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bury the men and forget it. My youngest son asked that we try to find out whether the dust killed him; we did so, and that's how they learned what the trouble was.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. How far were you living from the tunnel itself at that time?
Mrs. JONES. I can't say exactly, but I imagine it was about 4 miles.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Did you talk to many of the men who came there to work in the tunnel, who worked in and out of the tunnel?
Mrs. JONES. Yes, sir. Mr. MARCANTONIO. And they told you that the men were dying, did they?
Mrs. JONES. Yes, sir. The foreman told me that this was not dangerous work. I asked one of them about the boy's health, and he said
I was too fearful for them. The boys kept getting shorter and shorter breath, and I didn't know what else could be wrong with them. The foreman told me that he had worked in tunnels for 30 years and it hadn't hurt him.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. What was his name?
Mrs. JONES. Oscar Anders. His brother too was a foreman and he is dead.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. I am referring to the reports you heard about men dying. How did you get those reports?
Mrs. Jones. They came to me in different ways. The men were dying and dead, that was all there was to it. The news was general around that part of the country.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. You say there were reports of many dying as the result of working in the tunnel ?
Mrs. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mrs. Jones. About the same time they were carrying so many colored men out.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. As I understand, you have told us that you have to go 14 or 18 miles to get your relief check. Have you asked the relief authorities to mail your checks to you?
Mrs. Jones. Yes; but they said they didn't have the pennies to mail the checks with. They said that the only way we could get the checks would be to come and get them ourselves.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Did you sign for those checks?
Mr. GRISWOLD. They just handed them out and you did not sign anything?
Mrs. JONES. That's right; they just handed them to us and we took them and went on
Mr. RANDOLPH. I should like to say, simply as an observation in connection with Mrs. Jones' statement about receiving her relief check, that the reason the relief authorities have not mailed the checks to her each week, which was that they did not have the money to pay postage, if followed generally, is certainly a bad practice.
Mrs. JONES. That's exactly the way the thing has been handled and is still being handled.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Do you suppose that the relief authorities knew that this woman had to hitchhike 18 miles for this check!
Mrs. JONES. Yes. They knew that. I went there and when I got there the check was not made out. They wanted me to come back for it and I asked them how they expected me to come that far for the check.
Mr. GRISWOLD. The testimony of Miss Allen the other day was that the recipients of this relief had to walk from 16 to 18 miles to get it.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Is it Federal or State relief? Mrs. JONES. It is Federal relief. Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Do they not have State relief in West Virginia ?
Mr. RANDOLPH. This money is from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. It is Federal money.
Mr. DUNN of Pennsylvania. Relief from this one organization? Mrs. JONES. That is right.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. You get relief from this one organization, and you walked 18 miles to get it?
Mrs. JONES. That is right.
Mr. GRISWOLD. If there are no further questions, let us excuse the witness. [After a pause.] We thank you for coming before the committee, Mrs. Jones.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES JONES
Mr. GRISWOLD. Is Mr. Charles Jones present?
Mr. GRISWOLD. Please state your name and residence to the reporter.
Mr. JONES. My name is Charles Jones, and I live at Gamoca.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You understand that the object of this committee is to investigate silicosis and its causes at Gauley Bridge and other places in your country. Will you please proceed to tell us anything that you know about the situation at the Gauley tunnel?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir. I worked in there off and on for 14 months. I carried water and helped to carry steel to the drills.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. You mean you carried water for operating the drills or for drinking purposes? Mr. JoNEs. It was for both purposes. Mr. LAMBERTSON. Have you got silicosis?
Mr. Jones. I have got something that checks my breathing. I have been X-rayed and examined otherwise two or three times. The doctors have told me not to even try to work. I have tried at different places to get jobs, but they will not give me any. I tried to get work with the Kropper Coal Co.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. I take it that you could not work very long, anyway.
Mr. JONES. No, sir; I cannot walk far at a time, and I cannot climb a hill because it cuts my wind. I tried to get work at the Kropper Coal Co., but they turned me down.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You have mentioned having sought work at the Kropper Coal Co. Have you been examined by their physicians ?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; I have.
Mr. JONES. They did not tell me. They just laid my card down on the table and said, “We are through with you."
Mr. MARCANTONIO. But you have been examined by a doctor, and he told you that you had silicosis?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; that is right.
Mr. Jones. Dr. Harless, Dr. Huey, and others. Dr. Huey lives at Charleston.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Did you ever wear a mask while working at the tunnel?
Mr. Jones. No; I did not.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Did anybody else, to your knowledge, wear a mask while working at that tunnel!
Mr. JONES. I have seen men have masks, but they would simply have them on their breasts. I have seen two men wear them.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Who were they?
Mr. JONES. One was an engineer who came there and marked up the heading and centers to drill by. The other man, too, was an engineer.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. These two men that you saw wearing masks were engineers ?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. They were not just ordinary workingmen in that tunnel?
Mr. JoNEs. No, sir.
Mr. JONES. I commenced just before Christmas in 1930. I do not remember the exact date, but I got a pay just before Christmas. I had Christmas money. I worked probably 10 or 12 days before Christmas that year. I worked off and on after that until February 1932. I worked the 11th, 12th, and 13th of February 1932.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Tell us something about some of the conditions in the tunnel at the time you worked there.
Mr. JONES. Well, it was quite cloudy in there. It was smoky. When the dynamite would be exploded there would be smoke and dust around there for quite a long time. After one worked there a little while he began to get sleepy, but the boss would not allow one: to quit work or to sit down.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. What do you mean by saying, “The boss would not allow one to sit down”? What did he do about it?
Mr. Jones. He would fire a fellow if he saw him sitting down on the job when he should be working. Naturally, a man would get sleepy and drowsy in those conditions, and whenever the boss caught a man in that condition and not coming up with his end of the work he fired the man. I knew it was head air, because I had worked in the mines and had experience with it. The dry air from the drills made us sick and sleepy.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. What kind of drilling were they doing?
Mr. JONES. They had a cut of 52 holes, and they used 4 drills. I think they were Ingersoll drills. They had two of them on each post. They drilled holes straight in, in a circle, and they drilled them [pointing] this way, and then they filled the holes with dynamite and shot them off. They drilled 24 holes straight down [indicating]. They drilled that many or more 12-foot ones, and on the next bench they would level up the bottom for the shovel.
Mr. MARCANTOIO. Was this dry drilling?
Mr. MARCANTONIO. How soon after the explosion would take place were the men required to go back to work?
Mr. JONES. The day crew would shoot. They would come out at 6 o'clock. As they came out they would shoot. At 6:30 o'clock we would go in and start work.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. What was the condition of the air when you were in there that soon after the shooting?
Mr. JoNEs. It was as full of smoke as it could be. I ran right up upon the shovel and butted my head against it, simply because I could not see it for the smoke and dust.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. So that unless the headlight was turned directly on the shovel you could not see it?
Mr. JONES. That is right. There was a good light every 10 or 15 feet. These lights would have bulbs of 50 or 100 watts, but right next to the shovel one could not see even with those good lights. Only when they would center the high-powered lights on them could you see.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. While you were working there did you acquire any knowledge as to men dying?
Mr. JONES. None of the men died while working there, but after they drove a heading through they began dying. About the time the heading was done the men commenced to die.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Were you working there at that time?
Mr. JONES. No; I was not working there when my boys died. I had quit at that time.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. You quit working there after your son died?
Mr. JONES. No; I quit before that. We finished up the heading, and then they laid us off. Shirley was the first of our family to die. Several colored fellows died before that. Shirley was first to die, then Cecil died, and then Jeffrey died, and then Oren, and then Raymond Johnson, and then Clev. Anders, Oscar Anders, Frank Dickinson, Frank Lynch, Henry Palf, Mr. Wall, who was assistant superintendent, Mr. Pitch, a foreman. All of these men were white. There was a slim fellow who carried steel with my boys.
His name was Darnell, I believe. He, too, died. I could not tell you the number of colored men that died on that job.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. You would say that there were quite a few colored men who died on the job?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. I understood you to say that all the men you mentioned a little while ago were white men?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mr. Jones. Yes, sir. My youngest son was 18 or 19 when we went to work at the tunnel.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. And you distinctly remember these two engineers wearing masks, do you?
Mr. JONES. I do.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You have a noticeable wheeze when you breathe. Do you have that all the time, or just today?
Mr. JONES. All the time. I do not notice it.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Did you have that before you went to work at the tunnel ?
Mr. JONES. No; I did not.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Did the other members of your family who worked in the tunnel have this wheeze after they worked in the tunnel?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Was the doctor who examined you and told you you had silicosis a company doctor?
Mr. JONES. He is in a way and in a way he is not. When we were examined we had to sign a statement, but they did not collect it. We signed a statement that we would pay him $50 each out of our checks if we got them.
Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. In other words, you agreed to pay $50 each for one examination?
Mr. JONES. Yes; but he was to take us and have us X-rayed. Dr. Hayhurst examined my boys and Dr. Huey and some other fellow that travels through the country there on a railroad car examining people by X-ray. He took two or three X-ray pictures for him.
Mr. DUNN of Pennsylvania. Were you taken to a hospital when you were examined ?
Mr. Jones. Yes. I was taken to the General Hospital at Charleston. There was an examination made in this railroad car, too.
Mr. DUNN of Pennsylvania. Do you know whether or not this doctor who examined you was in the employ of the company at the time of the examination?
Mr. Jones. Yes; he was employed by the Midvale Colliery Co.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Do you know what compensation Dr. Hayhurst received for his examinations?
Mr. JONES. No; I do not.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Did Dr. Hayhurst examine quite a few men who had worked in the tunnel?
Mr. JONES. Yes; he helped examine all the X-rays when Rinehart and Dennis paid off?
Mr. GRISWOLD. How were these company doctors paid? Did the men themselves pay them?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; they did.
Mr. GRISWOLD. How did they pay; was the amount deducted from your wages?
Mr. JONES. Yes.
Mr. GRISWOLD. How much was deducted from your wages for payment of these doctors ?
Mr. JONES. A quarter a week, and then there was a quarter a week taken for the hospital fund.
Mr. GRISWOLD. There was a quarter a week for treatment by the physician, and a quarter a week for a hospital fund ?
Mr. JONES. Yes.