it. They was running CNer with prisoners. The jail was full and they was locking them in the courthouse.
Q: Now, you ~re out on the road at that time?
A: I was in L:>uiSV"ille, Kentucky, yes. I was v:orld.ng with ~ngleson's Box Ccmpan.y on the fann for ten cents an hour doing everything. The worst job I had was vaccinating chickens. But I read in that paper that night that they \<\ere hiring mm at the coal mines for two eighty-five a day. Man, that is big nnney, right or wrong. I hai a little black suitcase, about that long ani that wide, just took a pair of cCNer-alls with~. if I hai than, and I headed dow:1 the road for bane. But it wasn't as easy to get a job as I thought it ~dbe. My dad worked on the railroad and he took old Bill after they quit meeting on the square and riding out to the mines,see. ~rl caught than, he used to haul than on the roai e~ery morning fran the square out there but I didn't know him at that time. So I \'lent dowt to the house, old Bill Hardy's house, he like beat me up.
Q: How is that?
A: Because I cane to his house and asked him for a job. Well, I lived aver here on 930 rest Brad Street ani you couldn't even get dowt the street or to the mines for the pickets. 'Ihe roads ~re so full. \ell, he said, ''You scared to go out to that mine, you will be scared to corte to w:>rk." So, the next nnrning I fought my way through. Course, they had militia all arourxi the mine.
Q: lbw did you fight your way through?
A: Hitting through the pickets. Just pushing back ani forth. I got wer there old Bill , he came out, he hirai me. Well, there was three or four of us then, Levi Wilson, Alex Daugherty, W:xxiy Richard and Charlie and me. So, it wasn't too bad caning hane that e
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|