(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