Interview with Teamus Bartley, June 14, 1987
Project: Appalachia: Social History and Cultural Change in the Elkhorn Coal Fields Oral History Project
Interview SummaryTeamus Bartley was born at Ashcamp, Kentucky in 1891. In 1905 at age fourteen, he went with his father to Wise County, Virginia to work for the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Company. He believes that the company operated one thousand coke ovens on Tom's Creek and that the town was two and a half miles in area. He and his father worked on the coke ovens at night because of the intense heat. Bartley states that Kentucky had a bad reputation outside of the state and that people were "afraid of anybody from Kentucky." After returning to Kentucky, Bartley went to work for the Edgewater Coal Company on Marrowbone Creek building coke ovens for $1.50 a day. He worked for Edgewater until it shut down in 1930, and then went to work at the Henry Clay mine from 1935 to 1937. He describes the company's attempt to discover if he supported the union and states, "They fired every man they thought was union." He talks about his first experience with a miner being killed in the mine. He discusses working at the Greenaugh mine on Marrowbone, "the sorriest company I ever worked for." After working a month, he asked how much money he had made, that he estimated to be between $75-$100. When he was told $12, he immediately quit. Bartley also discusses the splash dam and logging industry on Elkhorn Creek. His father worked for the Yellow Poplar Lumber Company. The logs were tied into rafts and floated to Catlettsburg. He describes in detail "working up" logs with his father and vividly remembers cutting down a magnificent white oak tree on Cumberland Mountain. Bartley also had his own coal bank and tipple and sold house coal for $1.50 a ton for seventeen years. He estimates that he was able to make $15-$20 a week in addition to his company pay by doing this. Bartley also provides a detailed description of early Ashcamp schools. He recalls that the boys all wore gowns and homemade shoes. The schoolhouse had a dirt floor and chestnut benches hewed from logs. He estimates that the teacher was paid $25 a month. He describes riding into Pond Creek on horseback to buy apples from Uncle Grant Hawkins. A bushel cost ten to fifteen cents. He mentions the 1918 flu epidemic that killed hundreds of people in the area, and that medical care was limited to a doctor who rode through on horseback every month or two. He describes going into Elkhorn City with his father on Election Day in 1901 where everybody carried pistols and knives and several people were killed in drunken brawls.
Interview KeywordAshcamp, Kentucky Black miners Changing values Child labor Coal banks Coke Company towns Custom of "visiting" Early mountain health care Early settlement Edgewater Coal Company Election day activities Elkhorn Coal Field Floods Flu epidemic of 1918 Greenough Mine Henry Clay mine 1935-1937 Immigrant miners Mine fatalities Mountain schools Murder of Riley Belcher Timber industry Unionization Yellow Poplar Lumber Company Living conditions Edgewater Coal and Coke Company Natural resources Appalachian landscape Coal industry Timber industry Family histories Families Pike County (Ky.) Appalachian Region--Social life and customs Communities Land use, Rural
Interview LC SubjectAppalachian Region Bartley, Teamus, 1891- Bartley, Teamus, 1891- --Interviews Coal miners Coal miners--Kentucky--Elkhorn City Coal miners--Kentucky--Pike County Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Elkhorn City Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--History Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Pike County Pike County (Ky.) Pike County (Ky.)--Social life and customs Religion Coal mines and mining--Kentucky Coal--Kentucky Job security Work environment Occupations Strikes and lockouts--Kentucky Labor unions--Organizing
Interview RightsAll rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Bartley, Teamus Interview by Nyoka Hawkins. 14 Jun. 1987. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Bartley, T. (1987, June 14). Interview by N. Hawkins. Appalachia: Social History and Cultural Change in the Elkhorn Coal Fields Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Bartley, Teamus, interview by Nyoka Hawkins. June 14, 1987, Appalachia: Social History and Cultural Change in the Elkhorn Coal Fields Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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