Appalachian Thursday–Mining My History

Treasures!This week I’m dipping into one of the two boxes of family items my Dad had tucked away at the farm. My ultimate goal is to sort through everything and preserve these treasures, but for now, I’m just enjoying unearthing nuggets of pure gold.

First, we have a pay stub from the Q & Q Coal Company, Inc. My grandfather, Rex P. Loudin, worked there long enough to earn black lung payments that my grandmother continued to receive until her death a few years ago. On July 15, 1952, his tally included:pay stub
-60 tons @ $1/per = $60
-3 pick tons @ $1.20/per = $3.60
-10.5 hours @ $1.10/per = $11.55
Deductions include $1.80 for powder and caps, 60 cents for lights, and $1.09 for social security. His final paycheck was for $71.66. I plugged that into an inflation calculator and it came out to $643.06 in today’s dollars. If that’s what he averaged twice a month, that means he was making the equivalent of around $15,500 a year. I guess hunting and farming really were important!

DeedAnd it may very well be that Grandpa needed cash to help pay for the land he and my Great Uncle Judd (Arthur Loudin) bought in 1946. Dad’s box also contains the deed to what I grew up calling The Rexroad Place. Turns out Grandpa and Uncle Judd bought it for $1,025. It’s around 40 acres measured in poles from tree to stake to stake up to the Higginbotham line (I assume this was a neighbor). The deed also addresses coal rights and an oil and gas lease.

I especially enjoy writing stories set in the 40s and 50s. Reading from these bits of paper makes me feel like I have a direct line back to that time period. It’s an opportunity to peek through the keyhole of a door set in time and oh, how I love peering through.

Who knows? A Higginbotham may show up in one of my books before I’m done.

5 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday–Mining My History

  1. Lori Dew

    Sarah–Today, as I awoke to the chill of the morning dew here in WV, I was blessed to read your beautiful blog. I love reading your Appalachian Thursday segments. I love seeing and getting to go back through history with you and your family heirlooms. It is so priceless to have those things. I loved the picture with the glasses and the small box. I have one of those donated to our family from my grandma as well. I keep all the tags from any hospital visits we have made in it as well as special coins that I have collected from WV. Thanks again for all the memories! Keep them coming.

    1. I’m so glad you’re adding to your “memory box!” That’s what I need to be better at–adding items that might be appreciated a few more generations down the line. Shoot, they’ll probably be sifting through old blog posts marveling at how quaint they were!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s