August 24, 2009

About The Dog Labor Photo And A Little More

Here's a little about the image at the top of each page. It is an old undated real photo post card and shows the tipple of a fairly early primitive coal mine. This is the type of mine that was common before the big commercial coal companies came into the area around 1890-1900. Mining coal as a business started as early as 1818 in Fredericktown. This picture likely dates from 1900 or so but the scene would have looked the same at any time from 1820 to the 1920's. The coal wagons are being pulled by large dogs of different breeds. They look to me like a hound of some kind, a Heinz dog and a Labrador . Though worked, these dogs were likely well taken care of, they certainly look healthy. Using dogs instead of mules or horses indicates that the mine is quite a low ( 3-4 feet high ) vein of coal. This type of operation was known as a "dog mine." Those fortunate enough to have a much taller seam of coal on their property would have used mules or horses. A gentleman who seems to be quite well fed stands at attention in the foreground, likely the owner / operator. It's a wonderful image of early labor, showing the miners posing with their cap lamps and tools and the teamsters waiting to load their wagons.
This card was purchased locally some years ago, considering that and looking at the hills in the background I believe this was taken somewhere in Ten Mile Creek Country.

This was a sidebar on the page for several months and when I began to tweak / add to it today I thought it might deserve a post of it's own. It really is a unique image. I searched Google and Bing in vain for another picture of dogs pulling coal wagons. I searched for dog labor, dog coal, dog pulling, dog mine and nothing shows. Even this image does not show, but now that I used all those keywords in the last sentence, it will !

I have recently updated several posts: the Rices Landing one, and the Clarksville Bridges and the Iron Furnace. As I get more photos and information, I will likely add to or modify most every post or even break up some to expand on a subject. For instance, the above Clarksville Bridges and Iron Furnace will become a two separate posts somewhere down the road as the furnace deserves a post of it's own. All the more reason to check back with your favorite ones from time to time.
If you know a little or a lot about some aspect of the area that we all may like to know, please consider sharing it with me. I'd be glad to help you edit or elaborate on it. If any of your old family photos show mines or trains, train stations, boats or old storefronts, bars or hotels, people working or playing, in any Ten Mile towns I would love to see them and share them here. Even if Mamaw or Aunt Eunice is in the foreground it would be of interest. Sometimes the best pictures of a train station are taken on the day Mamaw went to Pittsburgh to get her hip surgery or the day sweet Aunt Eunice and her alcoholic husband finally went back home from their visit.

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