miners_donkey.jpg
McClean County Coal Co. Miners 1920

A. Stimulate Your Senses:

What is this place? What is available in this place? How can you get it?

Who is in the photo? What is that person doing? How do you know?

Where is this place? When was the photo taken?

When does it appear this photo is taken? Now? in the Past? How do you know?

A coal mining coal, coal, mining, men and a donkey, standing in their work outfits and carrying pails and their tools, McClean county, 1920, In the past, it is faded and in black and white.(Kira'sgroupEHS)

B. Change:

What's changed? What's still the same? What replaced this scene and why?

Coal mining is not major job and coal is not a major resource we use. Coal is still used as a resource but not a major one. it got filled in after they abandoned it. (Kira'sgroupEHS)

C. Imagine You Are There:

Write a letter about how your day was when this picture was taken.


My grandfather Clyde Crawford worked in mines like this, so I've grown up hearing stories about this kind of work. Grandpa was the youngest of eight children. When his father died, he was the only one not married, still living at home, and so he became responsible for his mother. He was twelve. After a couple of difficult years, he walked from Paris, Tennessee to Williamson County, Illinois, and at fourteen began working in the Old Ben Mine. He was a big fourteen-year-old. When he saved some money he sent it to her and she came to keep house for him. How did she get to Carterville? I never wondered. And where did they first live? Again, lost. How many of these men, a few hundred miles north, had the same sort of story? (ISWP)

I have grown up in a coal mining town too; however, the sad thing is that the only reminder of the coal is the abandoned mine shafts that are situated on the north ends of Minonk. But at one time, the population of Minonk was over 5,000 people, many of them coal miners that immigrated from Poland, Germany and Ireland. There were a row of small two-room homes that accommodated these families of new immigrants to the town of Minonk. For years, Kent Lumber and Coal company was our version of a hardware store where people could buy their wood and coal to heat their homes in the winter. (ISWP)

Dear Grandma,

I have been working in the coal mine for two weeks now. I have seen my share of deaths. Many of those people that died were my very close friends. I'm doing alright, but dad seems to be going down hill. Mom has told me more than once to stop working in the coal mine, but I know I can't because if I do we will get evicted. I miss your homemade cookies and homemade bacon. All we eat here is cans and cans of beans. School is going pretty well. I am number one in my english class and math. I wish you could come and visit us but its too dangerous and we cannot afford it.

Sincerly, your

Grandson

(Kira'sgroupEHS)