Donald VanHooser Memoir
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Donald VanHooser Memoir V316. VanHooser, Donald (1905-1989) Interview and memoir 1 tape, 85 mins., 31 pp. ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY VanHooser, coal miner, discusses mining in the Taylorville area in central Illinois: mechanization in the mines, mine wars of the 1930's between the PMA and the UMW, and the impact of the mine wars on the community. Interview by Kevin Corley, 1986 OPEN See collateral file: interviewer's notes and photocopies of photos, certificates and articles from the National Coal Museum. 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 'Ibis manuscript is the product of a tape recorde:i interviEIW conducted by Kevin Corley for a special project, "Illinois Coal: The "4egacy of aJtJ. Industrial Society." 'llie project w::~.s sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and fun:led in part by the Illinois lh.nn<fri-ties Couacil and the National EbdOWD2llt for the Humanities. Additional support C$100 fran the Oral History Office of Sangt:mDn State University. Elsebeth Buckley transcribed the tapes and Susan Jones edited the t:ranscript. Donald VanHooser was lx>rn June 4, 1905 in Taylorville, Illinois. After finishing his sophOODre year of high school, Mr. VanHooser entered the mines. In this IIEI.llOir he discusses his experiences in the mine and the Mine Wars of the 1930s. Mr. VanHooser's wife Ibrothy al~ contriruted to this inta:view. 1 i Readers of the oral history neooir should bear in mind ~tis a transcript of the spoken w:Jrd, ani that the intervie\Er, ator ani editor sought to preserve the :informa.l, cOilV'ersational st e that is inherent in such historical sources. Sanganon State Univ sity and the Illinois State Historical Library are not responsible for~~ factual accuracy of the meroir, nor for views expresserl therein; ~ae are for the reader to judge. 1: The manuscript may be real , quota:l and citEd freely. It ~~y not be reprcx:luced in Whole or in part by any lEBils, electronic or nechanical, with:rut permission in writing fran the Oral History Office Sangarron State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. D:.mald VanHooser, Taylorville, Illinois, July 8, 1986. Kevin Corley, Intervie\<iler. Q: Mr. VanHooser, YDUld you please state your full name? A: Ikmald Keith VanHooser. Q: \>bere were you bom? A: Here in Taylorville. Q: W:lat was the date? A: June 4, 1905. Q: <h June 4. 'illat do you know about your family origin?\ Where were your parents fran? 1 A: I know they said that Gran:lpa. VanHooser cane fran Ken ky, here in Christian county. They r.vere out east of tow:t here four mi ani on a fann. Il:ld was born--was it lebanon, Illinois or lebanon, ssouri? 0: (Mrs. VanHooser) lebanon, Missouri I thou.gj.lt. A: Is tilere Dad was born, my da:l. Ard there liaS nine boy$ am three girls in that family, in Dad's family because they always said they hai a baseball tean and three l.liDpires. Q: I see. A: I think M:.J:n was bom--1 don't know Wl.eth.er she was bom in Taylorv'ille, Illinois. She was a ~1, her mther's Ila11la was ~1--iachel IX>ll,y S:nith Ham:Jel. Q: W:lat was her full name? A: Ina Hau:Del Q: Ina Hamnel, okay. A: I ~dn't say trilat her middle name was. But her name \laS Hanmel. Q: All rigj:lt. 0: I don't know mere my list is on all that. , 1 Donald VanHooser 2 Q: Wlen did the VanHooser's cane to the United States? A: No, I couldn't tell you that. I didn't go back that :(ar. Q: Goes back quite a W:ri.le though. A: Yes. Q: All right. Wlat -wa.s your father's occupation then? A: He was a coal miner. Yes, when he got old enough, he ~s a coal miner. He first wrked out here at Mine Fifty-eight, hera in t:<Ml, and then he vent to Nlmlber Se.ren at Kincaid. He was there s~ral years while I was in school yet. OJ.t here at Mine Fifty-eight ~ was "What they called a shot firer. 'lhis -was on solid ~rk out here and they had to drill the holes just so they WJUld break off the coal. If they didn•t, it was on the solid and it didn't do any good. Or had an explosion if you want to call it that. He had to go to w:>rk at like tl1:ee in the afternoon and do the firing at night, after the rrd.ne closed up. W1en he went to Kincaid, they had machines out there. OJ.t here ~Ydidn't have them. But it ~an undercut IJEChine. Vben he wmt out 'ttlere, it was all gang -w:>rk. That TNB.S developing they called it. He ~in like gangwrk, ani he got to where he was running a cutting machine: for the gang, and of course you had to have help. To begin with, there tas three man :in a gang, and then v.ben they gpt big enough and went up atld de.relopa:l other territories, then they added IIEl until they got se.rett Dal gangs. 'lhen, \~hen it got far enough apart that it -was too far, like tw entries that W!iy, two entries this way, tw:> entries that way, see, six entries, then they split than up again into three man gangs. 'Ihat'• \ri1at dad did, was that. He 'Wa.S on a territory then, WJen they got the dtveloping far enough, he was a cutting machine man on a territory, ani ~ygot yardage as well as tonnage rate. 'lhat was their pay see. Q: So they got paid by how JDJCh they brought out? A: Yes. The mm loaded on a territory. 'llie n:en got so tiQCh a ton and the cutting machine 1lBil got a percentage as well as yardag• as they called it as they developed. It -was called yardage. That was men he made application to take ue in the mine. Q: Vbo neasured the anxrunt they were bringing out of the Itine? A: The uen on the territory, they loaded in three ton cara. Like, was tw:> roans and t¥40 uen to those t\<110 rooms. There was like sixteen roons to a territory. Sixteen roous on this side and si.xteten on this side, the air went in one entry and come out the other and that was circulation, see. The cutting machine cut on both entries. That was the territory, and of course you had the helper on the machine. Q: I:b you krlc1N ~~masured the aovunt that they brought cpt of the mine? A: \ell, you uean. the tonnage? Q: Yes. lfh) ueasurai the tonnage? i A: All right, we had a check weighman up in the tipple, a¥1 as a carl. care up there "Was a check on it. That check belongai to tl<>se mm, and the check 'Was taken off am When it 'Was dumped it was like1~autolmtic weigh. 'lhe check weigl'mJan \\leighai that tonnage. U.ke if ~re was three tons or a little over three ton, maybe 200 pounds or llilatefer, ani he's the man that made a rec.ord of that. l I Q: I see. I A: Mr. Campbell, he \\lis the check v.eighman out there at Nljmber Seven at that ti.ne. Q: was he a canpany man? A: Yes, he w:ruld've been a canpany man, yes. But you could go to him if you had lost a car or you didn't have ooe that you should''fe had, am he will find it for you. I:e will find it. He as good about !it, he kept it straight. Yes, he \\liS good. Al Gao:pbell. Q: Did he penalize you for rock and extra? A: 'lhey did. If you had too lll.lCh rock ••• 0: Al Campbell, ani he was classifiai as a weigher. A: Yes. He 'WBB check v.eiglmm. No, they w:ruld dock you :lf you had too lillCh dirt, coal , rock or clay, and you watched that you dicln' t. Yes, you took out llilat you could. \ohm my dad took ne in the mine, it was in the thirteenth an:i fourteenth entry west, an:i we was way down :ln the last rocm. <h each entry, we had the last roan. You had to take the rock out and ~'d p.lt it in the gob pile they called it. 'lhat \\liS behind you, see. Q: A gcxl pile? A: Gob. Q: Ch, gob pile. A: Yes, that•s llilat it was called. 'lhat1 S where you kept .the dirt and str.h. Of course, that was timbered behir:d you, see. You did the ti.mbering. 'Ihat1 S llilat that 'WaS called• Q: All right. So, how old were you When you enteral the rtine? 0: You finished your sophamre year. A: Yhll, 1921, so that w:ruld make ma sixteen. Q: Sixteen years old, in 1921. Okay. All right. 4 0: And then you didn1 t start to school in September, ~.e~t you ~nt to night classes. So it 'WaS right after school YDS out in 01.tf sophouore year. : A: I ~t the \'\hole winter to finish my geanetry. I was r·etty gocxi in math ani algebra. I finished my ge01.1etry, but that's all took at night school. ! Q: Did you finish your education then? A: No. Q: So, ~t year did you finish, sophom::>re year? A: Yes. It -was quite an experience I tell you, when you .irst walk in the mine. It was dark, at that time, ~ had carbide light~. \e didn't have electric like we've got today. Q: Describe it to ne. A: Vbat? Oh, the carbide lights? Q: No. Describe your first experience in the mine. A: Oh. The first day, all ~did -was load coal. I w:ruldq't say how many cars, vhether it ms five or six cars that ~ loade:i, and they were three ton cars. You had to take your turn as they called :ijt, Whenever the nntor w:ruld bring in empties ani take back the loade:i qars. He ~ld push your a:upty on past the roan and go in and get your loai car and take it out, and you1d p.lSh your empty car into your place. ~they l.\Utlld gather all the cars on that entry, the coal cars, they ~:w take than to the parting they called it. That was out there on the main line. The main line mtorman w:ruld bring in empties ani take away the load back to the bottan. They ~re hoisted fran there, see. 'Ihe first day in, I tell you, I was sore. I was sore ani stiff, ohl But the second day, ~ drille:i holes ani we drilled three holes up there to shoot the place dor,n because it was cut underneath. 'Ihe IIQ:hine w:ruld sump CNer here on the right harrl side. The cutter bar was six foot long, an:i you had a big chain--pig chain it was calle:i--and it ~fed through a sprcxket on the back end of the machine and around CJiler bere to the ratchet. Up on front to another sprocket up there, then across the roan 30 feet aver here and you anchored it in a wall or to the mp either one. It vas already cut and we drilled it. 1hen Dad made the pa,.rler up and s~ne how to make a cartridge, it was a big dowel rod if you 'Want to call it that. It was made for that pxrpose, because it was tapered. You used newspapers to ma.ke your cartridge out of, and you kept clay dirt there, \\et, ani you put your cartridge in there. So mJCh }¥>wier, pellet pow:ler, ani you put that in your hole. If you had three c~tridges, the last one had the fuse in it. You put than in there and 1:h.Etl you put clay in there arrl tamped it tight so that your core "~~~Uuld stay t:ight. 'lhe secon::l day is When Dad stayed in and shot. You ha:l your be long enough that you had a good fifteen minutes to get away fran there. So he haQ re out on the entry with our dirmer buckets to cooe h01.1e, and he stayed :ln 5 there and shot. He didn't shoot until a quarter of four ot: something like that I think it was. 'Ihree-forty-five or something lt.,ke that. Anyway, the uen ~re shooting and that first boan, I tell you, it bl~ my light out and there I w:ts in the dark. ' Q: Broke your light out? A: Yes, blowed it out. The explosion, see, and I was really scared. But Dad cane to ue right away and ve cane on hane. But I tell you, that was dark! But I soon got usErl to it. ve almst \'IJOrked t:h4>se roans rut for over a year. Bill Starks was the mine manager, knew Dfd real well, and he came in ani asked Dad if Dad w:ruld take the main fiTst north entry gang. Dad said, ''Well, I can't. Ibn here is just seventetn or eighteen years old, and he's just a kid." Bill said, ''You take him with you upthere and we'11 take care of it." Well, ~that gang split up, I v.ent up there with Dad and at that time, in the gang \'IJOrk you h.cl MJrgan Gardner machines and that \\liS different than this short wall machine theycalled it. The machine itself as it crossed the front here ¥BS forty-nuinches, and it came back like this, the cutter bar did, see. Aroun:l here was a big electric rwtor and it ran the cutter chain, and that chain ~nt around this way, see, cutting. It was on rack rails they ¢alled it. The rack rails sto<xl up like this, and there was a cog wheel btre and it fit under here ~re the cogs. That machine fit in there and tlen backed out, then you IIDV'ed it over and cut it again like that. You macl.e four of them in a twelve foot entry. My job at that tin:e when we was ~was I had to set the front jack pipe they called it, and that wa$ a little short one you set it in the coal. But you had to know how to chip that out so that it \'IJOUld fit in there tight. Dad, he v.nuld sel the back jack. We got along all right, but boy, that was \'IJOrking. Many, manyerenings I v.nuld come lloiE and just lay down on the bed jutt dead tired. know what to do. Q: Yes. Now, what year was it that that machine 'if.BS usedf A: 1921, 1922, and 1923. Q: Ani you called it a MJrton Gardner? A: Morgan Gardner. Q: M:>rgan Gardner • A: Pnywa.y, they vere like I said , when they cut over here and you bad to The machine itself, Wlen. you IIDV'ed it fr<Jm one roan to another, ~t on a cart they called it and you pulled it 011 here and then it w:ruld p.1ll up here. You could DD\Te it fran one roan to another byitself. You had a big long cable, electric. Dad one time 'if.BS sumpingthe machine as they called it, that was running it off the cart here and he had his toe in the way. Vben it~down and came baclc:, the bigtoenail, it just caught it. It cane off of his foot into Q.:is sock. Well, he was off seyeral days with that. There was no one to run the machine in the gang. But Dick Kla:rm helped ue and we cut Qoal. I ran the machine, and some of these older uen, they didn't like it because here a kid eighteen years old 'WaS running the machine and t;hey v.ere justhelpers, see. Q: Th.ere was no one else to do it, was there? A: No, no. 'lbat's the way it w:>rked out. Bu.t I was in gf.ng v;ork, that's called developing 'V.Drk, mst of the time. Vhen was it that ~ loading uechines started to cooe in? (pause) Anyway, I Wf.S in the gpng 'V.Drk ani that was 1925, I guess. I was 25 years old Yfhen they ~re coming in. I told my tuldy, Chick S:innt>ns, I said, ''\-ell, if we're gping to 'V.Drk in the mines, ~'d better get on a machine of sane 1 kind, because they'11 be laying nen off." Well, anyway I made application or said I wanted to get onr the mac~, and they JUt n:e as a helper then on a xmchine and I learneJ to run the machine. 'Iha.t was what they called a little 5BU. Vhen tht next rrumber five machine CBIIE, I was capable and I got that machine oni the territory. We had those machines several years. Q: How many YX>rkers did those machines lay off? A: Cll, I'm going to say several hundred. I'll tell it ~t way. (tape turned off) · Q: Okay, before I turned the tape off, you ~re talking ~the loading uechine coming in. You ~re in Ibnber Seven at that time, larxl you tlxmght the year 'i.~Duld 've been somewhere beoeen 1925 and 1929? · A: Yes. Q: Okay. It was a 5BU loading machine. A: 'lbat 'WB.S , yes• Q: Right, that one. A: The little one as ~called it then. Q: The little one, yes. A: Of course, then later on they got the big 11 BU's. ~twas a bigger machine and you'd load IIDre coal with it. Q: And that was later. W:lat year was that? A: I couldn't tell you for sure. Q: late thirties? A: Yes. It w:ruld 've been late thirties. It was after Progressive troubles. Q: Okay, you said that the 5BU loading machine laid off a lot of 'if.Drkers, ani it was in the hundreds. You 1Nell.t ahead and got on the machines to keep your job. A: Right. Q: Yes. 'Ibat was pretty smart of you. A: Well, that's What I said, if you're going to '\I!Drk as a .coal miner you'd better get on one of the machines, either the cutting machine or loading machine. That was the· biggest IIDileY. Q: Yes. \>be> got laid off? A: 'Ihe man that were hand loaling. &m! of the drillers $ot to stay on because they drilled the holes after the In9ChineS cut the qoal, and then of course you had your shot firer after that. But it was ¥ter the trouble. . Q: was there a certain group of people that got laid off?' A: M:m that ~e hand loading. They \tllsn 't on machines o• anything like that. Q: So people that couldn't do anything else. A: That's right, yes. Q: How did the c001pany decide that one person w:ruld maybe ,be good at '\I!Drking on a IIEChine and another w:ruldn't? How'd they ~that decision? A: Well, I don't know how they made that decision. ~madeapplication,Bob lov'e ms on that machine, and Henry Floyd took it, too that machine, and I was his helper. I guess I was his helper until r five machine cane. Of course, that was the idea of me learning to run t machine. Wheneler you could, he w:ruld let you run that machine. If:it got to the point ~eyou were having problans or wasn't getting any .coal, then he ~ld take it over and go fran there. You just learned to load coal with that and hm1 to undermine it to get it to fall dow:1 so that you could loal it. · Q: Well, let ne ask you, ~were the union leaders in t:h4 area at that t:in:e? A: Pat Burke's dad was president. Q: 'That was the leader of the local? A: Yes, he was. Jack Robinson was, I don't remember What he was. But anyway, John Goniolphi was the pit ccnmltteeman, and he toQk care of any disJlltes or if you had a problem, he WJUld hel~ settle it. Jack Robinson, was he vice-president of the local? Pat Burke s dad, What was his rume, was president of the local union. And of course • • • 0: It wasn't Mike was it? A: Could've been Mike. His nane ~ld be Mike (Mike Burk4). Q: Did the pit coomitteeman pretty ~11 help to handle ~grievanccas? A: Yes. Yes, he did. If they couldn't handle it, thent.~t to arbritation they call it. 'Ihe mm aluvst knew ahead of t" that they ~re going to get. Soaebody had to be laid off because machines :\ere taking their place. Some of tlen got jobs elsev.here, sane of them got out of the mines altogether. It w:>rked out all right. Q: 'Ihere was scme talk at that tinE about job sharing or utting back the w:>rk hours. A: There was a time they did. 'Ih.e mine was w:>rking five ys or six days a ~ek, which WiS it? Five, six days a ~ek, anyway, my day off WiS on 'Ibursday. I could either take that day off or I could ~ out to -w::>rk an:l take '\ltlatever job they had open for rre, and I got pai.d1 at that rate. l'bt my rate of pay, l:ut at their rate of pay of the job }'Oll took. <he time, I ~t to the rock gang an:l that WiB only $5.95 a day. My wages on loaling machine was $8. 60 a day, see. \Ell, that -was real v.ork on that. But this one day that I ~t out: an:l ~t to \\Urk in the df..rt gang they called it, and Nave, be's deal now, of course, rut they PJ. him on mymachine ani his helper ran his machine. So W1en I fourxl i rut during the day, I \\lent to Gondolphi, Jolmny Gondolphi, I knew him real ~11, goo:l friend, an:l told him what happened. I said, "I think I'm entitled t:o that pay," and he said , "I do too." So W:l.en ~~nt · to the office and Johnny Abrell which WiB superintendant, he said, ''You' e got no problem. You're going to get paid." So that was that s · le. If I ~nt to w:>rk after that on my day off, I want on my oWl machine But other mm, they done the same thing. If you vent out there, youl took ~terer job they g~Ne you. But you had to share, yes you did, you! shared. Q: Vba.t about rerluction of w:>rk hours, ~re the w:>rkers f.,r that idea? Spread the w:>rk hours out ao:ong nore w:>rkers? A: Yes, they v.ere. I think they ~re. I think mst of tltem \\lere willing to share. A coal miner, they v.ere pretty TNell together ant. took care of ea:h other if they could. '!here wa.s very little separati~, I mean dissension be~en the men. '!hey ~re real good about that. Q: Were the United Mine \iJrkers for that? A: Yes. ve ~e United Mine \i:>rkers. Q: Well, I mean vas the union leaders, did they like that idea also? A: Well, they bad to. 'Ihey aluost had to. See, John L. \.ewis was our international president, and he warned the men vhen these loading machines ~re coming in that they TNere going to ,take the place of +and there w:rul.d be a reiuction in wa.ges. They ~e prepared for it. But it v.orked out all right, of course. NCM, Wl.en v.e had that mine trou le, that was something else. . Q: IRscribe that to rre. How did that start? A: \-ben did it start, Ik>rothy, in 1929? 0: In the first part of Deca.nber, between Thanksgiving an4 ChristJ:nasi. A: :tb. We wasn't marrie:l. John was w::>rld.ng in the mine $ame as I ~s, brother John. He's gone now. Andy Fletcher was the sheriff here in Christian County, and he sent a deputy to Jolm an:l I, miclt ~'re boarding together or roaning together uptoYD. The deputy said that Andy wmted us to come CNer to the courthouse. We wmt CNer there and he said that he ~terl to deputi:r.e us so that he could have mre deputies, W.ch he 'tlls authorized to do so, to take care of sane of these problenlf that was helping him with these striking miners. Well, I didn't lib the idea, but I said, ''Well, let IIE go get some cdvice." So I went to a lawyer and he said, ''You might as well take it because he can put you in jail. You can't refuse, not unless you're sick." So John and I was 4.eputized. Q: Wrich lawyer did you go to? A: leo Reese was mayor of Tay!orville, and we ~nt to him. We knew him real well, and he was an attorney. That's what he told us. Q: W:la.t year was this that you wmt there? A: 1929. 0: That strike, that one lasted only three weeks. We only had militia in here for three weeks at that til:m. It was after Thanks~iving and it was before Cllrisbnas men it ~t off. Q: Yes. 0: We only had a few. We had Canpany C, the calvary out Qf Springfield, and B. B ~in Decatur wasn't it? We only had the area Wational G.Jard during that t~. Q: Wlat was the strike CNer? A: 'lhese n:en, the Progressive miners, was organized at th.Jt time. Q: Were they called Progressives? A: Yes. Q: In 1929? A: Yes. And that's when it was sta.rtErl. Of course, ther''s still sane Progressive mines working yet today, but there's very few. Of course, we've got some mines that are not E!llen tm.i.onized. But an)1tlay, that \'.liS some experience. Jolm and I had to go to Nokcmi.s wer the'fe to get sooe people that was arrested and bring than back to Taylorvill,. We had to take the C&IM train out here to Kincaid ani pick up 25 people out there that had been on deoonstration. We brought them back to T•ylorville and they were processed out at the courthouse. Some of them ~re put in jail and others ~ren't. 0: fut in 1933, that's ~the big one 'lii7B.S. A: Yes. That's when the shooting was. 0: \then the shooting was, and the bombings around. A: You see, later in 1933, 1932, it was 1932, John was ~·king dov.n at Centralia, at Gebhart's store, and of course I was TNOrldng here. 'Then when the mines ~t out, I didn't "WJrk. John was up here er one \Eekend, and he was with me up at Laundry, that's mere I had a r , and they caught us on the corner there east of Main Street. There about 50 men that were out on strike and they caught us clo\\tl. there 4nd they ld.nd of "WJrked us over • (laughs) Q: Peat you up. A: Cll, yes. So we finally got away fran them and got acr ss the street. \-ben ~ got over there, I just said to the gang--! knew I1D t of them--! said, "Okay, you've showed your hand. I'11 show mine. these mines go back to "WJrk, I'm ~oing back to TNOrk." I said, ''You t to stop ~ then.'' lbw, we weren t def.Utized at that t:ime, this was 1 ter. When N.mlber Nine ~t back to 'W:>rk, I ~t over there and I 'NaB on a loadingmachine. ' Q: So you ~t back partly because you were angry at the $UYB for beating you up? A: N:>t only that, but I was still a United Mine Vk>rker. that's me I WiB for, not your Progressive miners. I thought that the lhited Mine Workers wuld prerail CNer the Progressive miners. So ~Number Nine opened up and they called ~ back and said, ''You want to ~ to 'W:>rk?" I said, ''Yes." So went back to Number Nine. 'Ihen we "WJrked there for so long and when they got enough rren to go to Nlnnber Seven to open up, they wanted ue to go 01er to Number Seren ani help open up 01er there because they had enough men w:>rking at Number Nine to operate. So that's TAhat: Y.E did. Q: All right, men did those mines open up? \-Jhat year V.Ete they? A: Ib you n:ean to begin with or Q: furing the mine strike. A: . • . during the mine trouble? In 1932 and 1933, bee se the big shooting scrape was out there at ttlmber Seven in 1933, and that's when Pete I:boley got shot. 0: \ell, vben did Dad go? He want the first Y.Eek of Dec , wasn't it, in 1933? A: He want out to Number Seren. 0: He Wi!llt out in Number Seven. A: Yes. 0: 1:e stayed off until then. A: I don't want to talk about that ~ek. Anyway, ~ ope.r¢ up ~r Seven, and then tbmber EigJ:tt opened up. So that was Seven, Eight, ani Nine. Well, Fifty-eight was w:xking. That was the four n:tnes here that was w:>rking at that t:ilm. Q: Okay. Of the people Yho \<ere w;:,rld.ng in the mines at that time, ~t percentage of than '!Nere fran around this area? A: M:>st of them were fran arowd this area, yes. N:>w, ~ewas some of the m!Il that never did get back into the mine because the J,Jni.te.d Mine Workers w:ruld not accept them because of their action. Os~land didn't get back, we know that. 1:e had to go to Peoria. ' Q: W"lat was his name? A: His last name was Oseland. \-bat was his first name, JJm? Q: Jim Oseland? A: Yes, he was an Oseland. Q: '!hey \<Dllldn1 t let him back in the lMW? 0: \th> did he belong to? 'Ihat wasn't Archie1 s dad was itf A: l'b. Q: Okay. W:lat ha:l he done that made them not allow him bflck in to the lliW? A: Because he made such del:oons.trations. I was one of th.ett that he caught dom there, see. Q: & lNCI.S one of them that beat you? A: Oh, "Yes. And I knew it, I said, ''No, you are not getti-ng back into the UMW.r1 0: There was George Oseland that was a miner. A: George. 0: lawrence Oseland and Richard Oseland. A: Yes. It was George Oseland, IX>rothy. 0: And there was a Walter Oseland. A: Yes. Q: W:la.t ~re sane of the names of the other guys that beaJ: you that ti.ma? i A: Ch, gosh. Some of them I didn't know'. I "~AUuldn't ~it now. Q: \ere DDSt of than living in Taylorville? A: Yes, most of than were Tayl.o:rville mm. Q: Progressives? A: Yes, yes. 0: Was your Aunt Maude a Stanley? A: lbcle Bill. 0: \ell, Uncle Bill, but he married Maude Stanley. A: Stanley. 0: Jolm Stanley. 'Ihey were, the Stanley's. A: Yes, ~e Progressive. They lA1ent Progressive. Uncle Bill never did "~AUrk in the mine again after that. Because mst of dad 's brothers, four or five of than all w:>rked in the mines. The younger one'fl didn't. Q: N::>w, tell ma about that. So, how r.e.s your family split? You say your father's brothers stayed with the l.MW? A: N::>. Dad got lnlrt in the mine :in 1925 ani he ne~er did get to w:>rk in the mine after that. He ha:l a broken pelvis, and he didn't w:>rk after that. ]n 1927 • • • 0: W:len was Uncle Walter killed? A: thcle Walter was killed at Number Nine. That was dad's brother. Uncle Frank w:>rked in the mine until he got that state job. Uncle Bill "~AUrked in the mines, ani he w:>rked at Nine ani Seven. l.hcle Joe was with Uncle Walter ~he got electrocuted. Q: ~in the mine? A: Yes, at Number Nine on the electric drill. 'Ihe place was ~t, ani they ha:l like a 1-Drgan Ga.rder and the cable to the drill '48 across the ra::.k rail. It ran wer it ani shortei it, Uncle Walter ~ahold of the machine. Of course, ~t like that and it electrocutei hilnt. 0: N::>w, you ha:l an aunt that ms married to Stanley Petror' ky and they t.ere Progressive. 'Ihey ha:i a IJ.'eeting out on old [Highway] 29 s~where, and caning back fran the IIEeting she was killed. • Q: Oh, really? A: A car hit her. 0: Ch the highway. I don't know W1o it was that killed ~r at that i particular time' rut . . . : . l Q: As far as they knew, it was an accident? A: Yes. It was at night and it was hard to see. 0: But anyway, they had been to a Progressive miner 1 s 100e~ing. i Q: Yes. I reuanber they held that one outside the city lpnits because the sheriff w:ruldn't allow them to have it within the city~ A: HeM ~that law or that ordinance read, that an ace~·lation of wer five wa.sn1 t allowed. Five people could stand and talk, l:u the sixth one couldn't cooe in, or wer that, see. lm.yt.NB.y, that was an rdinance. Q: And they enforced that pretty strictly. A: Oh, yes. They did that. Q: Well, did they enforce it fairly. A: I think so, I think so. Yes. Anyway . . . Q: You \ere talking about how your family -was split. Wlit;h one's of them ~t Progressive? A: lhcle Bill, that's dad's own brother, and Stanley Petr•sky was married to my dad's sister . 0: A brother-in-law. A: Yes, he was a brother-in-law. I guess that was the only ~out of all of than, because Uncle Joe ms not ~rking after that. 0: Uncle Trunan ••• A: Ani Uncle Truman. 0: And Uncle Frank • A: No. 0: . and Uncle walter, me had been ki.lled; your Aunt ,Dora, her husbarxl 'WaS killed? A: W:lD, Petrosky? 0: &>. A: Cowell? Q: You said ~thing about the younger ones, the younger :nenbers of1 your family. Did they go Progressive? A: N:>, no. You 'l'l)ean of my uncles? Q: Yes. i A: N:>. '!hey had jobs elsemere. lhcle Percy and Uncle ald. were electricians. r 0: Your Uncle Bud Wi!Ilt on to 1ii0rk in a steel mill in Peor~. A: Yes, in Peoria. Uncle Percy w;mt to Springfield at ,ice plant,where they made ice, and fran there he ~t to Ma.canb. le Paul, he was with C&IM, be was a conductor on the C&IM over here. Q: All right. So those that ~nt Progressive, vhy was tn+re that split in your family? Was there sooeone that agitate:l than to g't than to go with than? i A: !ell, I don't know 1iilether they did or not, or 1iile~~they did it oo their o~. But anyway, -well, I could talk to Uncle Bill to Uncle Stanley and his family, rut . . . ' 0: There was dissension there. A: Yes, yes, you felt it. Q: fu.t it didn't really tear your family apart or anyth:Lna? A: No, not that ID.lCh. Should I tell him about L:>rraine? 0: Yes, I was just thinking of that too. A: L:>rraine was born--that was my sister, youngest sister•-she was born late in m:>ther' s life, and she was not very old in 1930, (tom in Q:tober 1930) along in there. t1:m and Dad lived out north'Oest of ldinburg on a small farm. They got a letter that was printed, rut I don't know now just how it was, whether it was letters taken off and put together, see, saying that if lE tw::> boys didn't quit ~rking in the mine that they was going to kidnap l.Drraine. To that affect. \then MJm brought that letter into John and I, ~11, it luJ.rt. So I said, ''You give 'l'1)e that letter." ve w;mt up to Uncle Bill, he lived up in the north end the:re, ani lE w;mt up to Uncle Bill and sho~ him this letter. I told him, I said, "If I quit w::>rk lhcle Bill, sooebody's going to get luJ.rt now. 'Dlat's all there is to it, because you're not going to rurt Lorraine, and I don't think they should've done this." He said, "Let re take care of :lt." Fnd of Side Che, Tape (he A: He UllSt've ~t up to vtlere the Progressives was IIEetillg, and that was on the east side of the square, Braverman's store. He w;mt up ~re and the next twrning, he cane and got aho1d of n:e and he said, ''Don, that's been taken care of. The fellow that wrote that lett;er has ad.mJ.tted it.11 He said, ''We've taken care of him. He is not going t;o do anyt:hf..ng. We'll see to that. So you tell your m:m and dad not to Y~D~Y anym:>re~11 I said, ''Okay.11 Q: Did he ever tell you the name of the '?}lY that wrote ~letter? A: No, no. Q: W:!ll, Who TNere some of the Progressive agitators? A: wa had a bunch that care in fran Nokomis that I didn't know. Delbert Mills was one of them. 0: I know it. He had a time getting on back to the UMW b4se. A: He was one. Wlat was Rose's ~damhere, Dorothy? 0: Vllo? A: Lived here \\here Bock lives now. \oilsn' t his name Rose~ti? He was the one, and he was the one that caught IIE up there with G¥>rge Oselan:i . Now, the ~IX>lice that TNere on duty at that time TNere standing up there at the corner of • • • ' 0: George's Candy Shop? A: • • • yes, George's Candy Shop, up there on that cornetof Main Street, an:i seen all this happen. 'lhey TNere, I guess, as ared as anyone because they .....uuldn' t cooe down there. 'lhey seen i all happen. Arrl of course, in a way I don't blane then. (laughs) But anyway, they saw it happen. ; Q: That was \'ben you got beat up? A: Yes. 'Ibe tw:> police up there, Jolnmy Osterkamp and Jolln Hall. 0: Osterkamp and John Hall. A: • • • yes, and a Hall. 0: I can't think Wbo the other one was. A: Johnny Osterkamp. 0: Cb, there -were three of them though. Osterkamp and Hall and • • • A: Well, I didn't know. 0: 'lhere -were three IX>licemen at that time. A: Anyway, that was all. But, oh, there was hard feelings but I've forgot all of that. r I 0: \-ell, you had the man here at the comer, Gly Edwards .,.s a Progr.ssive. A: Yes. I 0: Because my dad want back to '\\Urk an::l I was w::>rking at s cafe during lx>th of them, as far as that goes. The militia c doWJ. an::l got me wery mrning around four o'clock to go to '\\Urk. My d said I cwld not walk to w:>rk with the Progressives living here on the Q: ware you afraid? Was he violent? 0: \h), my dad? Q: '!he 'l!}lY next door . 0: Ch, I don't know. It was just the idea, a lot of them ~anged up dCMl here on the corner. ~ 1 A: You just didn't trust than. You just couldn't do it, that's all. It's a shame to say that. I I 0: Cbe mming that they came down and got me, they were guard duty. I IIEBil they had been going around, an::l in fact it was a ca n's driver or chauffeur that came and got re then. I went out the d and I didn't recognize the one that hal been caning after me. I ste back ani he said, "DonIt WJrry Dorothy. I 111 captain Bentley's chauffe • I've cane to take you to \<lUrk. 'Ihey're banbing up here at Melin's." Sb.e was feeiing. A: A boarding house. 0: • • • boarding house, and they had bombed that. 'nlen .!flather mrning I went, ani it was the same incident an:i they banbed. the B!ffeze Courier, or the Breeze building up there. A: wall then, the bombing too of the saloon there on east Main Street. 0: Yes. I IIEBil. this was b.u of the things that I knew W:la1 I '\talt to work that mrning. Q: l'bw, men they bombed the Breeze Courier, did they eleT: find out who did that? 0: I can't say lilihether they did or not. I can't tell you. I know there was a lot of talk. Q: Were they sure that it was Progressives that did it? 0: It was the Progessives. Q: Yes. A: l'bw, it wasn't Andy, Andy Newman was it? 0: F.ddie? A: No, one older than F.ddie. Andy, that lived CNer here, :he served ~ime remember, on that. Q: For the bombing of the newspaper office? A: Sam of the banbings. I'm not going to say which ones~ but he setved time on that. r Q: His na:oe was Andy 0: ~. Q: • • • Ne'Wllal1.. I seem to remember that, remember that qame. A: Now, brother Jolm had his tonsils out dow:J. here at the :old hospital. NoW, this was \<\hen that mole gang CCIIe in here. In Na\7~r was it? 0: 'Ihat happened in <ktober, didn't it? A: Wall anyway, I \laS up all night with Jolm because he •s hem:>rrhaging after he had his tonsils out, am they had clamps on it. We had a tiu:e with him, but he came out of it. But I left there at five o'clock in the 1 IIDrning ani went upto~ ani 'WBB getting breakfast before I r\Ent to bed. We wa.sn' t wrking then, no. 0: I think it was in <ktober because you had that big thi.qg the twelfth. A: Anyway, I was in there at the restaurant there, on Ma.il.l and walrrut. What was the nane of that? 0: Dicky large's? A: Fre:l. • • • 0: Pickford's? Pickards? A: Should be Large's restaurant, ani that's ~re I had bl:eakfast. Some of these IISl saw IIE in there, and they gange:l up dovn there. Of course, they wuldn't cane in ani I wouldn't go out. They finally called the sheriff ani notified the militia ani the militia cane dow.1 .there ani mde everybcxly 1DJI1e. lhey didn't have guns, they had, ~11, tluty had their sideanus, ani they had pickets, fence pickets that they us$:!. Q: You mean pieces of WXld like tw:>-by-fours? A: Yes, yes. Q: 'lhe militia did? A: Yes. Yes, that's ...bat they had to protect thanselves as ~11. '!hey made the IISl JIDile, keep DDV'ing see. 'Ihey r.olldn't let t:h.al gang up. 18 Q: How many Progressives ~re there? A: Oh, there ~re se.reral hunired w:1sn't there, Dorothy? Now, that ~s the sane day you got caught? 0: I dicln't get caught. I could've got caught. A: \ell, you ~t the wrong "Way. 0: I had to go to the bank. I was ~rldng at King's Cafet and I had to go to the bank for change for noon. As I started out the <Joor, the militia was like in front of there, because they ....-ere marclp.ng, the Progressive's were marching. So they tere going around t:bls way, ~ren't they? 'lhey ....-ere going to the south ani to the west, that "fay around. \-bat they were doing ms t~to corral than to get than~into the crurthouse. So militia says, 'Dorothy, for your protecti~, you go the opposite \11B.Y." So I ~t north ani then I went west, then1 I went south, then I CC~IE back to the bank on the south side of the squa.te. Got the change an:l W:ten I corre back, then I \11B.S all right fran the~e around to the King. If I had gone the other way, they ~uld've had t11e locked up. Q: How many Progressives were there? 0: 'lhey ....-ere brought in here by truckloa:is that day. Thi$ 'WaS on CCtober the twelfth, because it was considered a holiday for the mtners. Virden Day then, see, they don't acknowledge Virden Day anyrrore. ' Q: Okay. Now, that's the day then, that the Progressives . . •1 0: \ere locked up in the courthouse. Q: 'lhey had been given a bunch of trucks by a canpany to 30 to Virden, to the Virden ceraoonies. A: Right. Q: They \'IOU.ldn't let them go, so they stayed here in Taylorville. A: Right. Q: 'Ihey were the ones that were causing all this trouble with you, and then later they got p.1t in the courthouse? 0: 'Ihey were locked up in the courthouse. A: Then they were processed out, you know. Sale of than act p.1t in jailand others got turned loose, if you want to call it that. 0: Wloever was rowiy or ••• A: \ell, you guys just stumbled into it at the wrong time then. You cao:e out of the hospital on the wrong day, (I didn't corre QUt of the hospital. I sat up all night with my brother mo had been ~h.emJrragingfran the remJITal of his tonsils.) ani that's 'Why there wer~ lnmdreds of men waiting out there for you. . Q: Were you the only one in there that was Progressive in that restaurant? A: I was not a Progessive, see. Q: <ll, I'm sorry. You were the only one that 'NB.S a UMW tb4lt was in that restaurant. A: Yes. 'Ihere was other people in there. 0: ~ it Large's? A: large's. : I 0: They were feeding the militia, same as Jim Serra acrossl ~street a.n:i the King's Cafe. 'Ihe three big restaurants that was fefling all the militia. ' Q: was there certain restaurant's that were feeding the Pr~gressives? 0: No. Q: There was no 0: :tb, because see, we -were feeding the militia. We \ere_ ~r oath. That's ¥hat they said, they ware under oath that they had ~ feed the militia. ! I I Q: I see. Were there any taverns that the Progressives ~out at here in town? I know there was sooe in Langleyville and in Kine~. A: Yes. 0: N:>t unless it was that one down on east Main Street. ~one that blme:i up. A: I donIt ranember that, mether they did or not. 0: I don't know either. A: Vbat about the one down there on walnut Street, in the 100 block. His daughter is a good friend of ours, been here to our hou$e many ti.mas. It was in that block, it was in that block. · Q: Well, you said that you w;mt to leo Reese one tine for •OIIE advice. He became the Progressive's lawyer later. A: Yes. At one tiiie • • • 0: Became frien:is with him, Reese. A: Yes. We did, Jolm and I. 0: You ani Jolm. Q: Became frienls with him. A: Well • . . 0: He had his office abOV"e King 's Cafe. A: Yes, and I just can't rene:nber now how that was. An.Yft4y, he got afraid and. he was afraid to leave his office or v.bat€!\Ter i~ was, and they ~going to damage him or whatever it was. Anyway, wa ~t, got Mr. Reese and. took him up to our roan, put him up there in thal roan. 0: You got him in the back stairway. A: Yes, took him in the back stairway and put him up ther in the roan and said, ''Now, no one knows you're here. Until this is c eared up, why, you stay here. If you want something to eat or drink, wa' 1 get it." W:rl.ch wa did, wa took him his lunch, and. that night after ark, ~ took him bane. His home -was down there ~eReese lives now. Q: Vbere his son, Dan, lives? A: Yes. It was his home then. Q: All right, Who was he afraid of, the Progressives? A: Yes, he -was afraid of the Progressives. Q: Vby was he afraid of them? \-bat had happened? A: Well, they had threatenerl him. They threatened to get him, see. Q: W:>nder What he had done. A: I don't think he'd done anything, but they 'Mere that W4Y. I hadn't done anything when Jolm and I, when they got us. Q: Yes. A: .&J.t it was just the idea of, ~11, they almst knew that TNe w:>Uld rather be lhited Mine Vbrkers. Q: Well, did Reese continue to represent the Progressives after this happened? A: Yes. After that is men he want as their lawyer, as far as I can renanber. Q: 'lhat's interesting that they threatened him and then he still became their lawyer. A: That's as far as I can remeuber. O:>n' t forget, that's fbeen a long tinE ago. Q: Ch, yes, yes. Well, that's something for us to look ila.to and find out. All right, W1at about a man nanEd Ray Tanbazzi? A: He was a . • • ! I 0: He was a radical, but I think be was a Progressive ""i'tbe1 A: Yes, be 'iNBB a Progressive. Yes be was. \ I Q: Did you eJer know him personally? I I A: I knew him, but not real good. No, not that well. ~l~_a fellow to ca:ne up here fran the south and he ~s--remanber Legs ~o, Dorothy--he could protect h:imself. He was good. : 0: He lumg around you and Jolm for a.Wle. A: Oh, yes. He was gooo friends with us. Q: W:lat do you mean, he could protect himself? A: He 'WaS a gooo fighter. He 'WaS a big fellow too. Yes, the wa.sn' t afraid of anyone, no. He 'WaS goal frierrl of ours, and he -+ent to '\<!Drk there. Q: He was a strike breaker then. A: Yes. If you wanted to call him that, yes. Q: Fran southern Illinois? A: Yes. 'Ihere was a lot of rren came up here then, later l)n, and 'W)rked in the mines, fran southern Illinois. He was one of than. Q: tbw, ~twas his last name again? A: Manasco. Q: Manasco, so he was an Italian? A: Yes. Q: Were many of the guys \lho came up fran the south to '\\Ulk the mines, ~emany of them Italian or a certain group? . A: Well, yes. 'lhere w:!re several of them, a lot of them. 0: Tony Brush CNer here was also Progressive, wa.sn't he? Q: Vba.t were they mstly, Italian, German? A: Yes. Italian, German. __j ________ ~--- 0: Are you t:hinki.ng of Bill Rosetti that userl to live ~e? A: Yes. Bill Rosetti. He -was in that gang dOWl there, q:,rothy, but; he finally got back to 'iVOrk. But he tmde a big turnoller (l~s) because he could see later on that the Progressives -wasn1t going to 4> to IIllCh bere. Q: Well, see if you can ans-war this for tre. Taylorville ~eems like it was pretty well split be~Progressives ani lMW. I~' there was quite a few of ooth. was there a certain percentage that ~s nnre UMW here in T~ylorville? ) 0: I think there -were. ! A: I think so. Q: Vbat percentage do you think it ~dbe that stayed •th the UMW? 0: Well, I w:ruldn1t think it was 7 5 percent, but it was ~tween 50 and 75 percent. I '\\Ullld say that was mre because they -were jUSt gradually straggling back to go to 'iVOrk. 'Ihey knew that there 'Wa~,thing uvre for than otherwise. There was no mine here that 'WB.S going to o Progressive, so they were out. 'Ihey either had to go back ani be a ed Mine Vbrker or else just get out. ! Q: Vby was the percentage so high in Langleyville and T~y, Yhere it sea.JBi like -well 0\ler 90 percent of the people -were Progrefjsive there. Is there a reason for that? · A: Well, how they -were infl'U.e!Xei I 1ID not going to say, '* ~ther theytook it upon themselves, t:hinki.ng that that was the cODJi.rlsl thing. I lNOUldn' t say l\hich it 'WaS. Q: The only person in Langleyville that stayed with the T.t1W early was Jolm Wittka ani his family. A: Yes, they did. Q: Another, just a little German camun.ity right there tbtlt stayed lMW. M:>st of the rest of the people in Langleyville -were Italiap, stayei with the Progressives. A: Yes. 87en here in ~. -we hai barbers that took sidee;. I was going to Ray Davis, getting haircuts all the t:i.me, and I -went ~k to him. I just w;m.t in ani he cut my hair, rut there man1 t a TAUrd ~bet:\Een he and I in there, or no one else. But Wen I paid him for 1If haircut, I just said , ''Ray, this is the last one. I 'm not caning baclc." I -want to Pete Hill fran there on. Pete, he was a lliited Mine \i>rket. He was a union man. He ani, ~t'WaS his nane? · 0: Wright, Bob Wright? A: Bob Wright, yes. 'Ihey were the tw:> barbers. Ray Davif finally had to close. ! Donald VanHooser 0: Close up. A: Yes, close up. Q: Pecause he didn't get enougj:J. l:usiness because the Progressives ~en't that many. Did he ever open up again? A: Never, no. Q: Did he leave to'INil? A: N::>, be didn't. 0: He died kind of early I think. I don't think too many; years after that. A: l'b, out there at Kincaid, that 'WB.S pretty ~11 split be>th ways there. Because you take the Burke's, Gondolphi ani his gang. Gonfolphi 'WB.S a man, he w:1sn't fully Italian, but he rle\Ter married. He anf ... 0: Sam Purkes? A: • • • yes, was with me and my second man. Q: Did you know Tony SUsan? A: Sure. 0: Oh, yesl Q: \ere they pretty close? A: Yes. \ell, Tony SusanIs daughter married Bill Qmmingf, and wen the mine was tNOrking. They lived out on Springfield Street, a block, block and a half, ani she brought the shotgun, took Bill to tNOrk. Q: Is that right? A: Yes, sir. Q: She was a pretty tough character then. A: Well, she was determined. Q: Qmdolphi and SUsan, did they go with the Progressives then? A: No. 0: N::>. Q: They stayed with the UMW. All right. A: Sam Purkes, he was an Englielmm, and he stayed with t1f.e United Mine Workers. Th.e Klemns all li.ellt Unite:l Mine W:>rkers, didn't fteY Dorothr? Yes. This young Max Klemn here, his grandfather ~rked with us :in the gang. 'Ihere was Max was his name, Otto and, -what was the qther one's, name? Anyway, those three brothers ~rked :in the gang wit11 us. Fred~y Harrison, he was Max's son-in-law, and Clarence stayed in t;he United Mine Workers. Delbert Mills and his brother, Delbert lived r~t CNer on Vandeveer and Maple Streets and they staye:i out an awful I~ng t:i.Jre. They knew the mine was ~rking. They \-X)rked in Fifty-eight, an4 they v.ere out a long, long time before they made application to get back [in. I Q: Vben did they finally go back in? ' A: I just don't remember how long, rut it was 011er a year fwasn 't it, Dorothy? 1 0: <ll, it was a long time. At first Wl.en these rren star~ retiring and they fixed up this local union up here for retired pensio s, Wi.ch is local union 9954. He took it mer as financial secretary November of 1973. Q: t-ho took it aver as financial secretary? A: I did. Q: Ch, you did. Okay. 0: Frank Wingo was president, ani Pat Burke was in the of~ice up here as district board mm. Ibn walked in ani he asked Don to ta~ it. Of course, Pat Burke v.orked with him :in the mine and was also ton that first day. IXm said, ''Not unless I have help." So I'm doing~ book ~rk yet to this day. Q: Oh, you're doing it. 0: He is still financial secretary. ve've had three pres~ents now. ve had Frank Wingo ~-was president then. A: Jolm Sebasky. Q: tbw W:Jat year w:>uld this be1 What year did you become financial secretary again? A: 1973. Q: And this was for the pensioners? A: Yes. 'lba.t's all liE had. ' 0: 'That's all ~·ve got. i ' I A: tbw, did they talk to you about Nurrber Eleven mine v.ne4 you talked to Fritz? Q: A little bit about how it -was formed and that they didJ1.'t mine it, is that right? A: N:>. It sank about three miles out. Q: well, tell me out it. A: Well, it was sank. I couldn't tell you Wa.t year that 1it was sank. Q: Okay, you're talking about Number Eleven? A: Yes. It was about three miles north of trn«t here. 'Ihe shaft is sank ani the bottom is there. It sank into the coal and is re&tr there. That mine was originally made so that the coal was co:tlV'eyed to the mine here wer to the C&IM track, wer there off 'What we always callEt:! Calloway, un:lerground on a belt. It w:>uld be loaled there on cars aQ:l taken fran there. They also had a spur fran the wabash at that til:Ie tllat 'NBS here, wer there to the mine. 'lhere was a disfUte of SOIIe kind $:ld I couldn't tell you \\hat it is. You could get it maybe from sODEOOe ~lse. But that mine v.as DeY"er in operation. There -was a dispute on that '$ilroad spur that ~t 011er there, and it ~all taken up later on. 'nlat's the one they say now that mine will ne\Ter be in operation, so the lP!Drs are. Q: That was started in the 1930's, Mine Eleven? A: I think it -was. Q: Because that' s W:len the belts came out. The belts CBl'DEl out in the 1930's didn't they? A: Yes. N.u:nber Seven slut down in 1952, Fifty-eight out llere shut down in 1951. l'Unber Seven and Fifty-tw:>, ani ~had loading h$lds in, but we didn't have belts in the mines. We were still loading. 'lbe buggys wnt there and loaded in the cars and then ~t to the bottan, like they always have. Vben Number Seven shut down, I had a chance Uo get out here at the high school because they TNere Il'O\Ting junior higp out there. lhey hai built an addition on and I made application to go CNer as a custodian out there, rather than going to Number Ten mine. You had tx> take 'What they gENe you, 'Ytlatever was open and Wtev'er shift there \tiS, ~ther it was night shift or Whatever shift. There wasn't three shi:ets. Q: So you got tirerl of \oJ:>rking in the mine? A: well, I didnIt get tirerl of w:>rking in the mine Q: Just didn't like it. A: • • . rut I didnIt know What I was going to get v.hen I ~nt over there, see. So I just didn't make application to go to t.hei mine. No, I didn't. But I got on out here at the high school in May, 'fisn't it Dorothy? 0: You wrked up here • • • A: Before school, all Sl1llll"er, $Jd helped IID\1e the junio~ out there to the high school. I made a r~quest that I W9.Ilted the hi school. I didn't want :in the grade school ;as a custodian. Mr. Co 11 said, "I '11 take care of that Don.'' So he ~Ut ~ out there and I was c:mt there fur 20 years. Q: <h, really? 0: The mine ~rked only seven days, during the m:>nth of Mtly. The mine shut dom at the eni of May. Q: All right, so you l.IEre out there for 20 years. Vba.t ~ar did you retire fran there? A: 1972. Q: So it ~uld be 1952 to 1972 that you V2re custodian. lben you retire:i, did you retire canpletely fran everything then? A: Yes. 0: Both of us did. Q: W1en did you start getting your pension fran the mine? 0: In NOvember of 1973. A: N:>w, ~fellows can tell you m:>re about it than I, bp.t there was a decision hand.ed down in a court am the judge said that V2r miners could go back into the Unite:i Ml.ne W:>trkers. ve had to IIBke appllcation to get back into it. But you ha:l to pay dues, you know. Anyway, When I 'iiiEnt up, made application and filled it all out, of course, t:llep it came back that I W3.S accepte:i because I had service and I had a cleatl record. I was accepted into the United Mine W:>rkers and I paid $50 •s it, initiation? 0: Ani that wmt backwards. A: Yes. And $1.25 a year or $15 a year is ~t'OlE paid. Q: That's for union dues? A: That was for union dues. 0: \ell, sane of your m:>nths vas $5.25. Sane of your m>nths, I th:i.nk it was fran January 1, 1972 to June 30, 1972 wmt as $5.25. A: Yes, because I was still W>rking. 0: You ~e still W>rking. A: Yes. Pnyway • . • [ ' Q: Wlat did you IIE.Bil ~you said you had a clean record~ \-Jhat type of things ~ld keep you fran having a clean record? r A: I wasn't a Progressive miner. I didn't have any seriaits accidents, therefore I was, you know, a safe W>rker. ' Q: let ma continue this just a second. So you said, if )1>U had a 'be!en a Progressive at all, WJUld you have got your pension? A: If the international ~daccept DE, Vrl.ch Delbert Mills didn't,: see. It "WaS a long time before he got back into it. He fPlally did,. and others didn't, others did not get back in. But saftey rec.,rd, I was not hard on the machines, I kept my machine in good shape if Iicould. If I hai SOOJething wrong with it, I reported it and they got it; fixed as cpick as they could. I bad a good record as a safety man, a safJ lADrker. I was not a trouble maker, I didn't want to be. · Q: So you \\1ere drawing tw:> pensions then about 1973, one fran the school district for being a cust<xlian A: W1en ~ retired. Q: • • • and then one fran your mi.ning. A: But see, men~ first retired in June, I was only getting fran the school. And of course, Dorothy retired fran the state with hers, 'We knew just about what~ could live on. Then in the fall is~\11! got to go back into the United Mine \+brkers and got that pension. ot course, it "WaSn't too Ill.lCh at that time, l:ut it TJlDrked out all right. Q: Okay, you're talking about now vben you first "Were rettx'ed. Go ahead and repeat that if you WJU!d. A: All right. I was v.orking, I still was a cust<xlian, or: taking care of the Taylorville Building & loon, the office. My salary t:hfre was only $75 a llDnth, which was all right. ! 0: It was before that though that 'We went up there and talked to Vasconcelles. It "WaS before both of us retired. · A: That's vben he said, ''You IDBke application to get your1 Black lung," which we filled it out then. He wante:i to know if there was any record, and \'ole ~t and got the record. I had just made a big X-r•y, I had just bad a big X-ray, for out here at the high school. I bad tel take it sometimes twice a year. I ~ot to the p:dnt mere the little X-ray da-.n here that they take, WJUJ.dn t show. So I hai to get on the big X-ray they called it. 'lhey knew then when I v.ould cane in that I had to get on the big X-ray, and Dr. Aaron's report wery time was iniustrial scar tissue. W:1.en that ~t in up here to Springfield, my blact lung went right through right now, no proble:n. At that time, you c()f.].dn't earn anything and get black lung, you had to be totally disablel. My black lung stopped there for a while, wasn't it, because I "WaS still v.orking. 'nlen I turned it loose. I res:i.gnei and gm~e it to • • • 0: Roy Jeisy. A: • • • Roy Jeisy. hlyway, up here at Social Security, they tried and tried to get DE back on black lung when I quit VDrld.ng. '1\ey couldn'~ find my records. \E. ha:i them all the time. Finally, Dorothy wrote--jYOU can tell than, Dorothy. ! .1 ·--------------------------- Donald VanHooser 0: I wrote to Congressman Shipley, and in less than a ~ek I got the letter back from Congressman Shipley. It says, "I hav'e )101I( folder. You sOOuld've not be cut off of black lung. It will start again." 'nley made the back payrrents. A: That's the way I got black lung. '!hey kept saying that they bad no records. 0: 'Ihe file was lost. A: The file was lost. Anyway, be found it. (laughs) Q: Yes. It couldn't have been too lost. 0: He helped rre with that, and then I wrote for the lady across the street for her Social Security. She had missed three pa}'tllmts, I think, of Social Security, and the ~needed it. I said, 'Well, Georgia, let ue write to Shipley." She said, "It w;,n't do you any good.. We've been up to the Social Security office and they're not getting J:l>thi.ng done." I told her "I'm going to watch and see if you get your Soclal Security this m:mth." So \'IE got ours ani I walked across the street lil.en the ma.ilman left, and I said , "Did you get yours?" She said, ''No." I said, "All right, I'm writing a letter and I want your daughter to sign it." In less than seven days she got a letter back and it 'WaS a mistake at Social Security. They took off Georgia H. M:>rris for beirt deceased, and it was George H. M:>rris. She'd been off for four nnnths. His brother was another one that his v;ent in with railroad retirement put here at the C&IM, and one tiue v.e left railroad retirem:mt up there. Wa took him up there, and be came out of railroad retirement so mad that he \IJOuld not talk all the way hool:!. Finally he said they cut him from 26 )TE:ltt'S to 19 years. A: They cut eight years off, Dorothy. He had 28 years of service, and they cut him dom to 20. 0: Pnyway, they came out late one night and Norton and IXJ:l walked away. Norton didn't get his Social Security. I said, ''How long bas this been going on?" ''For three nnnths. We've been up to Decatur. 'lhey tell us it's being processed, it's sooething about the railroad ratiraxent." I don't know just mat it was." I said, "In the nnrning, ycu get all your stuff, you cooe do~ here." I said, ''I '11 type a letter to Congressman Shipley and you sign it and send it in." Norton was bane .frcm \IJOrk this one day at noon men the ma.ilman came, and he jumped up 8lli he goes to the mailbox. 'Ihey couldn't get open fast enough to call rqe. 'Ihey heard from Congressman Shipley, and Congressmm Shipley says, '"\Pl. are going to get ~full years with the C&IM. 'Ihey ha:i no rosiness . tting you off. ' Q: So did you like him then? (laughter) A: You sure had respect for him. 0: I've got a lot of respect for him. Fni of Side Th..u, Tape cne
|Title||VanHooser, Donald - Interview and Memoir|
Coal Mines and Mining
Coal Mines and Mining--Strikes and Lockouts, "Mine Wars"
Progressive Miners of America (PMA)
|Description||VanHooser, coal miner, discusses mining in the Taylorville area in central Illinois: mechanization in the mines, mine wars of the 1930's between the PMA and the UMW, and the impact of the mine wars on the community.|
|Creator||VanHooser, Donald (1905-1989)|
|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||Donald VanHooser Memoir|
|Source||Donald VanHooser 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
Donald VanHooser Memoir
V316. VanHooser, Donald (1905-1989)
Interview and memoir
1 tape, 85 mins., 31 pp.
ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
VanHooser, coal miner, discusses mining in the Taylorville area in central Illinois: mechanization in the mines, mine wars of the 1930's between the PMA and the UMW, and the impact of the mine wars on the community.
Interview by Kevin Corley, 1986 OPEN See collateral file: interviewer's notes and photocopies of photos, certificates and articles from the National Coal Museum.
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
'Ibis manuscript is the product of a tape recorde:i interviEIW conducted by Kevin Corley for a special project, "Illinois Coal: The "4egacy of aJtJ.
Industrial Society." 'llie project w::~.s sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society and fun:led in part by the Illinois lh.nn
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|