This pay envelope belonged to the Webmaster's Great Grandfather, Adam Baughman, who was a coal miner for the Washington Coal and Coke Company in Star Junction.
Adam loaded 79 one-ton wagons in this two-week period. If we assume that he worked six days a week, he shoveled 6.6 tons—about 13,000 lbs.—of coal each day (7.9 tons/16,000 lbs.per day if he worked a five-day week). He was paid 40 cents for each one-ton wagon that he filled, which gave him a gross pay of $31.60. It is the deductions that tell the story of a coal miner's life. He had to shop at the Company Store, where his bill for these two weeks was $17.00. The company owned his house, of course, and his rent came to $3.00. There was no plumbing; water came from community wells, often fouled by mine runoff. Adam had to provide his own tools—a pick and shovel—but he had to pay the company $0.25 for sharpening because he could dig less coal if they were dull. These deductions would have left him with a take-home pay of $11.35. But the company also owned his doctor. After deducting the $9.10 that Adam owed the company doctor, his take-home pay for shoveling 79 tons of coal was $2.25--less than a $.03 per ton. This document reveals that the Washington Coal and Coke Company owned the store Adam shopped in, the house (and indeed, the whole town) he lived in, and his doctor. For all practical purposes, the company owned Adam Baughman.
|Adam Baughman died as a result of a mine accident on February 11, 1920, when a load of dynamite exploded prematurely. A local genealogist searched for records of this accident in the Fayette County Coroner's Office, Uniontown newspapers, and other public records in Fayette County where such information might have been recorded, but came up with nothing. Accidental deaths were usually investigated by the Coroner, but the researcher said that the coal companies were able to suppress such news and information.Adam Baughman and his family were among the first people to live in the village of Star Junction (although there were farms in the area earlier), moving there from the West Overton area . He sold Singer sewing machines as a sideline and was a left-handed violin player. He and his family lived in White Row. He is buried, along with his wife Agnes and father-in-law Alex Baird, in Scottdale cemetery
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