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The speaker is a 66-year-old White man with a grade school education from Richwood, West Virginia; he was recorded in 1968.



County: Nicholas
State: WV

Commentary:
Richwood was settled in 1901 by the Cherry River Boom and Lumber Company (named for the river along which the town sits). The railroad and lumber industries created fast growth for the town. After a downturn in the timber industry, the local economy???s basis shifted to coal mining. Today this area, which is adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest, is well known for recreational offerings such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. In this segment the speaker talks about his time working in the two major industries in Richwood???s history: lumber and coal.
Inf: Worked in the mines from the time I was fifteen years old till I was about twenty-six and a half [FW: Uh-huh]. I got down to where I couldn???t make a living for me and my wife. That???s when I quit the mines [FW: Mm]. Came up here and went to work in a lumberyard. I could make more money at thirty-five cents an hour over here in the lumberyard than I could make in the mines at???

FW: Is that what you had to work for?

Inf: That???s right [FW: Huh]. And I worked over there about a year, or maybe a year and a half, and they cut the wages w-, ten cents on the hour. That made it twenty-five cents an hour. So, worked a year or two at that. Then I worked a year at thirty cents an hour. Then I got raised to forty-five cents an hour, and since that time it???s gradually went up [FW: Uh-huh]. But uh, the last work I did, two dollars and thirty-eight cents an hour. That???s the most I ever made, for hourly paid work, in my life [FW: Uh-huh]. Of course there???s been times when I loaded coal in the mines that I made more than that [FW: Uh-huh]. And there???s a lot of other times that I didn???t make near that much [FW: Yeah].

Uh, from the time I started work in 1928, until I retired last fall, I???ve worked fairly steady and never made no big wages [FW: Mm-hmm]. But I???ve always worked steady, with the exception of short spells of sickness.

FW: I see. What did you, uh, do mostly? Uh, what sort of work?

Inf: Well, in the mines I drove a mule and loaded coal. And over here, I handle lumber. I pile some green lumber. And then I worked as a lumber grader or inspector for several years.

FW: What does he have to do?

Inf: He turns, measures, and tallies the lumber that he???s loading out. And the men handle it [FW: Mm-hmm]. He ticks-, has a board rule and he turns that, measures with the board rule, and looks at both sides, both edges, and then he tallies it down on his tally board or tally book [FW: Mm-hmm].

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