Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Mr. GRISWOLD. Did you ever receive any hospitalization?

Mr. JONES. Yes, for my daughter. She had appendicitis, and there was a 12-year-old boy who received help from them.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. How much did your family get for the death of your boys?

Mr. JONES. We received $800 apiece. We did not get that; we got it for Shirley, and I got $800 for myself. Shirley was married, and his wife got $1,000.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. You have received $800 each, including yourself, from the company?

Mr. JONES. I got the $800. When I got my check I owed the Midvale Colliery Co. for furniture, rent, and coal.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. How much did you owe the Midvale Colliery Co. ?

Mr. JONES. I owed it $339. Mr. LAMBERTSON. Has all that money been expended ? Mr. JONES. Yes; it has. Mr. LAMBERTSON. You received $2,400 on account of the boys and $800 on account of yourself?

Mr. JONES. Oren gave us $500, and the one we collected on ourselves made $1,500. I spent mine. I paid the Midvale Colliery Co. $339. I had to sign a contract with that company if I stayed in the house. If I did not sign that contract I would have to move ont.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. When did you get the money for the boys and yourself?

Mr. JONES. I believe it was in July 1933, but I am not sure of that date.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Did you buy the house your wife spoke of with this money?

Mr. JONES. Yes; I did.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. How much did you pay for the house?
Mr. JONES. I bought the house, two cows, and a heifer. I paid
$1,700 for the place.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. The money is all gone?
Mr. JONES. Yes.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Is the farm mortgaged?
Mr. JONES. No, sir; we do not owe anything on it?

Mr. GRISWOLD. The $339 plus $1,700 you paid for the place accounts for $2,039 of the money you received, does it not?

Mr. JONES. I did not tell you about my other debts. I had to pay Mrs. Dunbar $1,100, Mr. Ostead $10.50, the Gilbey groceryman $40 and a little more. I had to pay Nancy Miller $15 for rent.

Mr. GRISWOLD. These were bills that had accumulated after you left the tunnel employment and while this matter was pending against the company? Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Was $800 the amount received by you or was that the amount the company paid?

Mr. JONES. I do not understand the question.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Do you know how much the company paid on account of these claims! Did they pay anything that was deducted before you got your money?

Mr. Jones. The attorneys gave us the checks at Lane's garage. Each received a check for $800. That was the amount for each death. I paid $1,700 for the farm.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. How big was the farm for which you paid $1,700?

Mr. JONES. The deed calls for 4 acres, more or less.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Why did it cost so much, about $400 an acre?

Mr. Jones. I do not know why it cost so much. It was sold before we got it for $3,000.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. How big is the house?
Mr. Jones. It is a four-room house.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Is it what you would call a good house?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; it is a good house.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. And you have 4 acres of land ?
Mr. Jones. Yes. The land is located right on the highway.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Is it all good, fertile land?

Mr. Jones. No. The lower side of it has 11-foot props under it and the upper side is on the ground.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. One could buy an ordinary farmhouse, such as you have described, for $50 or $100 in most sections of the country. I do not see why the land should cost $1,700 for only 4 acres.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Is it a fact that your family was one of the first tn reecive payments in settlement of claims?

Ir. JONES. Yes. Mr. MARCANTONIO. Have you any knowledge as to how much some o.. the other people received, whether they received as little as $800?

Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; I have seen some of the checks involved. I cannot, however, call' names. Some received $300, some received $250, some received only $60.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Some of these people received as little as $60? Mr. JONES. Yes; that is true.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Have you any idea how much they paid some of the colored men?

Mr. JONES. I have seen some of those checks amounting to $250, and I have seen them arrested because they had not paid house rent. They collected house rent from those checks.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. House rent was paid out of the check for $250 ?

Mr. JONES. Yes. They also paid for coal. Squire Miller and Thomas took that money from the men. Thomas is superintendent of the Midvale Colliery Co.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Who paid the funeral expenses?

Mr. JONES. The men who worked in the mines with me for 18 years paid that expense. At first I worked in the mine, and then when they did not run very steadily I went to work for Rinehart & Dennis, contractors for this tunnel work. I had received $1.80 for 8 hours working in the mine and after I got laid off at the tunnel I went back to the mines. I went back there at $1.80 a day. For every day I worked they would give me a dollar and hold 80 cents on account of rent, coal, light, and so forth.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Who paid for Shirley's funeral ?
Mr. JONES. Mr. Deets claims he paid it, but he did not.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Who is Mr. Deets?

Mr. JONES. He is general manager of the Midvale Colliery Co.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Has that company any connection with the tunnel that was being constructed ?

Mr. JONES. No.

Mr. GRISWOLD. You said that Mr. Deets claimed that he paid the funeral expenses of your son, Shirley, but he did not do so. Who did pay the funeral expenses?

Mr. JONES. Mr. Deets did actually pay over the money but the money was received from the men. Mr. Deets collected money from the men, the men banked the money with him, and then Mr. Deets paid it out in accordance with an understanding. The men build up this fund and when somebody dies Mr. Deets actually pays the money. He does not, though, pay the money from his own pocket.

Mr. GRISWOLD. He is agent for the men and yet he takes credit for having paid the funeral bill?

Mr. JONES. Yes.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. When you got the money did you sign anything for the company?

Mr. JONES. No; not for the company, but we did for the lawyers. We signed some kind of papers saying that for a dollar in hand we did so and so. I cannot tell you just what the paper

did

say: Mr. MARCANTONIO. That is what they call a release, is it not?

Mr. JONES. It provided that for a dollar in hand, of which we acknowledged receipt, we released all claims against Rinehart and Dennis on account of injuries received at the tunnel. It was something to that effect.

Mr. GRISWOLD. You mean that in the release you signed for the company, you said that for a consideration of $1 in hand you would release the company from all claims, or something of that sort?

Mr. JONES. Yes.

Mr. GRISWOLD. You do not know whether your claim was originally settled as an original claim for $800 or whether it was paid out of a general amount?

Mr. Jones. No, sir; I do not know that. We wanted them to tell us what they would give us before we signed, but they had boosters hauling people around for Bacon and they claimed that Bacon would pay us $7,000 each.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Who was the attorney!

Mr. JONES. Hubert was the man who got up the suits and Hubert and Bacon defended them. I believe it should be said that Bacon is the one that defended them.

Mr. GRISWOLD. One man contracted with you to handle the suit and somebody else handled the suits. He employed somebody of ability to handle the suit for him?

Mr. JONES. Yes; I believe that was the way it was handled.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Whom did the firm of Hubert and Bacon represent?

Mr. JONES. They represented my boys. A man by the name of Mason, of Charleston, was my lawyer.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. You would say from your knowledge of the payments and the settlements made that you fared better than others, would you?

[blocks in formation]

Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; I believe that is true. We got Townsend, Bock, and Moore, but we were not statisfied. Some of the colored fellows were told that Bacon did not give us a square deal. We inquired and they sent Mr. Bock up to see about it. It was found that they had withheld $20,000 and never paid it over. Finally, they settled. They sent us a check for Raymond Johnson and my two boys and myself for $125. The money on account of Cecil we gave to his wife, Dorothy. My wife had to go down and be appointed administratrix of the estate in order to get Oren's check.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. What is the story about the $20,000 ?

Mr. JONES. It seemed that Rinehart and Dennis gave that money to the lawyers to pay these fellows who had not signed releases, and the lawyers had kept it, as we found out before the year was up, and we got Townsend to file a suit against Bacon for perjury or something like that and to sue the company. In place of bringing a suit he collected the money and sent it to us.

Mr. GRISWOLD. What is your condition now compared to the time when you quit working in the tunnel? Is it better, worse, or the same?

Mr. JONES. It was much worse. When I quit them I could go to the table and do such work as driving mules quite satisfactory, but I cannot do that any more.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Are there any further questions? (After a pause.) If not, we thank you for coming before the committee, Mr. Jones.

STATEMENT OF HIRAM SKAGGS

Mr. GRISWOLD. Please give your name and address.

Mr. SKAGGs. My name is Hiram Skaggs, and I live at Gauley Bridge, W. Va.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Were you ever at any time employed at this tunnel at Gauley Bridge, W. Va., Mr. Skaggs?

Mr. SKAGgs. Yes, sir.

Mr. GRISWOLD. Go ahead and tell the committee about conditions in that tunnel. What do you know about working conditions there and about silicosis? We should like to know, first, what you did when you commenced working at this tunnel.

Mr. SKAGGS. I went there as a drill mechanic. I worked 2 weeks at no. 2 heading, and then they laid me off in order to put another man to work. The Ingersoll-Rand Co. took me to no. 1, and I worked there 4 weeks.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. Did you do dry or wet drilling?
Mr. SKAGGS. It was, practically speaking, dry drilling:
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Why do you say "practically speaking” ?

Mr. SKAGGs. They used two types of drills, the drifter type and the sinker type. They could not drill with the drifter type without water.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. Are you affected by silicosis at the present time?
Mr. SKAGGS. Yes; the doctors say I am.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. What doctor said that?
Mr. SKAGGS. Dr. Rucker of Charleston.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. How long have you worked in that tunnel?
Mr. SKAGGs. I worked there 6 weeks.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. Is that the total of your work there? Mr. Skaggs. Yes. Mr. LAMBERTSON. When was that? Mr. SKAGGS. That was in 1931. Mr. LAMBERTSON. Have you not worked there since then? Mr. SKAGGs. No; I have not. Mr. LAMBERTSON. And you still have the lingering effect of that disease

Mr. SKAGGs. Yes; when I was there I took sick. The common term used there to describe the disease is "tunnel pneumonia.” For about 5 weeks I was under a doctor's care. The doctor for Rinehart and Dennis told me that if I went back in the tunnel it would surely

kill me.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. What were the circumstances connected with your leaving the tunnel work?

Mr. SKAGGs. I took sick, and when I got better and was able to work again they would not let me go back into the tunnel. Mr. LAMBERTSON. Did

you ever get any compensation ? Mr. SKAGGŞ. No, sir; I did not.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. Do you know a good many men who died as a result of silicosis?

Mr. Skaggs. I know a few, at least. I am acquainted with them, or was acquainted with them, and I know they died. I was not there long enough to get acquainted with a majority of them, like the other men did. One of the foremen named Pitts is dead.

Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Do you know what caused his death?

Mr. SKAGGS. The doctors said he died as the result of silicosis. When I was working there with that foreman he told me that he knew the tunnel work was killing him. He told me he was taking medicine all the time he worked there. Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Did the foreman tell

you

that? Mr. SKAGGS. Yes.

Mr. Dunn of Pennsylvania. Do you know how long the foreman had worked in that tunnel?

Mr. SKAGGS. No; I do not. Another man, Mr. C. C. Wall, is dead. He worked in there with me.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. What are you doing now?
Mr. SKAGGs. I am selling automobiles.

Mr. RANDOLPH. To the best of your knowledge and information, how many men, in your opinion, have died as the result of working in the tunnel ?

Mr. SKAGGs. That is something I could not say accurately. From reports that one hears and his own observation of the whole thing, from beginning to end, it seems to me that there must have been nearly 1,000 deaths.

Mr. RANDOLPH, They have died?

Mr. SKAGGS. Yes; they have died. I could not say that positively, and nobody else could do so.

Mr. RANDOLPH. Are you a native of that region?
Mr. SKAGGS. Yes; I am.

Mr. MARCANTONIO. Your knowledge is based on what you have heard in that region by circulating among workingmen and people who have lived around there; is that correct?

Mr. SKAGGS. Yes, sir.

« PředchozíPokračovat »