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  35 Years Underground
Clarence Elmer Hall Is Getting Adjusted After 35 Years Underground
A Story About A Twentieth Century Coal Miner Who Worked 35 Years Underground And Retires From The Coal Mines
Elmer Hall retired Dec. 26 from Alston 3 Mine and “I’ve been trying to get adjusted this week” he said Monday. Hall, a coal drill operator who has run every piece of equipment in an underground mine in 35 years, began work in an Eastern Kentucky Mine, November 4, 1945. In the summertime between school terms, he worked in the summer to have clothes to go to school because there “was eight of us” and I was the oldest. Hall worked then for $2.97 per day. He then did a stint in the armed services.
Elmer made the first and last cut in the Eagle No. 1 at Shawneetown and has been at the Alston Mine since it opened on March 18, 1974.  Just last week the men at work gave him a plaque signed by them for his long years.  He has worked on Unit 4 of the Centertown Underground all of his tenure.  About other vocations he never had any other except as an insurance salesman and he wasn’t ever too successful at it.
The Harlan County native and his wife, Rose live in Beaver Dam, but he has many experiences of his famed native county, “Harlan County is not all like it is pictured with huts, there are some nice homes and people there”. One of these nice people which Elmer recalls is Colonel Harland Sanders who owned Sanders Court there.  He had a gas station, a motel and restaurant. “He was as poor as anyone and he went broke because a new highway was built there and by-passed him.  I recall being on the basketball and football teams and going there and he would feed us all of that chicken we could eat for 35 cents and an RC for 5 cents.  We’d have a dime to save out of the 50 cents”.

Mining has been bleak for the Halls if you think the mining picture looks Bleak now.  There have been many times when Mrs. Hall had to worry about where the next meal was coming from.  One time the miners were on strike five months.  They have known many times when she has seen children not have a good Christmas because of mine strikes.  Both of their fathers were coal miners and “Everyone back home was a coal miner or a moonshiner.”

Mr. Hall has had times when he had to rely on his carpentry skill to make a living.  As for his retirement, Hall is an avid golfer and anyone who hangs out at the country club would know that.  He paints by numbers, and makes furniture.  He has a new set of clubs and has been in many tournaments for Peabody Coal Co.  but never the winner, just the guy who wins tons of new balls, towels and clubhead covers.  He can now sit back and rest assured he will have an income and he’s thankful he was never injured but twice in all his years underground, which he prefers to strip mining because of the cold weather.  Sam Church is the best thing that ever happened to the United Mine Workers of America, Hall says as he reminisces.

Clarence Elmer Hall was born in Harlan County, Kentucky on Aug. 24 1918, and died Dec. 31, 1985, at the age of 67, in Beaverdam, Kentucky.  He married Rose [Tipton] Hall. He was the son of Roosevelt McKinley and Virginia [Skidmore] Hall.  His father Roosevelt also worked in the mines his entire life and died of black lung and other complications on Oct. 3, 1973 at the age of 72.

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This Story Donated By - Karen Pickhover