No. 9

It was early in the morning on November 20, 1968 when an explosion rocked the small town of Farmington, West Virginia. It was powerful enough to be felt miles away, in the larger city of Fairmont. Miners and their families lived in fear of the sound of an explosion and the blaring of the alarm…

Appalachian Epidemics: Poverty

Appalachian Epidemics: Poverty

Stereotypes and Reality I’ve debated covering this topic for some time now. I know that this is an important piece of our region’s history. It’s an important driving force behind so many of our epidemics, but I didn’t even know how to begin to attack it. I also wasn’t sure that I wanted to address…

The Widow Combs

The Widow Combs

Ollie Combs was the sort of tough Appalachian woman that all of us who live here can recognize. She was born in 1904, in Knott County, deep in the Kentucky coalfields. We know little about her early life, but we can speculate. Like other women born in the Appalachian coalfields in that time, she witnessed…

Country Roads

Country Roads

Harrison County Mayors Discuss Fixing West Virginia Roads[1] West Virginia Officials: Staffing Issues Slowing Road Repair[2] West Virginia’s commissioner of highways tours 50 miles of roads in Marshall County[3] Miller Brings Out Platform—Hits School Politics and Condition of Roads in Talk at Armory[4] Bad Road Conditions Trigger ‘Blockade’[5] Gov. Justice announces plans to fix secondary…

A Brief History of Coal

A Brief History of Coal

To understand a lot of what I will be discussing on this blog, you first need to understand coal in the United States.  Coal has dominated the narrative of West Virginia history and still tends to dominate its politics today. Its presence has also influenced the economies and history of the other states in the…