Rev. John McDowell, “Life of a Coal Miner,” 1902

Being a coal miner was a hard job that often started at a young age. “Breaker boys” would begin their employment in the mines by sifting through the coal and pulling out slate and other contaminants. As they grew bigger and stronger, they would move into the mine itself. 

In this 1902 account by Rev. John McDowell, what are some of the particular hazards of the job?

How was the coal miner paid and supervised by the company?


McDowell, Rev. John. “Life of a Coal Miner.” The World’s Work 4, 2659-60. October 1902.

Library Item date: 


Teaching Unit: 

Coal Mining and Labor Conflict