I love antique photos. You can learn so much about how things have changed, and again how little has. We inherited 3 trunks of photos from the late 1800's to the 1940s and 50's. Most came from an enigmatic, extremely hard working but photo-loving woman named Lena, an ancestor of my husband, born in 1879. She had more contacts, more postcards (several hundreds) and more photos of herself taken than anyone who is not a well know celebrity. She seems to have collected antique photos from all around her. She unfortunately didn't identify many, only writing "Lena" on many given to her. I think she assumed she would remember, and of course after that it wouldn't matter!

We are still sorting through all the stuff trying to piece together Lena's fascinating and sometimes tragic life. Meanwhile, here are a variety of photos, including some of the highest (and lowest!) fashion.

I have also included the very old family photos I have from my mom's side of the family.

I hope you enjoy, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, September 6, 2010

MISSOURI LEAD MINERS; and a Funny Picture

                       (click on the photos to enlarge them)

My husband's  (Craig's) family came from Corry, Missouri: now a tiny spot in the road, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s a booming mining town for small surface lead and silicate mines.  A man could start a mine operation with a pick axe, shovel, windlass, wheelbarrow and rope.  Whole families, kids included, worked with the mines.

    Large lead mining has been and continues to be a major industry in Missouri; generally the mining is in tunnels and large refineries are closely associated. In Corry, the mining was surface or shallow mining, but  smelters were built nearby built to process the lead and silicate. Lead permeates the land--and water there. Craig's grandmother told him the water tasted wonderfully sweet, due to the lead. Of course, the long term effects of the lead and silicate in the water and dust affected everyone. Even now, Missouri's children have the highest blood lead levels in the U.S.   Craig's family in Missouri  had a long, very heavy  history of strokes.  I did some reading on lead exposure; those with long term high levels of lead have a 350% higher rate of strokes than anyone else. Symptoms resembling  alzheimer's was another problem, and his grandmother was diagnosed with severe alzheimer's syndrome.

  I find it hard to imagine the incredibly hard work done by these people. They didn't have tractors,  only mules. They didn't use any protective equipment, not even the hard hats used by the coal miners. Certainly not masks or gloves. The pictures, especially this next one, bring home to me the reality of the life these miners faced. (Besides, some of them were my husband's relatives!):

 Now on to happier (I think!) subject, but not apparently for the mom and kid.  This following picture just tickles my funny bone.

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Chris


  1. Mining has always been a dangerous business and the land and people around mines has always suffered.

    That last photo is hysterical. Can you imagine being frozen with those expressions for posterity? LOL - Makes some of the ones of me that I've torn up look good.

  2. Great blog Chris ,thanks for sharing it ,seeing that guy hanging there in that well heading down brings scary thoughts to me. I loved the last it is adorable. Peace.
    PS I hope you are using some kind of acid free containers for these pictures now , instead of the old trunks :>)

  3. That was really informative, and that last photo really eye popping ^^

  4. wow those mining ones are amazing. I wonder if the name "Corry" comes from "quarry"?

  5. Although the town was named after a man who started the big mine there (his first name was Corey), the funny thing is the residents pronounce the town "cahrey".

    We are in the process of sorting and protecting all the photos. Due to the huge number, it is taking a while. Also, my hubby is trying to scan everything in--including literally hundreds of letters.