Early Life in the Coal Camp-The Pringles & Sound of Sirens


coal-mine.jpgTwo doors up from our house and along the tracks lived the Pringle family.  There was the daddy, Cereda and the son, Cricket.  I can remember my mom putting together a big dinner and inviting the Pringle family down to eat.  Mother had home canned peaches for dessert and Mr. Pringle loved them.

The Pringles were a typical coal mining family that lived in Mammoth, WV.  I suppose Cricket was a nickname with a loving meaning.  I can remember little except the last name.  I always thought the last name sounded like the name of Santa’s elf.

The miners’ wives stayed home to care for the children, take care of the house and prepare a good meal for their husbands.  The mother’s were always on alert for any sounds of sirens in the community.  The sirens going off meant there had been a mining accident and everyone would run to their front porch.  I suppose each wife was hoping and praying her family and friends would not be hurt.

One afternoon the sirens went off and soon several ambulances arrived and headed for the mine. Everyone was out in their yard and on their front porches hoping to hear and see what was happening.  News began to break that a roof in one of the mines had collapsed and there were injuries.  Within a few hours someone from the mine arrived at the Pringle home and informed then that Mr. Pringle had been crushed and didn’t make it.  I could her people crying with disbelief.

My mom was so sad and just wanted to know daddy was not hurt.  I remember daddy coming home and mother and daddy hugging and kissing with joy.  Others can make an impact on your life with their name, their lives or where they live.  We all influence someone.


3 responses »

  1. An all too common story in the coal camps of West Virginia. My mother was born & raised in one somewhere in Kanawha County (her birth certificate just says Kanawha County). My grandfather finally left the mines when his health was too poor to continue. He worked with his brother-in-law delivering mine equipment until he couldn’t do that, either. The man who fought with the miners at Blair Mountain and waited to marry & have children until things were settled and he couldn’t be threatened with their safety, died quietly with his health broken from the coal dust.

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